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  Art of resume writing  
  By Apoorv Pandhi

WHEN you begin preparing your resume, remember "you never get a second chance to make a first impression".

Most people form an initial opinion about you on the basis of your resume. It should ideally highlight all those factors that truly reflect what you would want to convey in a very crisp tone.

I have come across some powerful resumes that make you realise the importance of structure in elucidating your achievements. A well-structured and doctored resume would bring you at par with all the prodigies in this world and their outstanding resumes.

This means that along with your hard work and commitment towards your aim, you should put at least a tenth of the effort in presenting your achievements in a structured manner.

A common myth is that the longer the resume, the greater the impact it would make. On the other hand, the resume should be as precise and crisp as possible. It should extend to a maximum of two pages, provided the first page is impressive enough to hold the reviewers' attention.

Since most of the people reviewing a resume are time-crunched owing to the number of applications received, it is advisable to make a one pager in most cases. This could be reviewed at one glance and hence increases the opportunity to get shortlisted.

Let's concentrate on resumes while applying for jobs from graduate colleges and then move on to resumes while switching jobs or applying for B-schools.

I. Graduate colleges

While designing a resume for jobs on campus, let's look at the broad structure first and then move into the details of each section.

It should essentially cover the following aspects in 5(or 6) different sections:

1. Academic qualifications/Results followed by academic /scholastic achievements

2. Work Experience, if any

3. Internships in relevant companies

4. Important projects done whilst in college

5. Extra-curricular achievements/accolades

6. Positions of responsibility

The order could be a little flexible, though Section 1 (Academic qualifications/achievements) would have a fixed order if you are planning to apply to on-campus companies in college. It should ideally be followed by work-experience (if any, though wouldn’t be expected as such), then internships in relevant colleges (maybe 2-3, not all). The latter order could be interchangeably used.

Mention all achievements under the specified headers in point format. Highlight relevant words/positions/achievements and italicise all dates. Follow a uniform format wherein the date could possibly be at the end of the point in italicised form.

Do remember that each point (or achievement) is a phrase and need not be completed with a full stop in the end.

I (i). Dealing with each section

1. Academic qualifications should ideally be a 3 by 3 table giving details of the colleges/schools (in order, latest on top), along with the course and the percentage/grades.

It can be made a 3 by 4 table if you would want to add the rank/position in the batch•
Scholastic/academic achievements should be added immediately after the first section, and should include all academic achievements spanning from school to college.

2. Work experience can be mentioned if any (though would not expect so unless anyone has a start-up of his/her own whilst in college). The work done should be mentioned in a format that should have an impact on anyone reading/reviewing it. The structure for the same is highlighted below in the internship section.

3. The internships, too, should be represented in a format which should covey the following:

The issue/problem that was addressed

Work done and the aspects covered in the context

Impact of the work done

4. Projects could include any research/experimental work done on any subject. Publications should be included (if any) along with the project concerned

5. The extra-curricular/positions of responsibility sections are relatively customised to anyone who would be mentioning an achievement in the same. The ordering should begin with the most important achievement at the top with some sort of continuity in the same.

6. The positions of responsibility section should convey any sort of significant change incorporated under your leadership and subsequently followed with honors and awards received while in that position.

Try to endorse a quality, if you wish to highlight it through a number of sections in the resume. If you believe in team work, then the quality could be accentuated in various ways, through academic projects, team sports and so on

I would mention about the methodology for writing resumes in the following scenarios next fortnight

1. While switching jobs

2. Applying to on-campus companies from post graduate colleges

3. While applying to a post graduate college


The writer is an IITian with A.T. Kearney, a global management consultant firm

  Steely resolve pays off  
  Our Lucknow Correspondent Meetu Tewari meets three gutsy girls who have proved that with dedication and hard work, anyone can attain success in life.

Makings of a star journalist

AS SUBUHI KHAN was a promising science stream student, everyone was surprised when she decided to do her BA. Her friends and relatives were quick to point out that she was wrong and they proffered many suggestions about how she should pursue her studies.

However, Subuhi stood her ground. What is remarkable about her is her belief in herself. Despite the resistance, she opted to study at a college in Lucknow itself, rather than seek admission in Delhi, which is a favorite destination for most students.

"I always knew what I wanted and nothing could distract me from my goals," says this determined young girl. However, during her graduation, a great tragedy struck her when she lost her father, who doted on her.

"For me, he was everything, the one I could always count on for support and understanding, the one who believed in me and taught me to dream." It was after this loss that she realised the need to be self-supportive. "I did not want to increase the financial burden on my mother as she was already facing difficulties. I had to gain admission to a good college and start earning as soon as possible."

Subuhi knew that in order to fulfill her dreams, she would have to move out of the cocoons of her home. In 2007, she appeared for a number of entrance exams all of which she cleared with elan.

