It’s startling that I have managed to get through 4 years of my engineering without seriously having to make a résumé. Usually people have to make a list of their achievements (or things that they like to call that) when they are applying for an internship or such things, but I somehow to managed to get through those stages. Anyway, now it is placements time – what my branch counselor has promised (warned?) would be a very, if not the most important time I have spent in the institute – and although I am not exactly losing sleep over it, what must be done must be done.
So I began (thinking about) making my résumé. This being my first time, I searched the web in the hope of finding some useful tips. It appears to be a pretty serious business, this. I found a fairly exhaustive (and way too long and insipid!) presentation by some guy from IIT Bombay. I even came across a proper 250 page book on how to make an ideal résumé. They talk about classifications of résumés and categories of achievements and whatnot. It’s a little hard to it so seriously when one keeps hearing so much rubbish about the selection procedure of certain companies being very ‘arbitrary’.
Anyway, I also glanced through some of my friends’ and seniors’ résumés. There was talk of winning Olympiad medals, of publishing research papers and of initiating start-ups, amidst brag about being institute secretaries, festival managers and gold winning sport captains. Everyone seemed to have done so much and it looked as if I had pretty much just whiled away my time. The heart rate was picking up.
Type. Just start typing, I said to myself. I started by listing out all sorts of (ir)relevant details that I thought will make an impression on my prospective employers. I went back to my secondary and high school certificates and dug through other competitive exams’ scorecards to see if I had done something worthwhile at the school level. I proceeded to mention my internships and other projects. Care was taken, of course, to highlight the time spent in European dreamlands. How much difference does it make to a company, I don’t know. But it sure does serve to make me feel good about myself. After the academic details, one moved on to co- and extra-curricular activities. No one likes to project oneself as a one-dimensional nerd na? I tried to think of other things that would catch the eye. And that is the one thing that one is incessantly striving to do in a résumé – to catch the employer’s eye as he hastily glances across your piece of paper that is but one amongst possibly hundreds. It’s ironic how one so desperately wants to ‘stand out’ in the résumé while following the crowd equally thoughtlessly in sitting for placements in the first place!
Anyway, having poured out everything, the restructuring began – much like in a blog post! (Come to think of it, writing a blog post is not radically different from penning a résumé.) Sentences were reformed to avoid wastage of space. Action verbs were replaced by better sounding ones. (For instance, ‘wrote code’ became ‘developed software’.) I tried to be genuine, to the extent that it is possible without sounding lame. After all, it’s just as silly to be unduly modest as it is to be excessively spurious.
And suddenly, as I thought about my extra-curricular activities, it dawned upon me that I have a blog and that it wouldn’t be the worst idea to try and write a piece on this résumé-making business that I have just concluded. Actually, only just embarked upon. What I have is only a first draft – one that is surely to undergo a noticeable, if not drastic, makeover as the friends and seniors I have sent it over to give their comments and suggestions. But as Randy Pausch said in that delightfully motivating video on time management (watch it!), in order to change something, you must have something to begin with. So I am glad that I at least have something to work on. Besides, as I now glance at it for the umpteenth time, it does look fairly impressive. If I were a company’s HR, I would like to hire myself. But that doesn’t really say much, does it? Well, we’ll know soon enough.