After going through about 1200+ CVs in 15 days, I am frustrated, saddened, heart-broken and worried at the current status of Education in our country. Why do we boast about having rapid economic growth? The youth of our country is treading on the path of apparent failure. It doesn’t matter whether they have been the high school toppers or they have presented their work at an international platform. The current situation is such that I wouldn’t even shy away from making this caustic remark.
This blog was quintessential not only for people like me who are searching for the right fit for the post, but for students who are freshers and want to apply for internships and jobs. This blog is about the 1st step of recruitment process i.e. presenting yourself optimally in front of your prospective employers.
Time to stop scratching your head and start perfecting
1. Everything should be written after planning and organization of facts. There are several formats available through Microsoft Word which makes your CV presentable and interesting. Sections are highlighted meticulously which makes it easy to search for a particular thing. Believe me or not, people get bored by reading the same monotonous, unprofessional CVs. Yours can go for a toss too. So be careful.
And if, my friend, you are from the lot who hate Microsoft Office (I doubt), then take help of the tables wherever possible. Use larger font size while writing the headings of a section and comparatively smaller one when writing the content. Is this an unbearable ennui? Surely it is! But, it is a small sacrifice you will be making to get a much bigger opportunity. Secondly, you are the one to hate Office. :P
2. Write your name, details and address at the top. It is advisable to write your Institute too at the top - where you are currently enrolled. This might not be of any use to the employer but, this is a part of your identity. While you mention the details be certain which contact numbers and email-ids you want to give. We all have 3-4 phone numbers where people can reach out to us. We all have 3-4 email ids. Keep just one for mentioning in CVs (and a little professionally named email id will not hurt ;) ).
I have received so many queries stating they weren’t contacted. But, they didn’t really have the time to give the right details.
3. There HAS to be an objective statement which isn’t very complicated. You might want to be an astronaut but if you are applying for a clerical job, you will HAVE to change your objective statement to suit the job. You will have to edit it every time you even think about sending your CV to another organization. Going wrong here is tantamount to not getting the offer.
4. Educational Qualifications, Branch of Study, Subjects, Areas of Interests etc. is all simple stating of facts which you can’t change or make them sound better by a huge margin. But, you can at least highlight those which will complement the profile you have applied for.
Everything was fine until now. Most of you would have cracked the task even before I wrote this blog. Here comes the challenging part. You have loads to write and you are ought to make mistakes here. This is one of the most irritating parts for a Human Resource person.
5. You have acquired certain technical skills during your previous Internships. You have to explain what projects you worked on, what were your responsibilities, what skills you made use of, what technologies you learnt, etc. The list goes on and so do the paragraphs which look like essays on the CV. Oh! How could I forget those who think ‘Internship at Microsoft’ answers all the queries which as an employer I would have. I am liable to hire you because Microsoft hired you once, is it?
What should you actually write? Mention the project name and the position you were working at for starters. Then in WELL ALIGNED BULLETS briefly explain your job profile. In the end HIGHLIGHT important words which catch the sight of the reader and also which aid in scanning your CV better. No one will have the time or the interest in reading the essay we all want to write.
Make sure your previous experiences are in the reverse chronological order i.e. the latest one will be written first.
6. Next comes the section of Skill Sets and Additional Activities. No matter how much technical the job profile is, everyone wants to select a prospective candidate who is different. This section suffices that need. So the CVs which I received went on like:
“Leadership qualities, Good Communication skills, Management Skills, Teaching Skills, Ability to work under stress….”
You can also quote: ‘Ability to become President of my country’. But, this is all vague. You have to support your statements with valid reasoning. You have to show that you have certain qualities because you developed them doing so and so work. E.g. ‘I was my Section Representative for the year 2012-13, which helped me in honing my communication & management skills’.
7. Now, you would have at least made your CV more presentable. It will definitely be different from other monotonous ones.
8. Save your CV but as a PDF. Why on earth will you send it as a .doc? Any person with insidious intentions can edit your document and forward it for further approval. At least saving as a PDF provides some level of safety. Also, it looks more professional.
9. The biggest mistake in this universe while working on a CV, which almost everyone does, is NOT CHANGING the name of the your saved CV file. Last time I approached ABC Company for Internship my CV read - SonaliGupta_ABC. Now, I am applying for XYZ and I will edit my SonaliGupta_ABC file and send it across as SonaliGupta_ABC.
Would it look professional at all? The answer is clear!
10. After having done all this – check your entire CV for any errors.
These 10 points aren’t really the benchmarks for a CV. Neither do they define how to WRITE a CV. They talk about how to look more professional and GROWN-UP in front of your prospective employer. There is no point in being lazy and then putting the entire blame on the other party for not selecting you. The first step is to check if you have done your part or not!
Written by: Sonali Gupta
Co-founder and CTO of ADD-on-GYAN | Entrepreneur | Ideator at Gyan Lab