4 Tips for Resume Writing

Resume writing is an art. One must invest time and energy and brains into writing a resume. I’ve come across many candidates who don’t give importance to the piece of paper, because they think the same about it-a simple piece of paper, what else!

But if you will think only from your point of view, i.e. if you are a candidate, you are going to do a mistake again! To write a resume, you must go to the other side of the table and think like we recruiters do!!

I’ll share what I as a recruiter think is a prime importance to me when I see a resume. For me it is a first meeting with the candidate, first impression starts to build up and based on that my opinion to take things ahead (or not) start taking shape.

1.      Spell Check: Believe it or not, a recruiter who has scanner eyes like me, will catch the spelling mistakes. And spelling mistakes in a resume? Really? Make sure whatever you write, howsoever simple your words are (which is a good idea!) you should always proof read your resume. If need be, ask for help, tell someone to proof read for you (like a second check) and then finalize the resume. An error free resume speaks volumes about how much importance your give to your job and finding a right one at that. You are meticulous and focused.

2.      Alignment: A resume should be well aligned and properly formatted. Now lot of people might say what’s that got to do with the hiring process? In my view, it’s important for a resume to be properly aligned for it tells about your organization skills, about how clutter free and good work you can deliver and really, if you cannot create a simple resume without proper and basic formatting OR pay attention to such minute things, then your quality deliveries are on question!!

3.      Details: Never ever miss the basic details in your resume. For a recruiter, your education and your work experience details in chronological order and your basic personal details are a must. These details lead to further questions and conversation. However, a resume which doesn’t give out basic details, confuses the recruiter and reduces the interest because such resumes go to the “ask details” category which may take a back seat as compared to the ones which are detailed and don’t miss out on important information.

4.      Objective: Last but a very important primary point of a resume- “objective”. In my view either have a describable objective OR don’t have it at all. I’ve seen lot of people either copy it from the Internet templates or take favor from a friend to write them a nice jazzy objective to shine on their resumes. I’m still fine with the above but only if you can explain what your objective means, then it makes complete sense. But if you have just copied a statement from somewhere, and you don’t even know what it means, then it’s a huge faux pas!! So just play of words and use of impeccable English will not serve the purpose, having full knowledge of what you’ve written in your resume will!

Always remember that any recruiter receives plethora of resumes and must go through them as a job! If a resume doesn’t mirror your candidature, it makes it difficult for a recruiter to run after you for even basic details. So, if you want your resume to catch attention, keep it simple and straight, with basic details and let the recruiters do their job thereafter!

The tips above are no guarantee that your resume will get shortlisted or you may reach the interview table, but these tips are important while creating a resume which is flawless and has potential to create that first impression!

7 Tips for Job Seekers

Being in the industry for so many years and coming across various type of people for various reasons (work wise!) makes you a person-reader and to an extent “Gyaani” (pun intended,not!) Last few months I’ve been deeply involved in hiring for all levels in the Organization unlike to previous role where I was only dealing with selection and on-boarding of people at top rungs. So dealing with them is a different experience altogether than what you experience or learn or observe when you are hiring professionals at the rungs below in the ladder.

While I’m at this stage of hiring I thought why not share it with job seekers who may pick from my two cents and benefit themselves!

“Be on time,not. Be a little before time!” Gives you enough time to settle down, get organized, and take a quick check on how you are looking. Find the resting room and go figure. Since you are commuting from one place to another, chances are your hair get ruffled or your shirt has come out from that tuck-in. And even if all is in place, one look in the mirror and telling yourself to “do well” works wonders, try it!

“Be well dressed” Dressing well doesn’t always mean dressing in coat-tie/stilettos format. Dressing in my humble opinion is to dress comfortably and tidily. Even if you are wearing a little casual dress, make sure you are carrying it well to not let it look like ‘I don’t care’. That I think is an important point to take care of.

“Be organized” Arrange all your documents in proper folder/nice envelope and ensure they are fresh copies and not ill folded, used-many-a-times ones. If you are required to carry certain documents for the interview meeting, ensure you have all of them on you, stating ‘oops, I forgot!’ doesn’t really leave a nice first impression on the recruiter. This gives a message that you are casual about this meeting, which in reality you may not be, but since you are not organized well, you are bound to leave a ‘chalta hai’ impression of yours.

