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Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
Don’t copy your friend’s resume blindly.

Mistakes found in most Indian résumés—and how to fix them

Nikhil Vij
By Nikhil Vij

Co-founder of TalentPad

The placement season has already begun in India’s top engineering colleges—and companies from across the world are lining up to hire en masse.

Amidst the excitement, huge salary packages running into crores of rupees have been offered this year to graduates from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

But this isn’t a happy season for every student.

One reason why countless graduates do not get their ideal job is a lacklustre resume. Many Indian students simply download a boring resume template from Google, or blindly copy a senior student’s resume—and that’s not going to catch a hiring manager’s eye.

When applying for a job, get into the employer’s shoes. A hiring manager typically spends less than a minute going through each candidate’s resume. So, the trick is to maximise the information conveyed per word written.

At Talent Pad, a career website, we sift through thousands of job applications every month. Here are some of the mistakes we found in many CVs created by recent engineering graduates—and some tips on how to fix them.

Objective 

Don’t write one unless it is very specific. Majority of job-seekers don’t have a definite objective in mind, and end up writing a very generic objective. Since this is typically on the top, it ends up taking precious seconds out of the time the employer would spend on your resume.

Job Description

Don’t write your current job description, instead write achievements. Employers want to judge you on what you did and achieved, rather than what you were simply asked to do. Pay attention to the language. For instance, consider the two sentences below:

  • Part of a two member team responsible for backend development for all new features
  • Implemented three minor and two major features in our product line XYZ, within four months of joining the team

We might be talking about the same person, but the second sentence is much more informative. Not only does it highlight what you did, but also goes to show that you were able to take responsibility.

Work Description

Don’t be too vague, or go into too much detail. You should try to convey only the most relevant information succinctly.

An employer’s motive here is to figure out:

  • what did you learn?
  • how much responsibility did you hold?
  • what kind of results did you produce?

Any text that doesn’t add to these things is unnecessary.

Soft Skills

Don’t mention them, instead mention examples. Sentences like ”hard working individual”, ”always a team player”, ”initiative taker” don’t convey anything. Instead mention stuff like ”launched a new project on a tight schedule in under 15 days” or “suggested and implemented a new marketing strategy, which doubled registration count for that month.”

Standard Format

Most job-seekers use their friend/senior’s resume formats. You should realize that your aim is to capture your desired employer’s attention. You should lead with your best point, whether that is your work at last company, or your freelance work, or your education, or side projects.

Don’t try to cast the net as wide as possible. One shoe doesn’t fit all.

Transparency

Most people are tempted to omit unpleasant details from their job profiles. But hiring managers resent such candidates. In most cases, addressing your issues upfront is actually a better choice. Whether you took a year’s break, or left your previous job after a short duration—make sure you address all the unpleasant facts in your interview.