How to be brutally honest in your resume and crack the deal

It’s that time of year again when transitions of students from high schools to colleges are on the move and you’re suddenly not considered a kid anymore.

There are new people to deal with, new emotions and perspectives to understand, new situations to grow and evolve under.

Everything seems different yet the same, it gets perplexing. And then one fine day, when everything was going all well, there’s a new term you’re supposed to know and then make one for yourself: ‘resume’.


poster "good news are coming"

“Your resume is nothing but a documentation of how far you’ve come in your academic and professional life, and how beneficial you can be to the existing companies to get work done from you.”

If that’s what you’re told, it’s not wrong. But what’s vital to gather is that your resume is a reflection of the kind of interests you hold and what you have for the world to offer.

It introduces your individuality to an unknown employer and reads your attitude and potential to them.

The way you describe yourself and your experience speak volumes about who you are and, if there’s something that drives your passion, what is it. And never to forget, it explains whether you’re self-aware and how well you can sell yourself. Deep.

All of what’s mentioned above simply comes down to understanding how crucial it is for your resume to be vulnerably honest. Since what makes or breaks the deal is not the big names and brands, nor high percentages. It’s your improvements and how well you deal with declines or stagnation.

desktop with words "do more" - resume

Let’s dig deeper into how you can be truly yourself in your resume and make it to the selection.

The ‘About Me’ has to be about you

“Bragging only means you’re not used to having it.”

This quote isn’t new to most of us. Among all the pressure of sounding more competitive and purposeful than others, take time to analyze the qualities that make you distinct.

This section must have that one line that hits home to your character. It must relate to the answer of what excites you or drives you.

Keep in mind it’s you selling what you admire and cherish the most about your own self. Each term you use has the possibility of being questioned during unforeseen interviews and you really want to nail it.

There’s absolutely no need to mention any foreign alien word which casts who you’re not, in the desperation of impressing the reader.

saturday night life show "I am comfortable with who I am"

And caution! It must relate to the job profile you’re applying for and showcase your confidence and belief in yourself. After all, who would like to hire an applicant who cries about their weaknesses or struggles?

Explain the experience, not the brand

Be it studying in the highest ranked university in the universe or working with some big top names, it’s only how you built your skills with them that matters. That’s what you need to highlight in your resume.

Mention the real scores and important distinctions in specific. It is always attractive to read more about the learnings and growth than about the brand.

This, in no way, means that you don’t need to be associated with known companies. It’s always good. But it does relate to how well you communicate the benefits you could reap out of the experiences.

Keeping the ‘have more than you show, speak less than you know’ approach acts as a plus point and adds to your authenticity, credibility and uniqueness. Be knowledgeable, observant, patient and humble during your experience itself, to shape the best words about it.

Remember that something different from the mainstream attracts the eye and leaves an impact.

Be patient and let things surface

quote "all good things for those who wait" - resume

It’s always the hardest of the tasks to wait, but then how enjoyable would be grabbing an opportunity without putting your heart and soul into it?

And by that we mean, it takes courage to stay patient about something you put efforts to get and the process indulges with many emotions as well. Whenever the results strike in and whatever they might be, maintain your inner stability and focus on driving the energy in the right direction.

If you get selected, be humble and grateful and don’t let pride overpower you.

If you don’t get selected, the opportunities aren’t over yet and it’s definitely the better ones that are waiting. Since it’s not always about winning, but about the willingness to win.

Last, but not the least: stay real!

To conclude, be honest with the process, right from making the resume till the results come out.

Give accurate information about yourself and deal with the fear of rejection. You can always reduce the need for exaggeration to beat the competition, since, in the end, you are your own competition.

If you want to learn more about how you can develop your professional skills, you may like this article.

Written by

Vanyashree Chaudhary is a light-hearted Journalism student from Delhi. She’s crazy about her love for graphic designing, Oreo shakes and Daft Punk. Find her the happiest while she’s traveling!

7 Important Things You Can Learn From The Chinese Work Ethic

China is considered to be an economic superpower and with good reason. People from Asian countries are often referred to as hard working and China is no exception. The Chinese culture work ethic is based on a Confucian Principle, which demands respect for the elderly and perfection in work. Although Confucius was a philosopher centuries ago, his teachings are held in highest regard in China today and shape their society and culture.

The Chinese do not shirk away from hard work, but embrace it, believing it begets success. Discussed below are seven aspects of the Chinese culture work ethic we can learn from:


1) Time Perception

Punctuality is extremely important in China and is even considered a virtue. The Chinese are always on time (if not early) and will easily take offence to tardiness. The same is seen even in Japan. The rules concerning time and punctuality are somewhat lax in India. It isn’t uncommon to arrive 10-15 minutes after the designated time. However, this attitude would not work well in a country like China.

