Inquisitive Interviews : Adithya Suvarna – Advertising

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

My name is Adhitya Suvarna.  I have been working for over 10 years in the mass communications field, namely TV, Online News, Corporate Documentary Film making and Advertising.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I live in Dubai and work in a mid-level advertising agency.

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

Yes and no. Yes in terms of the industry I wanted to be in (media) and no in terms of seniority and responsibility that I currently have. Yes in terms of a wonderful office environment with lots of freedom and comfortable working relationships built over the last 5 years. No in terms of almost reaching a point of stagnation and the dreaded blank wall.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

The honest answer is no. But that would be a blinkered vision. I did not get a good start in terms of salary since passing out of my masters programme. I never fought for ensuring i get paid for what I am worth. Now, I earn a decent income but it could have been really comfortable if in the initial years of my career, I had stood my ground and been a little more informed.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

Office begins with checking emails that my client would have sent the previous evening as I leave office earlier than they do. Then briefing the creative department for new jobs or designs that the client wanted. I also follow up with artworkers in the studio for jobs undergoing minor revisions and sending the same to the client.  Meanwhile, client’s call up to check on jobs status, discuss new jobs or request media plans or rates and other sundry items. I also sit with my junior to discuss jobs that I have handed over to him to do.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Thinking of new and innovative ways to communicate the same message in a new way to the audience. Also, no day is the same as the other as the adverts, the communications differ each day.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Trying to understand what the client  actually means in their vague emails or telephone conversations. Also to try and coordinate with suppliers to meet with the really tough deadlines for delivery of jobs for the clients.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

When after days and months of us doing a lot of work to create something, it is dismissed in one email by the client as not required.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Yes and it is normal for when you are bored, the really rush days look very interesting and exiting.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to my Senior Account Director and the Managing Director. Both have direct and tremendous impact on my job since the amount of freedom and trust they place on me helps me do my job better and more professionally.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

I use some of the skills I picked up in my masters programme. The rest of the skills have been on the job. I did not pick up anything in my college or school that is has helped or is helping in my career in any point of time.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Bangalore, Panjim, Cuttack, Patna and Kolkatta

Pre University               : R S Krishnan, Trichy

Bachelor’s Degree        : Canara College

Master’s Degree           :  Manipal Institute of Communication

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Absolutely. There is no better reward than promoting a brand and making sure people know about it and in the right way. It is also a great field for learning a lot about every other industry without actually having to be in that field.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

My advice to the young crowd is to join when you are young and not wait for a masters degree. Get the hang of the advertising world and after a couple of years, you will be ready to know whether you want to stick around or continue and if the latter, then you will also know exactly which masters programme to do. This industry requires a lot of passion for what you do, whether creative or servicing clients. The rewards come only after a couple of years, so don’t expect to be greatly rewarded on joining. Also, when joining an ad world, try and join a very reputed one, preferably the top 20 agencies that have tied up in your home country. Make sure when you join, you are working for a known brand. That helps lay the foundation, so even after a few years you get an unknown brand, you will be in a position to take charge and give the best to make that brand know.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Always remember to try and chart where you want to be in 10 years time. It is difficult, but a vague idea really helps. In the first few years of your career, don’t stick to a job that does not make you happy doing it or if it is underpaying you. Once you have a few years as a work experience, then try and stick on in jobs for at least a couple of years before leaving as the older you get the more stable your CV should look. Employers won;t look at CV’s that look like you have been hopping more than a rabbit.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

www.adsoftheworld.com

www.ihaveanidea.org

www.adage.com

You can get in touch with Adithya at the link below :

On LinkedIn    : http://ae.linkedin.com/pub/adhitya-suvarna/7/87/9a4

On Twitter        : www.twitter.com/adkutz

As always I would like to thank Adithya for some very good advice and some interesting insight into the career of Advertising. So next time you have an innovative idea to implement you might want to run it through someone like Adithya just to make sure its not been over used. For the time being this is Adithya and Me signing off, and as always Be Inquisitive.

Inquisitive Interviews : Sinatra Menezes – Brand Manager

More Interviews from the creative side of work. This week we talk to the Brand Manager for one of the most famous brands, Ponds. Here is my interview with Sinatra about her work and career. Please let me know what you guys think of the interview, add to it, please drop in requests of Interviews if you want to see some specific ones.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

I’m Sinatra, a second generation Indian, born and brought up in Dubai. I completed high school from The Indian High School. Post 10th grade I was faced with a life altering decision, would I opt for Science or Commerce. Finally I choose Commerce with Mathematics, thinking that it would allow me a wider range of job options. One semester through the first year, I realized that Math just wasn’t for me, and was shoved into commerce with Marketing. And this Ladies and Gentlemen, was the best thing that ever happened for my career!! I absolutely loved it and knew that i finally found an area that i could relate to and my gut feeling told me that I’d be good at it.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

Ponds Brand Manager, Unilever Gulf

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

Everything and more!! I could live and breathe Brand Building for long time to come….the bit that keeps me going is that I’m part of this big project, big idea right from inception till it reaches the hands of consumers.I’m not the best with rountine work, I need something different and challenging happening at all times, to be able to keep my interest levels up.It’s been 8 months since I’ve joined the company, and i can surely say that no two days have been alike.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

I know that I’d get paid a lot more in another company. However the stuff that I learn here is invaluable. It’s like my Marketing Director mentioned to me, “if a single month goes by when you can’t add a new line to your resume, that means you are not learning anything new, it’s time to move!”. Unilever is my dream company, and I am very happy to be working here. Every time i walk into the office I can’t help but smile, cuz not too long ago i used to drive by the building wondering if i’d ever get the chance.

 

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

At any given time I would be working on 5-6 different projects, in addition to ensuring that everyone else does their bit when it comes to the brand Pond’s. Reason being that as Brand Manager, I am responsible for delivering sales numbers, profitability and share growth versus competition. And hence every department needs to be aligned.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

The amount of resources that I have on hand! When working on a project, be it the launch of a new product, planning a customer event, or even a press event, I have access to people with specialized skills in various fields. Hence I don’t have to do it myself, I just need to get the work done.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The amount of resources that I have on hand! Like my boss says, think of the company as a ship, you turn the wheel and only 10 minutes later will you see the impact. Similarly when you work with a big company with many people, it takes a long time to ensure that all elements of your plan are aligned.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Updating various softwares that are in place, and any job that involves manual data entry……..(hate, hate, hate).

