Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Four ‘Cs’ of writing a good CV
I.M. Soni

WHAT are the hallmarks of an impressive as well as expressive resume? These can be summed up as the four ‘Cs’ — competence, clarity confidence and courtesy.

An impressive job application holds a mirror to your personality. Clarity of thought is important. Clarity in thought goes hand in hand with charity of expression. Both come from discipline of the mind. A muddy mind produces muddy thinking.

This also shows in layout, relevance and brevity. Brightness of tone without sacrificing the demand of decency. Informality, the mark of a personal letter, is strictly taboo here. No flashes of wit or witticism. Just the qualities expected in formal, matter-of-fact, business letters.

This is an opportunity. Once employed, you may have to work at such letters on behalf of your employer. Cash in on this chance. Show your ability. He may be looking for a person who can do the job for him and share his burden.

Do bear in mind that your application is your first point of contact with your prospective employer. He knows nothing about you. Your application is a curtain-raiser. A favourable impression is more likely to elicit a favourable response.

The following can be used as signposts of success:

Read the advertisement (if you are responding to one) very carefully. Go by the instructions given therein without jumping the rules laid down. This jumping creates doubts. Doubts raise question marks.

Go step by step. Gather all the papers, certificates, credentials etc. Arrange all the information in an organised way. Disorder reveals a chaotic mind.

Make it a point to mention the source of the advertisement — date. The Sunday Tribune, Page 8, dated...

If the advertisement stipulates one or two references, your application will be marked "incomplete," if you omit them.

Be practical, not fanciful, in choosing your references. High-sounding names are no qualification. People, from the field of your work specialisation, matter. The too busy may not even respond to the reference.

The application need not be big bundle of documents. It should have the application, and a covering letter. You can include a covering sheet containing bullet-points of your resume. The resume gives details of your education, experience, training and other relevant work in detail.

A covering letter and covering sheet are two different things. The former is addressed to the prospective employer, the latter is not. The former should be short and strictly to the point.

Details should be inserted in the resume. These include activities not directly related to the job, such as sporting achievements or social work undertaken by you.

A word of caution. Such activities should not be so overplayed as to overshadow your credentials for the job itself. Also, avoid trivial or superficial activity. These are digressive and off-putting.

Prepare the application lovingly and carefully. The first draft is an attempt not an accomplishment. Re-write it. Keep the focus on what is required, and what you can offer. The aim should be to give the impression that you are a square peg n a square hole!

Highlight your abilities, capacities, achievements, aspirations, potential, interest, suitability without stretching credibility truth. There is no need to ‘confess’ a weakness, if any.

If you can work at a computer terminal, operate a computer to type, do mention it.