Of RESUMES and covering letters

Though I’m yet to start aggressively scouring the job markets going by the number of calls I get from consultants it looks like the turnaround is here to stay. A quick chat with consultants though reveals that there is a lot that a candidate can do to ensure s/he gets a chance for a one-on-one with the company. Here are the takeaways:

1st STEP: Tailor the resume

I have touched upon this before but it still bears repeating.

  1. Customise your resume so it is in sync with the job description/profile you are applying for
  2. Run a spell check (yea a friend tells me often that it is de rigeur to misspell, obviously not while you are job hunting)
  3. Keep your sentences short and simple
  4. Restrict your fonts to 2, max 3
  5. Have someone else read it again to check for any obvious mistakes and the general tone of the resume
  6. There are many free resume building sites available online, check those to see what the latest format/sample is for the job you are applying for
  7. If you are applying for a managerial position than WRITE your resume like you have already bagged the job. Meaning: NO i’m good at cooking, i won a singing competition in my 12th standard, etc.. WRITE about your project management and people management skills, summarise your key strenghts or give a brief mission statement
  8. For junior to mid-level positions, limit your resume to three pages (inclusive of personal particulars)

2nd STEP: Prepare

A preparatory exam prior to the mains is for a good reason. You understand your shortcomings and work on it. Same goes for that crucial face-to-face. Prepare and prepare. Read up on the latest in your industry and have general awareness about current affairs and the corporate sector. Visit the company website and get fundamental knowledge about the company and its industry. Have a sound understanding of what your own strengths are, and write down some situational instances to illustrate those key strengths. Be upfront (as much as possible) about reasons for wanting to leave a current position or why you left the position. Be realistic about your value, after all you are but a commodity in the job market. So don’t overprice yourself. Remember, what you may gain monetarily will be made up by the experience you get. Brush up on your communication skills and soft skills (Common courtesy still gains a lot of points- a bright cheerful smile goes much further than all the faff you give later on. Always end the conversation with something that has them smiling, if you can’t even a THANK YOU so much for meeting me will do)

GROOMING Old fashioned I may be, but there is nothing worse than having to interview someone who comes in looking like s/he just got out of bed. Grunge is good outside but not for an interview. Clean laundered clothes is not asking for much. As is breath that doesn’t stink of garlic and onions.  (I remember going to meet this bank manager more than once for an interview and I unfortunately had to meet him during lunch when his breath stank/STUNK!!! of you guessed right… ONIONS and GARLIC). Wear a deo/aftershave if you must but don’t smell like a PERFUME factory. No loud clothes or colors. Neat clean shoes.


At times, the first round is followed up by two/three more rounds especially if the opening is for a senior role. Be prepared for this and don’t get disheartened. Remember if they are taking the time to schedule another round with you it probably means they consider you worthy of the role and want to assess you in more detail. This is a POSITIVE since you can also gauge if the role/company are where you want to be. Monetary terms are important, but check out the other benefits you get. Career path – clearly defined vs ambiguous; slow promotion vs performance-based.



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