+91-80-42023484 contact@sincera.in
The 5 Most Effective Job Hunt Hacks

The 5 Most Effective Job Hunt Hacks

Yes, we know! There are no shortcuts to success. But if you are on a job hunt, this post is something you cannot miss. Based on our years of experience helping job hunting candidates like you land their dream jobs, we have put together some insider tips (or hacks as the current trend is) to help you on your job hunting journey. What are some of the best and most effective Job Hunt Hacks that can fast-track your job hunting process ? Read on to find out exactly what they are, and why they make such a big difference.

Job Hunt Hack #1 – Use “Keywords”

Go through the job description carefully and pick up on the keywords. Remember that when sending in your application online, in all probability, the first screening is going to be mechanized. In which case, you need to ensure that your application uses as many of those phrases/ keywords possible (in a relevant way of course) as possible. It is only after the initial sorting (the first two stages, at least) that your application will reach the higher-ups in the management. In order to ensure your job application gets there, be as specific and comprehensive as possible. Using keywords is a great way to go about it.

Job Hunt Hack #2 – Use both online and offline platforms

Don’t stop once you have finished applying through the online sources. Start networking and spreading the word about your job hunt. Networking is one of the most effective techniques of offline job hunting. Reach out to your old and new contacts and have casual conversations with them about your plans. You never know what opportunities may come your way simply through those conversations. Also, make sure to avoid these 5 social media mistakes when you are job hunting!

Job Hunt Hack #3 – Modulate your applications

What really hampers your job hunt process is using one stock application and cover letter for all the places you apply to. When you do that, your application depicts an acute lack of interest and enthusiasm. Even if the job profiles you are applying to are similar, there are some fine differences between each of these profiles. Mark them and customize your applications accordingly. This will be possible only when you are truly serious and enthusiastic about the job hunt process. Pay attention to details, and remember that that’s probably the only thing that will give you an edge over the others.

Job Hunt Hack #4 – Your LinkedIn profile matters (most)!

Your existence, and activity on LinkedIn is crucial for a successful job hunt. You could reach out to scores of potential employers, and correspond with them about opportunities simply by making sure you are active on LinkedIn. By being on LinkedIn, you are not only “visible”, but also vested with innumerable valuable resources which you just need to know how to use. Still not convinced about why you need a LinkedIn profile? Here’s why. Have a LinkedIn profile but wondering how you can make it better? Here’s how.

Job Hunt Hack #5 – The magic word is “Thank You”

Incorporating the practice of gratitude into everything you do is the best thing you can do for yourself. Including when you are job hunting. It makes a huge difference when you send in a personalized note, even if it is just two lines, after you finish interviewing (no matter the stage of the interview), to the relevant people. Just acknowledging the time they invested, saying that it was a pleasure having had a chance to communicate and that you look forward. These small things are what set you apart from other candidates, and make you the more like-able, and obvious candidate. However, do it genuinely. It isn’t very hard to tell when the candidate isn’t being genuine – which will just end up making things worse for you.

And the most effective job hunt hack of all – work closely with a great recruiter. 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? Here is how you can help her help you.

If you’ve been looking for job hunt guidance and a lot of material has been coming your way, all of that is bound to be similar in one way or the other. Through all your efforts, remember that you can go a long way by just being yourself. Take your own self to the interviews, and let it reflect in your applications and conversations. Because you’re the best when you’re nothing but yourself!

A Conversation on Volunteering with an Ace Volunteer

A Conversation on Volunteering with an Ace Volunteer

“ Volunteering isn’t only working, it is about learning and unlearning.”

She was 13 years old when she first volunteered. In her own words, “That first brush with volunteering was so breathtaking. After that I couldn’t be stopped.” While most of her peers were busy giving exams and following a routine pattern, she traveled to the rural interiors of Rajasthan and Bihar to volunteer.

Today, at 24 years of age, Bhawna Khattar, a graduate of Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication has worked with 8 incredible not for profit organizations. Her journey is one we can all admire and envy at the same time.

