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5 Subtle Signs of Sexual Harassment at Work to Never Ignore

5 Subtle Signs of Sexual Harassment at Work to Never Ignore

Harassment of any kind is a strict no-no in any workplace. And when it comes to sexual harassment, things get even murkier as it is hard for the victim to raise the issue or talk about it. We tend to associate sexual harassment quickly with inappropriate touching or sexual innuendo which are pretty hard to miss but sometimes the signs of sexual harassment at work are so subtle that it may leave one confused and thinking that perhaps “it is all in my imagination”. Women (and men too) are put in many other situations in which they feel uncomfortable but are not confident enough to say so. In the recent years, there has begun a silent (or a not so silent one!) revolution, which has gone on to quickly gain momentum, on sensitizing people about sexual harassment at the workplace, their right to be vocal against it and seek appropriate redressal.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behavior – physical, verbal or written – that can make a person feel intimidated or humiliated. If it happens at work, at work-related events, between colleagues in or outside work, this behavior is covered under sexual harassment at the workplace. It is sexual harassment at the workplace if by such behavior, you feel that you need to keep quiet/submit in order to get or keep a job or that your raises/promotions could get impacted or you feel that your work performance is getting affected because of the hostile or offensive working environment created.

Here are 5 signs of sexual harassment at work, which may be subtle but do fall under the ambit of sexual harassment, never to be ignored and should definitely be taken to task promptly or nipped in the bud, so to say :

1. Sexist Behaviour

If you hear comments about why a particular portfolio is not suitable for you simply because you are a woman, or the fact that you got promoted because you are a woman, or the age old jokes about women drivers, realize that you are a victim of sexist behavior. While a lot of people may laugh it off (women included) not many understand that this kind of behavior is extremely demeaning and insensitive. Sexist behavior, including jokes and comments falls under the category of sexual harassment. While it is crucial to be aware of this fact, you must also be extremely discerning before establishing whether or not the particular behavior displayed towards you qualifies as sexual harassment.

2. The apparently “harmless” flirting –

An occasional compliment now and then is of course a common and pleasant thing at work. But not if it gets to the point that it makes you feel awkward or offended. To differentiate between harmless flirting vs. sexual harassment further – harmless flirting makes someone feel “good,” whereas harassment makes someone feel “bad.” Flirting makes someone feel “happy,” while harassment makes someone feel “sad/angry.” Make yourself clear that you are uncomfortable and his/her behavior towards you can be decoded as potential sexual harassment.

3. Bullying by using seniority (or the Quid pro quo stance) –

Another subtle form of sexual harassment. “Come on, are you sure you want to say no to dinner with your team lead?” If that’s the way your team lead asks you out for dinner, despite you saying you have other plans, be sure that the person in question is very consciously making use of his superior position at work to get your attention, and is making it explicit so that you feel powerless. Do not be a push over, and stand firm by what you want for yourself.

4. Inappropriate ‘online’ behavior –

These days, all of us lead most of our lives on the internet. With the private becoming public, professional relations can become truly confusing. However there are some clear signs you should watch out for – emails unrelated to work coming your way at unearthly hours, request to communicate through completely unprofessional media like snapchat, and the likes. Constant IMs, Facebook stalking, are few of the many signs which you shouldn’t ignore.

5. Unwanted and inappropriate information coming your way –

Lewd or inappropriate photographs, even if it is followed by a message saying, “so sorry didn’t mean to send it to you”, unnecessary information about the person’s domestic affairs – the fact that he had a fight with his spouse or his emotional state because of a messy breakup. Put a stop to it right where it begins by making your displeasure over such behaviour explicit.

Kiri Blakeley in her article “Where ‘omg, u look gr8’ can land you in court”, rightly comments – “the new sexual harassment is much more subtle and harder to confront”. Those subtle areas can include everything from flirtation at a company party to a complimentary text message or an unwelcome invitation to discuss the latest project over dinner or drinks. “There’s been a new generation of confusion in this area,” says Jay Zweig, an employment lawyer with Bryan Cave in Phoenix. “Twenty years ago, it was, ‘Sleep with me if you want the promotion.’ Now most sexual harassment claims have to do with a hostile work environment, someone saying, ‘This person is bothering me. I can’t do my work. I’m distracted and uncomfortable.'”