“Be Scent-y” Smelling foul is really something that no one would appreciate, forget about recruiters. For that matter, even you would be uncomfortable if someone’s not smelling nice, right? So I’m not suggesting to smell extraordinary but ensure you are not smelling of sweat!

“Be equipped” With knowledge about the company that you’ve shown interest in working with. It is always good to do some research on the company and additionally if you know whom you gonna meet, about that person too. Having basic knowledge gives you a fair idea of where you are getting yourself landed (in a job!) and what kind of questions and/or pertaining to which field will be asked. Also, however old or typical this question sounds, the ‘why do you want to work with ABCXYZ?’ still remains a favorite of interviewers. This is their way to know your genuine interest in working with them and also how well networked in the industry you are in today’s world!

“Be in possession of pen” Always, always, always carry a working pen. By working I mean which will really write and not give up half way while you are signing a form! A pen is the basic stationary you should carry by default, irrespective of you attending an interview or not. Its a very important and helpful habit. And especially at interview you certainly need a pen either to sign somewhere or to fill in the job application. It shows you have invested time in getting ready for the interview. Again, a sign of you being organized. Oh and carry a Blue/Black pen, not a random pink or green inked!

“Beware of your Resume” this being the last tip isn’t the least important one, in fact this is really important! Always know what you’ve written in your resume. I’ve come across lot of job seekers who think resume is just a piece of paper and a formality. But my dear friends, a resume reflects your personality and works as a window which showcases your expertise. So it ought to be good, precise and giving right information. You can’t simply copy a resume from the Internet or a friend and then go blank when questions are asked related to it. That really put off the interviewers. Especially, HR panel! If you have written a flashy ‘objective’ in your resume but you have no clue what does it mean, you’ve bungled! Either write a simple resume or be ready to explain a flashy one! Not knowing resume means you are faking it all just to get in, which is not nice,really!

Firing? 5 things you should know!

In every HR professional’s life there comes a moment where he has to fire someone. Let the guilt seep in and remain in the heart for a long time. Whereas, on the other hand firing is a part and parcel of the profession and one has to take it like that, like conducting performance appraisals or processing payroll or publishing MIS. Right?

Wrong. Firing comes around to be the toughest task and no matter how many times has one done, the next time always hurts. For being the one to relay the bad news, to wear those horns of demon and being a non-human in the whole process.

Like it or not, firing comes under HR’s periphery and we have to do it. So how to extenuate the damage and to control the heat of that moment? How to do it wisely and with calmness? Here’s how:

  1. Know the reasons well of why you are taking this action-the reason to fire should be crystal clear to the personnel involved in this. Lot of times the senior management or delivery heads or project heads take the decisions and HR is puny memo re-layer which makes it a little messy when it actually happens. Knowing the background and the real reason of firing will make your ground strong and will let you handle the situation neatly.
  2. Know the employee’s background well, of that moment especially. You never know the employee whom you are going to fire must be having a tough time already at personal end or maybe it’s her daughter’s b’day or he just battled with a grave situation at family’s end like his father’s illness or so. You just never know if and when the employee is already down in dumps or sprightly all the more, at that point. Be considerate and do a thorough check, if need be postpone the firing for a day or two or plan it differently. It will certainly make it less burdening for you and a little governable for the employee.
  3. Keep your offerings ready. Many Companies offer a salary of the stipulated notice period to the employee, as per the offer conditions mentioned in the offer letter, and asks her to not report to the office with immediate effect. There are Companies who ask employee to write down a resignation letter in which case he is not issued a termination letter so that his career is not tarnished and he will be able to land up a job further. So whatever you decide, according to your Company’s policy and legal alignment, keep all the documents and offers ready.
  4. Be ready for handling the tumultuous situation at employee’s end.Of course, being asked to resign or being terminated is not easy for anyone. Especially, when one doesn’t see it coming. It acts like a blow and the employee with low emotional intelligence would possibly over react to the situation. Be prepared for that and it would be not wrong to say, be well armed! Have your team ready for taking actions based on the situation. There are employees who are problem makers,they would want to damage the atmosphere while leaving the premises.
  5. Think about outplacement. Give that option to the employee in coordination with your hiring team. This will not only make the employee feel hopeful but he/she may actually land up in a job within a decent time.

