Tips for Writing an Effective Resume

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work with fresh candidates out of school, friends, relatives and new immigrants on their resumes. Some of the common phrases that I have heard from them are “This is an Indian model Resume“, “Oh! my friend in marketing shared this format“, and “my job agency prepared this resume“. What puzzled me was that most of these resumes despite being typically long did not give a sense of who one was really. In this blog, I am trying to sum up, what I have learnt so far in my professional journey and the inputs that I have received from my peer groups to help others in the search for their dream job.

Be the STAR

Most resumes that I have come across reads

Partnered with engineers, data scientists, designers, customer agents, biz dev teams to define product specs and launch new features

The above statement is one of your responsibility as a product manager. Instead, review the sentence below

Collaborated with a cross-functional team consisting of engineers, designers and biz dev team to launch new features to increase the user registration conversion by 30%.

The statement above is constructed using the STAR expands to Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is usually suggested for interviews but I have found the method helpful in constructing my resume.

Situation: Describe the situation that you were trying to solve.

Task: What was the problem you are trying to solve or the goal you are trying to achieve?

Action: What was the action that you performed or were you asked to perform? I would prefer it to be about that task you and your team perform with more focus on your part.

Result: What did your action result in? Show something qualitative or quantitative to show that you learnt something or helped achieve a significant goal for the team or the company.

Recruiter Speaks: “Be Result Oriented as opposed to Task Oriented.”

  • Recruiters or Hiring Managers to shortlist for a Marketing Manager role, already have an idea about the roles and responsibilities of candidates for the Marketing Manager role. What they want to see is what difference the candidate made in their previous role! The best way to do that is through results(KPIs, Numbers, ROI etc.).
  • Include a summary of the What, How, Outcome and Underlying theme in each statement
– Chetan Choudhary

Consistent Formatting

Whether you use a functional format, chronological format or a combination of both, make sure that you are consistent in the style, language and timelines across your resumes. Some parts of the resume cannot be in ascending order of timelines while others in descending order. I would prefer the latest relevant work experience first over the others and go backwards. Regarding the length of the resume, I would prefer to stick it to 1 or a maximum of 2 pages. Use professional font and font size between 10 and 12 and make it aesthetically pleasing.

Use Good Action Verbs

Strong action verbs help you describe your skills and accomplishments. It helps you to express what you have done or accomplished and as stated it enables you to create impactful sentences that make it easier for recruiters to understand what makes you stand out. Some examples of action verbs are listed below.

For example, compare the 2 sentences below

Understood strategic and competitive position in the market to develop a product strategy and roadmap.

Spearheaded product strategy and developed long-term product roadmap through detailed analysis of the competitive landscape in the market to improve customer acquisition by X%.

The first one simply states what you did, but the second one highlights how you achieved something using your skills rather than the achievement. What makes it stand out is the action word which adds punch to your resume.

Recruiter Speaks: Include 3-5 key action items per experience

  • Wordy resumes are not always the best resumes
  • As far as possible, avoid action verbs like managed, worked with, coordinated, and assisted. Instead use action verbs like achieved, spearheaded, led, accomplished, enhanced etc.
Chetan Choudhary

Include Skillset

Dedicate a section on your resume to include a bullet list of your unique skill set. The list should be a combination of both hard skills (ex: Design, Accounting, Risk Management) and soft skills(ex: Adaptability, problem-solving, communication). This helps you showcase to the hiring manager that you are well-rounded. If you are switching careers, highlight those transferable skills you possess to execute your role.

Win over the ATS

ATS or Applicant tracking system is designed to help recruiters screen applicants suited to the role from a pool of many aspirants. But not applications are scanned by the ATS, there is a real human who is reading your resume in the first cut. Recruiters/hiring managers scan your resumes to understand your skill set and select 5-10 resumes for screening for a job.

Recruiter Speaks: Win over ATS with key words and customized resume for each application

  • Highlight your key skills matching the role you have applied for. This helps catch the recruiter’s attention in the initial 10 seconds.
  • Highlight KPIs: Include numbers, percentages, process improvements in days/percentages, dollar value, and market share wherever applicable. This is a key differentiator.
  • Optimizing tools suggested: Jobscan.co, resumeworded.com, ChatGPT(Use this one carefully and optimize your resume manually)
Chetan Choudhary

Other Considerations:

  • Customize the resume for each unique role that you apply for. Do not apply with a general resume for all jobs.
  • Write a cover letter which adds a personal touch on why you suit the role.
  • Certifications from credible institution that is relevant to the position and the experience adds a lot of value.
  • Add links to your linkedin profile, blogs, portfolios, publications. Make sure that these are clickable.
  • Do not add Date of Birth, Complete Address, Head shot(unless required), additional email address and phone numbers.
  • Write an introduction and a share why you fit this role to the recruiter for them to get some context.
  • Maintain a database of all the resume along with your master resume to help you prepare for the interview.

