It was late December, and still no interview calls. Granted, some industries (such as technology) start hiring late, but try explaining that to an MBA student who’s always anxious to cross off tasks on her to do list - in order of priority! I have been waiting since October to cross the internship search off my list and breathe a sigh of relief.
As all MBAs would do, a friend and I sat down to do a deep-dive, root-cause analysis of why we are not being heard (or heard enough!), though we have been doing exactly what we had been told to score a good internship. We networked, spoke to people, learnt from their experiences, and politely requested that they take a look at our resume or pass it on to a recruiter. We did our homework on companies, and learned about the competition, the current industry landscape, and the job requirements. We wrote cover letters, polished the action words on our resume, and sprinkled terminology gleaned from job descriptions into our conversations. But why wasn’t any of this working?
We started to understand that resumes are the first shot that you have to pass through through the truly microscopic “window” of opportunity. It’s either GO!...or go straight into the trash-bin. And to understand a recruiter’s perspective – everyone is writing the same stuff that you are, and everyone seems like a rock-star on his or her resume, but what sets us apart? How can we put that onto our resume?
Awhile ago, there was an article posted on the muse entitled 5 Things People Reading Your Resume Wish You Knew. Well, here are three things I wish people reading my resume knew, and hopefully, this will bring some perspective on the importance of defining someone beyond the resume. There is much more to a person than a set of performance matrices that we have put in our resumes to endorse our experiences, and therefore, perceived value.
Creativity: Not just limited to describing your skills with a brush and some oil paint, creativity reflects the way you bring your personality to every aspect of your work, as if it were a signature. My creative side brings a new dimension to problem solving – it’s a way to think out of the box and look out for new or better ways to do tasks. I believe in adding more personalization and creating opportunities for users/clients to feel more in tune with the product, and I relentlessly work towards this in every project.
Professionalism: “On time, every time!” a client once said to me with a grateful smile. This client would always appreciate the fact that I was punctual, and more importantly, respectful of others’ time. Such subtle characteristics cannot be captured on a resume, but will take you far and leave a strong favorable impression on colleagues and clients alike. Professional acumen is vital to success in the workplace, but impossible to relay on paper.
Multitasking: While it's still essential to focus on certain tasks – especially tedious ones, multitasking is a skill that I feel is a really important value-add. Though recent studies have shown that multitasking is actually not very useful, I believe that there is a certain degree of multitasking that overlaps with time management, and helps you become a better planner. Effective multitasking requires the efficient use of your available resources, which is a valuable skill to cultivate.
I could rant more about qualities that make us unique. But how do we add such qualities onto our resumes? How do we quantify such characteristics? And how do we ensure that a recruiter appreciates us for having such skills? I hope that solutions such as pymetrics will help shed some light on these characteristics and help companies and candidates find the right fit, based on all available information.
----------------------------- Sudeeptha Jothiprakash is a first year Full-Time MBA student at University of San Diego.Prior to joining USD, Sudeeptha worked at SAP Labs a global giant in the IT industry. Her experience in her 4 year tenure was as an Operations lead for process improvement, resource & vendor management. She is highly committed to sustainability through CSR and sustainable initiatives.