Self-Governed Industry Associations in the CV Writing Industry

Lee Tonge

" I'm often asked if we're members of any industry regulators or associations for CV writers. The short answer to this is, "no" (and with good reason)."

Lee Tonge - Director

The rise of self-governed CV writing service industry associations aiming to regulate, standardise, and advance the interests of their members has recently come under scrutiny (particularly here in the UK).

Here, I'll explain why self-governed industry associations in the CV writing industry are - in my view - pointless.

Conflicts of Interest:

Today, there are a couple of well-known US-based industry association and one or two fledging associations based here in the UK. However, these are comprised primarily of CV writers who are regulating themselves. One of my clients recently put it like this: "it sounds a lot like the fox guarding the henhouse, doesn't it?"

image of a fox in the road

”…One of my clients recently put it like this: "it sounds a lot like the fox guarding the henhouse, doesn't it?"

An association that is self-regulated will result in biased decision-making; prioritising the interests of the industry (and those "regulators") over the needs of people looking for help with their CV, as they're likely to prioritise policies that benefit their businesses at the expense of providing high-quality, unbiased service to clients.

Lack of Accountability:

CV writing industry associations (in fact, self-governed associations in any industry) suffer from a lack of accountability. Without external oversight, these bodies can (and do) operate with minimal transparency. When the people making the decisions are the same ones who stand to benefit from those choices, it's no surprise that industry interests might take priority over the needs of job seekers.

For the CV writing industry, poor regulatory practices, inadequate enforcement of standards, and an erosion of trust among job seekers and other stakeholders may result, and clients may be left with subpar services and few (or no) avenues for recourse.

Ineffective Enforcement:

In the UK, a self-governed CV writing association will lack any authority and resources to enforce regulations effectively.

Compliance is voluntary, and penalties for non-compliance are usually insufficient to deter misconduct (in reality, compliance becomes more of a polite suggestion, than a requirement). This will result in widespread non-compliance; undermining the standards those associations claim to uphold.

Inadequate Response to Change:

The CV writing industry is constantly evolving, driven by technological advancements, changing recruitment practices, and new regulatory requirements.

Because of this, industry associations can be slow to adapt to these changes, due to their reliance on consensus among members. Their "standards" may become outdated; reducing their relevance and effectiveness in a rapidly changing landscape.

Innovations in CV writing, such as the integration of AI and techniques to overcome challenges posed by ATS, may be overlooked or inadequately addressed.

led sign saying time for change

”… Self-governed associations often perpetuate the status quo, resisting change that might disrupt established business models

Perpetuation of Status Quo:

Self-governed industry associations often perpetuate the status quo, resisting change that might disrupt established business models.

This outdated and conservative approach will stifle innovation and hinder progress.

By prioritising the interests of established CV writing companies, self-governed associations can create barriers to entry for new writers; reducing competition and ultimately, harming consumers.

What's The Alternative?

Independent organisations, free from industry influence, can monitor and evaluate industry practices objectively.

Unbiased assessments and recommendations can foster trust and accountability, allowing job seekers to benefit from clear and impartial information about CV writing services. To date, no such organisation exists; and it's unlikely one ever will.

My view? When it comes to the credentials of these CV (or resume) writing associations, they only really hold water if they're managed by independent external groups that don't have any competing commercial interests. These independent bodies also need to have the authority to kick out CV Writers who aren't following the rules or are doing a bad job. Otherwise, the credentials don't mean a whole lot.

While self-governed industry associations in the UK CV writing industry may have aimed to promote best practices and protect job seekers, their inherent limitations hinder their effectiveness.

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With 20+ years of experience writing CVs, it still puts a smile on my face when I hear a client has secured an interview Lee Tonge - Founder and Director


Phone: (01904) 902 102


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