While the post may seem to have a focus on sexual harassment of women, we would like to clarify these signs are not exclusively applicable only to women, but also to men. You could be a male employee and experience any or all of the above forms of sexual harassment, and have every right to stand up against it.

If you are unsure whether the issue you are facing at the workplace has to do with sexual harassment, don’t make the mistake of keeping silent about it and hoping that things will “go away”, talk it out with a trusted colleague or the counsellor at your workplace. Do a favour to yourself and to your colleagues. While it is important to be discerning before you make a complaint of sexual harassment, it is more important to never ignore these signs of sexual harassment at work, howsoever subtle they may be!

Do you have a story to share ? A different view ? Something we missed ? We would love to hear from you. Found this post useful ? Go ahead, share it!

Bonus : For more information on sexual harassment at work, check out this informative (and worrisome) infographic by Cosmopolitan:

How to Write the Perfect Resume – Your Essential Guide!

How to Write the Perfect Resume – Your Essential Guide!

Anytime is a good time to write the perfect resume. The beginning of the year is an especially good time since it leaves you feeling hopeful for a year full of opportunities and possibilities in the World of Work! And helps you to recap all your achievements and accomplishments of the year gone past. We strongly believe that the resume is not just a document to be written or rewritten for applying to job opportunities. The resume is a faithful journal of your career trajectory – a record of all your successes and learnings at every stage of your working journey. A reminder of where you started, how far you have come and where you still need to go.  So whether you need to apply for a job right now or not, it is always a good time to perfect your resume. For all of you who’ve missed our previous posts on resumes, and for the rest of you who may have enjoyed reading them, here is our essential guide for everything you need to know about resumes and how to write them right.

Write the Perfect Resume – Decide the kind of resume that suits your profile the best

Spend some time deciding the flow that your resume should follow so that your experience and skills are displayed to their best advantage.

Chronological Resume – This format of resume is most popular and common, and is always sought after by the employer for its efficient timeline layout. The contents, i.e. your work experience, education and other details are listed in a reverse chronological order – the most recent being on top. Each position you list has to be supplemented by the qualifications you hold for the position and accomplishments achieved while in that position. Your education section is to have your latest degree first followed by any other degrees you may have acquired previously, and information about your schooling (up to 10 +2). Additionally a Skills section would help you to highlight any additional skills-centric workshop/certificate courses you may have participated in (again listed in reverse chronological order with the most recent one being on top).

Functional Resume – Going by the name, a ‘Functional’ resume is one which focusses more on an elaboration of your skills and experiences rather than a timeline format of positions held by you. Thus, if you have skills in the categories of Human Resources, Communication, Customer Service, and so on, your skills, experience and accomplishments pertaining to these categories are to be listed in bullet points under each heading. It has to be followed by a separate heading – ‘Employment’ in which you list your work order in reverse chronological order. This format gives more focus to skills than your work experience, however any kind of resume has to have a section in which your employment history is listed.

Combination Resume – This format lets you have the best of the Chronological Resume and the Functional Resume. It helps you highlight your skills as well as your progressive work experience in a timeline format.

For more on types of resumes, sample formats and how to tailor yours to suit your profile, have a look at our post, here.

Write the Perfect Resume – Get your Basics Right!

It does not matter whether you are writing your resume for the first time or brushing the dust off your long forgotten resume to make it perfect for today, keep these basics in mind.

Template for your resume : Start with a professionally designed template. There are a number of free templates on the internet, we recommend you check out the ones at Microsoft:  Unless you are in the creative fields, we recommend choosing a simple template that does not have a lot of graphics and unusual fonts/icons on it. Most companies use automated systems(Applicant Tracking Systems) to process your resumes and if you don’t stick to the standards, the system may not recognize parts or all of your resume.

