| As it requires
a lot of effort and planning on your behalf. A badly
worded and poorly presented resume can put off a potential
We intend to provide some broad guidelines to help you
write a resume that could work for you. Work for you
to achieve what it is meant to i.e. to get you an interview
call for a job.
At the outset, it is necessary to clarify that you could
use the term "resume" or "curriculum vitae" (CV), even
though technically a CV is primarily meant for job positions
within the academic environment and is supposed to be
a lengthy document. The difference is not strictly followed
and it is safe to use these two terms interchangeably,
but remember that whatever word you use, be sure that
you know how to pronounce it accurately!
Your resume should be about two pages long
A resume should be about
two pages long. It is supposed to be a brief presentation
of your skills, work experience, achievements and education.
Anything too long runs the risk of being skimmed over
and not read properly. Long and detailed does not necessarily
imply better! What your resume has to get across to
the potential employer is just this - you have the required
skills, experience and education to handle the job!
This can be done by appropriately focusing on the key
aspects unique to your experience, and leaving out the
standard repetitive details, which would be similar
to those of your competitors applying for the same job/position.
So, try and stick to 2 pages!
Start off by identifying your job objective
The job objective is an excellent area to include in
your resume and is usually omitted. It puts your resume
in the right perspective for the reader and clearly
shows where you are headed in your career plans. If
you are applying for an entry level position in marketing,
your job objective could be something like:
Objective: Interested in an entry level position in
marketing in a multi-national corporation.
The 'multi-national corporation' phrase makes your objective
generic regarding company choice. It would be advisable
to modify each resume to suit specific companies that
you apply to. Then the job objective would read like
Objective: Interested in an entry level position in
Provide a summary of your experience and skills
The next section that your resume should contain is
a 5-6 point summary of your skills and experience. That
* No. of years of past and relevant work experience
* a brief description of the work done
* specific skills acquired
* significant achievements
* educational qualifications.
This section is very useful, in providing a snapshot
view of what your resume contains for situations where
yours is one resume in a pile of fifty others. It allows
minimal information loss in case the resume is quickly
skimmed over and not given a detailed reading. In this
section, the skills that you present should help in
answering the question -"How can you contribute to the
In case of IT/Software professionals, the skill set
could be added to the summary. But be sure, that all
the skills mentioned are truly areas you have worked
in or are comfortable working in.
language and content that communicates a proactive style
The style of writing that you use and the particular
words or phrases can make a significant difference to
your resume. It affects the impression created about
you regarding your past work experience and your skills.
For example, you might say in your past work experience
that you "maintained records and accounts". A better
way of expressing the same thing could be "Reported
directly to the VP-Finance and managed over 1500 accounts...".
Your language and content should focus on what you achieved
e.g. saving so many lakh rupees for the organization,
rather than a standard listing of responsibilities which
sounds like a job profile common to anyone in a similar
position to yours. If you have been a brand manager
in the past, do not just list your job responsibilities
like" responsible for sales, profits, advertising related
to the brand...". Instead highlight things like " Implemented
change in product formulation that saved Rs 50 lakhs
per year for the brand...". Quantifiable parameters
have a better impact than just saying " Implemented
change in product formulation".
Prioritise details of your past
After the summary section, you can go on to providing
details of your past work experience. Leave aside the
job objective and summary and that gives you just one
and a half pages to cover the details of your work experience
as well as your educational qualifications. You
need to prioritise. Decide what weightage to give to
different organisations/positions. You should not skip
any place worked at, but you obviously cannot give all
details of each position. A few points to note while
preparing this section:
You could present the work experience in reverse
Start with the most recent work experience at the
beginning of this section and the rest later on. That
is the organisation where you are currently working
first and the earlier ones worked in, later in the resume.
This should highlight your relevant work experience
at the outset.
Within an organisation, present your career path
in the correct chronological order
While you may present the organisations you have worked
in, in reverse chronological order, for a particular
organisation it is easier to follow your career path
if the positions are given in the way they happened
e.g. " joined ABC co. as management trainee in 1989
and was promoted to assistant manager (finance) in 1991.....".
You could then go on to elaborate your responsibilities
and achievements at this position. Remember to highlight
the more important designations with their accomplishments,
as this will be more relevant than just focusing on
your training period.
