December 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India
Try these ads for big results
Try these ads for big results
Situation Vacant advertisements are one of the more visible sources for job leads. While they make it easier to identify opportunities, responding to these ads places you in direct competition with many other candidates. However, placement consultants estimate that anywhere between 15 and 25 per cent of all jobs are filled through such ads.
Glancing casually through this weekís classifieds in my daily newspaper I was amazed to find the wide range and categories of positions advertised (over 100 on one given day alone)- ranging from super-specialty doctors to engineers; fashion coordinators to tutors; and DTP operators to marketing executives! So why not increase your job-landing odds by responding to the classifieds too?
To better your success rate, do scan the key publications in which the relevant ads commonly appear. In addition to your daily newspaper, financial dailies and a variety of trade publications, and business-oriented magazines also run these ads. It also helps to scan publications pertinent to your industry. Yet another source that you cannot ignore is the Internet which hosts countless job sites.
While looking at the classifieds, do read the entire section. Typically the notifications run at random rather than being clustered by position or industry. Thus, if for instance, you are seeking a position in "Personnel" you might find a relevant ad appearing in different parts of the classified section under various headings. Many newspapers also publish "situation vacant" advertisements in the business section. These ads are usually directed towards experienced professionals seeking mid-management positions.
Situation Vacant notifications in the classified section appear in two formats: "Blind" and "Open". Open ads list the name of the company while blind ads direct you to apply to a post office box number. Companies run blind ads for a variety of reasons - and not always to fill a position. In some cases, they could just be trying to get a feel for the kind of talent available. Or the range of salaries that people in that position are currently fetching. If there is a genuine job opening, the position may be confidential, or the company may not want to terminate the incumbent manager until a replacement has been found. So if you are currently employed and the description in the blind ad sounds remarkably similar to your job, caution is in order.
An additional benefit to companies running blind ads is that they donít have to respond to candidates. Many companies that sell their products to consumers feel obligated to communicate with all applicants. This can be a burdensome task for some of the larger, better-known corporations.
When responding to "Situation Vacant" ads, remember that your letter is likely to be one of hundreds that the company receives. Hence conciseness is critical.
Most people find a three-paragraph strategy to be effective. The first paragraph states how you learned about the position and why your are qualified for it:
I read with interest your advertisement for a mechanical engineer in last Sundayís Dainik and believe my five years of related technical experience would make me a strong candidate for the position.
Paragraph two discusses your one accomplishment or result that most closely relates to the needs of the employer.
My experience directing the start-up activities of a Rs 10 crore distribution centre demonstrates my ability to achieve tangible results through managing the activities of a diversified work force. The third paragraph closes the letter with a statement about what the next step will be. If the name of the employer is given, indicating that you plan to follow up with a call may not be totally out of order:
I will call you next week to determine the appropriate next step.
In situations where the employer is unknown, you are perforce limited to a more passive closing statement such as:
I look forward to discussing my background with you in the near future.
A common request is for inclusion of salary drawn and expected. Although there are differences in opinion on how to respond, a fairly compelling argument can be made not to include this information. Salary information is often requested by companies as a screening tool. Your strategy is to get the company interested in you before money is discussed. This improves your chances of getting top billing for your services. Even if the ad states that applications will not be considered unless salary information is included, it is highly unlikely that a qualified candidate would be ruled out.
The classified advertiser is often in a hurry to fill the position. Hence the increasing popularity of the "walk-in interview". Circumventing the long-drawn resume-scanning and sending out call letters by mail procedure, you are just required to turn-up for the screening interview at the appointed time and place if you think you fit the bill -who knows, you may well return with a job in your pocket!
ó Pervin Malhotra
Some phrases are designed to lure you in, while concealing what the job is really about. Beware! A few notorious examples:
"Energetic self-starter wanted" (=Youíll be working on commission)
"Good organisational skills" (=Youíll be handling the filing)
"Make an investment in your future" (This is a franchise or pyramid scheme)
"Much client contact" (Youíll handle the phone, or make "cold calls" on clients)
"Planning and coordinating" (You have to book the bossís travel arrangements)
"Opportunity of a lifetime" (Nowhere else will you find such a low salary and so much work)
Q: I am interested in pursuing a career in biochemistry. What are the prospects in this field?
