I’m Lis McGuire, founder of Giraffe CVs. I’d like to share my personal story of how it all started.
The torch that lit the flame
A few years after leaving university, I worked for French Thornton, a niche London-based management consultancy. The partners agreed to sponsor me to study for some marketing qualifications and, not long after I started my course, one of the founding partners gave me Charles Handy’s The New Alchemists as a Christmas gift.
Inside he wrote:
I was inspired by his message, and though I didn’t think of starting my own business for another few years, you could say it was the torch that lit the flame.
My decision to set up on my own came once I had my first son. At that time, I was working for CH2M Hill and commuting to Earls Court, London from Maidstone. With a two-hour commute door-to-door, it just wasn’t feasible to continue, so I decided to leave my job and start up on my own.
I had written CVs throughout my working life: team CVs for consultancy staff; CVs for inclusion in $multi-million proposals; and CVs for friends who asked me for help. Making this into my own business seemed a logical next step.
How did the name come about?
I’m often asked ‘Why Giraffe CVs?’ I always thought an animal name would work as animal names have character, are easy to remember and they encourage customers to connect.
Drawing inspiration from my son’s nursery wallpaper, I considered Lion CVs, Elephant CVs and Zebra CVs. Though Zebra CVs nearly made the grade, I liked giraffes better and Giraffe CVs was born.
This turned out to be a great decision. Many of my customers are drawn to the website because they love giraffes – giraffes have personality. Every week, a new customer will ring me and the first thing they say will be ‘I need a new CV’ and the second will be ‘I love giraffes.’
In the early years, my marketing drew inspiration from the animal theme with messages including:
“Why let the monkeys get all the top jobs?”
“Are you missing out on the juicier leaves in the job market?”
Last year, I came up with a new strapline ‘Aim High, Stand Tall, Get Spotted’ which I feel encapsulates the purpose of my business whilst reflecting the qualities of the giraffe.
Growing from small to tall
Starting small allowed me to build my brand on the merits of the service I delivered, and this has paid dividends over the years. In fact, many customers from that first year of trading are still my customers now.
It is incredibly rewarding to witness the individual success of those who strive to improve their career prospects through hard work, training, seizing opportunities presented and, of course, a great CV.
Following my loyal customers’ progression has been a real pleasure, and each new promotion and career move has resulted in repeat business for Giraffe CVs.
Many are keen to recommend my services to friends and family members, and I recognise my duty to repay the recommendation by living up to expectations.