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

as of now the only thing that gets be bored is useless meetings. Especially when there is no clear agenda, or no outcome, or even worse, neither of the two!

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to the Marketing Manager of Face category. The direct boss has a lot of impact on me. Right from the time you join the company, this person takes you through your first induction course, to your first project and then yes, the all important Performance appraisal at year end. As they say people change jobs, not because of the company, but due to the boss.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Everything you learn in school comes to use. Even the subjects that you hate. Personally, I hated statistics (high school, college and even during university), but guess what I NEED it at work. I would say that most of the skills that I picked up during my Masters and my work experience have helped shape me as a marketer.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : The Indian High School, Dubai

Pre University               : The Indian High School, Dubai

Bachelor’s Degree        : Pondicherry University

Master’s Degree           :  University of Southern Queensland, Australia

 

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Yes, for sure. If you have a natural tendency to observe and analyze people, the constant need to know what makes people ‘tick’, then this industry is for you. That put together with making products to meet the needs of these people / consumers, gives you perfect training on starting your own business sometime down the lane.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Start young! It helps to know what you are good at and what your natural strengths are. Nothing like getting a head start in this really rigorous race.

You can get in touch with Sinatra at the link below :

On Facebook    : www.facebook.com/sinatracarneiro

Sinatra has been more than helpful with this initiative referring some friends as well. We will have mor interviews from the creative side in the coming few weeks. Your views as always are greatly appreciated. A big thanks to Sinatra for her insights and her time for the interview.

Inquisitive Interviews : Jobby Mathews Rajan – Market Research Manager

First of all thanks a lot for the overwhelming response to the feature Inquisitive Interviews. I am attempting to bring as many different professions into the interviews to give a better idea of what the jobs are like and if you would be able to work in that field, an interesting person to talk to. This week is the Interview of a person who is well known in Dubai, however his profession isn’t, today we talk to a Market Research Manager.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Yello Peeps, My name is Jobby Mathews Rajan, been converting sweat into money for 7+ years. Typically a Dubai boy and not at all confused about my Indian roots-actually I am so proud of it!! When I saw the first interview for the initiative been taken by Melvin to be able to guide the younger generation to a path less thorny, I was quite impressed. But not in a hundred years did I think I would in anyway be able to help, or to put it in a better way, never thought that I would be interviewed by this inquisitive lad. Anyways, here is a disclaimer: Anything mentioned here if by chance offends anybody, it was done with pure intentions in mind or intentionally. :P.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I work as the Market Research Manager for Gulf Warranties.

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

To be frank, I was just about confused like any other “normal” kid on what to do with my life after school. While there were the “ultra normal’ ones who used to start coaching themselves for the various entrance exams from 8th grade, unbelievable huh!!. However, since i had these complete set of ‘ultra normal’ friends and they knew what they wanted, I followed suit and decided to try my hand in Engineering. Days to months to years and I just saw myself such a misfit to the hard core techy side of things. I knew i had the caliber to speak and think out of the box, but not necessarily design a nuclear plant! To cut a long story short, I stumbled onto research and never looked back, and till this day hold no regret for change!

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

Initially it is not the salary that drives you to a certain profession; it is the challenge that is right around the corner of the profession that pumps the adrenaline in you. But seriously, how many of us follow that, unfortunately not many. If you get into a job that is satisfying mentally you eventually end up acing at it, which follows up with the right remuneration. On the other hand you take a job just looking at the remuneration, I can guarantee it would not take much time for you to lose interest and finally suffer at work. And the answer to the question is ‘Yes’!

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

Average day at work, would include drinking tons of tea, responding to emails based on priority and definitely catching up with my colleagues on “what’s up” in their lives. Did I hear a smirk, seriously if you do not know your colleagues there is no way you could work under the same roof. You could be the head of the company but having a personal interface with each of the staff is a quality acquired by the greatest of leaders. However a cautionary warning, out of the supposedly 8 hour work regulation an hour to catch up is good enough. Anything more than that, you should try just sitting at home.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

I handle the non-warranty side of the business for the company, which includes markets research, mystery shopping, brand awareness, customer satisfaction surveys etc. Majority of the work other than client servicing is recruiting serious mystery shoppers that too around 29 cities across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. My team and I are quite trained now to gauge which shoppers would meet our client requirement from the onset of our conversation. So in effect, you need to be as talkative as possible; if you need to fit into this role…Yea people do usually say I got a BIG mouth-in the positive sense.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Since we work across countries and various nationalities during the course of the work, it is difficult to keep a track on what exactly is going around in their particular city. For example, if my client has an urgent requirement on 1st of May, since UAE does not follow it, we end up working on the day, but other markets especially in Africa and Asia, they remain closed. Thus, not being able to deliver based on our client needs. And of course there are other common challenges like trying to ensure the budget never gets overshot, overwork with limited resources, come in on time yet leave late!!

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

I still remember my folks working a straight 8 hour shift and then they have enough time to be back with family. However, nowadays the competition is so stiff, that if an employee does not put in at least 15+ hours a day (keep in mind no-overtime!) they might just not impress the management. And our social networking sites definitely help us in ensuring we work 15+ hours everyday, Right? I hate it, when certain people thing, a person who puts more than 8 hours of work is far more productive. I would say unless you are under resourced (which the management can see clearly), 8 hours is way enough if you plan your work schedule. Distractions like FB, Twitter, personal mails etc. are definitely deterrents that stops you from working within those 8 hours. FYI, I do work more than 8 hours, but I would blame it on being under resourced.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Humm, very rarely, that is when work is less. However, I am in love with Google, and would not know what to do, if it was not invented. A research person’s bible is the Google. For anything and everything we head to Google, to keep us updated on any new methodology, analysis, sourcing of facts and figures. As long as Google is around, there is no chance in the world anybody would be bored.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to the GM of the company. The GM is there to ensure I do not cross the budget allocated and stick to my budget commitments for the year.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