To review your resume feel free to reach out on instagram @vyasonkeys or via comments here.

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The UBER Experience

I “UBER”ED IN

This is not about the experience that I had with an app or service. This is about the experience of using Uber itself. People do not search these days they “GOOGLE”. Similarly, we don’t catch a cab these days, we “UBER”. This has been the level of impact created by the company. The company as such has overcome a lot of challenges and obstacles over the past few months ranging from a poor performance at the IPO to lawsuits by other cab services. Let us not forget the fact that it is not so easy to get a Uber license in cities like New York and San Francisco. The switching cost is so low that the drivers and riders do not even take a second to change to their rivals. Like many others, I also pick only that service that gives me the lowest price. But there is something about this company that amazes me.

There are 3 factors that I would like to consider why this company has been able to achieve what they have been able to are

  1. Innovation
  2. Usefulness
  3. Can the users figure out how to use?

Innovation

Uber has been the epicenter of innovation in the field of transportation. As my title reads, people do not say I booked a taxi, People say they Uber. This according to me is a sign of success. They have been making awesome progress despite various struggles. Some recent examples include added information on drivers like the languages known to them, their ride history and if there are any challenges they have. Knowing the languages known to the driver would like you strike the right cord with them. Many drivers also are specially-abled, knowing it ahead of time, help us give them instructions to them accordingly if needed. The most recent improvement that I am a big fan of is their addition of Uber Pets. This is a welcome addition to their existing line of services. Given the number of pet owners across the states, this addition could have a significant impact on the users. Besides, all the use cases mentioned above states the inclusive nature of their business.

Uber has revolutionized the transit industry. I remember the first travel to US had multiple challenges in booking myself a cab. I was clueless if I was paying the right price for my commute. Today I have multiple options to choose from and all options are available at the click of a button. Uber invariably is the first option that I look for. I can now commute across different locations at the click of a button, manage payments, book it for someone, manage emergency alerts, ride with my pet(hopefully), and what not. Besides, this they have also expanded their portfolio into Uber eats bringing in an aspect of food delivery. The Uber rewards which has been active for close to 2 years now has also helped users save some small portion of their spend on travels and ordering.

Yes I got it

According to me, a product can be considered a success if the users can figure out how to use the product with minimal or no intervention from the developers of the product. It should be intuitive, communicate the right message, and enable and empower the users to make the right decision. Uber’s UI/UX is simple and straight forward. Users can easily figure out most of what they want to do. The product is structured in a simple, stright forward manner. The UI is intuitive and easy for the users to figure out. As they say in Avatar, make the right contact and once chosen the first ride seals the deal. Uber’s simple UX has resulted in a linear Pirate Metrics: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue (AARRR). Acquisition to Activation happens within minutes, retention has has been a matter for concern given the competition on-hand, referral through existing clients and partnerships are working fine as of now.

It is not the end of the road

The success today is not guaranteed tomorrow. You got to be on top of your game every day. With low switchover costs and high competition from others like Ola, Lyft, Waze ride share, and the old timers in Yellow Taxi and city taxi, Uber cannot take success for granted. There are also mounting pressure from high commission rates, drivers switching over to competitors, law suits and protests against Ride sharing apps. There have also been cases of security breaches for the drivers and riders. With great challenges come great opportunities. If Uber cotinues to do what Uber is known to for, these challenges are good headaches that disruptive companies would prefer to have rather than sit idle. Besides, there are also other aspects in which Uber can expand their portfolio.

P.S: This is not a paid review. Uber has not given me any coupons or even promotional offers to write this. May be something else that they should work on 😉

Double-Edged Sword: Memes

Necessity is the mother of invention. Technology has grown leaps and bounds in the last 3 decades. We have had far too many needs and way more so-called innovations. Technology has done wonders to us. People can connect to their near and dear despite being several million miles away, receive weather updates much in advance to safeguard themselves, book their travel without any assistance. My mom who was not inclined even towards cordless phone just a decade ago is enjoying the benefits of smartphones. More recently, Chennaintes used technology to solve the food and water crisis during the unprecedented floods. Information about people in distress was spread within seconds and the help was rendered within minutes.