A: Biochemistry occupies a central place in life sciences as it seeks to explain the chemical processes of living organisms. It also focuses on the chemical mechanisms of genetic information storage and transmission, and the chemistry of cells, blood, biological systems and products, and life processes such as respiration, digestion, and reproduction.
Its applications are of vital significance to the fields of medicine, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary, agricultural and dairy sciences.
Biochemical engineering harnesses the knowledge of living organisms and systems to create safe and efficient processes. Mainly concerned with biological changes, it is an essential input in the production of pharmaceuticals, foodstuff and waste treatment.
There is an increasing demand for biochemists involved in biochemical genetic research not only in India but also abroad, especially for those with a specialisation in cell biology, genetics, biochemical methods and research.
Openings for biochemists exist in research and development and scientific departments in industry, public sector laboratories, universities and hospitals. While MPhil or PhD is necessary for working as a scientist, you could work as a research assistant straight after MSc in research-oriented organisations like the CSIR, the ICMR and defence labs also recruit scientists.
You can also choose to teach at the college or university level. For this, you have to qualify NET conducted by the UGC or SLET on completing your MSc.
Biochemists are also employed in the sales and marketing departments of pharmaceutical and related industries. The civil services is another option.
Q: I have heard that an institute in UP offers courses in carpet manufacturing. I would be very grateful if you could give me some information about this because I would like to join my uncle in the USA who imports carpets from all over the world.
A: The name of the institute is: Indian Institute of Carpet Technology, Chauri Road, Bhadohi-221401 (UP). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ph: 0541 428404.
The IICT is an autonomous body under the M/o Textiles, GoI, affiliated to the UP Technical University and approved by the AICTE to disseminate technical knowledge in textiles in general, and carpet weaving in particular. The courses include training and skill upgradation programmes in designing, weaving on improved looms, computer aided design (CAD), colour matching, physical and and chemical testing of various types of yarn used in carpets and floor covering, dyeing techniques, including vegetable dyes, washing and finishing techniques. The institute also offers hi-tech testing, designing and consulting services to the industry at large.
Besides offering industry-driven technical courses and training programmes, the IICT offers BTech in Carpet & Textile Technology (4-yr), the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Hostel accommodation is avialable for both male as well as female students. There are presently 20 seats in all, 10 of which are paid seats and the other 10 are through UPSEAT.
As you perhaps know, the handmade carpet industry in the Bhadoi-Mirzapur belt grosses Rs 25,000 crore from export alone.
Q: I am working in the HR department of an engineering firm. Is it possible to do a PG Diploma in Labour Welfare through correspondence. Could you please suggest some universities/institutes that offer these courses?
A: You have several options. The Directorates of Distance Education of the following universities offer courses in labour law ó either singly or in combination with related subjects:
Alagappa University, Karaikudi offers Diploma in Labour Laws (1-yr). Eligibility: 10+2.
Annamalai University, Annamalainagar offers Diploma in Labour Laws & Admin Laws (1-yr). Eligibility: Bachelorís degree.
Bangalore University offers Diploma in Labour Law (1-yr). Eligibility: Bachelorís degree.
Kota Open University offers Diploma in Labour Laws, Industrial Rel & Personnel Mgt Admin (1-3 yrs). Eligibility: LLB/Masterís degree.
University of Madras, Chennai offers Diploma in Labour Law (1-yr). Eligibility: Bachelorís degree.
Madurai Kamaraj University offers Diploma in Labour Laws & Admin Laws (1-yr). Eligibility: Bachelorís degree.
Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak offers a PG Diploma in Labour Laws, Labour Welfare & Personnel Mgt (1-yr). Eligibility: BE/BGL/LLB/MA or equiv. Indian Law Institute, Bhagwan Das Road, New Delhi, offers a PG Diploma in Labour Law for those who have completed their LLB (evng).
Q: Do personnel of the armed forces get any special preference for entry into the civil services?
A: As selection to the civil services is purely on the basis of an all-India competitive entrance exam, there is no special concession granted to serving officers.
However, ex-defence personnel do get a relaxation of about five years as far as age is concerned when applying for jobs in PSUs and state government projects like the Metro Rail Project in Delhi, for instance.
Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to:
(Queries answered by