How does a well written Resume positively impact your job search process ?

Unfortunately, 80% of the Resumes that I have come across reflect poor application of thought by a job seeker and I always think to myself “what an opportunity lost?”. The lack of focus on writing a strong Resume is primarily because it remains an undermined tool in the job seeker’s mind. It’s kind of ‘taken for granted’ because either a job seeker feels that being an achiever, he/she has all skills that are in demand or is well networked with professionals and recruitment agencies who will put them up to the hiring managers and many do not have the time to invest in writing a powerful Resume.

But we also know that  job search can be a frustrating experience for job seekers and one cannot risk and underutilise even a single tool which is an integral part of the marketing mix for promoting a candidature. Just like in marketing, even if the product is good but the distribution is weak, the consumer will not be able to purchase it and one loses to competition. Similarly a job seeker loses out on opportunities because his/her Resume has not succeeded in attracting the attention of a hiring manager who has to go through thousands of Resumes.

With my experience of over 3 decades, I know that a well written customised Resume combined with a powerful cover letter which connects with the job requirement improves the scope of getting a job seeker an interview call. A Resume plays the role of a silent salesman and quality time needs to be invested while writing it .

While you might be aware of them, let me share with you, as per my experience, the reasons for a Resume to be an important tool:

  • The first impression is the last impression : A Resume is a document which is used to present your candidature without you being physically present to explain your suitability. You may be competent but a poorly presented Resume creates a poor impression and you may lose out by not being called for a meeting. Many times qualified candidates get rejected because of poor body language and it is the same if the Resume does not speak well for itself.
  • Widens the net : A good Resume opens up doors of opportunities for you to apply at multiple companies across industries and domains and goes beyond any kind of limitation like knowing the hiring managers. This enhances your chances of being called for a meeting.
  • Customising : A Resume offers the scope of customising it as per the job requirement and backing it up with the impactful cover letter. This again, motivates the hiring manger to want to meet you.
  • Success stories : A Resume is an opportunity to present your stories of success and build momentum.
  • Interview performance : During an interview, it prompts the interviewer to ask some relevant questions. So it is critical that the focus is on your achievements and not responsibilities so that you get a starting point of presenting your strengths.
  • Silent Salesman : It serves as a marketing tool like a direct mailer to promote your candidature.
  • Differentiates : It allows you to differentiate yourself ( within 2 pages) by presenting your individual strengths and hence your candidature.

It is a good idea  to combine your Resume with a powerful LinkedIn profile because in this digital era, it gives you a cutting edge.

Hopefully I have given you some ‘food for thought’ to improve your Resume and widen your net of searching for a job.

Happy job hunting !! ( the unconventional way)

Sarabjeet Sachar – Founder & CEO , Aspiration♦Recruitment♦Expert in unconventional strategy for job search & interview success.



How to respond to a job offer lower than expected and win!!

Vijay ( name changed for matter of confidentiality) , a professional with 12 years experience, was disappointed because he got a job offer which was below his expectations in terms of compensation. While he really liked the job profile and the organisation, he felt that the offer under discussion was not what he deserved. He had a successful track record and was happy with his current company but what attracted him to the new role was the scope of a larger responsibility which he was excited about. Now, he did want to lose out on the offer but at the same time wanted to negotiate for a better compensation package.

He consulted us on what should he do? And as we all know, negotiation requires tact and is an art.We offered him a non traditional approach and few options to handle the offer but negotiation does remain a challenge for most professionals because human tendency is to be reactive. And there is a thin line dividing negotiation and haggling. It is important to remember that a negotiation can take place when an offer is at discussion stage. Once the offer has been signed and sealed, the scope to bargain is as good as nil. So here is the  approach I advised him to take :

1] Price value equation :- While the kind of offer that is made by an employer is on the basis of the grades within the organisation for the specific position, it is primarily based upon  the kind of value /perceived value one  gets to the table. Generally speaking, if the price value equation is imbalanced, the offer would not meet your expectations. Reasons for the imbalance could be many. But the most crucial one is that during the interview process you have not successfully presented your merit in total for the job? There  still remains a gap in the mind of the employer which requires to be filled. An  employer should be fully convinced that you are the right candidate and stand head above shoulders over other candidates for you to get a deserving offer.