Meme Creator’s Man of the Hour

But there is something that is spreading much faster than the good news. Sundar Pichai has spoken so many words than he would have wished for. He has supported various causes across India. Thanks to the power of Internet rather social media and especially a special shout out to the meme creator without whom the name Sundar Pichai would not have reached the “Patti thotis”(nook and corner) of India. Recently there is a popular meme that doing the rounds in the social media “Sundar Pichai voices his concern on NEET”. My beloved Facebook friends and acquaintances, most of whom have completed their undergraduate degree from prestigious institutions from the country share it without a moment of hesitation. All they had to do was a simple google search(OMG! it is the organization that Mr. Pichai heads) if this was even true.  Some examples of fake news or memes on his quotes are listed below.

Sadistic Pleasure

These memes are so realistic that you should actually appreciate the creators. But the trend according to me is worrying. Fake news in the name of “meme” that is simple and catchy, shows the sadistic nature of the creators. Most of these memes are created for fun. It has been put in circulation with an intent to harm someone or something. They know that their creation spreads faster than a forest fire. The only purpose has been to destroy harmony and peace across many lives and countries. Especially, with the reach of technology, people start believing in most of these fake ones. There is already a dip in trust factor. This is just one example, I am not even sure about the space that these fake news and memes occupy in the cloud. In technological terms, wish we had a “Garbage Collection” for these for the sake of saving all those wasted memories.

Few More Snippets

Here are few more classical examples of deriving sadistic pleasure.

  1. Your network will donate for a cause Like $1, Comment $2 and share $5. I am not sure how did they even come up with this.
  2. Someone needs O+ve blood in this area. Contact XXXXXXXXX to help. This message circulates without any authentication. Either these messages are stale or the contact of a person who you want to suffer. People who believe these message and make a genuine attempt to reach them sometimes even feel the burnt of hearing swear words.
  3. Forward this message to 10 people, else bad luck will come.

Last words

One wise man said “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will”. This according to me is a fitting message to everyone. There are so many issues in the world that technology can help address. Let memes be a facilitator to that and not a hindrance.

The “HOME”MAKER

Doctor: These tablets could cause some drowsiness. By the by, are you working?

Wife (Patient): No, I am not.

Husband (Attendant): No, she is working at home.

Doctor (with a beaming smile): Good

The smile on the doctor’s face meant a lot, especially to the attendant who happens to be the author himself. In my childhood, I have always wondered what big work women who don’t go to work do at home? Probably, my outlook changed since the day I moved out of my comfort zone (Chennai) to Bangalore. I had to do simple house chores all by myself and then go to work as well. Another casual conversation and another trigger of a pulse.

Me: You get awesome food everyday.

Manager: Thanks to my wife.

Me: She is not working, is she?

Manager: She is the one who really works.

Those words did mean a lot. Women at home do more work than what we know. We change jobs once the current job becomes monotonous. But imagine their plight, they need to keep doing the same work over and over again but still can’t change jobs. Their responsibilities add up once they start a family. In between, they find innovative ways to bring cheer to their work. I would compare the so-called HOMEMAKERS to the KINGMAKERS in politics who are very much responsible for holding the ship together. The case of working mothers is even more interesting. They manage both office work and HOMEWORK with ease.

Women in my view are not looking for any big rewards or recognition from their family but simple words like “Thank you for the awesome lunch today.”, “Why don’t you take a break today. Let us eat out.” or “I will cook today, you take a break.” This would help them a lot mentally if not physically. Men should share the work load equally at home. Words of appreciation and little actions can make a lot of difference.

India is Dependent!!!!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: It has been more than 6 months since i put anything on this page. So please pardon me for any errors in the following post.

Here is Karthic reporting from the so-called Garden city of India, Bengaluru. Is it still a garden city? I am not here to answer that, though there are hardly any good gardens now. Writing this post on the eve of the 67th Independence Day is more apt I believe. My Facebook page has already started to flood with emotional, patriotic and happy words about our Independence day. Also, not to forget those posts that are so sarcastic and questions what has India achieved in all these years to be celebrated. These skeptics do not understand the struggle that the nation is going through to make things better for it’s citizens.

What was the significance of this day 67 years ago? Why did the wisest, selfless, and brave men and women sacrifice their lives for us? Freeing us from the clutches of the British wasn’t their only vision. They wanted India to be self-reliant and self-sustained. They envisioned India could do better if they are independent.