What are your strategies to handle firing? What are your take aways from your experience of firing exercise?

 

New Mums @ Work : How to retain them?

No matter how loud and clear we talk about gender equality, one thing that the almighty has not given us the freedom and will to change is delivering a baby. This still remains with the women and she remains the only source, out of the two partners, to bring life in the world. (No, I’m not complaining, I feel dignified to have been bestowed with this ability).

So what happens when a female professional goes on a maternity period? The onlookers maybe can only imagine what she must be going through. But its only her who can feel the emotional & physical changes-all good and bad experiences. It doesn’t really matter if she has already experienced her first child or not, there are some changes ought to take place every time she delivers, thanks to hormonal imbalances and circumstances around her.

What Organizations can do in order to help this transition easier for women, going on a break as long as 3 months or so and then coming back to the grind after such a long break? There are several basics that we need to keep in mind while dealing with new mums on the block, to begin with :

  1. Before she is about to proceed on her maternity leave, ensure she is not pressurized to finish all her tasks and the handover. She’ll be anyway in the anxious mode of getting closer to having her heart walk out of her body so help her chalking out a transition plan with her make-shift-take-over colleague. This will help her relax and not worry about the work that she is going to leave behind and the organization will also not have to be impaired in her absence.
  2. Don’t let her cut out. Stay connected with her via phone and/or visits while she is at home. Don’t let her get lost in that ‘stay away’ period. Lot of times the emotional changes make your priorities change and majority of the times it is temporary. There are females who have taken decisions of quitting their jobs in this period, which most of the times have turned out to be a purely emotional decision in haste. Later, they regret having kicked a job which presented them their sanity! On the other hand, there are females who look for the maternity period to be over sooner, not that those are any less motherly but let’s just say those are simply wired like that only! In any case, completely cutting out can have a wrong impression on her which may affect her decisions big time. That said, don’t over do it by constantly calling her, remember she’s on maternity leave to nurse and nurture her child and recover from her latest birth! (yes,delivering a child is like a new birth for the woman herself)
  3. Many a times females would want (have) to extend their maternity leaves. Don’t renounce out rightly, consider this option and work it out. In fact HR and her reporting manager/s can (should) work this option in advance and keep the gratifying solutions ready, just in case!
  4. Once the time comes for her to recommence work,have options of working half time from office and rest from home as need be. This will provide her a cushion to work out her new routine and settle down agilely with ease and will let her bounce back to the role and performance.
  5. Have facilities like DayCare at the workplace. Nothing beats this feature, which is like a divine sanction for new mums.Being able to bring the baby at work will have her undivided attention on work since she is aware she can take small breaks to see her child, nurse it and not feel guilty about anything at all.

If Organizations keep such options ready and define policies which are reciprocally friendly, there will be less of attrition in terms of new mums. This is a very effective retention tool which should be certainly considered.

All she needs is consideration and secondment that she is the same performer who scored high before going on her long breaks. Many organizations are coming up with such bills and there is a way to look forward to have happy new mums at the organizations, happy guilt free mums, resulting into developed and growing Organizations!

#WomenAtWork*

I participated in a very interesting chat conducted by @PeopleMatters2 & @Ester_Matters with @anuranjita today on Twitter. The topic being “women at work”. This one is very close to my heart, of course for the part that I’m a working woman myself and have been exercising the tight-rope-walking drill etc. and for the fact that this topic is vast, spread up and is debatable in every which way.

Now why vast, we all know.Debatable? Yes debatable in the sense of all the angles : Men at work, Women’s expectations from self, Expectations from women by the society, women not at work etc. You get the drift?

I’m jotting down my two cents here on the very-much-talked-about-and-never-ever ended-discussion, women at work aka work life balance of working women!