I would say 40% of the skills sets are picked up in Schools and Colleges which is related to Academia.  While 30% would be skill sets picked with your interaction with people around you and finally the rest 30% within your work atmosphere. No one is born with skills, you hone it as you grow.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : The Indian High School, Dubai

Pre University               : The Indian High School, Dubai

Bachelor’s Degree        : Bachelor of Engg. (Electronics & Comm) Banagalore University, Bangalore, Karnataka

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Definitely, it is an industry, that makes all other industry stop and listen to you. It requires an analytical head and enough creative juices to think out of the box. MR(Market Research) is the base for anything that exist in this world. Without proper research, no new product would be launched, no one would understand the feasibility of any service, basically only people who are ignorant would not undertake MR before commencing with any decision that requires investment.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

A basic commerce or business degree would suffice to start with. Market research can only be learnt and understood in detail once you work with a reputable MR agency. Reading from books and online sites holds good when you can implement what you did academically on to the real world.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Google is your bible and Wikipedia your cheat sheet, use it extensively. It might be simple, but if you can master the art of searching on Google, you have completed 50% of your skills sets. The only time I have taken a pen in my hand is for signatures, therefore being computer literate especially MS-office literate is quite important, if you ace in it, you have crossed another 25%. A good active lifestyle and eagerness to learn and know more would have just topped you into a 100% MR person.  All the best and do contact me for any consultation.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_research

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_shopping

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_research

(this details the different kind of methodologies in MR)

You can get in touch with Jobby at the link below :

On Linked In    : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=44939812&trk=tab_pro

A big thanks to Jobby for this interview. I have to let you in on a secret, ever since this section has started, Jobby’s interview has been requested by a few readers. So well this is for all you guys, you know who you are.

Inquisitive Interviews : Megha Abraham – Writer

Another Edition of the Inquisitive Interviews is due today and this time we have a really creative person in the field of Advertising, PR and creative writing. The response on the previous 3 Interviews has been overwhelming and I thank all the readers who are making this an interesting segment to read through.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

My name is Megha Abraham and I have been working for over 10 years in corporate communications, advertising, PR and now writing.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

Currently I live and work in Dubai and am a senior writer with a magazine.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

Writing jobs don’t really tend to pay much, unless you get to the senior management level. Alternatively, if you’ve specialised in reporting or writing from University, and you score a job with a reputed publishing company / title, then there is a difference. But when starting out, it’s always good to keep a realistic expectation of what to expect when it comes to money versus experience. For me, the salary is a nosedive from what I was earning before, but my priorities and present lifestyle allows me to accomodate a lower paying job. So, I wasn’t surprised. Is it what I expected? Hell no! But I roll with it.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

It starts out with an hour’s drive to work, since the office is pretty far from where I live. Once in, I check my line-up for the month and start work on either the stories I have assigned or chalked out for myself. In addition we get a lot of PR material, which we use for our compilation pages. Getting that sorted during the first half of the delivery timeline is what I focus on most. Once done, I then focus all my energy on the features or articles. In between the week, some events or conferences might need attending, so we plan those in and attend them.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Definitely the varied subjects, information and types of people one meets. Otherwise writing can be quite mundane, unless you really love it so much, that you’re willing to schlep a bit and do meaningless work until the right gig comes up.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Sometimes the compromises you have make. Especially when you’re working in an organisation, where sales and ad revenue mean keeping a magazine alive. If you’re working for certain titles who really don’t care, that’s a whole different ballgame. It’s important to know what you want, where you are when it comes to life and circumstances and what you want your career to do for or for itself. Some days time management and on others lack of response. Especially in this part of the world, response rates can be quite infuriating.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Routine. I’m not a routine person. Although sometimes one does crave it when you’re not up to it on somedays and just need the comfort of the familiar. I also don’t like beting jolted out my cruise control and like to plan ahead. Sometimes, being a writer for a publication can spring a few surprises on you because at the end of the day you’re working with people, and we aren’t a homogenous group when it comes to habits, work ethic or time management. So that part of it annoys me sometimes. Another thing I don’t like is meaningless work, which sometimes you have to do, it’s part of the process. But you asked what I don’t like, so yeah, I don’t like it, but I get it out the way, when I have to.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes, it’s natural. I work in an office which isn’t very big, it doesn’t have a huge team and we sit in office that is almost cut off from the rest of the city for an average of 8 hours. So, the office is all you get. If you need to go out somewhere that’s half an hour at least and unless you have an event to go to, or an interview to get done, you don’t step out, because if you do, you won’t be coming back, so again, time management is key here.

Sometimes research on silly/mundane/inconsequential topics (yes, you will get your fair share when writing for a mass reading target group) is extremely boring, and I do go cross-eyed when faced with the inevitable task of looking up colour swatches for a decor story or finding the latest updates from the celebrity world. Boring.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, I report to the Editor of the magazine in terms of hierchy. The impact is pretty straightforward, she/he runs the magazine and we ensure that there is relevant and enough content to go in. The editor oversees the entire outlook and the way the magazine is run and sometimes does oversee the content direction. So the impact is pretty meaingful.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Yes, I do, I specialised in communications, which also involved a course in writing. However, some of the most successful writers come from varied backgrounds as well, which means you need to really like writing or have some sort of specialisation that you can write about. I picked up my skills with practice and pure interest in as well. I’ve always loved books, writing and anything to do with the written word so that helps.