Mention responsibilities briefly, focus more on accomplishments
If responsibilities are similar across positions in
an organisation, try to avoid repeating the same set
of responsibilities with each position. That will unnecessarily
increase the size of your resume without giving any
additional value. Instead, try and include your different
achievements at each position, or something that you
introduced or did differently in your job. This would
also hold true for situations where responsibilities
are similar across organisations. Avoid tautology and
stick to the accomplishments.
If worked in many organisations, merge information
to reduce chronological details
To avoid presenting a long, chronological detail of
each organisation worked in, try and merge information
on similar positions/responsibilities across organisations
into one category. This will be easier to read and will
also avoid presenting a negative image of you being
If changing your area of specialisation, classify
the information by function
If you are changing your field from finance to marketing,
then instead of just presenting the details of your
past work experience in reverse chronological order
by organisation, you could classify the information
into different functional areas e.g. your responsibilities
and achievements in finance (even if across companies);
similarly for marketing. You should try and incorporate
some marketing experience (and hopefully you will have
some) if you intend to get into that area.
Include other information only if significant
You may like to mention your hobbies, interests or extra-curricular
activities, under a separate heading, but it will really
not add value to your resume unless you have made a
significant achievement there. For example, mentioning
mountaineering as a hobby is not relevant unless you
have achieved something like taken a trip to Mount Everest
Such achievements which are not directly related to
your work experience can be put under the heading "Other
Present educational qualifications with the most recent one
When giving information on your educational qualifications
in a separate section, it is advisable to begin by presenting
the most recent degree/diploma achieved, as this is
usually relevant to the work you are currently doing.
For example, if you have acquired a post-graduate degree
in management, give that information at the outset.
There is no need to go as far back as schooling, unless
you are a fresh graduate with no work experience. Remember,
the resume is just 2 pages and you need to give better
reasons for being recruited than the school you studied
If you have acquired a degree in some other country,
mention a degree that it is equivalent to which is internationally
recognised, to put it in the right perspective for the
Avoid tables while presenting details of educational
qualifications because they occupy more space and interfere
with the smooth flow of sentences and points.
Provide information on training if it is at least 3
months or more. Short term one week courses do not really
look good on your resume unless you do not have enough
to say in 2 pages!
Even if you are not a software/IT professional, today
computer literacy is assumed for most positions. So
don't list competencies in MS-Word and such like but
do include any significant packages you may have learnt,
helped develop or are in the process of learning.
For a candidate applying for an entry level position
in an organisation, the educational qualifications will
be more important as there is no significant work experience
other than training. This section could therefore, come
before work experience, in your resume.
References should be provided on request
Though it is useful to have names and contact numbers
of people to give as references, it makes sense to provide
them only on request. You should not give the details
on your resume but provide the information later on,
when asked for, or further on in the selection process.
The reason for this is that at the outset you do not
know how long your resume will be with a company before
you get an interview call. By then the persons you mentioned
as references may have moved or their contact numbers
could have changed.
Also you can tailor your list of references based on
the company you are applying to. So there is no need
to provide the same information to all the places you
send your resume to.
It is also a good idea to inform your references that
you have given their names before they receive a call
out of the blue. This way when the employers who have
included you in the short-list for recruitment, contact
your references to check you out, there are no hitches
Try and follow these guidelines and you will be surprised
at the improvements you can make to your resume!
Remember the resume format is flexible depending on
the specifics of your background and experience.
Click here to see two sample resumes incorporating the
guidelines given in this article.
is an important aspect of any job situation, and is
often perceived as the trickiest part. Most common doubts
raised are " Is it safe for me to negotiate a salary
without jeopardising my chances of getting a job?",
as well as "When and how do I negotiate my salary?".
The situation in which a salary
is negotiated could vary depending on whether the individual
is a candidate with a certain degree of work experience,
applying for a position in a company, or is a candidate
with no prior work experience, applying for an entry
level position in an organisation. Another situation
could be an employee looking for career advancement
in his current organisation. The details of each of
these situations might be different, however certain
basic principles and rules regarding salary negotiation
remain the same.
In this article, we attempt to provide broad guidelines
on how to negotiate a salary when applying for a
new job. This should be useful in providing tips
on salary negotiations for other situations as well.