  1. First and foremost, women should stop expecting from themselves to become a super human. We are simple human beings like men,period. The more we stretch the glass ceiling of expectations of our roles in our personal and professional lives, the more we tend to stand at the crossroads of making the right choice. Most of the things in life come in simple format, we tend to mess a little with them and then sit and blame them to be complicated. That said, not everything is sorted out already or not everyone has a fairy tale life. But that’s the whole point here, everyone’s life is different and so our ropes ought to be different and hence our expectations from ourselves should be bare minimum. Applying that age old concept of ‘aim for 90% so that you’ll at least score 60%’ is not to be applied here, please!
  2. Know your potential. This, in terms of professional life first. Do what you are able to do and excel at that, excel according to your standards and not generic ones! Know your potential of being capable of handling things and how many at one time. Just do that much. Don’t try to exceed your potential, really why would you want to do that? If you’ve enough time AND energy left on your hand, please do some good to yourself like getting pampered at a spa, or buying yourself stuff or picking up a good book and get yourself launched in a bean bag and sip your poison and relax! Or simple: just do nothing! Trust me doing nothing is a huge task and not of everyone’s capacity, I’m telling you.
  3. Live your life. A must to learn,seriously. Why do we work? To support the family, to realize our dreams, to make use of our knowledge and education, to stay sane (that one is so me!), to be in the know etc. etc. etc. Amidst all this, we tend to forget to live our lives.How? Because we being the women, we think we are the only one’s to take care of the house as well. This actually is the fact even today when many men are supportive of the fact that family is of both, house chores are to be taken care by both-equally! And we totally are to be blamed for this. Not. This is our society and conditioning which we need to overcome. After all charity begins at home and so does change! Learn to delegate, it is okay to let people take up your responsibilities, take time to see children smile, catch butterflies(okay this is a little bookish since butterflies are scarce), watch movies, go out with girl friends, sit back and watch your husband take the lead. All this for good and with good intentions.
  4. The very fact that we are talking about women at work and the balance etc, points at our societal DNA. We are so strongly wired, no make that twisted on this concept that it is going to take a little while to iron out the creases, come out clean.That said, it has begun. The movement has begun and results are visible, however watermark-y they are but they are there and we have to keep going ahead!
  5. Organizations too need to step into this.It is important that we need to realize that any movement or change has to be partnered and pursued in unison. One can’t do it all alone, for the very reason like I mentioned above-we are human beings not super humans. So one piece of this pan pizza is organizations. They have a strong part to play here. They have to be supportive of their men at work too so that their (men’s) women can balance their “tight rope walk”. Flexi hours for men-women both, day care facility at work, bring your kids at work etc. are few bricks that are being laid in the foundation of a gender neutral work culture where in opportunities are given to men and women both to climb the ladder and women are not questioned “how would you take up that CEO’s role, it means travel.Who will take care of your personal responsibilities?” etc.
  6. Set your priorities right.For this know your priorities. Know what is really really important for you and not what looks important for you.Once this is achieved, I’m sure the time management automatically sets in right. If you know what is unimportant, you’ll certainly not allocate time to those things/activities.And this is true for men too, why only women. Anyone, who has loads to do in life will appreciate the fact that having that tact of sorting out important and unimportant is a boon.
  7. Never cross boundaries.Boundaries set for each task and preference in your life. If you spill over that’s where the mess takes place. Set time for things and stick to it. You’ll see you’ll be happier lot if you stop spilling over and/or procrastinating.
  8. Give yourself credit for doing so much already instead of blaming yourself for not doing so much else.

All the above is something that we have to do / should do in life to feel good. But there are circumstances and people in our lives, sometimes which are not avoidable, and hence to be dealt with any which way. Good people are very important in everyone’s life and play an important role in what you decide and choose for. If one lacks such support there is a problem, I agree but every thing has a way out and there is no dead end, I believe.

So women at work need to be brought down, as in, like we don’t discuss men at work we need to reach that stage where we are not discussing this topic. That would be the day we are truly speaking of equality. And other factors need to gel well in this initiative for sure but the change shall start from us, within us! So women, chin up and head high 🙂

#HappyWorking #HappyLiving #HappyParenting

*This hashtag was used in the chat, storify of which can be viewed on twitter by clicking here

5 Essentials of being a Good Manager

What is it to be a Manager? A Team Leader?

Someone who not only overviews team’s work but also leads them, directs them and develops them? I guess more or less this would suffice as a simple definition.