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What is the real meaning of INDEPENDENCE? Not being dependent on “OTHERS”, we should be self-reliant and self-contained. The ability to manage our day-to-day affairs by ourselves without the intervention of others. Many who lost their souls for a brighter future for children of Mother India believed so. They felt that future generations in India should not be oppressed and suppressed as they once were. But are we doing enough to justify their sacrifice? We are trying but not hard enough. The truth might be a bitter pill to swallow. Many citizens(or even NRIs to great extent) only complain about the system in India and how broken we are. What have we done to fix the broken system? Nothing. I would say that the young brigades upon whom the leaders put their trust have not taken responsibility.

India is still dependent folks, on each and every one of us. It is high time we clean up society in whichever way possible. You do not have to be a politician or a rich man to do good things(I am not sure if they even do those though!!!!). Let us do simple and easy things that can make a huge impact. Here are a few tips for guys who think we can make a change only by being either of the two.

  • Remove Illiteracy: Teach a child or contribute to their education.
  • Keep the country clean: Do not litter in public
  • Keep the environment clean: Plant atleast one tree an year
  • Spread love: Visit an old age home on a special occasion.
  • Go Local: Shop from small vendors even if it is 5 or 10 rupees more than the corporates.
  • Share Knowledge: Dare to discuss and be open to constructive feedback and seek constant improvements.                                                              

Jai Hind!!! I am sure this country will rise and become a force to reckon with. Make sure you are a part of this historic moment by doing something for our beloved Mother India.

An Usual Question : Unusual Answer

The title could bring forth many possible questions to your mind like what’s your name? , what’s your dad? , where are you put up?. Last but certainly not the least of it all “Whats your ambition on life?”.

This could easily be the question that we would be hearing a lot alongside what’s your name?. Isn’t it? 😉 One fine evening myself and my friend traveling back home in office bus after a tiresome day at work, engaged in casual chat so that we can get some sleep or at least spend some time.

That’s when he asked me “what is your ambition in life?”. Out of the blue I just answered. I want to be the best dad that any child could have asked God for. He was a bit taken aback or found it funny, probably because he would have never heard such an answer.

But my answer was genuine. To be the greatest scientist or the world’s best batsman can never satisfy a person. Even they would agree that they want to be a great dad. In this pacy world, none finds time even for their best friends. I would like to be a dad who is able to spend enough time with his kid. Help them achieve what THEY ASPIRE to be. I should make my child feel proud as I feel about my dad.

Together Everyone Acquires More

There was a student appearing for their examination. The student flunked so bad in the tests and thus began the root cause analysis for his/her performance. The parents pointed to the teachers, the teachers pointed to the tutors and the tutors to the parents. Setting their arguments aside, they decide to go in for a combined effort. The student comes out with flying colours and scores a very high grade. Again, the parents pointed to the teachers, the teachers pointed to the tutors and the tutors to the parents. But this time it was about praising each other and their contribution to the success of the student.

““The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

— Phil Jackson

In a more relatable example, we have seen many like Ronaldo, who have put themselves above the team and we could see the impact it had on the team. Though Ronaldo scored 24 goals in the 2021-22 season, the team played with no identity and lost track of their target. Although it has been up and down this season, Manchester United has been playing like a team. Working for their teammates and fighting as a team is reflecting in the way in which the team plays. Manchester United’s goal is to be the ultimate joy to their supporters, aka their customers, and seeing my beloved side play as a team has given us hope to dream bigger again.

What is the relevance of about the above mentioned stories and how can this help us? I have encountered so many obstacles in my corporate journey so far and one tough nut that is always tough to crack is making people realize the benefits of working as a TEAM. The word TEAM itself expands to give a very good motivating phrase “Together Everyone Acquires More“. Only when the Designer, the manufacturer and the salesperson are in sync the profits of the Car industry can be multiplied. In the case of the IT industry also only when the Product Manager, Project Manager, Developers and Quality Assurance Engineer are in good sync the product shapes up well to satisfy the customer. No one is lesser than the other and no one is bigger than the other. But yeah the man who finances the thing has to take the top spot. All that matters at the end of the day are delivering a good product to the customer that they would use and help us learn from their interactions with the product. That can be achieved only when we think and work as a “TEAM“.

Relay Shun Ships

What does the title tell you? Is it about ships, travel? Nope read the 3 words together. “Relationships”. We are born with nothing, but we lead the rest of our lives to find the perfect wavelength to strike a RELATIONSHIP with someone or a group.The definition for itself is complex. Some term their relationship status to be complex 😛 😛 :P. But some read it as the TITLE reads. Relay – Move on to the next person; Shun – Abandon; Ship – Object.