Now, since the interview process is over, you need to handle this offer acceptance stage with kid gloves. It should not be considered as haggling or else it can back fire and there lurks the danger of you losing the offer. I am going to suggest few steps which are  non traditional but they will be worth your while. Importantly, your confidence level in performing on the job needs to be sky high for you to negotiate ( but without sounding or coming across as arrogant).

You can do the following on hearing from the employer:

A] Do not react: Just respond that you will evaluate and revert soon ( though not advisable to ask for much time ).

B] Re- evaluate your matching skills :Re run the interactions you had through all the rounds of interviews , the homework you had done on the job and company. What are the inputs you gathered which are most crucial for the job to be performed successfully ( business pain point)? You now have the advantage of knowing what the prospective employer is looking for?

C] Fill in the blanks : Pick up your unique experience or expertise which will help the company performing successfully on the job. Perhaps you did not get the opportunity to fully demonstrate the aspect during the interview/s. For example, there could still be a underlying concern whether you will be able to handle senior management team members within your team and align successfully with them across various departments . This maybe be one very crucial aspect of the job. You can demonstrate once again with specific examples that you have done this over the past few years successfully . Suggest to them that they may do a reference check on this part specifically if they wish ( reflects confidence). Prepare a presentation on a critical aspect of the deliverable on how you will attain positive results within the initial 3 to 6months ( stick your neck out).For example, if it is a sales role, what kind of customers you can get on board and how much revenue would that translate into.

D] Meet face to face : Seek an appointment with the concerned HR department or the line manager ( whichever the case may be). If a Recruitment Agency is involved, it would be a better approach to first route your points through the Agency and seek an appointment with their client.

E] Make the presentation: First appreciate the offer, thank them and tell them that you are interested because of the prospects it offers. Then show enthusiasm and excitement about the job and present all the points ( demonstrating your unique value ) once again. Show them that you are ready to commit delivery of results/objectives. Make a very brief presentation.The gap can be covered up by demonstrating your value.

2]Market standard Salary  :Then present to them the kind of compensation professionals in your field with your kind of experience and background are already getting.The industry wise benchmark salaries across domains is available online ( it will be indicative).

3] Range is better : Assuming you have been offered say 10 to 15% hike by the employer. And you expected 25% . Then depending upon the specific situation, you can ask for a hike in terms of a range ( 22 to 28 % ) instead of a single digit figure. Asking for a range always allows flexibility and leaves room for negotiation for the employer. And assuming you succeed in getting a 22%, it is fair because negotiation is all about a win win feeling for both parties involved.

4] Performance linked variable : All employers need to be sure of  tangible delivery of goods for them to offer you an increase . As an option, discuss with the employer to add a performance linked component to the package. That  can give comfort to the employer.  Can the performance linked component be offered every three months to you on quarterly set objectives? Explore that option too.

Optional approaches ( to be used discreetly) :

5] An early performance review : Explore the option of reviewing your salary within a period of say 6 months instead of one year.

6] Loan :Can they offer you some amount as a  company loan for say repaying your housing loan?

7] Joining Bonus : Can a one time joining bonus be considered?

8] Higher Conveyance : In case you are relocating to another city,costs of commuting can increase. If that is the case, you may use it as a negotiation point.

Assuming all the above tools do not yield the result that you expect and the offer stands as it is. Then seriously evaluate the job prospects and the solid platform it offers for you to perform exceedingly well ( do not miss the woods for the trees). If it does, then decide to surprise the company with outstanding performance and be a star employee so that you cover up for the monetary loss within or in less than a year’s time.

Happy job hunting!!


Sarabjeet Sachar

Founder & CEO, Aspiration -♦Recruitment♦Expert in non traditional strategy for job search & interview success.

How To Ensure That Your Resume Is Read?

An effective customised ‘Cover Note’ can help you achieve that objective. First, let me tell you How NOT TO DO it!


