How to Draft a Perfect Professional Resume?

How and what words you use to write your resume´is consequential. Based on a career builder survey hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less on reviewing resumes. This means each word you use would be indicative of something and the hiring manager would interpret it according to its verbal strength and purposefulness. So how to draft a resume to make an impression on the reader?

A resume´is a document that represents you when you are not physically present. Resume´speaks for you in your absence. It is a professional statement of your education, qualification and skills to help the recruiter determine your eligibility for an interview.

How to draft a resume to make an impression on the reader? Here I would like to share a few important guidelines:

Before you write your resume ask yourself a few questions like:

a) Who am I?

b) What is my objective in life?

c)What is my professional calling?

d)Why did I choose a particular stream/ career?

e)What skills do I possess to support my professional goals?

f) How will my education and my skills help me to contribute to the job/job profile that I am applying for?

If you are able to answer these questions satisfactorily then you will be able to carve a true first impression for yourself.  Having stated this, we would now focus on how to draft a great killer resume´?

Here we discuss the secret of drafting a perfect professional resume:

  • Choose an easy and attractive layout– keep it simple and easy to read. Do not use multiple colours and font types. The best idea is to keep your document in black and white and use professionally accepted fonts like Ariel, Garamond, Georgia, Calibri  or Helvetica which are preferred by most professionals. What really matters is that the font should be easy to read at a glance. Keep your font size at between 10 and 12 point depending on the type of font you choose.
  • Margins and Spaces: Keep margins to 1/2 or 1 inch on all sides of the page. Leave reasonable white spaces between your content to make the document legible. Use bullet points to classify information or list points. Check for alignment and justify the document. Leave single spacing between lines. Avoid double spacing to compress your content in one or two pages. Remember resume´is a short crisp formal document.
  • Arrange the information under clearly defined headings and subheadings: Before discussing the heading and subheading it is necessary to understand that resumes´are of three types:
  1. Chronological resume´- Based on chronological order. It is good for entry-level        job seekers
  2.  Functional resume´-Based on skills and experience rather than education Suitable for mid-level or senior job seekers
  3. Combination resume´- Combination of both but it focuses more on specific skills that the applicant wants to showcase along with the chronological details and is a great way to cover gaps in your work history.

So, once you choose the right resume that is suited to your requirement , then you can start with the crucial task of arranging your details in the right sequence.

The essential elements of a resume´: Essential elements consist of the following:

  • Heading: It tells the reader about your name and contact information. It should include your address for correspondence, e-mail address and your mobile/phone number. Use slightly larger font size to differentiate this information from the rest of the document. You know this is where your hiring manager will find you.
  • Resume Summary/Objective: Brief description of why you are applying for the job and how you make a suitable candidate
  • Education/ Experience: It informs the reader of your education/experience, specialisation/nature of responsibilities/ expertise etc. This information should be presented in reverse chronological order.
  • Skills: Skills play a key role in your resume´ being selected by recruiters. The universally recognised skills are Communication, Technical/ computer literacy, team spirit, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Place only those skills on your resume which rightly project your personality and potential. Strictly avoid false, fake or incorrect information to maximise your chances of  success in your interview. Your skills should match the skills defined in the job description. Most companies today use Applicant Tracking System which enables them to match the key words i.e. your listed skills with the skills required for a particular job profile. If the skills match the key words then you stand a better chance of receiving an interview call.
  • Activities/ Interests: This category adds credibility to your words by giving the recruiter a fair idea of your proven skills. Here you should cite activities/ relevant examples of the work/experience/ interest that demonstrate your active participation and engagement in activities that highlight your skill or accomplishments. You may include participation in workshops/ conferences/ conclaves/ internship/training or any other work-related experience which you feel might add value to your credentials. If you are a fresher do include your sports/ cultural excellence and participation details.
  • Style of Writing: How and what words you use to write your resume´is consequential. Based on a career builder survey hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less on reviewing resumes. This means each word you use would be indicative of something and the hiring manager would interpret it according to its verbal strength and purposefulness. How then to use words to create a difference?

Use action words to demonstrate your skills or present your achievements. Be brief and use specific words instead of long sentences. Here is a list of some powerful words and expressions that can give you a lead in this power-play:

  1. Developed a software instead of ‘I was responsible for making a software.’
  2. Led a team of five members instead of ‘I was the team leader of a team consisting of 5 members.’
  3. Negotiated a deal instead of ‘I was successful in making negotiation with the other party.’
  4. Achieved my targets instead of ‘I was able to meet my targets.’
  5. Resolved a problem instead of ‘Applied my problem-solving skills.’
  6. Increased sales by 20% instead of ‘Succeeded in increasing the sales by 20%.’ 
  7. Motivated the team to perform better instead of ‘Was the key person in motivating the team.’
  8. Generated income instead of ‘I brought more revenue through my hard work.’

Action words are clear and specific indicators of your proven skills and accomplishments. Moreover, they speak more and occupy less space.

Avoid empty words to describe your skills, for example Hard-working, self-motivated, Go-getter etc. which fail to communicate the real essence of you potential.