It depends on what kind of writer you want to be really, there are several types: technical, features, copy, novelist, blogger, freelance, project, and many more. So your background no matter what it is can be turned into a writing gig, if you have the interest and the wherewithal to get into it part or full time.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Bangalore, India

Pre University               : Bangalore, India

Bachelor’s Degree        : Bangalore, India

Master’s Degree           :  Manipal, India

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Sure, if they love it, and know it in their gut then, yes. I would also advise this, that if you’re getting into it for the money, then don’t bother. The money comes much later. Much, much later. You definitely need to like it, like a little bit (or a lot of, depending on where you start your writing career) of imbalance when it comes to timing, money, schedules and fulfillment. It comes and goes like waves, once you master that rhythm you’ll be fine.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

If you’re already working or interning somewhere, try and freelance or send in work to magazines, newspapers, websites who commission work. See what the response is like from the editors or writers and keep practicing as much as you can. The more you write, the better you get at it. Also read up a lot, it helps with vocabulary, knowledge, other points of view and writing styles. Keep yourself updated as much as possible, it helps.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

If you’re young, try everything you can before you choose a career or a way of making a living. A lot of people will have opinions on what is good and what isn’t. I personally think it’s important to make your mind up for yourself.

If you’re mid-career and still not sure what you want to do and writing comes up as an option, try it while you’re still working and see if you like it. Weekends, free time, or a break from work can help you get started, and if you do and it’s what you’ve been looking for, then sure, quit and take it up. If it isn’t writing, then what ever else seems to be playing in your mind, try it first and see what it makes you feel like – happy, curious, maybe skeptical; it doesn’t matter – the thing is to try. Forget what the folks / peers / industry / general viewpoints said. It’s hard, yes. But if you do try, it works wonders.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

I don’t have any online resources that I could recommend. However, I used to actively contribute to www.wordquotient.com who are always on the lookout for writers for varied feilds (if you’re a subject expert, freelance enthusiast, or want to find out where to start).

Otherwise, the really effective way is to do your own research, that’s when you find what you’re looking for.

You can get in touch with Megha at the link below :

On Linked In    : http://ae.linkedin.com/in/meghaabraham

A big thanks to Megha for this insight into what a writer at a magazine would actually be working on. I am sure we will read more of what she writes in the future. Hope this interview is as useful to all the students reading this.

Inquisitive Interviews : Ruth Pereira – Cabin Crew

Back again this week with Inquisitive Interviews, after the really good response this week for the feature as well as the comments received for Jason for the Interview, this week I would like to feature another Pereira, Ruth. Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier. Without further delay I present to you Ruth, and here she is in her own words.

Good Morning Ladies and Gentleman, My name is Ruth Aurelia Pereira, and I have the pleasure of welcoming you onboard Melvin’s Inquisitive Mind! 😀

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Born in Mangalore , INDIA. Raised and studied partly in Muscat, Oman but mostly in Mangalore, completed my Graduation in Travel n Tourism certified by the Delhi board and Diploma in IATA certified from Montreal, Canada and moved back to the Middle East, this time to Dubai. Been here 5 years and going strong.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I am working for Emirates Airline as a cabin crew based in Dubai.

[ Q ] Is the job what you had pictured it to be ?

Yes & No. Yes to a point that I knew what my job profile would hold and the perks that came along with it. No, because like many others I misconceived it to be a job that mainly involved hospitality.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

It was. But i was surprised to know that there are many other industries that pay much better, for example, media industry.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

Every day is different, be it at work or on a day off and that’s what keeps me going. I have tried a 9 -5 job on field and at desk. I couldn’t live the monotonous life, even though I knew the one thing I would have to give up was a good night’s sleep.

On a day off, I would try and spend most of my time catching up on my sleep lost over a long night’s flight, especially one of those deadly departures that leave at 3.00 am in the morning! If not sleep, then run errands for groceries (well I rarely cook so that’s out), drive around, meet my friends during the day – subject to their day off, go shopping(home n decor) something I can do for hours, watch a movie (never alone) or just laze at home and order in.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Layovers! To those who do not know the airline lingo, layovers are those flights that we stay 24 hours or over / under at a destination.

Yes, not every destination we stay at is exotic, but I have seen places I would otherwise never go on a holiday to. I would rather spend my money going to more exotic and popular places than go to remote destinations like Dhaka, Entebbe, Accra, Dakar etc… so it’s good that I got to see these places and the life out there with this job and I didn’t even have to pay for it!

Apart from the perks that we get offered as a part of our contract, I enjoy the benefits I discovered later with this job. Special rates for stay at hotels worldwide, our Airline has a club called the FACE club and the activities that are organised and discounts we get at restaurants, spa & salons and shopping are pretty awesome.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

I have a few to list. Firstly, as I reiterate the 3.00 am turnaround flights! Explaining the term ‘turnarounds’ are those flights where we do not stay at a particular destination, instead do a quick turn back bringing the next set of passengers, giving an hour or sometimes more on ground for caterers, cleaners and refuelling. It is challenging because if we look at how our sleep pattern works the level of sleep one reaches at 3 am apprx is at its peak, while I have to push myself and stay alert for the critical phases (take off and landing) of the flight at that hour!

Secondly would be a fire situation while on cruise. I know this should top my list of challenges, but how any fires have I fought against the early morning departures I have done? Coming back to fire threatened situations we are taught how to fight a fire, be it a lavatory, galley, ovens, toxic liquid spillages and many more. So, on a tough flight I still “have to have” a presence of mind to act accordingly and not use an oxygen bottle instead of a halon to extinguish the fire! Or use water on classified dangerous fumes!

Thirdly to clear one of the major misconceptions, flight attendant’s main responsibility is the safety of everyone on that flight. Serving food and drinks to the passengers is just an added bonus for the passengers. If safety was not a big issue or concern, there wouldn’t be many of us on flights. So during our intensive training for this job what we learn most is the safety of the aircraft and passengers, rendering First Aid and then comes service. So on a flight what challenges me is having a First Aid situation, be it hypo/hyperglycaemia, Angina, cardiac arrest, Birth on board ( yes we even know that), CPR, trauma, the list is endless. We have to know each of its signs and symptoms and treat the casualty accordingly.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Working in the First class cabin I love my job! This is why I have delayed my upgrade for a senior post. Which is wrong, I agree. This job is pretty challenging as it is, and being a senior means handling the crew, passengers, service and being responsible for something that wouldn’t even be my mistake perhaps. Yes, what I would love to hate is the standby month we have once in 7 months (which is coming up next month)! I detest them! Everyone does! The wait for that one phone call to know where I am off to could be quite an ordeal. Or wait for hours in the standby lounge to get pulled out when some crew rostered for that flight calls in sick or other reasons. They are not bad, sometimes one can be pleasantly surprised to get pulled out to their favourite destination or perhaps even their hometown! It’s just that I love being mentally prepared for a flight and not get last minute surprises.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Never! My office is my aircraft and every flight is a different aircraft, sometimes I fly on the airbus and other times the Boeing Which I love flying on. Like they say, I aint going if it aint Boeing!