Please find attached my CV .I am a professional with 16 years of sales experience and have grown up the ladder to lead a team in the West. My strengths are distribution and vendor management and have a hands on approach. Please let me know if there is a suitable vacancy”.

My experience has been that 90 to 95% of the cover notes are weak and general in nature which means opportunities lost by candidates. A Cover Letter is similar to the ‘Title of a Book’ which  makes a positive difference to it’s sale. One does not take away the fact that the content of the Book has to be worthwhile, but a poor Title can adversely affect the sales of a Good Book.

The objective is to attract the attention of the hiring manager and motivate him/her to open your Resume.You don’t have to tell the whole story in a Cover Note. It has to be short and crisp but focus very briefly on that aspect of your background which helps in solving the employer’s problem.

Here are tips to write an effective Customised Cover Note which would motivate the reader( prospective employer) to read your Resume ( my examples are from the Media sales domain for reference but can be applied across industries):

1] Brief profile:– Right in the beginning itself, it is important to introduce yourself by mentioning areas of domain expertise so that it spells out  what your core area of strength is along with the industry experience. Importantly, share one unique quality/ achievement that attracts attention and makes you stand out as a candidate.

For example “ I am a Media sales professional with an overall experience of 16 years in the Corporate category across Print, TV and Radio with reputed organizations X, Y and Z. Well networked with established relationships in the Delhi market and have been recognised  to successfully convert 8 to 9 out of 10 Non Advertisers .”

2] Address The Pain Point:- Do a lot of research and homework on the problem/s ( pain points) that the prospective employer is facing. For example assuming you are applying for a Regional Media Sales role. And your research feedback throws up information that the Group does not attract Ads for three categories vs the competition(pain point) though their reach and other parameters qualify them to be in the Ad.campaign. And if you have proven ability to bring in different perspective to crack non  advertisers specifically from those three categories, highlight that as a point in your Cover Note.Which also means a tweaked Cover Note for each job application.

3] Challenges Handled: Spell out one challenge that you have handled successfully. Employers like to meet candidates who think out of the box. It could be any challenge that you handled ( think about it and you will come up with few).

For example “I have successfully converted non advertisers in Print and attracted them on board which has helped me overachieve my targets”.
You may mention ….. “I understand that there is a need with ABC organisation to grow the categories in the XYZ region ( addressing the pain point). I have been a top performer for the Ad.categories like Auto, Telecom, Textiles and FMCG wherein I grew the market share from X % to Y % in one year’s time and overachieved my target”.

4] Luring the Employer:-Finally tempt the interviewer to meet you by mentioning something like “There are certain key strategies which I have used to achieve my goal and they have been appreciated by both, my seniors and my clients. My achievements and Recognition Awards are spelt out in my Resume ( tempting the reader to open your Resume) and I would be happy to personally share the execution tools which are applicable to your organisation as well and can help improve performance. Look forward to meeting you to discuss further”.
Follow these and before you know, your Resume would be read and well, you could be sitting in the interview room 🙂

Would be happy to answer any related Queries you may have.

Sarabjeet Sachar

Founder & CEO, Aspiration- Expert in job search assistance & interview success.

10 Major ‘Sins’ In A Resume

With my experience of reading hundreds of Resume on a daily basis and dealing with employers’ feedback , I do believe that a well developed Resume does play a critical role in creating a powerful impression about you as a candidate ( brand). Certainly it influences the decision of meeting you or not. And many times candidates fall into the trap of not paying much heed to their Resume because they feel that if they know people in the decision making capacity, they will get a job. Knowing people is good but doesn’t it limit your job search options? A well written Resume can widen your net by professionally showcasing your talent in front of decision makers who may not know you but would become eager to meet you.That opens up doors of so many opportunities.

Let me list down the 10 Sins never to commit while writing a Resume:

1] Over 2 pages: A Resume has to entice a prospective employer to meet you. It is important to pay attention all critical and unique  points and condense them into 2 pages without losing the impact.