She got admission to, among other institutions, the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi. She finally chose IIMC to study Television and Radio Journalism.

At IIMC, she is fondly remembered by her faculty and classmates as a resolute, simple and unassuming student. It was here that she appeared for the CNN Aspiring Journalist Contest 2007 and won it, which awarded her an internship with CNN IBN, where she now works.

This young journalist has fought against all odds to pursue her dream and she has proven that she is a true achiever. Subuhi is a self-made girl who rose from the ordinary to realise her ambitions. Her story proves that with dedication and resolve, anyone can attain their objective in life.

Despite so much of success at a young age, she has not changed a wee bit as can be inferred when she says, "I know my roots. I will always be true to myself so that I can remain true to my ambitions. If I lose touch with who I am, how will I ever realise my aspirations?"

From MBA to justice deliverance

SONAL PANDEYA is a rare individual, very confident and clear about what she wants from life. Fascinated by law from her childhood, she calls it an "abnormal attraction." No one from her family had chosen this field but she was firm in her resolve.

Indomitable in the pursuit of her dream, she says that the numerous people who tried to convince her and her family that law was the wrong career choice for a girl actually motivated her to work towards realising her ambition.

After her LL.B. from Lucknow University, Sonal decided to do MBA from Amity University. "I told my mother that she had already educated me enough to make me capable of earning and of paying for any other course I wish to do. So I took a loan for MBA and paid the first installment."

For her, an MBA was a practical decision, a means of getting herself more job opportunities. It was during this time that Sonal decided to give her PCS-J examination. While preparing for it, she realised once again how much law interested her and then took a step which many would not dare to do.

She withdrew from MBA, well aware that the repayment of the loan taken was her responsibility. She decided that she had to be in the field she loved, rather than be distracted by any other course.

"The force of law inspired me -- how society changes because of the laws we make. It is all about awarding justice," says Sonal. After appearing for the PCS-J exam and while awaiting results, she decided to join an NGO in Lucknow -- Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives.

She was placed in the cell for Women and Children's Human Rights. This gave her immense satisfaction as he was able to help other people. "While working with the NGO, I realised many things. For instance, we feel that law treats men and women as equals but, in reality, law is biased because it has been written by men."

With the unwavering support of her mother, Sonal managed to juggle a very hectic work life with studies for her judicial services exam. Early this year, she discovered that she had been selected and given the rank of Judicial Magistrate First Class.

Though having to say good-bye to her office and colleagues was hard, her work life had enriched her with experience. It had encouraged her to work towards making justice more equitable, especially within the reach of all women.

"It's our moral duty to be aware of our rights and privileges under the law. Many of us might not even be aware that we are facing coercion. I want to be able to connect with all those persons and let them see the machinery of law delivering them justice."

For Sonal Pandeya, offering empowerment to the wronged and doing her bit to let justice prevail is what keeps her inspired.

Steely determination pays off

INDU PRABHA SINGH is a girl one cannot fail to notice. Her intense and sparkling eyes accompany her wit and intelligence. Her frail looks belie her steely grit and no-nonsense attitude. Someone who never fails to speak her mind, she seems made for the civil services.

"Since my school days, I knew this was the career I wanted to have. I have prepared for it with whole-hearted concentration," this Scindia School alumnus says. She, accordingly, chose to study those subjects that would be of use to her during the civil services examination, reportedly the toughest exams in India.

During her graduation, she chose History and later went on to study Public Administration, both of which are popular subject choices for the civil services and hence the toughest to crack, as the largest number of students opt for them.

"My life was one of constant study. Books were my sole companion," she says. Although she failed to clear the exams in her first attempt, Indu remained undaunted. She never lost hope and took it as a challenge. Though she never had any role models, Indu underlines the need for correct guidance, whether through faculty or friends. She feels a coaching institute is not a necessity if one has access to proper guidance elsewhere.

During her years of preparation, she realised the importance of family support and mentions her younger brother Kaushlendra, who always encouraged her to keep trying and never give up.
"Keep working hard, study hard, don't lose direction and you can easily clear the civil services. The trick is never to lose hope, never be hard on yourself and don't set impossible targets. Always prepare well and never rely on luck," Indu advises.

Indu then sat for the Intelligence Bureau exams and cleared it on her first attempt. On joining office, after a vigorous training period, she got a call. It was the news she had always wanted to hear. Indu had cleared her UP-PCS exam on her third attempt and had stood first. It was a day of jubilant celebrations.

Indu recalls being overwhelmed at being the top scorer. She was awarded the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police, one which would finally allow her to realise her dream of staying in the system and solving people's problems. She now has the chance to make a difference in the lives of people. Indu believes that instead of complaining about how bad things are, youth should be actively involved with the government and the administration and initiate changes that are urgently required.

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