Use Appropriate Headings: It organizes the content of your resume making it easy to read and drawing the attention of the reader to the most important parts (remember the short attention span of the recruiter while filtering through hundreds of resumes). Here are some great dos and don’ts for the resume headings that you must read.

Format of your resume: Use a PDF format, unless otherwise told. However, it is best to save three copies of your resume, one in PDF, one in rtf and another one in a word format, so that you can use whichever is required and don’t have to fumble around for it.

Sync your Resume with all your Online profiles: This is crucial because it makes you appear consistent as well as authentic. This will also have your back in case of a background check.

Invest in your stationery: While you would have sent out a soft copy of your resume already, you will still be required to carry a hard copy of it for face to face interviews at most places. Use the best possible paper and ink to print out your resume, believe us, subtle things like this do make a statement.

Don’t make it an autobiography: Draw the line between the personal and the professional in your resume. Things like your marital status, parents’ names, their professions, your height, weight, et all are of no consequence in your resume.

Write the Perfect Resume – Do’s and Don’ts while Writing

Once you have the content and template ready, keep in mind the following points while editing your resume:

Always keep the design of your resume simple and readable. Avoid any fancy frills, those are always distract the reader away from the substance of your resume. Use ample white spaces and always prefer putting the information in bullet points, rather than in paragraphs, it is much more readable that way. Use a font size of 11 or 12, not too small, not too big!

Curate your digital footprints. Update your LinkedIn profile, and your other social networking accounts, cleanse anything you may not want your employer to ‘stumble upon’!  (for more on why this is important, read the social media mistakes you need to avoid while job hunting).

Is your objective clearly stated? If not, make sure it is. Do not beat around the bush. This is one section that you can customize for the position and company that you are applying to.

Use ‘Action Words’ like ‘growth’, ‘build’, ‘driving force’, to make an impact on the reviewer.

Edit, edit and edit until you have done away with every redundant syllable! Keeping your resume as short and crisp as possible will always make it stand out!

Avoid typos at all costs. Take all the care to avoid any grammatical and spelling errors in your resume. It could be a real dampener!

Use a professional email id. If you are still using ronitdarockstarrr@iamuseless.com from your college days, switch over to a professional email id with your full name in it, and without any adjectives or other unnecessary words.

Always furnish genuine information. Remember in this digital age, your original credentials are just a click away. So it is best to be honest to the core while writing up your resume. You don’t want a background check to be contradicting the information you have shared with your prospective employer.

For more on Do’s and Don’ts while writing your resume and a great infographic on the topic, read here .

Write the Perfect Resume – Some cover letter basics before you Send your Resume!

In this digital age, the cover letter has been replaced by the cover email – but be it a letter or email, an introduction to your resume remains as important as ever.

Do your research on the organization/company you are applying to. Most of them have detailed instructions regarding what they expect you to write in your cover letter. If you know someone who works in the organization, get in touch with him and take his advice. If there is a referral system in place, see if you can get your resume submitted through it.

Address your email to the appropriate contact person. Find out the name of the person you are mailing your resume to. Even if the organization has a generic email to send resumes, they sometimes mention a contact person who handles all recruitment requests.

Your cover letter/email should convey succinctly your interest in the organization. Introduce yourself briefly and go on to mention why you are writing the email. Be sure to be explicit about how your skill set compliments the position you are applying to. Describe your skills and experiences, as required by the organization. Be careful not to copy as is from your resume: it shows you are lazy. Remember to write complete sentences and do a thorough spell check.

If asked by the organization, mention the name of your referees and how they are related to you. Give correct contact addresses for these people and make sure you notify them in advance regarding your application. Also include your own contact information at the end of the cover letter as well as in the resume so that the recruiters can easily get in touch with you.

A fine way to murder your job application is by making your cover letter generic. The reader should feel that you have read about their organization before mailing, and not simply sent a generic mail to all companies that you are applying to. Browse the organization website and get to know about their work culture, ethics and history. You should write how these qualities match your own beliefs, and how this would help you thrive in the organization. Customizing the cover letter according to the organization grabs the reader’s attention and gives you a definite edge over other applicants with generic letters.

