You will be applying for different jobs as you proceed in your career. The application you send to your prospective employer is the first contact with the organization, so you need to take appropriate care about it. This chapter trains you in drafting an impressive application. The application consists of two important parts: the résumé and cover letter. We will begin by trying to understand what a résumé is and how we should prepare an effective one. Résumé or curriculum vitae or bio-data is a formal document that details an individual’s career profile and includes career vision, professional experience, educational qualifications, key skill sets, abilities, achievements, etc. It is nothing but the summary of one’s personal career record. Bio-data is popular in India; it is data filled in a prescribed format. Thus, to fill the prescribed form, one need not strain one self. But to prepare a curriculum vitae, you need to begin with preparation, and then you should draft and edit the document as many times as you can. The process begins with self-examination.
Résumé is all that you wish to express about yourself to the concerned professional world. The need to write an effective and sophisticated résumé emerges from the fact that every recruiter aims to recruit a suitable person for the positions announced. So you need to understand that the profile of the candidate should match the profile of the job. To begin with, we will discuss how you should project your profile to minimize the gap between your profile and that of the job effectively.
It is advisable to start with self-analysis to be clear about what you are supposed to mention in your résumé. The following are some of the questions you should ask yourself and, of course, answer genuinely.
The Kind of Person I Am
- Am I motivated to achieve something?
- Am I dependable?
- Am I a team member (or would I like to work alone)?
- Am I a leader?
- Am I self-confident (without being egotistical)?
- Do I communicate effectively?
- Do I have any habits that I wish to hide?
- Do I spend time wisely?
- Do I have high aptitude for problem solving?
- Do I have a high logical aptitude?
- Do I have good verbal aptitude, i.e., writing and speaking ability?
- Am I a linguist?
- What are my favourite academic interests (this might include the subjects and activities associated with them)?
- Did I score well in the subjects I liked the most?
- Do I read professional magazines or journals; if so, which ones do I like the most and why?
- To which professional organizations do I belong (both on and off campus)?
- What do I love to do during my free time?
- Do I assert myself when I know I am right?
- Do I fear speaking in public?
- Do I argue without checking whether I am right or wrong?
- Am I people friendly?
- Am I an extrovert, introvert, or an ambivert?
- What was my specialization at the undergraduate level?
- What was my specialization at the postgraduation level?
- Did I do any internship, workshops or seminars?
- Did I receive any special training beyond the basic degree?
- What special credentials do I possess?
- From which university did I attain my professional education?
- What is my percentage of marks and in which year did I finish my corresponding degrees?
- Am I good at intra-personal skills like problem solving, analytical and logical thinking, mental mapping and others?
- Am I good at inter-personal skills like effective communication skills, arguing skills, persuasive sills, organizing, planning and others?
- Am I good at technical skills including commuting skills?
- Do I have any significant achievements in school like winning or participating in extra-curricular and/or co-curricular activities?
- Did I volunteer for any events at the school or the college level?
- Am I a volunteer for any organization like the NSS or the NCC?
- In which courses did I do well?
- Did I do anything significant for society that is worth mentioning?
- What part-time jobs do I hold?
- What full-time jobs do I hold?
- What are the projects I did till now?
My Career Goals
- What could I do with all my skills and strengths?
- Where can I reach with my credentials?
- Which position and what kind of company suits me at this point of time in my career?
Step 1: Read the advertisement carefully, if you are applying for a solicited position.
Step 2: Analyse the job requirements, and prepare a résumé that projects your suitability as an applicant to the position announced.
Step 3: If the application is meant for any unsolicited position, select a suitable format that projects the applicant’s capabilities, achievements and special sets.
Step 4: If you are applying for an unsolicited position, do a careful survey of the prerequisites of the position you desire.
After you do this basic analysis of your profile, you can now begin to write your résumé. Résumés do not have fixed formats they differ with the purpose and context in which you are drafting one. Before you start writing your résumé, study the following formats. The following is a prescribed format, i.e., bio-data in which one is expected to fill in the asked data.
K. Shankar Rao
Date of birth and age
23 February 1982, 28 years
B.Sc, 2004, 80% Osmania University
2 years at St. Magnum High Shool
Telugu, Hindi, English
Reading books, gardening
Address for communication
Flat. No. 101, Vijaya Sree Apts, Padma Rao Nagar Colony Secunderabad-500025 Ph: 040-27502836
Now read the following chronological résumé:
Flat No. 102
Ranga Swamy Apts
To obtain a challenging academic position in a leading business school of higher level, where I can use my qualification and skills of teaching to prove my abilities
Lecturer in Marketing Management, Shiva Shivani Business School, Hyderabad.
July, 2008-till date.