Every crew is rostered for a flight and its always new faces I see when I sign in for the flight. In general, we very rarely fly with the same crew any given time. It’s all about meeting new people, making friends, sometimes we get along exceptionally well, and sometimes the mindset is a far cry from. Once we reach a destination there is always something different to do.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, we follow a chain of command when onboard a flight. The Captain heads the team, followed by the First officer, the Purser whom I directly report to and the two Senior Flight steward/stewardess each one in charge of business class and economy class respectively.

When we are on ground we have our cabin crew managers who, when needed we report to. Mostly for me I liaise with my manager only through emails.

Otherwise the good thing of this job is, once you have finished your flight and signed out you go home! If you don’t like the senior or another crewmember you worked with, chances are you might never see them again. If you do, there is always another flight you can swap it for! No back logs or no reporting to after flights to anyone. I love that!

[ Q ] What would you say are the growth aspects in this Industry are like ?

Initial growth is slow. But once you gain like 10 years of experience, you are king! You can command whatever you want with respect! But of course, it is hard to generalize. It differs from industry to industry.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

I have picked up my skills along the way. In the Customer service industry, all you need are good social skills and an ability to maintain a calm state of mind, no matter who you’re dealing with.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Indian High School, Muscat

Pre University               : St. Agnes College, Mangalore

Bachelor’s Degree        : St. Aloysius College, Mangalore

Master’s Degree           :  –

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

I wouldn’t push anyone to pursue this as a career, but if you want to explore the world in $0.00 this is the best way to do it! If you like what you’re doing stick on as long as you like or you must take another career path before it gets too late to change careers. And another advantage of being in this job is you can simultaneously do your higher studies.  For one, Emirates has its own aviation college and we get good benefits being a part of the group.

Of course so with any other job, but the time you would have here and the freedom to travel is pretty awesome!

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

You don’t have to be a genius to get here. Just be wise! And never let that smile on your face diminish even on a difficult day or because of a harrowing customer. That is the first impression you create, and trust me the smile is the weapon I arm myself with when I have to face a sticky wicket. Do good researches before you get into the airline of your preference. So far hands down Emirates Airline is the best 😀

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Flying is not all about service; remember it’s just an add-on frill. Safety & security is our priority. To those who preconceive cabin crew to be all about chicken or beef, or double ending trolleys, because that is the only thing you see once you are on board, you will be pleasantly shocked and at ease to know that you are in safe hands with the amount of knowledge we have on each of the aircraft type we own, its survival & rescue, restraining a disruptive passenger, being First responders to a medical situation so on and so forth! You can breathe a sigh of relief now 😀

Secondly, do keep logging into Melvin’s blog and even bookmark it! You would be amazed how much knowledge you will gain out of here!

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

If you do find online computer based courses on customer skills you should do them. Apart from that you do not need to join any of the many Institutes that offer cabin crew training. But if you feel that it can help you in any way, by all means do it. I applied directly on the company’s website and on joining I went through an intense training for 5 weeks. And time to time we are given online courses to complete pertaining to our job.

You can get in touch with Ruth here :

On Facebook    : http://www.facebook.com/AureliaRuth
On Linked In    : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=114232733

Thanks Ruth, for all your help and support, I am sure the readers like me would learn something new with this interview. And yes I was surprised to know that the Cabin crew on flights are not just there to look pretty, although it does help. :)

The REAL ‘Emirates Palace’ is on its way

Frequenting the Internet, some of the information you find is stunning. Sometimes information of something so close to you is relayed from the internet and you haven’t heard about it. Is that just not the worst ? Well, here is another bit of information that might just give you that feeling, I stumbled on a website which had the details and information about the Real Presidential Palace of Abu Dhabi, which is being constructed in Abu Dhabi. Since I work in construction and have worked n some of the best projects in the region, rarely new projects really do excite me. But this one really did. The Abu Dhabi Presidencies new Palace is definitely worth a second look.


This is the proposed presidential palace being built by the Presidential Affairs Department of Abu Dhabi. It is going to replace the existing palace in Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi. The project will be constructed over 2 plots and will include the main palace, smaller palaces, villas and other facilities. The main palace itself will be 160,000 square meters or over 1,700,000 square feet! Take, the new presidential palace,$490M project that was awarded to Greek construction firm Consolidated Contractors Company and Abu Dhabi-based architects Ewan Architectural & Engineering Consultancy last year. The compound will sit in good, sweet, ostentatious company beside the Emirates Palace Hotel, which made a name for itself around the holidays by hosting a Christmas tree dripping in $11M worth of jewelry.

While the Guggenheim labor controversy has shed negative energy on the Emirates city of Abu Dhabi, turns out there’s a whole lot of other stuff going on there. The Presidential Palace being maybe the crown jewel when it comes to it. All my reluctance in going to Abu Dhabi for a visit is not slowly being overcome to go see this behemoth coming to life.

More Information on Skyscraper City. More Pics here.

Inquisitive Interviews : Jason Prince – Marketing Engineer

As mentioned in a post earlier about Inquisitive Interviews, this blog is attempting to provide some real helpful information to students and professionals alike. Once a week this blog will feature an Inquisitive Interview of a professional from daily life, from really varied professional backgrounds. No part of this interview has been edited or modified in any way.

I kick start this series with one of the best Marketing guys that I personally know, being part of the events initiative we started, Jason has been an important person within Inquisitive Events. I would request you to add in your best wishes and comments for Jason below.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Name is Prince. Jason Prince.

Born and raised in Dubai, went to Canada, came back with a degree in electrical engineering, got a job 3 months later. Started my MBA program parallely with work.  Been in construction industry for 7 years now & loving it.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

At the moment, I am a Marketing Manager for a company called InoSafe Lighting Solutions based in Dubai.