Lastly, include information that is useful for the job applied for.

  • What you should not do: Do not include personal information until asked for. Double-check your resume´for word spellings and grammatical errors. Keep it short and to the point. Stay focused on your purpose. Do not commit the mistake of sending the same document for different roles/companies. Customise the resume´for specific jobs.

If you find this useful, you may follow the following links What the Recruiters Look for in an Interview : Facts Every Candidate Should Know  andPerfect Elevator Pitch to Introduce Yourself in an Interview to further increase your knowledge on interview preparation and top interview questions. Go ahead, your call letter is waiting to be delivered to your inbox. Do not forget to mail your resume’ on time.

 

 

 

How Not to Write Business Messages

Business messages play a significant role in stimulating the work environment. They are that underlying pillar of communication which can help develop a strong bond between the team members, clients, business partners and stake holders. Unfortunately written communication is not taken seriously by most employees. Consequently, everyday we come across shabbily written emails, hurriedly composed messages, grammatically incorrect sentences, unformatted documents and business letters without greetings or proper salutations. Such poorly written business messages are both costly and disasterous to the business. They might lead to grave misunderstanding among the involved parties or delay or damage the intended outcome.

 

Business messages are a link between the team members to facilitate smooth and speedy conduct of routine and specific tasks within and outside the organisation.

Business messages play a significant role in stimulating the work environment. They are that underlying pillar of communication which can help develop a strong bond between the team members, clients, business partners and stake holders. Unfortunately written communication is not taken seriously by most employees. Consequently, everyday we come across shabbily written emails, hurriedly composed messages, grammatically incorrect sentences, unformatted documents and business letters without greetings or proper salutations. Such poorly written business messages are both costly and disasterous to the business. They might lead to grave misunderstanding among the involved parties or delay or damage the intended outcome.

Writing effective messages can increase your productivity and foster strong work relations. Let us see how?

Business writing is serious business: Business messages are meant for business. Do not assume you can get away with your message without giving it a serious thought. An idea is appreciated and accepted if it is well communicated. So think before you write, revise before your type. Every business message has a definite purpose. Identify the purpose, line of thought and the desired outcome before drafting a message. Once your objective is clear to you it will be simpler to pen down your ideas.

You are not the busiest person on earth: Everyone is busy in his own way.  Yes, you have to meet your deadlines, achieve targets, get over routine business and time is limited. This doesn’t make for an excuse to write hurried, unedited, clumsy messages. If you care for your time, remember even the reader cares for his. He may not like to invest extra time in reading messages that are not well written and easy to understand.

Your message is not intended for you: Certainly you want your messages to be read and not to be thrown into the waste paper basket or deleted from the inbox. So write your message  to address the demand of the reader. Customise the message to answer the query of the reader not to satisfy your requirements.  Write exactly what you want the reader to do with your message. Show consideration for the reader by using simple and positive language. Your aim is not to bedazzle the reader by flaunting your jargons and cliches but rather to draw attention of the reader towards your message. Respect your reader and make him feel important by adopting the ‘You Attitude’.

Your language does make an impression: Do not assume that people pay less attention to your language and style of written communication. At a glance, an interested reader will be able to discern the good from the bad.  Incorrect sentences, half written messages and careless mistakes in spelling and grammar are a common sight in the modern day written communication. Our messages today, are more inspired by whatspp and sms lingo, abbreviations and shortcuts. We undermine the professional tone and language to replace it with fanciful and contemporary terms and phrases. This makes the writing appear casual and unimportant. You are what you portray. If your writing reflects gravity of thought and language, people will read your message more seriously. So always make the right impression.

There is always a better way to communicate: You may know the best in your subject and your language may be at par with the best of communicators. However, writing should be followed by re-writing, revising and editing your draft. To avoid any errors and to include exactly what is needed to make your draft clean, crisp and clear you should not overlook the 7 C’s of effective communication, they are:

  •  Clarity
  • Conciseness
  • Concreteness
  • Completeness
  • Correctness
  • Consideration
  • Courtesy

 

What the Recruiters Look for in an Interview : Facts Every Candidate Should Know

Interview is a formal interaction between job recruiters and job seekers. Though formal it focuses on the personal traits, qualifications and skills of an individual. It is therefore also called a Personal Interview. Personal Interview broadly examines the suitability of an individual to play a specific role in an organisation and perform a set of given responsibilities. Most candidates fulfill the minimum eligibility criterion but only few demonstrate those outstanding qualities which place them above the average crowd.

On an average any candidate appearing for an interview is almost as equally qualified as you are, as experienced or inexperienced as you are, especially if the job description is clearly specified;  equally well versed with competencies and skills that the job/position demands. What then are those outstanding qualities that will make you stand apart from the rest of the candidates?