As we continue writing on the theme of volunteering, we thought it would be fitting to interview someone as experienced as she. In her intense yet quirky way, Bhawna spoke of her volunteering journey, what made her take it up and why it is important to volunteer.

You have been volunteering for quite sometime now, what has the journey been like?

I have volunteered with different kinds of organizations such as Deepalaya, Teach for India, Rajasthan Bal Kalyan Samiti, Barefoot College and many more. All experiences have been extremely diverse yet, somehow connected in one way or the other. I think, the most important aspect is your own journey as an individual and how it relates to the outer world. So, slowly I have started to build connections.

For me a volunteering journey provides a first hand opportunity of looking at a situation from multiple angles rather than just looking at the tip of an iceberg. For example: If you look at education, you cannot look at education alone, you have to determine the reasons of why a child is not attending school, and in a lot of cases, the reason is ill health or malnutrition.

Adding to this, volunteering is a great way to make friends, all from different places, from different walks of life who give you more lenses. That’s how the journey looks to me, now that I look back. And I believe there is always a long way to go!

When did your interest in volunteering surface and why?

In my case, as far as I can remember, may be going back to sixth or seventh grade. I think the more important question here is- why? My reasons have been to explore. I wanted to intern at Deepalaya because I wanted to understand the usage of communication in education, then Rajasthan was because I was super-excited to live in a new place.

The reasons have always been different but the motivation has been to explore myself in new environments. Also, my college had mandatory social sector internships for us that pushed me to go for volunteering.

Do you think volunteering has helped you grow?

Of course, it has. Volunteering is much more about learning than working. It has taught me to be patient with others but more importantly, with myself. It has taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes that it’s fine to fail. I’ve learnt the value of delving deeper into subjects, to understand first and opine later. More importantly it has taught me that moving out of my comfort zone is the only way to be comfortable with myself.

I think here, it’s also important to understand that volunteering can mean so many different things, in so many different areas but one thing that remains common is the will to find more questions.

Would you recommend young adults to go out and volunteer? Why?

Yes, definitely. In fact I think it has become a “trend” for youngsters to volunteer now, don’t you think? As for the reasons, there are so many. Bu two major ones that I can think of are to remove your own boxes and not be limited by your own mind.

Like you said, today there is a frenzy to grab the best volunteering opportunities amongst students. From a very young age, kids are being pushed to go and volunteer. Why do you think that is?

Because we live in a world which talks of goals but not the process. We want to be ‘someone’, so it’s seen as a way of reaching that particular goal which to me is not volunteering at all. Volunteering comes out of one’s own will, not the societal pressures.

Do you think volunteering is tailor made only for school and college student, can professionals and senior citizens benefit from it as well?

There should be no bars when it comes to volunteering, it can help everyone.

What are some of the best volunteering programs according you?

Again, very subjective but anything that allows for an internal unlearning journey. Few places that come to my mind are Project Potential, Auroville, Shikshantar Andolan, SEARCH in Gadchirolli, Barefoot College and Pravah.

What according to you are the do’s and dont’s of volunteering?

For the do’s I think its important to keep an open mind. Be patient with yourself and others, be prepared for cultural shocks, share and express when there is a need to. It is essential to follow the rules of the community where you’re staying and most importantly take care of your health!

For the don’ts it’s important not to keep assumptions. Don’t blame yourself solely for things that go wrong, reflect and understand why. Also, don’t assume that you are a savior; try not to be the hero. Sometimes it’s not cool to be Batman! And lastly, I would suggest, just relax!

Can you tell me that one moment from your volunteering journey that made you realize that it was all worth it?

We were conducting a week long training in a government school with our 40 ‘Village Visionaries’. On the last day, we were asking everyone about their biggest learnings and one girl who comes from a community where girls who dance and sing are frowned upon said this- “Main soch rahi thi ki abhi toh mujhe rokne wala yahan koi nahi hai par jab sab dance kar rahe the tab bhi maine nahi kiya. Par sawaal ye hai ki kyun nahi kiya?” ( I was thinking that as of this moment there is no one who can stop me, but while everyone is dancing I am still not ready to do so. The question that comes to my mind is, why am I not dancing right now?) I think her questioning her own action made me so happy.