Shiva Shivani Business School, Hyderabad MBA in marketing management, August 2007 Project: Maruti Auto Udyog Marketing Strategies and the Role of Advertisement During 2000-2005 Bhavan’s Degree College, Hyderabad BCom Honours, June 2005
• Computer skills with proficiency in Word 2000, Excel, and PowerPoint
Member, Indian Management Association, Hyderabad
Now study the following functional résumé:
Flat No. 302
A S Rao Nagar
Senior Mechanical Designer: CAD Operator
Over 15 years of experience as a successful manufacturing engineer; 4 years involving the operation and maintenance of power plants. Two years specializing in mechanical and construction quality control/assurance. Proven strengths in communication, developing, planning and scheduling. Outstanding presentation and customer-focus skills; the special strengths being effective communication skills used in interacting with customers and co-workers. Ready to get into any crisis situation to add value to the organization.
Broad-based responsibilities in the following areas:
Power Plant Setups
- Managed daily operations and the maintenance of manufacturing unit
- Played a key role in daily business decisions, with emphasis on cost of product and asset allocation
- Supervised maintenance-management programme to include scheduling equipment
- Coordinated planning and scheduling for Singur Power Project
- Supervised the installation and acceptance of combustion control system on General Electric units
- Designed and implemented Quality Services Work Teams; established employee-involvement teams, performance-quality measurements, and customer/supplier relationships
- Instructed construction-materials-design courses, with emphasis on quality control and assurance
While assigned as Technical Supervisor, served in various engineering capacities:
Current Station Planning Engineer
Senior Technical Support
Osmania Engineering College, Hyderabad; Masters of Engineering, Industrial Instrumentation Engineering
Osmania Engineering College, Hyderabad; Bachelor of Engineering, Industrial Instrumentation Engineering
Advanced knowledge of the following skills:
Read the following chrono-functional résumé:
No. 19, Rangaraja Puram
Successful technical director of a small, progressive firm
Gold medalist, Technical Graduate with seven years of experience in the technical field; sound technical knowledge in software modules and projects; proficiency in JAVA, .NET, C, all C related languages; good interpersonal, effective communication and excellent organizational skills. Online portfolio available for viewing at: http://www.Rjyoti.com
Technical General Manager, Innova Techno Solutions, Chennai; August 2006-till date
Technical Manager HCL Corporation, Chennai; July 2003-August, 2006
M Tech in Computer Science Engineering, JNTU, Hyd 85% 2003
Developed effective communication skills while interacting with the customers
Very good at computer languages and programs; learnt many software modules to lead the teams
Member of Lions Club, Chennai chapter; took part in many camps during 2003–2006
Available through Monster at http://www.monster.com
After studying these formats of résumés, you might have understood that there are a few common components in all the above formats and a few special components unique to each form. You will now learn how to write the major parts of a résumé.
PARTS OF A RÉSUMÉ
This is the first part of the résumé that provides details about the address of the candidate. While writing the heading, the complete name of the candidate, complete postal address along with pin code, phone number, the concerned STD code (if required), and e-mail address should be added.
While answering the three basic questions on career goals, you might have formulated an idea of your career objective. Translate that idea into a powerful, impressive, realistic career objective in one sentence using effective action verbs. Ultimately, the career objective should match with the position for which you are applying. This key sentence should reveal what you are and what you aspire to do. Beginners are advised not to write lengthy and ambiguous objectives; instead, it should be simple, short and general in tone.
- Aspiring to be in a technical associate position
- Seeking a position in the quality control division
- Ready to join a technical position in a manufacturing unit
If you are responding to a particular advertisement and want to make it specific to the recruiter, this should be mentioned. This will help the organization to locate your résumé easily.
A candidate has to emphasize his accomplishments in a profession to reveal his strengths and skills. This is generally not meant for beginners. This component substitutes career objectives and highlights the applicant’s capabilities through his previous work accomplishments, and the applicant is able to suggest that he is the suitable candidate for the post advertised.
- Facilitated educational projects successfully over the past two years for South India Blood Bank centres, an FDA-regulated manufacturing environment, as pertaining to cGMP, CFR’s, CA state and Indian As sociation of Blood Bank regulations, and assured compliance with 22 organization quality systems.
- Fifteen years of extensive knowledge of marketing lubricants in the Indian market at Shell Lubricants, maintained a successful dealer network with effective communication and organizational skills, and achieved targets regularly.
- Five years of successful software-project leadership with forty-five team-mates, provided service to US and UK-based customers, worked on .NET and JAVA with Satyam Computers.