A salary should be negotiated
if you perceive the offer is inadequate
The first question to be answered is "Should a salary be negotiated
at all?". The answer to this is-Yes, if the offer made
is inadequate in your view. To arrive at that, it is
important that you, the candidate, applying for the
job, do your homework in terms of knowing the salary
range for similar positions in other organisations within
the same industry, and across industries but within
the same functional area. For example, when applying
for the job of a brand manager in a food company, you
need to be aware of the salary range as a brand manager
in marketing in other organisations across industries
i.e food, cosmetics, detergents etc. That is find out
the likely salary for similar positions in your field.
Most reputable corporations offer a standard salary
for a type of job. You, as a job applicant, need to
find out what that rate is.
Do not enter into a salary negotiation for an ego kick
to see how far you can go in raising your price with
an organisation, especially if the offer they make is
within the salary range for that particular position.
For first time recruits just starting out in their careers,
it is important to communicate that you are more interested
in the job where you can prove yourself and contribute
organisation, rather than in a specific salary. The
organisation, in any case, would probably have a certain
number of jobs in definite salary brackets.
This is normally true when company representatives come
to interview on campuses of
Recruiters also may get put off if they perceive that
the candidate is too salary-focussed !
Discuss salary only after you have received the job
The next question that comes to mind regarding salary
negotiations is when to negotiate a salary. Should it
be done during the interview for example, when the interviewers
ask the interviewee " Would you like to ask us any questions?".
Or should it be left to a later date?
The answer here is that unless you know or have some
indication that you are going to receive the job offer,
salary negotiations are irrelevant. Salary negotiations,
during the interview or at any time before the interviewers
have decided to select you, will only create a negative
There is a saying in sales that you should never discuss
price before you have established value. This applies
to job situations as well. Unless the prospective buyer
(employer in this case) is convinced that you provide
a suitable match for their job profile/requirements,
any salary discussion is meaningless.
It is better to postpone discussion of the salary till
as late in the selection process as is possible. In
the meantime try and present the value you offer to
the employer and understand the requirements of the
position so that you can arrive at a figure or a range
for an acceptable salary. This will allow you to negotiate
salary later on, meaningfully, once you receive the
Use the problem-solving approach in your negotiation
Once you have received the job offer take some time
to think over it. Use this time to prepare for the negotiation
List out the issues to be discussed or negotiated.
These could be for example, the structure of your salary
package and the amounts under each head, benefits such
as health, housing, leave, bonus, retirement benefits
Set your priorities
Decide on your minimum requirements i.e. the conditions
which need to be met for you to accept the offer. Think
about what you are willing to trade off. You will need
to do this to be able to appear flexible in your negotiation
otherwise you may scare away the employer with too much
aggression and rigidity. Remember the employer could
still withdraw the job offer, so be cautious.
List criteria to justify your stand To give you
a high probability of succeeding in your negotiation,
you need to set criteria to appear objective in your
requests. It is better for the organisation to realise
that your concerns are based on real needs and comparable
industry standards instead of arbitrary demands for
Be aware of your strengths
This could help you gain confidence during the process
of negotiation. If the organisation really needs you,
highlighting your strengths and achievements will put
you in a better bargaining position to get the employers
to consider your requests seriously. Remember that your
request should be based on what you can do for the organisation
and what you are worth. This could also re-iterate to
the employer that your profile and theirs provide an
Follow your own style of negotiation
Appear objective and balanced. Do not get too aggressive
because you should not scare the employer away! Unless
you have some alternative firm offer, it is inadvisable
to negotiate in an inflexible manner.
Try to be in a win-win situation
Use this problem-solving approach to arrive at a win-win
situation at the end of the salary negotiation process.
Look for a solution where you and the employer benefit,
instead of a zero-sum situation where you win/I lose
or the other way around. Look for common platforms even
though the issues might appear conflicting. If your
expectations are reasonable it should ensure success
in your negotiations and leave all parties concerned
feeling satisfied about recruiting you.
Use body language to communicate enthusiasm for the
On the day of the negotiation, show your pleasure at receiving the job
offer. Clarify aspects that you need to and highlight
your concerns/reservations. Yet, let your body language
express your enthusiasm and eagerness for the job and
Confirm the final offer
Once the negotiation process
is over, repeat the final offer as you understood it.
And express your intention to formally accept as soon
as you receive the final offer letter. If you are not
going to accept, be tactful and diplomatic on the reasons
why. Send a letter also regretting that things did not
work out. In a nutshell, leave a positive impression
Once you have put these guidelines into practice, BEST