Here are six important tips that can make or mar your opportunities:

  • Well drafted resume: On top of the list is your resume. A resume which is neat with proper design, content and layout, free from grammatical errors and  has at a glance appeal, it will secure you the much awaited Interview call.
  • Preparation for the Interview: Whether you receive your call letter well in advance, one month before the interview, one week ahead or just a day before, you should be thoroughly prepared for the interview. Review your resume, compile your documents, arrange your folder, brush up the main content, reflect on major focus areas and formulate answers to the probable and expected questions. Preparing in advance makes your more confident and composed on the day of performance.
  • Dress up for the Interview:  Your appearance is the very first communication to your interviewer. The manner in which you dress up is one of the most powerful forms of non-verbal communication that helps the interviewer to frame an opinion about you even before you start with the real conversation. If you are dressed professionally you will immediately communicate your genuine interest and seriousness for this job opportunity. Over and above this, it will speak more about your personal hygiene, sense of self-respect and self-dignity. If you are dressed more causally, it will give away the impression that either you are disinterested or that it is essentially your basic sense of dressing. It may also be considered as a mark of disregard  or disrespect. It is important therefore to be dressed up than to be dressed casually.
  • Confidence and Body Language: Your posture, your handshake, your style of greeting and self-introduction; all this will have a significant impact on the interviewer. Straight posture (not stiff), firm handshake( not a weak dead fish one) , proper eye-contact, audible pitch, good intonation (modulation of voice), normal speed and controlled rhythm will not just create a good first impression but will help leave a lasting impression. Of course do not forget to wear a warm smile.
  •  Knowledge and Question handling: Your knowledge is more related to application rather than theoretical information. Common sense and ability to relate to context is much more appreciated rather than drawing then presenting wrong or vague information. Answer honestly and  be to the point. Keep it short and precise. Acknowledge the fact that you may not know all the answers. As a matter of fact, you are not expected to give all correct answers. How you handle the situation is what the interviewer is looking for. Can you handle pressure? Are you honest? Are you nervous? These are some of the important traits that an interviewer tries to assess by putting you through a variety of questions or situations. Your presence of mind, calmness to handle difficult situations, willingness to learn, honesty to accept your areas of improvement are the skills that play a larger role in your success.
  • Emotional Intelligence and Communication Skills: Organisations are no more interested in hiring candidates with high grades or mere high intelligence quotient. Contemporary work culture demands individuals who are not just intelligent but people who also demonstrate a higher degree of emotional sensibility and intelligence. Today, as Peter Drucker observed, “teams become the work unit rather than the individual himself.” This is why the skills that help people harmonise have become more valuable for hiring officials and agencies. So high verbal fluency, empathy, sympathy, creativity, anger management, accepting criticism, spreading goodwill and promoting team work are much preferred skills as compared to technical expertise and high scores.

As a final word I would like to add that the ingredient that is indispensable for any successful communication is your level of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is that little spark which holds great promise. A happy face, fresh mind and eager heart are evidence enough of loyalty, dedication and sincerity. Do not hold back, let the energy flow. Enthusiasm is contagious, it will not go unnoticed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Listening?

 People speak because they trust you. People speak to share their ideas, express their opinion. They value you as a listener. It is our responsibility to value them as speakers. Do not break their trust. Do not show distrust. Listen to people with open mind and see the change you  will experience in your communication. Be a valuable listener. You will always be in demand.

Are you listening or waiting to speak?

“The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”, observed the father of modern drama Sir George Bernard Shaw. People speak to be heard and understood.  People speak because they trust you. People speak to share their ideas, express their opinion. They value you as a listener. It is our responsibility to value them as speakers. Do not break their trust. Do not show distrust. Listen to people with open mind and see the change you  will experience in your communication. Be a valuable listener. You will always be in demand.

Most people give a miss to what others say. People listen either superficially or partially. As a matter of fact the faculty of listening is often confused with the ability to hear. ‘Listening’ is completely different from ‘hearing’. While hearing is an involuntary action, listening is a voluntary process. One can control, filter and command this process. Listening is a conscious exercise which demands attention and practice.

Communication is a two way process. It is said to be complete only when the receiver receives the message and offers a feedback to the sender. The feedback ensures the completion of the process. The listener can evoke an appropriate response only if he displays effective listening skills.

What qualities enable one to be an  effective listener?

  • Sensitive and sympathetic attitude
  • Respect for the speaker
  • Listening beyond the spoken words
  • Listening to respond not to react

Indifference, lack of interest, impatience, ego and disrespect are the primary barriers to effective listening.

How listening can help you become a good communicator?

Well, God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we could listen more and speak less.  The reality is that though we struggle hard to speak and express ourselves we rarely make an effort to lend a sympathetic ear. Listening makes you aware of the needs, interest and feelings of the people around you. Good speakers are naturally good listeners. They build their knowledge  of the universe based on their observations of what people think, how people behave and what people want. If you know your people , you will improve your relationship with them, you will win more customers , you will have more followers, Above all you will be happy and contended.

Here are few important tips to evolve your listening skills:

  • Take interest in what others have to say
  • Be sensitive, do not be critical
  • Appreciate and accept the difference in opinion
  • Do not argue, do not counter, offer constructive feedback
  • Listen to act not to react
  • Overcome your ego. Others have a point too

Hope you are listening. There is so much to be heard.

Sharpen your ears!

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