by April 15, 1998 0 comments

Congratulations on making the decision to make the
world your stage and craft some great software that would enhance the productivity of your
clients and probably put you in their organizations” hall of fame.

While most of us think nothing of rolling
up our sleeves and get down to writing a few thousand lines of complex code, when it comes
to prepare our resumés, we have an almost insurmountable case of the writer”s block. How
many times have you or your friends let go of seemingly wonderful opportunities just
because a fully–updated copy of resumé was not at hand? How many times have you
resolved to sit down and complete the resumé ”today” and then postponed it because
something more interesting (and surely more pleasurable) such as watching the latest soap
on the TV or completing that latest bestseller was beckoning you.

The need for an interesting and effective
resumé in the competitive international job market cannot be overstated.

Resumé–Deal Starter Or Deal

As you very well know, most international recruiters make their decisions to proceed to
the next stage or drop a candidate entirely on the basis of what they think of his/her
resumé. So while a good resumé by itself might not get you the job, a bad one will
surely lose you one.

Also remember, each recruiter scans through
hundreds of resumés each week making a go or drop decision within minutes.

So the challenge in front of us is to draft
(nay craft) a resumé which contains all the information, presented in a logical and
interesting format that will help the recruiter make a favorable decision.

Some Tips For You

The preparation should make a clear inventory of
your accomplishments, your personality traits, and your goals. For instance, your list
might look like this:

  • Have expert level skills in
    object–oriented programming, CORBA, and databases
  • Have in–depth understanding and
    hands–on experience with VC++ and WindowsNT
  • Have exposure to Java, HTML, CGI
  • I am very goal oriented and have a
    consistent track record on timely project completion
  • I like working in teams
  • I am a fast learner
  • I like working on latest technology I would
    like to work on projects, which comprise ActiveX technology
  • I would like to be in a Technical Lead
    position in the next two years
  • I would like to learn Java.

The focus is–You. Yes, you read that
right absolutely right. The focus of the resumé should be You–your academic and
professional accomplishments–not how great/big the organizations you worked for are
(unless you happen to have a direct claim on getting the organization there), how many
cars, steel, or whatever else they manufacture, what awards they have won or the personal
characteristics of the CEO. While this seems pretty obvious, you would be surprised to see
how many resumés come to us which wax eloquent about the organization being the largest
silver/titanium or whatever else manufacturer south of Timbuktu and going onto talk about
how the CEO was named the greatest `Humane Head Honcho” by the Traders Association of
Lower Vile Parle.

But you are working for a great
organization, is that not a selling point in your favor? Yes, it is a point but not the
focal point. Your attempts to play up the organization could be misunderstood as a means
to use that as a prop to hold yourself up–probably without much justification.

So what do we do? We mention in a single
sentence that this was an organization with 2,000 employees or $ 200 million revenue or
whatever, and move on quickly. It could be a good idea to give the address of the
organization”s web site to help the recruiter get a better idea of the business, if he
wants to spend the time.

Understand Your Audience
The recruiter is looking for skills that are rare and or highly marketable, as also
experience spanning industry segments such as finance, manufacturing, retail etc. The more
needs you know, the more tailored you could make your resumé and the greater your chances
of success. So spend time asking questions of people who are already in the target
organizations or visiting the web site to get a clear idea of the work that is being done
and what portion of your skill set would be most appealing.

Format Your Resumé
Start with a brief synopsis such as “I am an experienced object–oriented
developer with extensive experience in designing and developing application software for
the manufacturing industry. My areas of expertise are CORBA, Java, C++.”

Thereafter, it might be a good idea to list
all the languages, databases, tools, and hardware platforms you have worked on.

Move on to each project you have worked
starting with the latest one and moving back one step at a time. Again, the key is to
focus on your contributions and achievements rather than the sheer size and complexity of
the entire project. It is much better to say, “Carried out a detailed study of the
Year 2000 impact on the system and wrote 2,000 lines of COBOL code and delivered within
the time allotted,” than to say “This was a Year 2000 project, which if not
rewritten, would have resulted in $ 10 billion loss to this company and ….”

Have a friend do a thorough review of the resumé from a language, readability, verbosity,
and technology standpoint. Make sure all the issues you wish highlighted are clear. Two or
three iterations at this stage would be highly beneficial and strongly recommended. In
fact, you might need to seek the assistance of more than one person to ensure that you
have the language and technology issues adequately covered.

Also, ensure that your resumé does not
extend beyond three pages. Again, if you have 10 years of experience, this might be
difficult to achieve, but remember time is a valuable commodity for everyone in these
nano—second nineties and a recruiter who is considering you for your current Internet
and project management skills is not very interested in that funky dBase program you wrote
15 years ago. So what do you do? Well, focus on what you think will win you the job and
just mention in passing that you have worked on technologies of the Jurassic Age.

Revisiting your resumé once every quarter
or after each major project is too a good idea and would enable you to take on
opportunities as they become available.

So to draft an effective resumé,
understand yourself and your achievements, understand your audience, write chronologically
and concisely, review dispassionately, and finalize.

is Director (Technical Resources),
Unique Computing Solutions Inc., USA.

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