Life in a Corporate -3, Art of Writing Resume

Resume is the generally the corporate identity for any individual. In professional life, this is the first thing shared with anyone. Psychiatrists can even guess the personality of a person by looking at the resume. It is the first impression of you to any stakeholder who wants to engage you. Besides, resume also represents our written communication skills and presentation skills.


While making any professional document, it is very important to know the target audience. For resume – anyone from any background can be the audience. In fact, language of the resume should be written in such a manner that any kind of audience can easily understand. Another attribute of resume is that it should be able to generate interest in the reader and the interest must continue till the end. Here are few tips that might help:


  1. Short and simple sentences.
  2. Avoid abbreviations. If required, use extension at least first time.
  3. Nouns should be used as it is. (e.g. JUnit, JBoss, WebLogic).
  4. Same tense (past or present) throughout the document.
  5. Avoid repetition of phrases.
  6. Be explicit wherever possible. Write objectively. Avoid ambiguous words like etc., many, approximate. Idea here is – if you don’t know precisely about yourself – who else would know?
  7. Consistency in font, style.
  8. Avoid local references. Resume generally goes to international customers. For them any local reference (name of local university) has no meaning unless it is a well known thing (e.g. IIT, IIM etc.).
  9. Avoid highlighting (using bold) things unless it is of really significant importance.
  10. Grammatically correct. (e.g. no uppercase letter in between a sentence,  full stop at the end etc.)
  11. Avoid using copy paste from other person’s resume.
  12. If you have written any article or blog, it is good to give URL(s).
  13. Header and footer should appear on every page and must be consistent in font.
  14. Project description should be simple and concise so that it is easy to understand by anyone and generates interest.
  15. After finishing the resume, take a print out and verify if everything is in right format, no truncation.
  16. The project history should be in reverse chronological order.


Life in a Corporate -2 Art of Taking Interview

Interview is a conversation during which you do an assessment of a potential employee if s/he is the right fit for the organization that you represent. Taking interview is a big responsibility. It is not only about asking right questions from the candidate but also to facilitate him or her in such a way that s/he gives his/her best. It is also not about power or luxury being other side of the table, it is about responsibility to find right match for the organization. The interviewer must provide comfortable environment to the interviewee. Treat equally the way you want to be treated in such a situation. Dignity of the interviewee must be upheld. Here are a few tips for interviewer:

  1. Mobile should be either switched off or at least in silent mode.
  2. Start with your own introduction and a glimpse of your company. Never jump into questions straightway. This is rude.
  3. Never sit across the table. It gives a feeling of hierarchy and hence creates a hidden element of fear which in turn is a barrier to bring best out of the candidate. IMO, we should prefer to use a round table and create an environment of freedom.
  4. Ask questions on those areas only which are claimed to be the knowledge areas of the candidate. Objective is not to find out what s/he does not know but to find if s/he knows right thing(s) in her/his area of strength.
  5. Ask leading, objective and open ended questions as far as possible.
  6. Tips to check behavioral skills:
    1. Role Play – It always helps to know candidate &lsquos; thought process, approach, spontaneity and maturity.
    2. Ask the candidate to give examples from the past experience that demonstrates the skill/behavioral attribute in question.
    3. Sometimes candidates try to take credit of the entire team by portraying as if ‘I have done everything and that too from scratch’. Ask the candidate about his/her contribution in that situation, number of other people in team and their role. This will help you delve deep about the credentials.
    4. Give situations or hypothetical scenarios to the candidate then ask his choices, approach etc. This will help read his mind unlike plain vanilla questions which can be answered superficially.
    5. Ask competencies (essential attributes) required to perform his/her job. It will help you know how well s/he understands the job. A follow up discussion could be to ask the candidate to give self-rating on those competencies. It will open the door of next level of discussion
  7. A few questions that may be useful:
    1. If we ask your 2 good and 2 areas of improvements from your colleagues in current company – what will those people say about you? (here is a chance to map candidate’s words with truthfulness).
    2. Tell me about a situation when your work was criticized.
    3. What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?
  8. Questions around aspirations:
    1. How far or close you are to achieve your aspirations (how pragmatic s/he is)
    2. What are missing skills to achieve your aspirations and what is roadmap to fill the gap (clear thoughts and understanding of one’s goals)
    3. What new skills you have added or learnt in the past 1 year that might have helped you bring closer to your goals (how serious s/he is)

Conclude the interview by giving an opportunity to the candidate to ask questions. Do express gratitude; the interviewee has given valuable time to you and your company. Please don’t forgot, you are an ambassador of your company. Based on that conversation during interview, the candidate will make an opinion about you and your company. Be very professional, polite and respectful.