[ Q ] Is the job what you had pictured it to be ?

It is my 3rd job in 7 years and it is closest to the picture I had in mind!

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

It was. But i was surprised to know that there are many other industries that pay much better, for example, media industry.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

That is the best part of being a Marketing Engineer, every day is different. If there is a huge project, like an airport; we take a week to design it as perfect as possible, 3 days to make a good presentation out of it and another 3 days to present it the client. If it is a smaller project, one day is good for each one of these activities.

On off peak times like summer holidays and Ramadan, mornings are usually set for meetings and after lunch for paperwork.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Meeting people. Usually, the relationship that forms is lifelong and it is interesting to see how each relationships takes form.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Deadlines usually. Sometimes, these deadlines can get impractical. And the frustrating part of it is that the deadlines becomes tight when someone along the “work-chain” didn’t complete their work on time.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Sometimes, the people who take decisions take advantage of their position. Dealing with these people are never fun or challenging.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes. But that is good. It gives a chance to change things. Every company appreciates a positive change. If you can suggest it to improve the company’s turnover and your role in the company, grab it.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, I do report to my manager. And the manager can have a huge impact on the work that you do. As a fresher, I believe it doesn’t really matter who your boss is. If he has good qualities, adopt it. If he has bad qualities, add it to the list of things-not-to-do-if-I-ever-become-a-boss. It is all part of learning.

If you are going to look for a job at senior level, then it is important to check the chemistry you have with your manager because firstly, you tend to get a lot crankier by now & it is hard to gel with anybody like before & secondly, he could really have an effect on your growth up the ladder.

[ Q ] What would you say are the growth aspects in this Industry are like ?

Initial growth is slow. But once you gain like 10 years of experience, you are king! You can command whatever you want with respect! But of course, it is hard to generalize. It differs from industry to industry.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

70-80% of the skills are the ones you picked up at the job itself. But the remaining 30% is crucial too. The person and the habits that you have picked up reflects on your work. For example, there are some people always looking for shortcuts. This stems up from the fact that they were always looking for shortcuts while studying. While there are others who were always looking for the whys and how’s and they have more research type attitude. Mind you, they are both good and required. You just have to pick a job profile that best fits.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Our Own English High School, Dubai

Pre University               : Tandem Institute of Engineering, India

Bachelor’s Degree        : University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Master’s Degree           : University of Southern Queensland, Australia (campus in Dubai)

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Construction industry is not the best option right now in Dubai right now. You might not get the salary that will best match your expectations. If the company is concentrating on growing third world countries, it could be an exciting opportunity.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Like I said, it is not the best time and it might take a while to establish. Patience & luck goes a long way!

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Keep a hobby. And actively pursue it as you grow at work. It will help.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

Nope, you learn everything at work. Some companies invest in personality development programs. Those are great!

You can get in touch with Jason here :

On Facebook    : http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691991915
On Linked In    : –
On Twitter        : –

Thank you Jason, the readers would really appreciate your insights.

Wordless Thursday – The Hardest Languages to Learn

For all the newbies on this blog, Wordless Thursday is this blog’s way of providing a visual homage to the world. Most of it though interesting infographics. You can see all the infographics that have been published on this blog here. This week in the office, I was trying to pick up some new words in Arabic from some of my colleagues and guess what ? I found out that it is indeed one of the most difficult languages to master around the world.

Although this infographic is called “What are the Hardest languages to learn ?” they do not represent the majority of languages in the world, In fact India itself has over 15 National Languages, with hundreds of dialects each. I am sure if one were to chart out the languages in India  and which one is the most difficult, the intricacies of Malayalam, Tamil and other South Indian languages would show up as the most difficult to learn. What do you guys think ?

Will Amazon do to Android what Google could not (in the middle east)

A few weeks back I wrote about how Google might be killing Android in Dubai, not directly but indirectly. The mistake of Google of not telling users here in the middle east that Google Market is not part of the Android offering, and the Handset manufacturers are the bigger scammers (read Samsung, LG, HTC), not publicizing the Android App Market, but not letting users even see it. But for all those guys who have had some trouble getting apps from the app store, especially here in the middle east or anywhere Android Market is not available, here is an option. The Amazon App Store.

You read that right, a company that does not really have anything to do with the Android until now, has an App Market that rivals the one from Google itself. The advantage that it provides over the Android Market is simple, access to the vast bank of Android Apps that are available in the app store. Although they have been sued by Apple for using the word App Store, Amazon has gone ahead with the release of the software for android phones. With the launch, they have also launched a new feature called test drive, which lets customers like us experience the app before buying it. This along with the great recommendation engine and app discovery feature make this one of the best app stores around. You can also shop in the Amazon App store online using your computer and sync the same with the device when you open the app. The service is just great.

The greatest news for the guys in the middle east will be that apart from the free apps, they will now have access into the paid apps for Android. This is possible with the 1 Click check out feature that many of us are already used to here, ordering from Amazon. So the Android user who is excited and wants to get this software, here is how you can do it. First of all visit the following link : http://www.amazon.com/mobile-apps/b?ie=UTF8&node=2350149011

Forget about the warning that says App store is available only in the United States, enter your email address at the right of the screen and click go. You should see an email with the link to the App as well as the step by step process to install it. Here is the screen below.

Download the application and install it on your phone. Once you are done installing , login with your Amazon Username and password and you are good to go. I have used it on my Nexus one and have not yet bought a paid app. However, the free apps are downloading just fine and working great. Looking forward to what’s next ? A Tablet from Amazon like the Kindle, or even another phone from Amazon this time. Why not, even Micromax in India has an Android Phone. Amazon has built the app store that Android should have had from the beginning. (And the free app a day ploy is genius.) What Google does next will be interesting. Do they embrace what Amazon has done? Or do they shun it in fear? But at the end of the day, this may well be Amazon eating Google’s lunch — off of their own plate. Well let’s just hope that this competition brings about better experience for us customers and better apps into the market place.

