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Bio-datas get new networking skills

There was a time when 'workaholic' was the best sort of vice to list on your CV. It was a quality that made an employee dear to his company — if you were wedded to the job, you were good value for money. But the definition of who makes a good employee has changed, and so has the concept of what makes a good CV. Neha Dara writes

india Updated: Sep 11, 2010 22:27 IST
Neha Dara

There was a time when 'workaholic' was the best sort of vice to list on your CV. It was a quality that made an employee dear to his company — if you were wedded to the job, you were good value for money.

But the definition of who makes a good employee has changed, and so has the concept of what makes a good CV.

"As organisations try to become more productive, they want people with a specific skill set," says Asim Handa, country manager for FutureStep, a talent acquisition company. "They look for well-rounded people now, not workaholics, because they feel such people can contribute more." Since the need has changed, people have started designing their CVs differently. "You can no longer have a 'one size fits all' CV," says Sanjay Modi, managing director of the job portal MonsterIndia.com.

The CV should be modified to suit the job you're applying for, highlighting qualifications, experience and exposure that fit the bill, he adds. "You need to understand the job description you're applying for. A tailormade CV also reflects your greater insight," says Harveen Singh Bedi, who heads the resume development business of Naukri.com. Another thing recruiters are seeing more of is the online presence, says Pradeep Bahirwani, vice president of talent acquisition for Wipro Technologies. People mention their blogs, websites and LinkedIn profiles. "Before we meet the person, we already know a lot about them," says Bahirwani.

Over six million Indians are on LinkedIn. The company's internal survey shows that users who have more complete LinkedIn profiles are 40 times more likely to find a job. "Now every professional is like a small business and their profile is a manifestation of their personal brand," says Arvind Rajan, international vice-president of LinkedIn.

The problem with a conventional CV is that it offers no context. "A profile, on the other hand, tells me what other people say about the person, who s/he's connected with, and common contacts we may have," says Rajan. In addition, for those in creative fields, it links to their portfolios and showcases their work. Says Akshay Mahajan, a freelance photojournalist, "My website is my CV. It gives my professional background, links to my earlier work and a slideshow so the prospective employer knows everything he needs to right away."

Even those who stick to the conventional two-page format include links to blogs or online photostreams. "As a writer, I find that including a link to my Flickr stream tells people I can take the photos to back my work, and that works in my favour," says Madhu Reddy, a financial consultant-turned-writer.

Not just a resumé and network, even the activities you undertake can improve your job chances. "Our recruiters join forums to find people who are active participants. It helps to zero in on a likely candidate," says Bahirani. Handa explains how this helps. "Someone who regularly blogs, for instance, has a useful additional skill that can be put to use. Maybe they can write in the company newsletter. It's useful to highlight hobbies and other skills." These interests also offer potential employers a glimpse into the job-seeker's personality. "We take our cues from that information," says Handa. "If someone's into sports, we know he is most likely disciplined."

Two months ago, Vivek Ravishankar, 23, and his partner started Interviewstreet.com, a site that allows recruiters to set customised tests. "Once a candidate clears the test, the company knows this is someone who meets a benchmark." Depending on the requirement, Ravishankar says, companies set tests to evaluate everything from coding capabilities to psychometric evaluations.

Monster has also launched a video/audio resume, that allows users to add sound/video clips to their CVs. "This is useful in a field like the BPO sector," says Modi, "where people are hired on the basis of their communication skills." Handa feels 'visumes' are the likely future. "As software becomes more accessible, we'll have more people recording and editing short professional clips that better represent who they are."