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Spruce up your CV

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:09 IST
Pankti Mehta
Pankti Mehta
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

At the beginning of the summer holidays, we gave you lists of how not to waste the summer, but instead take creative classes, internships, an alternate fitness regime or a social cause. Now that college will be re-opening, you should update your resume with what you used the summer for. Presenting the facts well on your resume will go a long way when applying to colleges, companies or universities abroad. That said, remember to never lie on your CV – it’s easy to get caught and unethical too!

Internships
If you completed an internship over the summer in your field of interest, make sure to list leadership opportunities or teamwork that you may have had a chance to perform. Also, briefly talk about the skill-set you got to use. For instance, if it involved proficiency with a particular software, or communication skills or presentation-making, highlight those aspects. If you interacted with high-level people, mention that too, in addition to talking about the projects you worked on and the role you fulfilled. Use a bullet-point style with no more than one sentence on each aspect.

Language
Spent the summer learning an exotic European or south-Asian language? That bodes well for your CV. “I learned German this summer, because I’m interested in applying to a European college, maybe even get a job there,” says Jai Doshi, mechanical engineering student, KJ Somaiya College. “A language teaches you a lot about the culture of a place.”

Learning a language shows that you are culturally aware and ready to take on a job within the global economy, so those points should come in to either your CV or your cover letter.

Art/Hobby course
Since these classes reflect your personality and interests, these should find space on your CV, however, lower down. “The general consensus is that creative employees are good employees, willing to think out of the box,” says Dr PN Singh, chairman, Grid Consulting and director of the Dr PN Singh Centre for HRD. “So even if it was just a short course, you may talk about some of the skills acquired, such as patience, lateral thinking, and so on.”

Sport/Physical education
If you took on a sport over the summer, or have been pursuing one, talk about the role you played in the team. A team player is always preferred over another candidate. Moreover, stress the leadership skills you took on. If you did physical education that is not a team sport, like, say, a martial art, you can highlight the discipline it takes to follow through with such a practice.

Social work
Taking on a social cause is always impressive. If you volunteered, put in the number of hours you spent and the project within the type of cause you dealt with. Also underscore points about the organisation you are working with and the kind of work they do. Again, leadership opportunities and management skills should be accentuated. “It always helps to show both compassion and true passion for a cause,” says Singh.

At a glance
. Keep your resume down to no more than two pages – no one has the time to read more.
. In your covering letter or e-mail, don’t use flowery language. Be to the point and explain why you want the job.
. In applications to universities abroad, mention the number of languages you know, even if they’re all Indian. Since it is not in Western culture to know more than one or two languages, it is impressive to them.
. Highlight points relevant to your stream of choice in the beginning of your cover letter and CV .