For more on cover letter basics, read here.

Write the Perfect Resume – Apps that can make it easier

Did you know about these awesome free apps that can help you in building your resume?

Resume Now – If you are a rookie at resumes, this is the perfect app for you. The app has a simple interface which gives you step by step instructions on how to proceed with your resume. It has a range of templates you can pick from and allows you to save your resume in multiple formats. This app is the official resume building app for the site Live Career. You will first have to sign in (hassle free) and then you can even create cover letters, take free tests, save and download the resume you’ve worked on.

Pocket Resume – An easy to use app, with features that enable you to create, maintain, update and email your resume on your phone, on the go!

Career Igniter Resume Builder– A free android app you can use without even having to create an account. The app lets you export your resume in a word format, it also lets you save it and email it. However, their format is inflexible, meaning it is mandatory for you to fill in all the headings they have.

Resume Writing Secrets – A great app which gives you exposure to a lot of helpful tips and tricks for building a resume. Particularly handy when you have a lot of transit time!

Resume Genius – The USP of this app is that you can select from over fifty thousand professionally written resume phrases to incorporate seamlessly into your resume templates. Also, you don’t need to create an account, all you need to do is click “Create My Free Resume” and get started.

This article on techrepublic has a lot more interesting apps you could try out, have a look here.

We hope you enjoyed reading our exhaustive compilation on everything you need to know to write the perfect resume! Your resume and your cover letter are your marketing pitch to get your foot in the door. Remember that while you may have a kickass background, it may mean nothing unless you are able to communicate it effectively in the form of an articulate and well-structured resume. Craft a resume which inspires them to hire you, and we hope this article was full of the inspiration you needed to start cracking on the perfect resume!

Bonus Infographic from essaymama.com : We have included this smart checklist to help you assess your resume and make sure that you have got it all together. Check it out!

Beware: 5 Social Media Mistakes When Job Hunting

Beware: 5 Social Media Mistakes When Job Hunting

Did you know that 92% of recruiters and companies are using social media to search for or vet candidates for jobs? Social Media is a gold mine for recruiters. Online networks are chock-full of precious data, both personal and professional.  And recruiters are digging deep to uncover more about job hunting candidates. (Source: Jobvite 2015 recruiter nation Survey)

Social Media has truly become a powerful tool in the process of recruitment. If you are job hunting (and even if you are not), you should be very careful about what you put out there, because EVERYTHING you ‘update’, ‘post’, ‘tweet’ or ‘Instagram’, is likely to be held for or against you when you are job hunting. Do an online search on yourself first and see what comes up. Do you want potential employers to see this information about you? Is your online presence a credible and reassuring one? Here are the five social media mistakes when job hunting, you definitely should be wary of:

1. Inappropriate Photographs

Curate your online profiles carefully for any inappropriate photographs that would not leave a positive impression for your potential employer. For example, you don’t want overly explicit photographs of the crazy bachelor’s party your friend recently had! Be sure to check the tags as well – a lot of times, you may not have uploaded photographs, but if your friends have tagged you on them, they will still show up on your profile. Tone down on the selfies too.

2. Dissing your old employer or colleagues in public

A strict no-no, and is also extremely unprofessional. Remember that it is a small world and ending things on a bad note can have consequences you didn’t even think of then. Besides, ranting away to glory in a public forum (and God forbid, with spelling and grammatical mistakes galore) reflects very poorly upon you, and your future or potential employer would definitely take a judgement call based on this one factor.

3. Bragging about illegal activity

Remember that you are not in high school anymore, and it is no longer ‘wicked’ to do this stuff. Speaking of ‘stuff’, it is completely unacceptable to put up information regarding your personal habits which are also borderline or completely illegal. No employer would ever let such information pass unnoticed, and with that, you can kiss your dream job goodbye.

