Your CV can be a make-or-break factor in the hunt for a perfect job. HR experts share typical errors, strict no-nos and smart tips so your resume is the pick of the lot
When 30-year old Komal Lath, Founder, Tute Consult (a communication consultancy firm), sits in her office sifting through a stash of emails from hopeful applicants, her expression is a mix of amusement and frustration.
"A girl from Jaipur applied recently for a junior executive role; she had said her biggest achievement was 'extracting and testing a rat's blood in a lab.' Another had quoted a Shania Twain song to describe her personality. The funniest line, however, was a candidate who wrote that she had worked at 'Cocks and Kings' (instead of Cox & Kings). The least one can do is spell check!" she suggests.
Match made for the office
"Flowery language and email ids that don't sound professional are a huge put off," says Abbas Ali, who leads recruitment at Henkel, India. Smita Gaur, senior manager human resources, Sula Vineyard echoes the sentiment, "People add personal information like political affiliation, religious preference, place of birth, height and weight. They are unnecessary."
Komal Lath, Founder, Tute Consult
In December 2002, when job-networking platform LinkedIn was launched, it changed the dynamics between recruiters and aspirants to a certain extent.
Abbas Ali, recruitment head, Henkel India
"It's been 13 years since, and recruiters can identify a good fit and are able to evaluate relevant profiles much before the interview with the help of tools available on the portal. It offers recruiters some of the most powerful search features, with rich insights and a host of recruiting-specific filters," shares Deepa Sapatnekar, head of communications, LinkedIN (India and Hong Kong).
"It is important for professionals to put their best foot forward, and stand out from the rest. Having a complete profile is the first step, to showcase their skills and achievements," she adds.
Komal Lath, Founder, Tute Consult
Hunt for the best
Recruiters admit that they refer to online job networking portals while picking the right candidate. "We are seeing a shift in the role played by social network-based recruitment tools and online job portals in our hiring process. We expect this to increase," shares Ali, "It is a great feature to know common links for reference checks and also prior works," adds Lath. Kaustubh Sonalkar, Chief People Officer, Future Group, tells us that they look for certain specific qualities in candidates. "We look at young people who are achievers. We quickly skim through the section on LinkedIn that lists the last few places that they have worked at and how soon they have grown. People who have independently handled certain sections at work, as well as been team players, impress us. It helps if people list these out clearly in their profiles, without beating around the bush," he sums up.
Showcase education and academic details to increase profile views by 15 times
Specify the relevant industry to help achieve 15 times more number of profile views
Upload a profile photo to increase profile views by 14 times
State the position held currently and in the past to help garner 12 times more profile views
Add location details in the online profile to increase profile views by 5 times
Highlight volunteer experience and causes to get 6 times more profile views
Information courtesy: Deepa Sapatnekar, head of communications, LinkedIn India and Hong Kong.
SEVEN RULES FOR THE PERFECT CV
1. Don’t paste your resume: Describe your experience and abilities as you would to someone you are being introduced to. Write for the screen, in short blocks of copy with visual or textual signposts. Add a photo, so that people can recognise you.
2. Borrow from the best marketers: Liven up your profile with your voice. Use specific adjectives, verbs, active construction like managed campaign, wrote content etc.
3. Act naturally: Don’t write in the third person unless that formality suits your brand. Picture yourself at a conference or client meeting and use that voice.
4. Write a personal tagline: A personal tagline is the first thing people see in your profile. It follows your name in search hit lists and is your brand. You might need to refine your professional personality into a more eye-catching phrase, something that describes who you are, at a glance.
5. Distinguish yourself from the crowd: Use the ‘additional information’ section to round up your profile with a few key interests. Add websites that showcase your abilities or passions. You might belong to a trade association or an interest group; help other members find you by naming those groups. If you are an award winner, recognised by peers, customers, or employers, add prestige, without bragging, by listing them.
6. Improve your credibility with recommendations: Get recommendations from colleagues, clients, and employers who can speak credibly about your abilities or performance. Think quality, not quantity.
7. Build your connections: Connections are one of the most important aspects of your brand. The company you keep reflects the quality of your brand. So, identify connections that will add to your credibility and pursue those.