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Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Millions of people are looking for new opportunities each day. Reasons behind their quest for a new job are very diverse, however, their objectives have a commonality of securing the job offer.

Some of them do window-shopping, some sit on the fence and chase an opportunity when they come across it or are informed about it. Some claim to be happy with what they are doing until someone sells them a new dream. In all these chases, we see candidates behave differently. Many of them do not have a clear idea of the things they should do to enhance their chances of winning the job offer.

Does the Resume matter?

Recruiters, interviewers and managers – all of them are human beings in today’s hyper-connected world. Their attention span is short. Habits of reading documents to grasp an idea and learning about a person by reading his or her resume aren’t commonplace any more. Still, a resume is an important starting point.

Resumes have changed over a period of time and there are professional resume writers and content writers who have strong opinions about presenting one’s candidature. Bots have started reading a resume and scoring it using artificial intelligence. So, we need to get the resume right.

Keeping the ground realities in mind, the resume must be brief and at the same time, comprehensive. It must provide facts about the person, highlight the accomplishments and outline one’s beliefs. The length of the resume should be ideally 1 page; can be 2 pages at maximum. One can annex the main document with additional details of work experience, proof of the achievements, reports of the work done and awards won. But, the main document needs to address what a potential recruiter would search for and what the interviewers would like to see. It must not be so sketchy that vital details are missed; at the same time, it need not be so long that the target audience is not encouraged to read it.

How do you spot an opportunity?

Social networks such as LinkedIn, job portals, Indeed, company websites, company’s LinkedIn pages and Google search are the standard sources that can give one the list of open positions matching one’s requirements broadly. One can apply against those matching jobs and hope to hear from them. These days, many recruiters use technology tools that give a reply to the applicant if the resume gets picked up for further evaluation.

Connection with a recruiter in a recruiting company or the target company can be a good source provided the recruiter has been in touch and you are top of her mind. This is not a very robust method, but it works especially in senior roles because such roles are few and far between. Sometimes, organization fill such roles away from the limelight. They keep these under the wraps until the selected person joins the organization. So, one has to either be headhunted for it or be referred for it.

There are recruiters and managers who do not entertain open applications. They talk to a candidate or look at a resume only when it is referred by someone trusted by them. Many executive search firms work that way. Senior candidates do not get a chance to talk to them unless they are referred by someone known to them. Hence, social networks are a good source to get a referral. One has to proactively build a network that could help them at some point of time in their career.

How can you ace the Interview?

You have made a good resume and got yourself referred to an organization. The next hurdle is to win the assessment centre. What can one do to score well there?

Preparation is the key. Knowing about the company, its culture, the role, its future plans and its competitive positioning is the first step. More often than not, candidates do not carry out this crucial first step right. They glance at the website, look up a few LinkedIn pages in a hurry and view the role description briefly before sitting in front of the interviewer. There is a wealth of information available in the public domain and easy to understand them. One can take some additional steps to network with current employees in the company and ex-employees of the company to understand about the organization, its culture, future plans and about the interviewer as well. It calls for investment of a good 8 hours of time to build an affinity towards the company and get a few things clear in the head about the role.

Many candidates feel high levels of stress during the assessment process and fail to communicate effectively. The importance of staying calm and confident can never be over-emphasised. Listening is a great virtue in the interview situation. One must first understand the context and then describe how one could carry out a task, overcome a challenge and deliver an outcome.

It is equally important to ask meaningful questions to the interviewer. Again preparation makes one more inquisitive about the job and the organization. Hence, asking questions becomes easy. Often candidates ask nothing or something very inconsequential after a great interview. This becomes a big damp squib!

Resume is important; one has to reach the target company through the right recruiter and then prepare well for the interview. Staying calm and replying honestly to the probing questions can see one in good stead.

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