Updated: Sep 29, 2020
The market is flooded with job seekers, graduate who want to enter the workforce, people who have lost jobs, people who want to enter the job market after a period of inactivity, or anyone wanting a stable source of income.
Let us tackle the situation facing the graduates. They have spent a lot of money and effort in acquiring an academic qualification, like an MBA degree. They have high aspirations. What are the top questions keeping them awake at night: will I get a job? Will I get a good job that is the right fit for me for the next few years, should I pursue some other course, how should I use my time wisely? Should I enrol and get several certificates from online platforms? How can I make my resume stand out?
There are 2 people involved in your resume. You and the recruiter. You see it in your own way and think it is the best representation of you. The recruiter looks at it in another way and judges you by another set of parameters. Recruiters are tired of reading resumes, it’s a rather boring activity. They simply scan resumes, and spend 15 seconds or so to decide if they are interested to read further.
I have gone through thousands of resumes, people from diverse nations, students to senior professionals, and rarely does any resume stand out. So, what is the “trick”? I will illustrate one trick here, there are more.
While writing about extracurricular activities, typical ones are: playing cricket, cooking, reading books, dancing, making friends, travelling, the list goes on and on. Now pause, and think for a moment: who in India has not done any of these activities at any point in time. All of us have played cricket, or watched cricket, read books (either at college or before bedtime), danced (at a relative or friend’s wedding or in a disco), travelled (with friends or family) etc. Are you telling the recruiter anything he does not already know? Nothing, it is a waste of the space in your resume. And a waste of his time.
Instead: your hobby description can be changed dramatically and made into a killer resume. “Love to gate-crash any wedding procession on the street with the groom on the mare, and dance bhangra!”
Wow, recruiter wakes up!!
Several questions will trigger the recruiter. The candidate is candid enough to talk about some softer aspect of his personality. He seems extroverted and would fit in a market facing role. He gate-crashes, that means that he does not take “no” for an answer or does not wait to be “invited”. It possibly means that he takes initiative and is a self-starter. Participation in a procession impromptu could mean that he can face a sudden opportunity and grab it and is always ready. He does not take long to prepare himself elaborately, and so is probably agile. Since he has used the word “love”, it means he is passionate about it, and engages in this action to make himself happy. The list of positives can go and on.
Who are you really, as a person? Your one line teaser has made the recruiter wake up, take notice, and want to know more about you. You are shortlisted even though he may not have gone through all the great points mentioned in your education, internship, and experience.
Does that make sense?
Lesson: Your job application document should be a true reflection of who you really are.
Follow our next blog to look at the content of your cover letter and resume. How to make it stand out. Tips that are not typical “run of the mill” advice you can get from anywhere these days.