In Conclusion

We have said it before and we stand by it even now, volunteering is one of the best things that can happen to you, doesn’t matter if you are young or old. It has the power to change perspectives, break stereotypes and mould you into a different person all together. We hope that after reading about Bhawna’s journey, you are as inspired as we are and are ready to create your own unparalleled experiences.

A Conversation on Mentoring with an Expert Mentor

A Conversation on Mentoring with an Expert Mentor

Mentoring is not just a duty; it’s a place for both, the mentor and mentee, to feel safe, reflect and feel empowered!

When you decide to take on, or accept a mentee, along with your role as a mentor comes responsibility, trust and commitment. It is a relationship premised on mutual give and take as any other relationship. Being a mentor is no easy task. It is a role that one must assume with full responsibility for, only after careful consideration.

Given the importance of mentoring in our careers, we thought of writing another blog, documenting the perspectives of a mentor herself. So we tracked down Pratibha Pathak, an associate coordinator for a not for profit organization called Pravah. An extremely energetic and compassionate being, Pratibha has been mentoring young adults on both personal and professional fronts for the past few years. Over an hour-long conversation, she spoke about a number of topics, such as, why mentoring is important, what are the qualities of a good mentor and her journey as a mentor.

There is a lot to take away from this conversation!

You have been mentoring for quite sometime now.  Each one of your mentees has a different story, a background and set of problems. How has the experience been for you as a mentor?

It’s been very different. I joined Pravah as a volunteer and had no idea about the concept of mentoring then. I had never been mentored by anyone previously either, so it was a lot more difficult for me. It was during my interactions with people in SMILE, an internship carried out by Pravah, that I finally learnt the basics of mentoring. Later, when I joined in an official capacity, I started my journey as a mentor. Even then when I had got a hang of some basic mentoring skills, I still didn’t know what I was doing. But one thing was certain, being a mentor meant I had a responsibility to perform.

Slowly I realized that mentoring is not about telling any of these kids what they ought to do and what not, it is a space that needs to be created for any mentee to be themselves. Yes, you’re right, each one of my mentees have a different story to tell and that made mentoring all the more challenging yet exciting enough for me to pursue.

Pravah has a unique system of mentoring everyone, from the founder to an intern. You have had mentors as well, how has that been for you? Do you think their mentoring skills have influenced yours in any way? If yes, then can you explain how?

Yes, I have had mentors both through formal and informal channels. Whenever I feel someone can help me, I reach out, doesn’t matter if he/she is assigned to me or not. I think the conversations I have had with my mentors have helped me grow and ease out the unnecessary pressure I have been forcing on myself. Also, I use to have a very narrow vision, I think that got widened in the process as well.  So yes, I would say my mentors have been an integral part of my journey.

As for answering the next part of your question, I think yes, my learnings from the conversations I have had with my mentors have impacted my mentoring skills. It has helped me grow and a lot of other people as well. My mentors have influenced me in the way I speak to my mentees. I’ll give you an example for this, I have always been a curious person, so you can understand I have this need to know everything. But when you become a mentor, you have to understand that a mentee doesn’t always want to share what’s on his/her mind all the time, so there is no point forcing it out. This was something I learnt from my mentors. Today, I have come to a realization that the essence of mentoring is to let things be until the mentee is comfortable and is ready to talk.

The process of mentoring is all about give and take. Do you think you have learnt some things from your mentees as much as they have learnt from you?

I think my biggest reflection as a mentor is how similar all of us are, and by us I mean both the mentors and the mentees. This I understood not just through my reflections, but also from my mentees. I think in terms of factual experiences, we are all different, but mentoring made me realize that emotionally we are all the same. I’ve learnt that it is important to constantly go back to who you are as a person when you try to help them. Mentees will never understand what you as a mentor are saying if you somewhere can’t connect yourself to their story and that is why it is important to reflect on yourself. This is what I have learnt.

Each mentor has a different way of approaching and mentoring someone. What is your mentoring process like?

