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Recruiters’ Alert: Red Flags to Watch out for in CVs

Recruiters’ Alert: Red Flags to Watch out for in CVs

As a recruiter, one of your most fundamental (and potentially boring) tasks is to screen through all the CVs that come your way, and identify which ones to scrap and which ones to move ahead with. At times this can be tough, when you have scores and scores of CVs to go through, and there’s only so much your brain can process. However, to make your job easier, you can train yourself to look out for certain Red Flags in the CVs that come your way. This will make it infinitely easier for you to sift through the CVs, while shortlisting the very best potential hires.

So what are some of the red flags you need to watch out for?

  1. Does not address the basics of the job description

    Even if you may have listed out the specifications you are looking for, very clearly, you will still receive applications that do not heed the basic requirements. For example, one of the easiest ways to short list CVs is to check the work experience of the candidate. If you are hiring for a senior position, you have very specific conditions in mind. Or certain language requirements that may be a precondition. This way, you’ll be able to filter the CVs much faster.

  2. The format of the CV

    One of the easiest and most obvious ways to tell whether or not a candidate is a potential hire is by simply looking at the format of the CV. If it is sloppy and untidy, you know that the concerned candidate is not really serious about his application, because they clearly haven’t spent time trying to make an impression through their application. This reflects a great deal about how professional the candidate is. While the CV does not need to be elaborate and decorative, it definitely needs to be clean, well formatted and definitive.

  3. Unexplained gaps in employment

    Gap years are perfectly acceptable. And at times, even desirable. But that depends on how the gap year has been spent. Volunteering, internships, traveling, freelancing are some of the most common reasons for taking gap years. If the overall professional record of the candidate is alright, this shouldn’t be a cause for worry for a recruiter. However, what you can’t take a chance with is unexplained gaps in employment. In that case, you have no knowledge about how the candidate spent that time, and worse, you don’t know if they’re hiding something.

  4. No achievements

    The candidate might have been educated at the most prestigious institutions, and may have been employed at fairly reputed organizations; however, without achievements these aspects don’t really matter. They certainly do not account for achievements in themselves. In order to decide whether the candidate can be an asset to your organization, you need more tangible proof. While the candidate might have been entrusted with a lot of important roles and responsibilities, it is also important to get a gauge of how the candidate delivered on them.

  5. Lack of definitive  targeting

    A good CV is one which definitively targets all the job requirements, and responds to each one by stating the skills necessary for the requirements. A CV without intent, or target, is not something that you can short list as a potential hire. While the candidate might be a good all round candidate, specific roles have specific requirements. As a recruiter, it is your foremost responsibility to not compromise on this very crucial precondition for hiring.

Even the seemingly “small” things do make an overall difference to the quality of hire. The way a CV is written up, speaks volumes about the overall personality of a person. While you can’t get a thorough gauge of the professional unless you call them in for a personal interview, the CV can give you enough of an idea about whether or not the candidate should even make it to the next round. Want more tips on how to recognize a great CV in two minutes? Read this great article on Undercover Recruiter.

6 Free Courses that will Add Value to your CV

6 Free Courses that will Add Value to your CV

2017 has just begun, and you still have a lot of time to accomplish everything and more you imagine ticking off that checklist. We are taking for granted that one of them is learning new skills, and doing what you do better. To help you pursue this goal here is a list of free courses that would probably help you, regardless of what your job is. Well, if not all of them, one of them for sure. And even completing one of these courses would not only help you become a better version of you, it will add actual value to your CV.

1. Introduction to Graphic Design, Udemy

This introductory course on graphic designing speaks about elementary things such as what sets apart appealing visual material from not so appealing visual material. And thus, what are some basic principles and elements of design that will help you be more knowledgeable about how design works.

2. Adobe Photoshop CS6 Essential Tools, ALISON

Photoshopping seems to have become an almost “must have” skill, especially if you are in the media/ management sector. Even if your profile may not require you to engage extensively with how photoshopping works, this is a great starter kit for you to pick up the basics for editing and enhancing photographs. Have a look at the free course here.

3. Diploma in Social Media Marketing, ALISON

How do you enhance customer interaction through your social media pages? Why aren’t you get enough hits, likes and shares when you’re doing everything and more? This basic course will help you decode the fundamentals on how “traffic” in social media works. Having this on your CV will make you a favored candidate for more opportunities than you can imagine.
The course has a total of lessons, and each lesson is for hours. Have a look at more details on the free course here.

