THE CAREER DRIVE : Q & A Series By Prof. Saurav Das

In a digital world that we live in, looking around for a job, requires careful planning. There are several steps that one may adopt in order to get more interview calls. Gone are the days when one used to connect with family members or friends who rarely helped in sourcing an interview call. There was a humane aspect to it in those days; now, it is all about online presence and using hash-tag. 

Let us look at a few steps that can enable a working professional to search the right job, following which we will look at how a graduating student may do the same.

The first most important thing is to have the right online profile and presence on the social media. Recruiters these days are increasingly checking the online presence for assessing a candidate’s profile. While LinkedIn is the most important reference point for a professional profile check, Facebook is also looked at, along with an algorithmic check on Google. Some recruiters can use the right combination of keywords to dig out your past, present, and maybe your future. Decisions can be taken on that for your candidature.

Secondly, there are sites that generate ‘keywords’ for free. Choose the right skill set using hash-tag (#) on your CV which you upload on various job portals , so that recruiters can easily find you.

The next most important thing for a person with experience is to network online and ensure that he adds a note while sending a ‘friend request’ or a new ‘connection request’. Notes are like small messages to enable the receiver to know why you have sent a request. A connection request should be sent to relevant people only and not to everyone just because he is from the same industry.

As for young graduates, unless they are placed through campus-recruitment, a job search can be quite daunting for many reasons, inexperience being one of them, and ignorance being the other.

A fresh graduate should design a resume that sells; meaning, the resume must generate interview calls. It should never be a sheet full of fonts that hardly matter to a recruiter. The objective should be precise and clearly-defined. The recipient must always know why the resume has reached her/his inbox, or desk.

The next most important thing is highlighting the academics in reverse chronology in as much detail as possible. The marks, year of completion, degree, etc. are all important. Additional certifications, training, need to be mentioned in some detail.

These days, a lot of emphasis is laid on projects and internships and one must take those very seriously. It is probably the basis on which interviews are conducted these days in many companies. Hobbies and interests in extra curricular activities have suddenly become strategic points of discussion. Co-curricular activities such as paper presentations, research papers, etc. Are decisive factors in the hiring matrix for technical roles.

Apart from those, the points mentioned for experienced job seekers apply as much for young graduating students and those searching for jobs.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Q. What is the importance of writing an objective in a resume?
A. The objective is like an “anchor” and it tells the recipient the reason why the resume has reached him or her. It is like the mission statement of an individual, and showcases the purpose of the applicant in a precise form. The objective should be clear, concise, and must be oriented to the goals of the organization, more specifically the role the candidate is applying for.

Q.What is a good resume design?
A. There are several formats but as a thumb rule it should be a one-pager with all relevant information. Technical resumes however tend to be a bit longer especially those that relate to the IT sector. These days there is a growing demand for resumes with info-graphics and time lines but one must be careful to align the design with the job he/she is applying for. Jobs must be mentioned through bullet points and not written with great detail as those might be discussed at the time of the interview. Achievements must be statistically represented as much as possible. References may be given at a later stage when asked for. Hobbies are very important and must be mentioned carefully. Gaps in career or job shifts must be truthfully mentioned. A professional resume writer would be of great help although there is a price to pay for it. The objective being that the resume must sell to get the applicant an interview call.

Q . Importance of projects and internships
A. For a graduating student irrespective of any discipline, the projects and internships offer valuable insights to a potential recruiter on the applicant’s capabilities and knowledge. The more realistic it is, the better. One must avoid opting for generalist assignments just for the sake of a big name unless there is significant learning outcome from it. The same has to be demonstrated at the time of interviews. Group projects and internships must demonstrate the individual’s role and contribution. For engineers, creation of something socially useful would be of great help rather than a project for the sake of the Black Book. For non-technical roles, one must demonstrate some learning during the internship phase so that it can be related to a future job pertaining to one’s career choice.

Q. Why is online presence so important these days?
A. Most recruiters go beyond the candidate’s resume to know him/her better. Online presence on professional sites like LinkedIn are gaining importance and probably it would not be wrong to say that most recruiters actually use it more than typical job portals. A professional representation of one’s profile with achievements and testimonials would always be advantageous. Listing of career track correctly with statistics would sell well. Networking with potential recruiters and professional colleagues is advantageous. It would suffice to say that one must look at a strong online presence through other means as well if one has to grow professionally.

Author: Saurav Das, Dean – Industry-Institute Partnership Cell, Head – Training, and Placements, of TERNA ENGINEERING COLLEGE. The writer may be contacted at [email protected] for any guidance related to job search & strategy.