4. Very frequent/very few updates

A constant social media presence would definitely bring to your potential employer’s mind “He/she is 24*7 on Facebook, Twitter, even at 12.30 pm on a weekday. Is he/she easily distracted? Will he/she able to focus on his/her work?”, and there goes your chance. Similarly, in today’s world, being completely absent on social media reflects a general lack of interest in current affairs and networking. Strike a balance between too much and too little time and presence on social media.

5. Not controlling/limiting privacy

When the likes of Zuckerberg and Hoffman have created options where we can control what we want to show to the world, and who we want to show it to, why not use it? Since you can’t really filter everything, you may consider restricting your privacy options to only your friends or people you can trust. Here is a great post that tells you exactly how to clean up your online profiles on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more. But we would still ask you to cleanse whatever you can (and don’t forget to go back in time to delete/filter inappropriate postings – that trip to Goa/Las Vegas where your friends captured your “zombie” time? Hide for sure!). Because it does make an impression, and will probably have made the first impression before you even make it to the interview!

The presence and reach of social media in our lives – personal and professional, has  become quite overwhelming, and increasingly so in the world of work. Being aware and conscious of how much and what you put out there, and what counts as social media mistakes when job hunting, will always work in your favor, regardless of whether or not you are job hunting actively.

Bonus Infographic: In case you need more motivation to proactively manage your social media presence to succeed in your job hunt, we have the facts and figures here from Jobvite on why Social Media matters:


A Quick Guide to Writing Compelling Ecommerce Content

A Quick Guide to Writing Compelling Ecommerce Content

You are staring at an image of this plain white tee on an ecommerce website, wondering if you really need it.  Beside the image, the word ‘versatile’ catches your eye and you decide to read. Here is how it goes – ‘This versatile, white t-shirt is a must-have in your wardrobe. An everyday essential, this simple round-neck t-shirt is cut from the finest cotton with an extra-soft feel. A straight fit, it has a ribbed round neckline, short sleeves and neat stitched edges. Wear it under a casual shirt or pair it with denim shorts and loafers, the possibilities are endless.’ Sold.

Content and content marketing is all about offering value to your customers, keeping them engaged and giving them all the necessary information they need to make an informed buying decision. Ecommerce content is every form of write-up that goes into building an engaging ecommerce website. It includes Home page content, keyword optimized category and sub-category descriptions, SEO blurbs, product descriptions and blogs, newsletters and editorials about the latest trends. The content needs to be creative, crisp, original and engaging because compelling content is always a competitive advantage. It is important to capture the customer’s attention and hold it just long enough to convince them to take the buying decision. In fact, content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less (see infographic below).

To be able to sell your product, you need to first have SEO friendly descriptions that will target the right kind of customers for the right kind of products. Next, your description must convince the buyer that he/she “needs” the product and that it would be a worthy buy.

Here are some tips and tricks, dos and don’ts to help you write great ecommerce content:

  1. Be Simple and Relevant – Always keep your sentences simple and short, and your grammar impeccable. Assume the reader has very little time and patience, and keep your writing crisp and fluff-free. Sell style, sell quality, sell trust.
  2. Do Keyword Research – Learn the basics of SEO. Use properly targeted words. Think about the consumer that you would like to convince to buy. Decide what you would want them to feel.
  3. Think USPs – What makes the product special? When writing about this, follow an order, macro to micro and top to bottom. This allows for easy and quick reading by the buyers.
  4. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes – Why would he/she want to buy this product? Emphasize on how this product will add/improve the buyer’s lifestyle. If you’re describing household items like bedsheets, for example, mention how well it would go with that bedside table and the wooden finishing of the bed.
  5. Don’t exaggerate – Remember, it is all about trust. Your words should match the product image and be consistent. If any feature isn’t matching, the buyer will get confused and just go buy something else or end up buying something that he or she didn’t want or expect.

To sum it all up, good content will engage the right audience and boost sales by making the products more appealing. The content on your website is your voice – authoritative and confident. It should list high up on your marketing and sales strategy.

Thoughts? Questions? If we have missed anything, do let us know!

Bonus: To learn more about what content marketing is, how it can benefit your organization and how to get started using this technique to promote your company, check out the great infographic from Demand Metric :