Written by Carl Mason     

I know words. Success with a PiPS CV

Words are my living.

I enjoy writing and, when I’m not writing for work, I write short stories for fun. I write all sorts:  academic research papers, manuals of guidance and primary legislation.

Recently, I completed a 22,000 word dissertation, a Sisyphean task that I foolishly set for myself by agreeing to enter another period of further education. I have a visceral reaction to the superfluou’s apostrophe, the common misspelling (there/their/they’re?), the not-so-common misspelling (divorSe?) and the poor grammar imposed on us by the Internet. Yes, I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi, but only because I want to help people to communicate well.

The idealistic teacher in me (beard, sandals and a tweed jacket with arm-patches) just can’t sit still.

My Boss, when he’s not piling me with more and more work, calls me his “wordsmith”, summoning me whenever there’s a tricky message to soften or a clever phrase required. He pimps me out to other agencies across the world, like some medieval peripatetic scribe. I believe that I know words and I like to think I’m good with them.

BUT. I don’t know the first thing about how to write a CV.  Sure, I went on the Internet and read avidly. Naturally, I looked for examples, thinking I could bend them to my will, but they resisted. Even though I’ve been involved in recruitment for many years and have read countless CV’s and résumés, I just couldn’t get mine to work. I was beaten. Every effort was far too long, too wordy, too wordy, or full of repetition (see what I did there?). The tone was all wrong: more “look at me! I’m great I am! Look at how clever I am!” than “…excuse me, you’ll find this meets your needs perfectly… ”. I needed something between the extremes, something that would hold the reader’s attention, but contain enough information to (at least) get through the paper sift.

That’s where PiPs came in. Angela is a Master (Mistress?) of the craft. She knows how to work with you to build a pen picture. She is RUTHLESS in her advice, calling it “tough love”, but in fact, it’s more like the Normandy Landings, a relentless pursuit of a goal, cutting through your rubbish defences, breaking into the concrete bunker of your Police training and dragging you, blinking, onto the sunlit beachhead. She knows the Police well. She seems to have developed a knack for expressing those transferable skills that every ex- copper I know seems unable to actually articulate. She finds them, strips them and exposes them on the page, where they parade naked and proud, daring the reader to disregard them.

She’s very good. Certainly she’s orders of magnitude better than me at writing CV’s; probably better than you, or your invisible mates on the internet. Give her a call. I was totally impressed. I feel sure you will be too.

Now, where’s my Dunce cap?


Carl Mason