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Dated September 22, 2004

I recently sent my resume to a few companies. Is it advisable to make a follow-up call to recruiters after sending them an unsolicited resume?

Aurobindo Das
Cuttack

It is not unusual for large recruiting firms to receive upwards of 100 resumes per day. With this kind of daily volume, firstly, if you are fortunate enough to be considered as a candidate for a current search (very unlikely but possible), you are immediately contacted.

Secondly, when you make a follow-up phone call, you'll get the person's voice mail.

The person's assistant will answer the phone, ask why you called up and, after you explain, says, "yes, we've received your letter, and have put it on file."

The person you're trying to reach could answer the phone, but:

A. Will be too busy to talk with you right away,

B. Won't remember having received your resume, or

C. Will remember having received your material and thank you for sending it in, but won't express any interest in seeing you immediately.

Thirdly, your resume is placed in the "house database" until a search is conducted in your specialty, income range and geographic area, with the skill sets and experience level that you posses. Your resume could also be discarded. This occurs because the resume is confusing or vague or is completely beyond the recruiter's understanding.

I wish to soup up my resume. I have compared various resume styles and found them markedly different from one another. Please advise me so that I don't make any major or minor mistakes while preparing my resume.

Anne Bob
Calicut

A quick, strong way to add credibility to your resume is to use hard numbers. The fact is, as long as you are not giving away proprietary information, using hard figures is an excellent way to enhance the credibility of your resume.

They are definite, objective and measurable. Numbers also are presumed to be true. Since resume readers can very easily verify them, they presume you would not be naive enough to cook them up. Further, full sentences using personal pronouns are not needed.

Avoid statements that do not reflect what you actually did. Phrases such as "participated in," "involved with" and "member of" do not provide a vivid picture for the recruiter; they merely suggest that you were present. So, when writing or rewriting your resume, just provide the facts.

Your resume suggests that you may be over-qualified or too experienced for this position. What's your opinion? This is what I was asked in a recent interview.

Neena
Nagpur

You should emphasise your interest in establishing a long-term association with the organisation, and say better performance in the job will open up new opportunities. Mention that a strong company needs a strong staff. Observe that experienced executives come at a premium. Suggest that since you are so well qualified, the employer will get a faster return on his investment. Say that a growing, energetic company can never have too much talent.

What are the career prospects for software testing professionals?

Jawad Ahmed
Chennai

Software professionals/ developers/ Testers and quality assurance personnel are in great demand both in India and abroad.

They generally get employment in software establishments, information and communications technology sector, major national and multinational companies and public sector organisations and in public and private research organisations.

They may work with IT firms or consultancies that specialise in providing IT solutions to their clients. Companies also hire them as software engineers to support in-house IT systems.

Other potential employers include the automotive sector, navigation and communications equipment designers and manufacturers, financial services, trade markets, global investment banks, security market specialists and business intelligence and market research firms, etc.

You gain entry at the trainee level. With experience, the scope widens and you could become a software testing engineer, development engineer, senior software engineer, senior test engineer, test manager/engineer or as a quality engineer, quality auditor, reliability engineer, or quality manager, principal software quality engineer and so on.

I have been between jobs during the last five years. What is the best way to handle the question regarding gaps in employment?

Anaida
Goa

If you have an extensive gap in employment, you may address it in your cover letter to the prospective employer. Include a brief explanation, but do not go into details about a long illness or a frustrating job search. Rather, state that you were out of the workforce for a specific reason, and explain how eager you are to return.

If the gap in employment happened a long time ago, don't bother mentioning it at all. Employers are not interested in what happened a decade ago!

Should the subject of your employment gap come up during an interview, explain why simply and briefly. In other words, use the exact brief explanation you used in your cover letter. Regardless of the reasons for your employment gaps, always maintain a positive, optimistic attitude and be sure to let the hiring manager know that you are excited and ready to return to work!

The faq column deals with career concerns addressed to The C&K Management LTD. PO Box 2178, Secunderabad 500003 or emailed to faqs@cnkonline.com

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