Not many would agree with whats said above. But believe me guys when you listen deep down to your own heart, you would definitely agree to it. I have seen people who have left their parents in dire straits for their selfish needs, they don understand when, what a friend expects (Some say expectations shouldn be there, but if you are human then you are bound to expect is my view. Else you are cheating yourself). Some do not even understand the term relationship for that sake. It’s okay to be numb to expectations of others, okay to be selfish and self centered, but to what extent? At times i too get the odd feeling that “its ok to be selfish n make urself happy rather dan making everyone else around u happy especially when there’s no value seen to wat u doin…”. But guys at the end of the day you should be who you are with some humanity in you. That’s why we are called humans. One common complaint that i hear from people is TIME factor. People always say they don’t find time, but we have to make time instead for the near and dear ones.

I often hear that “No Relationship lasts till death”. Sorry friends you are misled then. Its that relation that ends and not that relationship. Its not a obligation or compulsion that you have to be with your parents during their last days just because they are your parents, with your friends when they are in trouble just because they are your friends, we can do those thinking them to be normal human beings. Just that the above mentioned people share a “RELATIONSHIP” with us, we at times tend to make those people special. There can be small misunderstanding, small fights, forgetting important things but not always from one end. Being Human is a special thing. To err is human but not always. Having relationships like parents, good friends, siblings are a blessing  and the ability to express, emote is a special attribute god has given us. Never ignore a relationship, you are not only hurting a person but indeed losing something SPECIAL.

But what really happens is that as humans grow their thought process grows, but grows in a very weird way. Its easy to commit the silly mistakes but silliest of things causes greatest of hurts.

PS : Credits for a part of the last paragraph goes to my lovely sister Abi Kutty…

Compromise Vs Satisfaction

At last…. Yes At last I am blogging on the most interesting battle that’s being fought so ferociously among the human race. There have always been one conflict or the other in the world like

1) Ram Vs Ravan

2) Peace Vs Terrorism

3) Non Violence Vs Violence.

In each of the above mentioned battles there is a clear differentiation between the good and the bad. But this battle between Compromise and Satisfaction is quite unique. Here, there is no clear demarcation about what is wrong or what is right. In this case, it is more about which is of lesser good or rather what aligns with the situation? This battle is pretty huge and something that needs a close attention is what i feel.

To what extent we can compromise to satisfy one’s need is something that has never been defined. Don’t you think that Mother Nature has compromised enough on her part to satisfy us all? How long she gonna bear all our torture. She has been removed of all the greens and covered with full of dirt and plastics. Have we not realized her fury even after she has expressed it through different means like Tsunami, quakes, famine etc. Don’t you think it’s high time we wake up and address these burning issues.

I was so much impressed with a particular segment in Avatar where Jake tells Eywa “These sky people destroyed all the greens in their world and has come now to do the same here.” bang on Mr. James Cameron. Well said. There can be no better insult to these greedy creatures. Someone said, “The world has enough for everyone’s needsbut not everyone’s greed,”. It’s so straight on our face. yet we continue to sleep rather hibernate.

Better late than never, the corporates and the educational institutes can play a bigger and better role in this mission. It is only through them that we can get back at least 10% of what we have lost so far. They have to understand that these humans can never get satisfied and get straight into action to save the earth for our future generation. Its already getting out of our hands . I hope the readers of this blog spread the need to go green and to plant few trees.

Few Compromises that we can do make our Mother Nature hale and healthy.

1) Use more of public transport.

2) Plant more trees

3) Use renewable source of energy.

4) Carry cloth bags to shops and avoid plastics.

Hail Buchanan

Hail Buchanan!!!! I mean it. Not for this achievements with the aussie team but for his multi captain theory. Recently Sangakkara was banned for one match for slow over rate. So could Sachin also face the same fate if MI once again fail to complete their quota of overs in the time given. If there are multiple captains in the team, which captain will the referee punish. i suppose u cant puish more than one person. 😉 just got a quick thought on this. Should buchanan not be hailed for this??

Slow over rate punishment was introduced as slow over rate kills viewer interest. But i feel even this adds an interesting aspect to the Game of T20. The people on top should recognise the pressure that the teams are in when they play a High Voltage T20 and that too in franchise concept where crores are more important than scores. Time to wake up authorities. T20 can never have a dull aspect.