4. Introduction to Public Speaking, edX

Whoever said public speaking is only for politicians and leaders? In the World of Work, acquiring the art of public speaking is just as important a skill. Be it a farewell speech, an award acceptance speech or speaking at a board meeting or an international conference. In all these areas, your public speaking skills will be put to test. If that scares you to death, well you are not alone. Fear of public speaking is a widespread phenomenon – the average person ranks it even above fear of death. There is even a word for it – Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general. [Read more – here].

This course is your quick fix (just 10 weeks!) to overcoming glossophobia! Designed by the University of Washington the course grooms you into becoming the public speaker you wish you were!

5. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills, Coursera

The name of the course in itself is a skill you need to have to survive the highly competitive world of work. Well, this courses teaches you not just how to survive, but also how to thrive! With expertise from University of Michigan and the easy interface of Coursera, in 6 lessons you will have learnt the essentials of effective negotiation!

6. Secret Sauce of Great Writing, Udemy

Hang on before you jump to conclusions. This isn’t a creative writing course, far from it. This immensely popular course teaches you how to write business emails, cover letters, press notes, and also how to write effective business blogs. By the end of it, you’ll know all that there is to know about how to draft a perfect professional email, what mistakes you should be careful about, cover letter basics – and so much more!

Excited to get started? That’s great! But do remember to take on these courses when you can devote the required time. It may seem like very little effort, and compared to university it surely is. However, you still need to be in a space where you can dedicate the required discipline and attention to the course. That’s the only way you’ll finish it feeling like you’ve actually accomplished something. And that sure is a great feeling!

7 Things “NOT” to have on your otherwise Perfect Resume

7 Things “NOT” to have on your otherwise Perfect Resume

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.
While we’ve written extensively on how to craft the perfect resume, we wanted to emphasize through this post on what to leave out of a resume to make it truly perfect. Here are seven things to leave out from your resume:

1. An unprofessional Email Address

If your email ID is still the one you had in high school, i.e., hellboy_irock@ya***.com, it is time to get another one. Make sure the email ID you share on your resume is a professional one. What is meant by a professional email ID? One that ideally has only your name and your last name in it, and in case that’s taken, a simple combination of your name and maybe a number, or special character or two.

2. Your Achievements in High School

Won third prize in an elocution competition? Aced spelling bee? Well, let’s put those achievements behind us and make space for newer achievements to show the world. Unless it is something of great significance and necessary, refrain from having your high school achievements on your resume.

3. Fancy fonts and colors, or anything fancy –

are an absolute “no”. Use a simple font, uniform font sizes and keep it unicolor. Unless you belong to an artsy profession and how you design your resume matters, keep your resume as simple and legible as possible. Even if you are a graphic designer, or a fashion designer, we’d say share links of your work on your resume, but maybe refrain from making your perfect resume a work of art itself.

4. Skills you are expected to have

Don’t add skills just for the sake of adding them and fluffing up your resume. Remember, at times, less is more.

5. Postal Address

Having your postal address on your resume is an unnecessary use of space. We have seen resumes which list their permanent address and current address as well. Your contact information should ideally just include your phone number and your professional email ID.

6. Hobbies

“My hobbies are cooking, reading and gardening” – this is something your resume would probably look better without. We’ve traditionally been taught to include it in our resumes, but there is actually no need for it. Your interview is when you get to speak about yourself and weave all this in. Unless there is something really specific about yourself which is also relevant to the job, refrain from having this section. Even if you do end up sharing what is akin to hobbies, put it under a section called “other Interests” or something of the like and not “Hobbies”.

7. Incorrect or false information

The first and foremost prerogative of writing a resume is ensuring the information you provide about yourself isn’t false or misleading. Regardless of whether or not a background check will be done, in the interest of professional integrity be completely honest in the information you furnish through your resume.

At OBOlinx, we believe that a great resume is one which is always a work in progress. There is always something you can do to make it better, regardless of whether you are writing one for the first time or if you have been a professional for years now. Here is an omnibus we have put together to help guide you to craft the perfect resume. But don’t forget the things you should “not” have on your resume!

What do Recruiters Want from a Job-Hunting Candidate ?

What do Recruiters Want from a Job-Hunting Candidate ?