Work experience is an important component, provided the applicant has already worked somewhere. If he is a beginner, he can mention his parttime work experience or his project-work details. Usage of suitable action verbs makes it more impressive. If the applicant has worked in more than one organization, then they should be listed in reverse chronological order starting from the latest and proceeding backwards to the first organization. Experience in each organization should contain the position held by the applicant. The following are the points one should mention, while writing about work experience:
- Name of the organization
- Dates and duration of work stay
- Important responsibilities shouldered by the applicant
- Achievements that reveal the positive personality and strengths of the candidate
If you are a beginner, give a detailed account of your educational qualifications: degrees, specializations, any special or professional diplomas, projects completed or training received. Again, this part should be presented in reverse chronological order, beginning with the latest or most recently finished one. Along with qualifications, you can mention the conferences, workshops, seminars and symposia attended or organized. The experienced applicants should project related educational qualifications to avoid ambiguity. But whenever you are writing this part, do not forget to include the following details:
- Qualification, i.e., name of the degree
- Name of the institution/university/college with its location
- Year/month the degree/course is awarded
- Specializations if any
Special Skills and Abilities
Form effective sentences to express your special and unique capabilities, and remember to write only related skills in the résumé. These may include:
- Computer-related skills/abilities
- Technical skills/abilities
- Foreign languages/effective communication skills
- Effective soft skills like organizational or argumentative skills
If the applicant can impress the employer with his achievements/ accomplishments/honours, he can score an edge over others. These might include fellowships, scholarships, bravery/government recognitions, awards, etc. While mentioning these, verify the relation between the position you are applying for and the achievement you are mentioning.
Social and Environmental Sensitivity
Professionals are expected to be socially and environmentally conscious and demonstrate it through their membership in any related clubs or organizations, and programmes attended or organized.
Present-day companies seek to hire individuals who can balance their emotions and encounter workplace stress. So they give extra weightage to the applicant’s interest in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. A presentation of your performance in these activities at the school, college and the university level gives substantial explanation. You can mention your professional associations and relevant activities to show your involvement and contribution to the concerned field.
The employers, while hiring individuals for key positions, take maximum precautions. They consult prestigious people in society who can authenticate the applicant’s credibility. So you are supposed to give the detailed address (name, designation, postal address, telephone number, e-mail id, fax number) of three persons, who are professionally well-known to you. Teachers, research guides, professional acquaintances, previous employer, head of the section or a colleague could be mentioned for such purposes.
Now you may begin to draft your résumé. If you are a beginner or you are continuing in the same field, chronological résumé is the most suitable format. You have to arrange your work experience and educational qualifications in reverse chronological order to present a comprehensive timeline of your career. If you did not continuously adhere to any profession, changed fields often, took a long leave, or if you are beginning to work after a long gap due to a few years of formal education, functional résumé is the suitable format. You will have to concentrate on your capabilities and achievements and sideline your employment history. This type of résumé should be carefully crafted, so as to present the applicant as a dynamic and desired candidate. This format is generally not preferred by employers, as it is complicated.
If you wish to change the field of work, or have worked in different fields and have taken some gaps, chrono-functional résumés are preferable. This is a format that combines the chronological and functional résumé style. It highlights transferable skills possessed by the applicant, but gives details of work experience and educational qualification in reverse chronological order. This format is preferred if you are open to more than one type of position, and so, position sought should be avoided. Though an effective format, even this is not favoured by many employers, especially if you are applying online.
Video résumé is the video recording of the applicant presenting himself as a suitable candidate for the position sought. He is supposed to speak about his strengths, achievements and career objectives. These are a few tips to follow:
- Decide who is going to shoot.
- Approach professionals if you are not capable of doing it.
- Physical appearance has to be highly professional.
- Select a pleasant and comfortable place.
- Avoid any possible distractions.
- Sit comfortably, maintain good eye contact with the camera.
- Speak with moderate speed, pleasant tone and formal style.
- Speak highlighting aspects of your education, work experience, skills, activities, abilities, aptitude and personality.
- Greet the audience in the beginning and bid goodbye at the end.
Do use the following action verbs while drafting a résumé:
When the first draft is read by the writer himself, he can find a lot of mistakes. At this juncture, the focus should be on:
- Format selection
- Importance of the points mentioned
- Correctness of the information divulged
- Language mistakes
- Power of words should be given extra importance
While drafting any type of résumé, do follow the following do’s and don’ts given in Table 7.1:
|1. Attempt to write a résumé on your own.||1. Copy any available format.|
|2. Follow the preparatory steps carefully.||2. Be in a hurry to draft the résumé and miss preparatory steps.|
|3. A good job analysis before you start drafting.||3. Decide on the format before you read the advertisement.|
|4. Select a suitable format.||4. Select a wrong format.|
|5. Frame the document in an impressive and effective tone and style.||5. Include unnecessary, arbitrary, confusing information.|
|6. Acknowledge the required points to be presented.||6. Be in a hurry to add all known points.|
|7. Take adequate care about common language errors.||7. Overlook language errors, they convey a negative impression.|
|8. Tailor-make the résumé for every context.||8. Present the same format for all contexts.|
|9. Edit the résumé before finalizing.||9. Finalize the first copy.|
|10. Take care regarding the font, page setup, alignment and quality of paper, because physical appearance carries impression.||10. Ignore the importance of font, page set up, alignment and quality of paper.|
|11. Be concise, clear and factual.||11. Be too long or unclear, and don’t bluff.|
Cover letter is the second part of the application, so this is also equally significant in applying to solicited positions. The format is that of any other sales letter.
