• Stefan Johnsson

7 Questions to ask when Paying for Editing Services on your Personal Statement and CV

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Writing and getting what you want in a document is hard for many of us. It is an art form and it takes time and practice to get something just the way you want it. That is why paying someone to do this for you is easier, but is your money well spent? One of the most difficult things to do is trusting someone with your documents for editing. Believe me, even editors need an editor which I did for my recently published book. I reached out for editing help to catch mistakes or poor tendencies in writing that I may have picked up over the years.

The point is, you need to find someone you can work with and who has your best interest in mind. You have to trust that whoever is editing your documents is doing what you want them to do and that they are working to solve any issues that you want to address. That is why I want to provide you some questions below to help with what to look for in an editing service.

1. How Much Should I Spend?

This is the biggest question that comes up. Many want to find the best price for an editing service and will shop around. This is fine. Sometimes you may find the right company/person that will help you with editing. I began with personal statements by helping many of my friends who were applying for the Match. They got the best deal because I did it for free. You may have the right person that could do this for you and the deal is unbeatable. What about for the rest?

Cheap editing services can range from $15 to $40. We will talk more about what to look for below. Professional editors can range anywhere from $50 to $150 and sometimes higher. If you are ready to pay more than $100 for a personal statement, you should be absolutely sure that the person you are paying is legitimate, historically proven to do an excellent job, and has a writing background within the field you are looking to work in.

2. Should I pay for a Cheap Editing Service?

The cheaper you go, the lower your expectations has to be for the outcome. A simple editing service, for say $20, may not include rewriting your personal statement or creating a new template for your CV. This is because it's not worth the time for the person editing your statement, at least not for someone who is doing this as a legitimate business. Of course, you may find that one individual who is very good at what they do and does it very cheap. Though, be careful as the risk may be higher than the reward.

I would also caution against anyone offering basic editing services without any additional comments or suggestions to better your document. Simple editing and syntax can be done through Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Grammarly, etc. An AI service such as these, helps most writers with spelling and grammar errors.

3. Should I Trust Word of Mouth?

Yes...and no. Many editors rely on word of mouth to get business. Much of what I do is based on this as well. It is important to do a good job for a client and then this can spread to others. What you need to be careful for is how this "word of mouth" is spread. If you hear something such as, "My brother's friend will do it for $50 and he works at a big company in the U.S. He knows exactly how to get your personal statement ready", you may want to rethink this suggestion. If you get a referral to a company or legitimate editor who has their name out there and searchable, this may be a good suggestion and option for you. Hearing it from multiple sources and fellow colleagues would also help to confirm the word of mouth.

4. What about Services that would Write My Documents from Scratch?

There are services out there who charge a lot more than an editor and will basically write your entire personal statement and/or CV for you based on what you provide them. I would discourage in doing this as it can create a cookie cutter personal statement or CV that many programs and interviewers can spot. This may look like you are unable to express your passion for the job in a personal way.

Of course, this does not mean you cannot use a service such as this. It just depends on what you wish to spend and how little work you plan on doing yourself or what you may have time for. Be careful when choosing to go this route and expect to pay much more for a service such as this, if you wish to get a great result.

5. Does it Have to be a Person who Works in my Profession?

I see this a lot. Many customers want to have a writer and editor that has a background in the same field that they work in. For example, if you are a doctor, then shouldn't you have a doctor editing your personal statement and CV? This may not be the best solution in all cases. It is the same as saying, "I will only trust someone to do my taxes who is self-employed like I am." Well, that person may have a good idea of what to do with taxes being self-employed, but they would be nowhere near as good as an actual tax consultant who works with self-employed businesses and entrepreneurs.

Your best choice would be to seek a writer and editor who understands your field, but may not be in your field of work such as what PEFFA USA does for IMG's. Though, this does not mean that everyone who is in your field of work are unable to edit and rewrite personal statements and CV's. You just have to be very careful in who you seek out and how legitimate they are.

6. What Should I Look for in a Good Editing Service?

Great question. I believe it comes to several factors. I have provided a few thoughts to think about before you make a decision and choosing an editing service that fits you.

  • Are they customer friendly? Do they look out for your best interests? What are they willing to do and offer for you?

  • Do they provide refunds or partial refunds if you do not like the work? What do they charge up front? Are you aware of what editing services they will do for the money you are paying?

  • If you ask for examples of prior work, are they able to provide this? Do they have a portfolio to back up the work that they do and are charging for?

  • Do they have a cover page, profile, or any source of information to prove who they are and what they do?

  • How is the cost compared to other services? Are they over- or under-priced? Why?

  • How long have they been in the business?

7. Peer Reviews?

You may want to use your friends and colleagues to peer review your personal statement or CV before and after editing paying for a professional editing service. If a person or company that you use has a time frame in which they will commit to additional edits, you should take advantage of this to refine any changes that you may need. If they are upset or get mad at you or following up on additional edits, it speaks to their character as an editor and you should not go their services in the future.

In the end, no editing service is perfect. Every person is fallible, makes mistakes and commits basic errors in syntax. The better a writer and editor, the less of these issues will show. The focus isn't on getting a perfect personal statement or CV on the first try, it is as I have said before, you should find someone you trust and who will work with you until the finished product is ready. You want to be confident in what you present to others about yourself and that's why editing services like these exist.

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