2) Focus on results

The Chinese have several proverbs that demonstrate their attitude towards hard work. The ethos of the Chinese culture work ethic is that hard work pays off and contributes to a happy life. One such proverb is shìshàng wú nánshì, which translates to “nothing is impossible to a willing mind”. The Chinese use sheer determination and diligence to achieve their goals, whatever it may be. This attitude and principle is a strong reason for the presence of many Chinese owned companies and projects flourishing world over.

3) Chi Ku 

The Chinese are driven by results and leave no stone unturned in delivering the best. A 2014 Wall Street Journal article, reported that the average Chinese worker puts in somewhere between 2,000 and 2,200 hours each year. This again goes back to the Confucian work ethic, one aspect of which being “Chi Ku” – the act of persisting through hardship. Chi Ku is a valued way to earn respect — and possibly a promotion.

4) Success isn’t left to chance

You’ve heard the saying “hard work beats talent” Well, that’s something the Chinese attest to. Right from school, the Chinese are taught that anything can be achieved through hard work and diligence, not just talent. And this is testament to the fact that they are referred to as an economic superpower. In a time where global economies are plummeting, China continues to show staggering growth. Their rapid development over that last decade isn’t because of their technological advancement – it’s a tip of the hat to the Chinese culture work ethic of the locality.

5) Striving for Perfection

You’ve heard of several western companies employing a predominantly Asian workforce. This is purely because of how willing they are to reach their end goal. This isn’t to say that people from other parts of the world aren’t hardworking, but the Chinese are hard-wired to achieve success. Being competitive and having a goal-oriented spirit is inherent to every Chinese person and is further instilled at a very young age. The proof lies in the fact that multitudes of their countrymen are employed in companies all over the world.

6) Laziness is a crime

American satirist Mark Twain once observed that “a lazy Chinaman does not exist,” and added, “He always manages to find something to do.”

Mr Twain pretty much summed it up there. The Chinese didn’t get to where they are today by sitting around, twiddling their thumbs. The Chinese are so used to working hard that many of their companies reward employees for completing a project in advance. In fact, the norm is to finalise projects in the shortest possible time to take on a new one.

7) Don’t just work hard, work smart

Everyone in China strives to do their best, especially when the going gets tough. Obstacles or inconveniences don’t deter them – they just find a way around it. They come up with alternate methods to achieve their goals. The Chinese have a phrase for it – cha bu duo, which translates to “good enough”. In cha bu duo, the focus is less on process and rules and more on the result.
Now that you have a better understanding of the Chinese culture work ethic, it is time you chase new footprints and transform your career with an internship from China. Visit AIESEC for a Global Volunteer Program spread in leading countries across the globe. You can check out our blog on how to prepare for an internship interview and 6 countries that have an easy visa process for Indians for deeper insights.

How to Prepare for an Internship Interview

Interviews are always tricky. You need to strike the right balance between being humble about the opportunity and being confident that you are the right candidate for the job.

There’s a lot you can do to prepare for an interview, but every process is a different process and may require a different preparation.

However, there are some ‘Must Dos” which are common in any interview. Here are some of these:

Be prepared

This is the first of the many baby steps. Research on the company and note the questions that you would like to ask them. If it is an overseas internship that you are applying for, it would be helpful if you research on the country, their culture and business practices, as well.

Dress well and opt for formal wear. A well-groomed look is always a big plus. Customise your resumé and cover letter to the company and profile you are applying for.

Keep copies of your resumé handy along with other documents and certificates that may be required. Do carry a notepad and a pen with you at all times.

Give out good vibes

It is often said, first impressions are the last impressions. Make the most of the chance and appear confident in front of your interviewers. Speak with a firm voice and make sure you maintain eye contact when you shake hands and during conversations.

Wear a smile if it helps you get comfortable and exude a positive appearance.

Be comfortable

 It is alright to take your time to answer the queries put forward to you. You can always ask the interviewer for clarifications before answering them in a hurry. It is all the more awkward going in a wrong direction just because you thought they might mark you down for not having active listening skills.

Also, it is always better to keep the answers smart and crisp rather than starting off with a backstory around it.

Highlight your strengths and achievements

 This is where you get to showcase your substance and wow your interviewers. Your skill sets are what will tilt the scales in your favour. You can give instances of when you had undertaken a leadership position while in college.

You can even emphasise your problem solving and analytical abilities and bring forth your soft skills.

Cite prior work scenarios

If you have prior work or internship experience, then make sure you use it to your advantage. For example, you can cite occasions where you had helped complete a project ahead of schedule or brought down the overall cost.

