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CV Writing For Freelancers – The Dos And Don’ts

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CV resume on desk

Dos of CV writing

Keep it short and sweet Ideally, your CV should be one page and definitely shouldn’t go beyond two pages of A4. Anything longer and you risk the hiring manager becoming bored and placing you on the ‘rejected’ pile. It is estimated that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing a CV, so you need to make yours stand out in a short space of time.

List your skills clearly and concisely – Your skills need to reflect the industry, such as excellent spelling and grammar skills for a freelance writer. This point, however, also ties into the above; keep your skill list easy to digest. It means that, rather than list 20 points, include the 5 most valuable.

Craft a personal profile that wows – State precisely who you are and what you do. You should aim to tailor your personal profile to the client or job in question, but if this is a CV appearing on freelancer websites, you can be more general. It can be tricky to condense your personality into roughly 100 words, which is why hiring an expert CV writing service is highly recommended. PurpleCV, for example, can create a CV that is tailored to you, your personality, your skills and the career you are aiming for.

Don’ts of CV writing

Include unnecessary information This information includes your date of birth, marital status and full address and telephone number. It was once recommended by teachers that students needed to add this, but in today’s digital world (especially for freelancers), a simple email address is sometimes all that’s required. With regards to your date of birth, this, unfortunately, can lead to age discrimination, so it’s best to leave this where it counts – your birth certificate!

Lie – Perhaps an obvious point, but any lie you tell on your CV will be uncovered, whether that’s immediately or further down the line. Lying about a project or an achievement can severely harm your professional reputation, particularly if you’re a freelancer. Therefore, it’s best to stick to the facts. If you don’t have the experience in a specific aspect of the role, either be upfront and honest about it or emit it from the CV altogether.

Include clichés – All industries now have buzzwords that have graduated from being CV must-haves to must-avoids. These include words and phrases such as ‘hard work,’ ‘thinks outside the box,’ and ‘team player.’ Rather than using these, demonstrate in your experience and achievements how these apply to you. This point also applies to highlighting your creativity. After all, to pursue a freelance career in the creative industry, this is a fundamental and expected trait.

10/02/2020 |

Do you need a PhD to be an academic editor? (Guest blog by Dr Lisa Lines, Capstone Editing)

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A popular throwaway posits, ‘if you’re good with words, consider becoming an editor’. Seventeen years’ experience in the editing industry—as a freelancer, in-house editor and now director and head editor of my own editing company—has not disproved this assertion, but instead asked that it perhaps qualify itself. Being ‘good with words’ is not, strictly speaking, quantifiable. Moreover, the title ‘editor’ can apply to a myriad of roles across every industry. Editors of the output of academia carry the necessary qualifier of ‘academic’—an academic editor must be both a highly skilled academic and highly trained and experienced professional editor, possessing the skillset and experience necessary to engage in a specialised form of editing for academics, students and universities. The element of ‘highly skilled academic’ begs the question, especially in regards to editing PhD theses, do you need a PhD to be an academic editor?

What is a PhD?

‘PhD’ is shorthand for ‘Doctor of Philosophy’, an advanced postgraduate degree entailing three or more years of independent research (supervised by one or more expert academics) resulting in a thesis offering a ‘significant original contribution to human knowledge’. A PhD is a deeply (and intentionally) immersive and transformational experience that not only requires development of independent scholarly research skills, but also skills in teaching and written and oral communication, and engagement with the publishing process.

What is an academic editor?

An academic editor is a specialised editor for academic works (including PhD theses). Two elements are present: 1) an academic editor is a professional editor, 2) an academic editor has experience in academia. The first element entails training and experience in the field of editing, usually gained through tertiary education and on-the-job training (editing is a skill that cannot be self-taught and where you undertake training is important) and, ideally, accreditation through a governing body (such as IPEd in Australia or SfEP in the United Kingdom). The second entails experience in and with academia to the point of familiarity that enables a professional editor to be an academic editor. Is a PhD required for either of these elements? Strictly speaking, no.

An academic editor (especially one who edits PhD theses) should have a PhD, but this qualification is not the key component to be an academic editor. Often, you will see academic editors who do not have a PhD, but who have received professional training from people who do, and some editors possess skills and experience sufficient to preclude the need for a PhD. Completing a PhD gives you an in-depth firsthand experience of what a PhD thesis is, what it should be, its structure and what it needs to be to be complete. But, your PhD experience is with one thesis—your thesis—and does not render you able to professionally edit a thesis (yours or someone else’s). A PhD in Mathematics does not qualify someone to edit a PhD in Psychology—an individual with the former has undertaken the academic experience of a PhD, but they do not possess the education in editing (qualification- or experience-wise), much less academic editing, to undertake a professional edit of a PhD thesis in the way an academic editor does.

Likewise, editing experience must be relevant; experience in editing magazines, fiction or cookbooks does not give you the skillset of an academic editor—being a professional editor does not make you an academic editor. To be an academic editor you need to have formal training and education in editing and have had significant experience (really, immersion) in the academic process. For the latter, a PhD is ideal but not essential. A PhD is hugely beneficial for an academic editor, but a PhD alone does not qualify someone as a professional editor, much less an academic editor.

Dr Lisa Lines is an academic editor and owner of Capstone Editing. Visit her website and her Find a Proofreader listing for more information on her services.

23/02/2018 |

Proofreaders beware: the overpayment scam is still out there

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Computer keybords scamsWe wrote an article in 2013 about an email scam that was doing the rounds at the time. It was targeting proofreaders, although apparently the general idea for the scam had been around for a while before that and has previously preyed upon other types of freelancers, too. You can read our previous article here.

Worryingly, I have now been informed by one of our advertisers (who would prefer to remain anonymous, so I’ll refer to her as ‘Nicola’) that she has been targeted by the same malicious trick TWICE in the past few weeks.

I should point out that the scammer(s) contacted Nicola by email rather than via her Find a Proofreader profile, so we don’t know whether they found her via our directory or some other channel. The important issue is that any proofreader with any form of web presence is vulnerable, so if you’re not already familiar with the overpayment scam, you need to read on!

Nicola was targeted twice in a fortnight, and probably by the same person (one claiming to be a female and the second a male, with different email addresses and different home countries). The first sent her a document and said “she” would post a cheque in advance, but as Nicola didn’t have time to take the job on, she recommended her friend, another proofreader based in the same area.

The scammer then wrote to Nicola’s friend, saying she had accidentally sent a cheque for €2,000 rather than the €200 quoted, and requested the return of the balance into her bank account. Her friend was suspicious at this point and checked the piece (which she hadn’t actually worked on at the time), and it turned out to be taken directly from the UNICEF website. She replied to the scammer with a link to the piece and that was the end of it. Not surprisingly, the cheque never arrived!

Nicola had a similar experience last week, but unfortunately she spent four hours on the job before realising that there was something funny about the four documents, on management: they were all in different styles. Nicola googled the pieces and discovered that, again, they all came from the web. She then went back to her original email from the scammer and saw that he had asked for her phone number and postal address so that he could send Nicola a cheque in advance.

The fact that this proofreader was targeted twice in a matter of weeks suggests that the scam is rife once again, and I sincerely hope that none of our other advertisers have been affected by it. The crime relies on the spammer sending the proofreader a cheque, so probably the simplest solution is to not accept cheque payments at all – or if you do, don’t commence the proofreading until you know that the customer is legit. If they send a cheque for more money than intended, you know it’s a scam!

Please reply with a comment below if you have been affected by this issue, or if you have any information that you think we need to add.

23/03/2016 |
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