Business Today


Shamni Pande | Print Edition: July 8, 2012

Airports are fertile ground for serendipitous encounters. Recently, checking in early at Delhi airport for a flight to Ahmedabad, I bumped into a senior recruiter I know, who was looking somewhat exasperated. I quizzed him and the reason for his annoyance became clear. "I am surprised by how experienced people can come up with shoddy resumes," he said.

I probed further. "Oh, nothing... just a poorly written resume and my candidate was dumped by the CEO," he added. I spent the next few minutes listening to him, and was surprised to hear that candidates, even at senior levels, often mess up their curriculum vitae and thus lose out on excellent opportunities.

Shamni Pande
Shamni Pande
I next called up Hastha Krishnan, Director at leading recruitment and HR services firm, Randstad India. She confirmed what the earlier recruiter had told me. "We often have to deal with badly - written resumes," she said. "We call candidates in for chats and get such CVs reworked." One job portal for senior executives, Headhonchos. com, actually offers help with CVs as a service.

Expert Tip: Why a proper attitude at workplace is important

Let us look at some common errors experts find in resumes :

Weighed down by bulk: Most resumes that reach HR departments are way too bulky. "Sometimes people include all sorts of details such as their village addresses, their passport numbers, their dates of birth, etc," says Uday Sodhi, CEO, Headhonchos. There is no need to clutter the CV with such trivia, and especially not on the first page. In any case, a good resume should not exceed two pages. All you need to ensure on the first page is that your email ID and contact number have been provided. Other details can come later. And while detailing your work experience, do remember to begin with the most recent experience and work backwards from there.

Garbled start:
Many people have problems summarising their work experience in a crisp introductory note. They often omit this vital element altogether without realising that it is this bit that really gets the candidate the job. This summary should set down your key achievements and disclose your motivation. Some good business schools make the mid-career professionals attending them submit their profiles as part of their projects. The coaches keep pushing the executives to polish these profiles to perfection.

Error alert: There are often errors of omission in the resumes of executives too. Some may set down the date of their joining or quitting a company wrongly; others may leave out a short stint at another company, considering it unimportant. But that short stint and its responsibilities may just be what the prospective employer considers vital. Put down everything in the CV, but be brief - you can elaborate later if asked to. Do mention sabbaticals and any short transition attempts.

True lies: The biggest mistake you can make is that of lying. If you were sacked at some point in your career and are caught trying to hide it, or you claim ownership of a project that was actually a team effort, you are likely to qualify for what is now being called 'resumegate'. The term is increasingly heard in the aftermath of Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson's recent admission to 'inaccuracies' in his resume. "When we notice exaggerated claims, we tend to be extremely careful with the candidates concerned," says Randstad's Krishnan. You can live with a sloppy resume but not with one where your past may come back to take away your pay cheque forever.

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