First of all, I think having a mentoring “process” as such is a foolish thing. We have to understand that every single mentee, no matter what their age, is different. So simply put, there is no one process. Having said that, there are some common things that I do with all my mentees. First, it is important for me to let them be. I never question them, until I feel I have understood them to a certain level. The time my mentee is sharing is the time for me to just simply understand, and not prod around as that can completely backfire. Apart from that, the golden rule I believe that always works is investment and care.

There could be times when personal judgments or biases cloud your advice for a mentee, how do you tackle that?

Openness! That’s it. If you are not open to hearing the other person’s views then mentoring is futile. I think it is acceptable to disagree, but a mentor must respect the mentee during that process. It is very important to approach the conversation positively and understand what is it you want to take away from the conversation, as a mentor. Only if a mentor is open to the idea of the other person being different, can he/she break down biases, or at least keep them at bay.

Today, the culture of mentoring has become extremely popular within schools, colleges and work places. Why do you think is there such a rise?

I feel that life is much faster and we want to do so much. Given the little time we have and today’s technology being fast paced, we aren’t really slowing down and reflecting. We aren’t creating spaces for people to have a reflection of their own perceptions. Today, I think people miss that space, in fact they need it. A space they can call their own and who better to provide it than a mentor?

How important do you think mentoring is? Does it really impact lives for the better?

I strongly believe it to be a good practice. It adds value to all stages of a person’s life. We need mentors because they help us think outside the box. There are times when we need to look at our problems from a different lens, and mentors provide us with that. Apart from this, I think they can help boost our performance and build a network of contacts that we can use in the future.

But we need to understand that mentoring is a two-way process, it’s about giving and taking energy, and if it’s not helping either the mentor or the mentee, then perhaps mentoring is not a good option. There can be cases where a mentee hasn’t come in for a conversation with an open mind or the mentor is not in a frame of mind to listen. So mentoring only works if both are on the same page.

What do you think are some of the skills a mentor must have and what must he or she refrain from doing?

I can’t generalize for all mentors, but I can tell you what works for me. Being open-minded and leaving perceptions behind while talking is the first. There is a word we use in Pravah, it’s called “Carefrontation”, it means it is necessary to both, care and confront while we mentor; I think this is a must. Honesty, enthusiasm and above all empathy is needed. I cannot stress on how important empathy is.

As for what a mentor must refrain from doing, I think being unapproachable is one of the biggest sins that can be committed. A mentee needs to feel welcomed and not feel inhibited while approaching a mentor. Apart from that, showing a lack of interest and disrespect would be next on my list.

Nothing makes a mentor more happy than see their mentee grow. Have there been any moments for you? Could you describe some?

Yes, definitely there have been a lot of moments for me. It is difficult to even choose one, but I will try. Last year, I was mentoring a volunteer from Bihar. I think I probably had just three or four conversations with him. His problem was that he didn’t talk much, either to me or anyone of the other volunteers. He felt he would be judged for speaking in Hindi; he was scared of the repercussions he thought he would have to face if he talks. After a couple of conversations with him, I saw him bloom into a different person all together. He grew more confident and he started talking, out loud! Knowing that I have contributed in some small way, is something I will always cherish!

In Conclusion

Mentoring is a hard task, it can sometimes even seem like a thankless job. The time and effort that you invest in a mentee, while leading a busy life of your own can make you question if it is all worth it? You might even wonder, “What am I getting in return?”

We agree with Pratibha when she said,

You would be surprised how amazing it feels to see an individual prosper and know that a part of his success comes from your guidance. As you teach your mentee, you will learn too. You will gain a deeper understanding of yourself as a person and will discover strengths you did not know you had and will admit weaknesses you would want to work on.

A big thanks to Pratibha for sharing her mentoring experiences with us so expressively. Please join us in wishing her many more successes in her career ahead – she certainly deserves it and more for all the light she spreads around her.

Trust us when we say this, the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your best to help build another individual’s career, will make you feel content and in that moment you will realize it was all worth it.

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 :))

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!