What do recruiters want ? A recruiter starts work every morning with one objective – find the best candidate for his/her client and fill the open position ASAP. A candidate hunting for a job wakes up with this thought – may today be the day when I land my dream job. Notice the similarity between the two objectives – so why not work together with mutual respect  to achieve this common goal?

This post is from the view-point of a recruiter for the job-hunting candidate (let’s for the sake of convenience, assume the sex of the recruiter to be female). She wants you to succeed because your success would eventually ensure her’s. And she has a few expectations from you, the potential hire, so that the common goal of a win-win job hunt for both can be reached. So here is how you can help her help you:

What do Recruiters Want – Craft a complete resume

Your profile should be tailored for you – please skip the long sentences with all the nice-looking buzz words. A recruiter will spend a maximum of 30 seconds to determine if your profile is suitable. Be direct and prepare your resume in such a way that your qualifications, skills and achievements are searchable and stand out. Link to your work portfolios or online profiles (Social media links, LinkedIn is a must, About.me, etc.) or blogs so that there is an additional outside reference for your skills.

What do Recruiters Want – Be Visible

Update your profile (and also your LinkedIn profile) regularly. A resume should always be a work-in-progress document and have your latest details – your latest contact details (make sure your email id is a professional one.- crazylover777@xxx.com is a sure reject in the first 5 seconds of a resume review), your years of experience, your preferred job location/s, new skills all help the recruiter shortlist your candidature quickly.  Regular updates also help keep your profile on the top of search results in job boards. Create a separate folder in your mail box for achievements to store those appreciation mails and promotion letters. Refer to this folder every three months for additional updates to your resume.

What do Recruiters Want – Be Responsive and Responsible

The common courtesy rule: treat people the way you would want to be treated – applies with recruiters as well. Do respond to emails and calls – even if it is a “no, thank you”. If you are busy, a short email or text stating your availability (even when it is “please don’t contact me ever”) will save the recruiter time and not keep her hanging. If you do give a time slot, plan ahead and be available – being late for an interview is just not professional. If you can’t make it, make sure you inform in advance.

What do Recruiters Want – Be Honest

Know what you want. Think it through before committing yourself. If you are not clear about which career path to take, be upfront and discuss this with the recruiter. She will respect this and may be able to provide you with options or opportunities that work for you. Nothing is more frustrating to her than last-minute surprises – if you are not interested, just say so. If you are not ready for the interview – let her know, her information and insights can help you prepare for it. If you have another offer (a promotion, another job) – let her know, it may help you get a better offer. If you don’t want to join after accepting the offer, let her know – don’t wait for the day of joining and then not turn up. Nothing could be more unprofessional.

What do Recruiters Want – Engage

Network with recruiters. If you have had bad experiences with one recruiter, don’t lump the rest in the same bucket. Find the recruiters who work in your industry and who understand your career goals and reach out. Keep in touch. Build a relationship – this is one person you need in your corner when you are looking out for a career change. Keep track of the recruiter and through her, her clients, just like she is keeping track of you. Refer your friends. Find out about hiring trends and upcoming opportunities from her. Give value and get value back – this can definitely be a mutually beneficial relationship. Maybe you don’t need a job now, but she could open up a few doors for you when you do need one.

All of the above will help you in building relationships with the Best Recruiters and make you the favourite go-to candidate for recruiters. Recruiters can be the wind beneath your wings when you need to change jobs or need to hire for your team. (And don’t forget all the great side benefits of having a friend for life :))

5 Things to Remember Before Asking For a Recommendation Letter

5 Things to Remember Before Asking For a Recommendation Letter

Whether it is an application for admissions into a university, for an internship or for a job, a recommendation letter or reference letter is a critical part of the process. These are especially important as they vouch for your character, as well as serve as a testimony to the skills you hope to demonstrate. They help give an insight into you as a person beyond your grades, your experience or your achievements.  It also matters who the recommendation is coming from and how well-known the person is in the field you are hoping to get into. Having good recommendations from the right people can help you turn from a potential candidate to the preferred choice. What is your role in making sure you get the kind of recommendation you need and deserve? Take care of these five things, and the rest will take care of itself.

1. How you ask matters –

Always reach out to someone who actually knows you and you have been more or less in touch with. Even if you haven’t kept in touch with this person in the sense of the term, it shouldn’t be the case that you haven’t spoken to him/her in years and end up asking for a recommendation out of the blue. Provide context and explain why you think h/she is the best person to recommend you. Word your email/conversation in a manner where you are actually asking him/her and not taking it for granted that (s)he will be writing one for you.