April Fools is round the corner, here are some tricks for you

It’s nearly the end of march and soon, that dreaded day where people play some pranks on each other will be here. And to be prepared this time around I started looking at some interesting options that are really different or maybe some that you have not tried. I thought that just a list of geeky pranks would be like last year, if you missed that, here is the link for the post from last year. Last years list was of some harmless computer pranks, this year I am going to put up a longer list, from geeky to the regular pranks. Before we get there, why should we attempt pranks ? Well it’s that day of the year when we are given the freedom to do it without too many repercussions of the prank itself.

Even the larger software companies do it, Google with all its products and fan base is the biggest company that does it. I guess it makes them feel like a young small company and not the giant like it is. I guess it’s the same with me too, pranks would let me reminiscent the good old college days where all of us would want to go back to. Let me get into the list and its details. So here’s the list :

Kidnapped

Take an item from the victim’s office (something they use a lot such as a special coffee cup, stapler, pencil cup, etc.). Take a picture of the item and leave it on the victim’s desk (in the same spot where the item was located), along with a “ransom” note.

Wake Up

If your target uses a powerbar with their computer try this one. Get aportable radio and plug it into the Powerbar. Turn off the powerbar then turn the radio volume to really loud. When they can’t figure out why their computer has no power – they will turn on the power bar and get a big surprise.

I Hate Those Guys

Whatever your target hates (Like a certian Sports Team or Politician) – post their entire office with posters or promo stuff clebrating that hated thing.

Dripping Cup

Poke some small holes in the paper water cups so that next person that gets a drink of water will have some bonus sprinkles.

Food Stealers

Take pictures of you spitting on the food or rubbing the food on a dog’s bum. Leave photos on counter after the theft and in plain sight for everyone to see.

Good Eats in the Garbage Trick

Hide potato chips or any other kind of food in a bag and put it in the garbage. When someone comes by, spot the “Find” and then dive in and eat away. Ask them if they think it is bad to eat from a garbage.

Change your Clothes

Tell everyone but your target to bring a couple of changes of clothes to work. Then walk by your target with a different set of clothes on every time.

Change the Location

If you have a coworker that is extremely picky about the placement of their work materials, adjust them ever so slightly every day. It may be work tools, pens, supplies, computer monitor anything else in their work area.

The Award

If anybody wins an award send out a fake memo that the award has been discontinued.

Who’s Calling?

Leave a note on the victim’s desk that “Mr. Lyon” called for them (Mr. Behr also works) and wants to be called back as soon as possible.  Make sure to include the phone number of a local zoo as the call back number!

Important Papers

Take random papers from the recycling bin (it doesn’t matter what they way but it is better if they look important) staple pages together in random order and put them in a coworkers desk file drawer or their mailbox.  For better results, make a memo sheet (or a post-it) that says “Confidential” and watch the coworker going nuts trying to figure out what it means.

Taking Notes

Replace the victim’s pens with pens that have caps super-glued to them.  Another alternative includes painting the tips of pens or pencils with clear nail polish. When they try to write, none of the pens will work.  The nail polish can be later removed by dipping tips in polish remover.

More pranks here.

Cell Phone Etiquette – someone should really make some rules

Cell Phones are everywhere; nearly all of us have one. In fact during an earlier post on wordless Thursday, we did manage to look at the overall numbers of cell phones and usage statistics which were quite shocking. So, it is absolutely great right, everyone has a cell phone, loved ones are closer? Yes it is. But like everything good in this world when it comes to technology, there is a dark side. Cell phone etiquette.

People somehow do not really seem to know when is it acceptable and not acceptable to use a cell phone. Although I know some of you might think that it’s a free world and there are no written rules for cell phone usage, I still believe that some people should have. Mind you I am not talking about life safety here, like talking on the phone while driving, or using your phone during your wedding anniversary (ask me, it is life threatening), but generally using the phone, the when, where and how. Good cell phone etiquette involves following some simple guidelines of common courtesy when using a cell phone in public, designed to make those spaces enjoyable to all.

I want you to turn off your cell phone

All of us have been annoyed by the guys who talk like their voice would reach the other person even without the phone, the guys who think that technology is still in the late 80’s where we had to scream into the mouthpiece of a wired phone, inside a booth lovingly also known as the Standard Trunk Dial Booth (STD). Yes, we are told the issues that they have even if we don’t really want to hear about it. Be it Private conversations, arguments of details of meetings or even what they just are, things that don’t really want to know. Add to this inappropriate ringtones in places where they are not to be used.

People these days put up sign boards for people not to use their cell phones in certain places, like places of worship, government offices, meetings etc. But you do have the regular rings from the careless people. So people have actually got fed up and have started installing cell phone jammers in these places. These devices knock cell phone users off their lines and prevent a reconnection with the cell tower until the user wanders out of range. The rate at which jammers are selling speaks to the lack of manners among the chatters. If you’re wondering what you can do to contribute to a more polite society, cell phone etiquette can be boiled down to 7 simple guidelines according to me:

1. When a Private Conversation Isn’t Possible. Intimate public settings such as restaurants, public restrooms, waiting rooms, hallways, buses, subways or anywhere a private conversation is not possible is a bad place for a cell phone conversation. To practice good cell phone etiquette, put the ringer on vibrate or silent mode and let the call roll over to voice mail. If it’s an important call, step outside or to a secluded area to return the call. If that’s not possible and you must take the call, keep your voice low and the conversation brief. Let the caller know you’ll get back to them when you’re able.

2. Lights Out, Phone Off. Phones should be turned off in movie theaters, playhouses, observatories or any other public place that creates an atmosphere to transport the imagination of the audience. People pay good money to be entertained and a ringer breaks the illusion.

3. Modulate Your Voice. Cell phones have sensitive microphones that can pick up a very soft voice while blocking out ambient noise. Yelling into a cell phone is not necessary. When people are nearby, be considerate and keep your voice low, your tone unemotional and even, and your conversation private. Arguing or airing dirty laundry in public is very poor human behavior let alone cell phone etiquette.

4. Observe the 10-foot Proximity Rule. Maintain a distance of at least 10-feet (3 meters) from the nearest person when talking on a cell phone. No matter how quietly you speak, if standing too close to others they are forced to overhear your personal business.