Study the following letter:
Plot. No. 9
Ventakata Swamy Nagar
13 March 2010
Mr Ravi Naik
Personal Manager (HR)
C132 Jedimetla Industrial Area
Dear Mr Naik,
Production Supervisor: Application
Your advertisement in The Hindu dated 8 March 2010 interests me because I have the kind of qualifications the advertisement mentioned.
I have just completed my Technical graduation, i.e., B.Tech., Mechanical, recently. My résumé (enclosed) lists and explains the projects I did as part of my curriculum. I worked on tool designing for my mini project, and heavy machine: lubricants viscosity for my final year major project. I have been working as a part-time intern in Swan Engineering Ltd, Hyderabad. I love to play football and I was a part of my college team.
I am looking to be engaged in a full-time career, so I would be happy to discuss with you how I can make a major contribution to India Cements. I look forward to hearing from you.
The letter consists of:
- Address of the applicant
- Address of the receiver
- statement of purpose
- Closing and subscription
Address of the Applicant
While writing this part, do write your complete home address with PIN code, phone number, and e-mail id.
You need not include the heading ‘Date. The reader will understand it automatically. Write the complete date in any of the following ways:
13 March 2010
Oct 21 2010
Address of the Receiver
If you know the receiver’s name, mention it; otherwise, start with the designation of the person, along with the complete postal address with phone number and email id.
You need not mention the heading ‘Subject’, the reader knows it. Do not write a long sentence for subject, it should be a simple statement of what the letter is all about.
The body of the letter contains a reference to the source of information through which the applicant came to know about the position. If you come to know about the vacancy through someone, mention that; if you are not comfortable sharing this, you can avoid the topic through a clever statement like, ‘I came to know through a common friend’. Then start with the introduction, where you are supposed to introduce yourself along with your credentials. Then proceed to state the purpose of your letter, your interest in the prospective employer, your suitability to the position and your special skills. To conclude, express your expectation from the reader and do not forget to inform the reader about the enclosures.
The closing of the letter consists of the final statement of the applicant and then the signature. A letter without a signature is considered to be incomplete.
Follow the tips given below to make your cover letter effective:
- Do not jump into writing a letter without adequate plan and preparation.
- The language used in the letter should project your sense of confidence and an assertive personality. Do not use submissive language.
- Do not show your enormous eagerness to join the organization. Remember, if you need a job, the organizations need people to work for them. So you need not beg for a job; instead, be confident that you are selling your talent.
- Do not mention the reasons for leaving the previous organization, if you are working. Do not give the address of the previous employer.
- Arouse interest, curiosity and admiration through your letter of application, which might secure you a place in the interview-call list.
- Do not try to impress the employer by telling lies; be transparent; understand that the employer will cross-check the information provided by you.
- Show that you can be a valuable addition to the organization.
Now write applications for the following:
- Flextronics is looking for Test Engineers—2–5 years of experience in ICT/Functional Test/X-Ray/Debug in Optical or Electronic Products. Experience in Sonet, SDH, Ethernet, WDM technologies preferred. To apply, please send your profiles to email@example.com.
- Force 10 is hiring talents in software validation and system testing, platform/protocol/system/regression/build/automation/SONE/SDH testing. Post your résumé at www.force10networks.com
- Larsen & Tourbo is appointing Boiler Design engineers who can design engineering and modelling of various parts of boilers and auxiliaries for large super-critical boilers. Send your applications to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mukesh & Associates is looking for civil engineers/architects/structural engineers/mechanical engineers with CAD. Rush your résumé to email@example.com
- Gem Sugars wants plant engineers. BE Mechanical Diploma/degree holder to maintain the shift operation and maintenance in sugar factory. Email your résumés to firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer the following questions to assess yourself:
Q1. Is my résumé brief and easy to read?
Q2. Did I prepare properly?
A. Yes/no. If no, why?_____
Q3. Have I tailored my résumé to suit the context?
A. Yes/no. If no, why?_____
Q4. Did I select the most important points to highlight?
A. All/a few. If a few, why?_____
Q5. Did I edit the first draft?
A. Yes/no. If no, why?_____
Q6. Have I asked someone to critique and proofread my résumé?
A. Yes/no. If no, why?_____
If yes, what are the suggestions?_____