2. Ask well in advance before deadline –

The deadline is in a day or two and you suddenly remember you haven’t reached out for the recommendation. One of the worst ways to go about getting a recommendation, ever. Value the time of the person you are asking a recommendation of, and make sure you reach out well in advance, with at least two weeks’ notice, so that there is ample time for the letter, and the follow up and any edits if necessary.

3. Be specific in your requirement –

Mention exactly what you need the recommendation for. You may be good in a number of things, but writing any of that in the recommendation letter wouldn’t matter if it doesn’t speak about how good you are at what you are applying for. Make sure your recommendation letter is perfectly suited to the opportunities you are aiming for.

4. Include all relevant details –

Include your cover letter/statement of purpose, your resume and any other document which may give your referer a good sense of your accomplishments in the area. However, include only the relevant details so that your referee doesn’t have to spend time looking for parts which are important.

5. Be patient, and polite with the follow up –

Allow at least one week before sending a polite reminder enquiring about the status of the recommendation letter. Sending frequent reminders is a sure way to sabotage a fine recommendation letter. Understand that your referee is doing you a favor and not the other way round. It can be hard to be patient during this time, but it is a virtue worth mastering!

One of the most important things in the process of asking for a recommendation letter is to remember to be grateful and thank your referee appropriately after (s)he submits it. It would also be nice if you kept your referer updated about your application process, regardless of whether or not you make it. Keeping in touch and investing time is always worth it, having to ask for a recommendation is only one of the many situations where this effort pays off!

Writing a Resume for the First Time? Here is what you should know as an entry level professional

Writing a Resume for the First Time? Here is what you should know as an entry level professional

The very first thing that should be in place, when you start applying for jobs is your resume. If this is your first job application experience, Writing a Resume for the First Time can get confusing – what to put in to your resume, what to leave out and which format to follow. Also, all the information out here on the internet, could get a little overwhelming, leaving you more confused than ever. A few weeks ago, we compiled an essential guide to writing the perfect resume. While going through that will give you a fairly broad and exhaustive idea about everything that you need to know about resumes and how to write them (believe us, we’ve done our research); in this post we tell you four things you should take care of especially if you are an entry-level professional.

The Layout –

We speak from experience when we say, it is tempting to create an ornate resume. We have been at both ends of the spectrum, when we’ve given in to the temptation as entry-level professionals, and now, when we screen resumes and cringe at some of the chosen layouts and styles. It is only natural to feel like you have to do everything possible to stand out, however, remember that a simple, honest and crisp resume is your best bet to get to the next stage. Maintain a standard font size, and a decent font style (Times New Roman or Arial, preferably). Strictly avoid using colors or fancy borders/designs. Unless of course, it’s a design job you are applying to! Like they say, exceptions prove the rule.

The Content –

List only the most important things your recruiter would want to know about you, this should also include things that are pertinent to the role you are applying to. Internships, term projects, summer jobs all add credence. If you’ve won a fancy dress competition when you were in grade two, or a debating competition when you were in grade six, you can be sure it wouldn’t fascinate your recruiter much. However, if you have been a consistent debating champion, you must show it on your resume (in a balanced manner, not in a boastful way).

The Language –

State the facts, don’t narrate. The point of a resume is to get you a foot in the door – that coveted interview call. Save the narration for the interview. Avoid writing in first person, apart from a short ‘about me’. Do not make it seem as though you are blowing your own trumpet. Believe us, a lot of times we may not even intend to sound arrogant through what we write, but end up sounding thus. Read it out loud to yourself or have a friend read it aloud to you – is the tone professional and confident ? Then, you are all set!

The Length

Ideally, your resume should not exceed one page (especially if you are an entry-level professional), however, if you do have valid accomplishments to display on your resume, make sure it does not exceed two pages, at any cost. Anything beyond two pages will come across as content put together simply for the sake of it and won’t hold your recruiter’s interest for long, no matter how credible the work you’ve done is. Compress your resume to one page, or at most two pages.

Once you’ve created your resume, it is essential to run it by people whose experience you trust and value, your mentors (ideally, some of them should be professionals). Gain as much feedback as you can, and work on it until you feel happy with the results. If you get this first step right, the rest of it becomes easier here on. Don’t forget to read the post we have put together on complete details (including different formats you may use) on creating the perfect resume. We wish you success on this new step of your career journey!