5. Love the One you’re with. It’s rude to take a cell phone call on a date or during a social engagement with others. It’s also inconsiderate to take a call in the middle of a conversation. If the caller were present he or she would likely wait to politely interrupt at a more appropriate time. Let the call roll to voice mail and return it later.

6. Drive Now, Talk Later. Multitasking isn’t always a good thing. Some evidence shows that accidents are on the rise due to cell phone use. Most calls can wait until you’ve reached your destination, and if a call is upsetting or distracting pull over to have the conversation.

7. Use Common Sense. Turn off your phone before a job interview, presentation, or boardroom meeting. Leave it off at funerals, weddings, or anyplace a quiet atmosphere is mandated, such as a courthouse, library, museum, or place of worship.

Cell phone etiquette is just a matter of being considerate of others, which pays off for everyone; sooner or later.

 

RESUME, C.V. and BIO-DATA – The difference

I know I write a lot of technical happenings in the world, but one topic of mine that you will see coming through every once in a while is the topic of Resumes, Business Cards and such. I believe like most of you would that these resumes, business cards etc are more or less like an advertisement for yourself. Consider yourself as a brand; these would definitely be on the top of the list of the marketing materials for the brand. If you look it up, the process of creating a personal brand statement is increasing exponentially within the design community. However, there is nothing stopping form anyone creating a personal brand about you. After no one loves you more than yourself right?? Oh don’t worry I am not questioning is any of us is being a megalomaniac, just that we care about how we are perceived, in terms of looks behavior, mannerisms etc. So these documents should reflect the same. But before I go into what I think is the right and wrong approach and what we can do to increase awareness etc, I want to point out the difference between the above 3 documents if you may.

People use the words RESUME, C.V., and BIO-DATA interchangeably for the document highlighting skills, education, and experience that one submits when applying for a job. On the surface level, all the three mean the same. However, there are intricate differences as I found out and as I would like to share.

RESUME

If you look up the meaning of the word, you will see that RESUME is actually French for summary. So ideally this document should be a summary of one’s employment, education and skill set. This would help in applying for a new job. Ideally a Resume being a summary should not exceed 1 or 2 pages. The idea of a Resume is not to have a list of all your educational experience, skill set and experience. On the contrary, the Resume is to identify only the specific skills customized to target the job that you are applying for.

Additionally a Resume should be broken down into bullets, and importantly is written in third person to appear formal and objective. I think the third person writing, was initially written as a summary of one’s skills etc, by another person who would have to be the person used as a reference of your work, and credibility. Not sure if I really like the concept of third person writing though.

An ideal structure of a Resume in this case then would have to be

  • Brief Summary of Qualifications [ Relevant to the job]
  • Areas of Strength or Industry Expertise Keywords
  • Relevant Professional Experience in reverse chronological order
  • Personal Affiliations, Computer Skills and Education

While writing the experience it would be of at most importance to focus on the most recent experiences and prior experiences summarized.

C.V. or Curriculum Vitae

This document is a lot more like what most of us have. The C.V or Curriculum Vitae is a Latin word meaning Course of life. And as the name says it would be a lot more detailed than the RESUME, wherein it would include details of a regular or particular course of study pertaining to education and life.

This contents of this document is not restricted by the size of the document itself, meaning it can be as long as you wish it would be. However, I would not suggest a 50 page booklet talking about that neighborhood cricket tournament you won, or that dance competition during Holi in Mumbai. Keeping in with the skills related to work that you have acquired over the years showing the progression of work, this document would be a course of your life, academically and professionally.

This is not written in third person. This would be as if you were telling a person what you have been up to and what you are capable of. So ideally a structure of this document would have to be a bit different.

  • A detailed summary of qualification in terms of courses, affiliations etc
  • All areas of strength including every skill set acquired over time
  • Professional experience in terms of al professional jobs undertaken ( could include part time jobs as well) in chronological order.
  • Educational Qualifications with possible marks put in
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Courses and Seminars attended
  • Computer skills and interests
  • Personal information and References

A CV is then a document that shows your general talent and not just be restricted to the specific skills for any specific positions. As you can see it’s like putting your professional and academic life on paper.

BIO-DATA

This is a very Indian term, seldom used in countries outside the sub continent. The BIO-DATA or Biographical Data is the sort of Old fashioned term used for Resume of CV. But more importantly the emphasis in a bio data is on personal particulars like date of Birth, Religion, Caste, Race, Nationality, Residence, Marital Status and so on and so forth. For those of you who did not know, some of us Indians are quite racist when it comes to us Indians.

The government supports the fact, to the extent of having reservations for certain religions, casts etc. One of the reasons that this information would be required as part of your job skill sets. This BIO-DATA is used mostly for applying to Government Jobs in India, as you can imagine. Apart from the personal information, this would have the regular information as well and the structure of such a document would be:

  • Personal Information
  • Chronological listing of Education
  • Chronological listing of experience
  • Professional Accreditations, affiliations
  • Specific Skill sets (may or may not be included)

The BIO-DATA these days are slowly coming back as specific formats that companies want to collect information about applying candidates, mostly these are in the form of Online Applications to be filled by the candidate.

Usage

Usage of these documents would be based on the company’s preferences. It is not uncommon to have a RESUME and a CV available to provide it to companies; in fact most people have multiple versions of Resumes for various jobs. The C.V however cannot be altered too much and would just be updated.

A resume is usually used while applying for middle and senior level positions, where experience and specific skills rather than education is important. Resumes present a summary of highlights and allow the prospective employer to scan through the document visually or electronically, to see if you would fit in the position that they have.

A C.V on the other hand is perfect for fresh graduates applying as freshers, inters etc. This as the companies would not really have another form of gauging the caliber of the candidate as they are just outside college.

Like I said the Bio Data is used only in India while applying for Government jobs, research grants etc. They come in handy at the back of a book that you are trying to author maybe 😉

Variations

The variations to the above would be Online CV, Visual CV, and Visual Resume etc which I have written on this blog before as well. For an online Resume you can check out the one I have here are http://melvinpereira.com. I am working on a Online CV and I will share it when done.