So what does it take to be the above mentioned manager? A role model for them, to climb up the ladder, and become a leader one day? There cannot be a perfect, fit-for-all mold for becoming a great manager but there are certain traits which a you should possess and/or develop if you are aiming to lead a team and lead it successfully.

  1. Time Management :

Managing your own tasks, meetings and schedules is of utmost importance here. Not only this, being on time- for meetings or every day at workplace, is equally important too. Apart from this, you must keep some time for your team. To listen to them, their ideas and thoughts. Even their grievances. After all, they look at not only as their leader but also their philosopher and guide. Be the one, manage your time!

  1. Communication Skills:

I think this trait is a must-have for any professional in any profession. Whatever your language of communication at work place, you must be expert in that. Being a good communicator gives you an edge over others.

 

  1. Perfection:

Being perfect at your tasks will give you authority to expect perfection from your team. Unless you follow your own rules, there is no point in expecting others to do so. Remember, you are a leader by position but you’ve got to be a follower by heart, of your principles and rules.

 

  1. Organization:

Being organized is very important; in fact it is important for any role. But especially for top notch roles wherein you’re leading people, it is essential that you are organized in terms of your work, your thoughts and your work cubicle also. Being organized is a source of positive energy and it helps you be systematic in your approach towards work and matters.

  1. Stay in the Know:   

 

When you are on the top, it is a mandate that you know all what is going around in the team, in the organization and in the industry. To stay updated with current systems inside and outside the organization will make you take better decisions, pick right people to do tasks and make you a fair judge of right and wrong. Staying updated on what’s new in your domain, other organizations’ policies and the laws pertaining to your domain are a must. Furthermore, you should always know at least that much or more than your team members, only then it makes sense to lead them.

Your team and in fact everyone around is observant about your style of working, the way you conduct yourself and how you deal with others. All this makes it very important for you to be disciplined, organized and alert in whatever you do. There is no magic formula that will work wonders but a little effort put in with 100% heart will certainly give amazing results, not only at your individual level but will also make others ape you rather than only eyeing your position 🙂

It is also important for a team that they learn from their manager. If a manager is not imparting any learning formally and informally, both, then the team is unlikely to stick under the umbrella. Every human being is knowledge hungry and one must respect this hunger and treat it timely!

After all being at the top is not an easy job but who said it is an impossible one? Just put in the required efforts and you are good to sail the boat!

Your Potential, Assess It & En-Cash It !

Mostly by this time of the year Performance Appraisals are done in all organizations, especially IT sector. As an HR professional I’ve seen flurry of resignations flowing in post-appraisals. The moment the results are out, employees, disgruntled employees, exercise their option B- resigning from their current posts. Across the world, employees have the same tendency : To wait and see the result of appraisals and then decide whether to quit or stay another year.

To actually resign and move ahead is not the solution to the dissatisfaction caused by the appraisal. I think one should have more scientific approach towards evaluating one’s performance with an honest heart. I hear employees stating that “I have worked laboriously round the clock throughout the year”. “I’m always ready to stay back late and complete the given tasks”. “I never said no to any task allotted to me” and the likes. Whereas I would listen to these arguments empathetically, I would also want to ask them if they really really think that performance appraisals should be done (only) on these qualities of an employee?

If in an organization, appraisals  are conducted systematically, I’m sure there will be criteria clearly defining the need of the employee to state his/her experience, skills and knowledge put to right use in the year gone by. Late nights, always ready to work, come on weekends and holidays are like icing on the cake. What about the base efficiency that an employee needs to showcase, the perquisites that an employee needs to posses to hold the job and excel at it?

Before one argues or asks for re-evaluating one’s appraisal case, I think one should ask below questions to oneself and answer them honestly :

-Do I have the basic qualification to fulfil the job’s requirement?

-Did I work on the improvement areas that were explained to me in my last appraisal and in the interim ?

-Will I rate myself 5/5 on communication, team and time management skills that are required at workplace?

I would urge the workforce to assess themselves before they set out to get assessed by the reporting authorities. Once there is clarity about oneself, one’s abilities and capabilities, there would be less dissatisfaction and more positivism towards improvising oneself. That said, not all employees who are unhappy with the appraisals done for them are inadequate in their performance. There certainly are genuine cases and I’m sure Organizations cater to them in required manner.