How we transformed our CV feedback service

By Emma, Young Women's Trust, Sarah, Young Women's Trust • 24 May 2021

In the past few months, the Young Women’s Trust services and digital team have been working together on a project funded by the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. In this blog, Emma Feasey our Services Manager and Sarah Sheerman-Chase our Head of Digital talk about what they achieved.  

About the Work It Out CV feedback service

Emma: Back in 2015 when I started working at Young Women’s Trust one of my first projects was to help with a pilot of our new free CV feedback service for young women. 

Our Work It Out coaches told us that many young women they were coaching were also asking for help with their CV. Some were applying for literally hundreds of jobs and never hearing anything back, growing more and more disheartened with each non-response.  

So we designed a service where young women could send us their CV, cover letter or application form and HR or Recruitment professionals who volunteered with us would review it. Young women would then receive highly detailed, personal feedback on how to improve and tailor their application for their dream role. 

Fast forward to 2020 and we gave CV feedback to 2234 young women, using a bespoke, state of the art database and working with around 150 volunteers!   

Every day we get amazing comments from young women like this:

It was such helpful and personal advice for specifically my CV which really made me feel valued and understood. Thank you so much for your time in helping me.

Starting a transformation

Sarah: 2020 was a tough year for everyone and our work supporting young women through the CV service seemed more important than ever. In October, we were lucky enough to be awarded Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. The goal of the funding was to makthe CV feedback service easier to use and to make sure we were helping as many young women as possible, as quickly as possible.  

Listening to young women and volunteers

We started out the project by listening to young women and volunteers. We set up a series of interviews where we spoke to volunteers and young women who had used the service. We heard a lot of positive feedback, so we knew we had a great starting point to build on. One area for improvement stood out loud and clear. Young women were often on their mobile phones applying and either did not have their CV available, or did not have it in the right format. 

Based on the interviews and an internal review of our systems we wrote a detailed briefing document. We shared this document with our web developers Fat Beehive and together we came up with a plan to build a new sign up platform 

What we achieved

The new sign up platform is a better, more flexible user experience for the young women signing up to the service. These are the features we were able to include  

  • The platform is fully integrated into our website, so works well on a mobile phone, tablet or computer 
  • The user journey has been organised to save young women time, by letting them know if they are eligible straight away 
  • Young women are able to apply for the service, but send their documents at a later date 
  • Young women can choose to complete part of the sign up and finish at a later date by using a link  

The funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, has helped us to achieve this so we can support even more young women. Thanks to the Government for making this possible. 

Work It Out offers free feedback from HR experts on CVs, cover letters and job applications. The service is available for young women aged 18 to 30 living in England and Wales. Sign up now – using our new and improved platform!  

Sign up to Work It Out