If you are in the creative field, you can carry work samples or better still, mail their soft copies before the interview so that they can have a look and bring it up during the discussion.

Send a mail post interview

 Once the interview is over and contact details have been exchanged you must make it a point to send a thank you mail. Begin by appreciating the time they spent with you and for giving the opportunity to hear you out.

ou can sign off saying you are looking forward to a positive response from their end and how much you would like to be a part of their team. This will help you come across as a sincere candidate and bring you a step closer to being selected for a valuable internship.

Now that you know how to prepare for an internship interview, go ahead and give your best.

It will surely open new doors for you and help build a network and gather a wealth of experience.

If you like this article, you may also like to read about “How an Internship in Malaysia can Help Your Career“.

How Young People Contribute to Changing The World Everyday

Written by Ivana Gusic, Head of Public Relations and Marketing at AIESEC in Austria

This is not a story about current conflicts that are happening in the world. It is not about rockets flying over our skies or ending wars. It is about smaller things. Little things. But the kind of little things that keep a person going forward; that bring the spark into everyday and strengthen the belief that this world is worth fighting for.

In a small town in Hungary named Gyor, 50 young people from AIESEC in Austria attended a conference to plan for the upcoming year and cover numerous topics relevant for the executive bodies gathered there. This conference itself is special because it brings together young people from 6 different countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Serbia and Brazil. But that is another story altogether.

AIESEC Conference in Serbia

AIESEC Central European Congress gathering young people from Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria.

The moment that matters happened towards the end of the conference.

I was holding a session — last session of the day about external exposure (since I am Head of PR and Marketing). I was very skeptical of how it would go because everyone was tired from the six-day conference, which was almost over.

There was a part of the session that I completely forgot about; this small task which turned out to be the spark of greatness. I remember I almost skipped it. You never know what is going to be the biggest moment of the day. Usually the moments you believe will be insignificant turn out to be big ones.

The task was to “Discuss in pairs the topics that we, as voice of youth in Austria, could write about; topics that AIESEC is really passionate about; topics that may seem ordinary, but matter.”

After a couple of minutes, it was a moment to share. I thought a couple of people would share and that’s it.

It started with a few remarks and turned into fiery exchange of ideas and opinions.

Forty young people in leadership positions voiced their opinion, passionate about making a change in their hometowns and their country — from educational gap between formal and informal education and skills and experience required to find a job today, to racism in the world and Austria and how to tackle the integration of immigrants for a more peaceful and tolerant world. The issue of aging population and how to empower youth to ensure a sustainable development. Women leadership today in the world and in AIESEC (which is abundant with women in leadership positions).

Internationality and positive aspects of it in today’s globalized world, where conflicts seem to appear like fireworks. Start-ups and the concept of entrepreneurship and innovation as solutions for challenges facing the world today. Tackling social challenges and addressing those that are relevant in a country.

And many more. At least 20 people were actively sharing and feeding of each other’s ideas.

AIESEC Public Speaking

I was standing on the stage, listening to one person after another saying their opinions, listing topics they are passionate about and they would like to write about. I remember I didn’t want the exchange of ideas to stop. I was so overwhelmed by the passion about the issues mentioned and flabbergasted by a wide variety of interests. Forty young minds awake and aware of things that don’t work and willing to do something about it. Have you ever witnessed something like that?

I haven’t before.

I remember that when my enthusiasm and disbelief settled, I was angry — at people saying that youth today is passive; that we don’t care about anything but ourselves. I remember standing in the room with 50 people who paid to come to a six-day conference when they could have gone to the seaside like their friends did. I remember them talking at 7pm in the evening about issues in the world and at home they were passionate about and wanted to solve. And I remember one thought above all others.

That there is greatness in young people. They are aware of the world they live in — technology has made us interconnected and informed. They are passionate and they have an opinion. They are ready to be heard and to contribute to changes if the world will let them.

So how can we empower them? How can we make sure they get a say in what kind of world is being built for them? What kind of world they will live in?

Maybe you’re thinking now that we’re young and that we’ve got a lot to learn yet. And this is true. We don’t know everything. But we have ideas and we are ready to learn. And we’re worth it.

So it should begin today, because 5 to 10 years from now, some of those forty people will have leadership or executive positions. They will have the opportunity to decide which course we take, for better or worse.

Imagine if everyone thought like that. Imagine if everyone cared. Imagine if the world was made up of this type of young people — interested, aware, concerned and willing to participate and change the world for the better. Imagine the world they would be able to build.

And help them — help us build it.

AIESEC Conference

This story was written in contribution to the AIESEC Everyday Leader Series, which showcases stories of everyday leaders who are changing the world. Share your story with the world.