2] Ignoring the beginning : Worldwide research has proven that a prospective Recruiter would spend not more than 30-50  seconds to decide whether to read the rest of the Resume. If the initial content of your Resume is not engaging enough, you lose the opportunity of being called for a meeting. ( For example Residence address need not be mentioned at the top of the first page as it wastes precious space. It should be at the bottom of the 2nd page and there is no need to write the POSTAL address; just city and suburb should suffice).

3] Forgetting YOU: Most Resumes are typically written in a Traditional format. Chronological, Functional and so on. While it remains acceptable,YOU as an individual Brand are lost. You need to write it in a story telling format using a conversational tone.

4] Words are ‘copy paste’ : It is common experience that it gets difficult to differentiate between the Resume of candidate A vs candidate B. So why would a reader be compelled to meet you? Your vocabulary has to find the connect with the reader.

5] Spelling errors: It creates a negative impression about an individual and he/she is perceived to be possessing a careless attitude. It is a big put off because it gives a feeling to the reader that this is how the candidate would approach his/her work. Remember the first impression is the last impression.

6] Irrelevant information: If you have 15 years work experience, there is no need to elaborate what your achievements were as a college student.

7] Focusing on job responsibilities and not achievements: You are going to be hired for what you achieved and not what you were responsible for. So there is no point in elaborating job responsibilities( they become obvious from your job title). Just a brief one liner is enough. Then focus on sharing your stories of success.

8] Elaborating past experience beyond 10 years : The environment as we all know is very dynamic. The employer is interested primarily in knowing about what you’ve evolved and are you adaptable? There is no need to detail your success stories of your past tenure beyond 10 years. Just snippets are good enough.

9] Tampering with Tenure : Many times candidates feel that either knocking off a tenure completely or tampering with the period is required as the background was irrelevant. Unless it was just a very short tenure like less than a month, build a story around your lessons learnt and mention it. Importantly, if discovered at a later stage ( after you are employed) , it becomes an unrepairable damage to your credibility which is not worth affecting at any cost.

10] Not tweaking and customising: As they say One size does not fit all. Studying the pain point of the prospective employer and then customising your Resume adds power to your Resume and makes it compelling for the Recruiter to call you.

Avoid these SINS and you are well on your way to receiving an interview call or if not, at least a response from the hiring manager.


Sarabjeet Sachar

Founder & CEO- Aspiration, Job search assistance & interview coaching expert

10 Things You Can Do As A Job Seeker Above 50

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

Generally speaking, it remains a challenge for many to get interview calls on crossing age of 50. And it is’nt that you are not qualified for the position.You might be suitable but it is about managing the general perception that people at that age are not open minded, low on energy levels, not up to date with technology and with different set of priorities at that later stage of a career. However when planned well and by focusing your efforts on the wealth of resources that you are equipped with at an enriched age , you can become a sought after candidate. But it is also good to remember that it’s a process  requiring steps to be taken to position you and takes some time before you start reaping the rewards.

Let me share with you 10 things which in my experience you can do which will help:

1] Changing your own mindset : This is the biggest challenge and needless to mention, it is a life long process across our various aspects . Right from your body language to your interactions and inputs, you as an individual need to come across as progressive. I know it is easier said than done , but we also know ‘No pain….No gain’.

2] Prepare a list of Target Companies : Recently when I was counseling a senior candidate from a Legal background, he shared that with his experience of 30 years, he had successfully handled IPO’s at every organization he worked with. I advised him to prepare a list of Companies which were about to launch IPO’s in the next few months and devise a search strategy accordingly. Identifying your area of expertise over years and focusing specific companies in that niche sets the right direction.

3] Active on LinkedIn : With the Digital medium becoming an integral part of our lives today and also of every organization, it helps beat the ‘perception’ – “ You Are OLD” when you are active on LinkedIn. It resonates your ‘learning’ ability to move with the times. Keeping your Profile up- to -date, posting thoughtful updates and being a participant in discussions on relevant groups helps. Few recommendations from younger team members who have loved being led by you is also worthwhile.

4] BLOG : Develop a BLOG of your own. Start sharing your perspectives and years of learning with the readers and the lesser experienced ones could gain value. Just once a month, you may write an interesting article. It helps position you as a brand amongst both, prospective employers as well as companies/start ups seeking management advice ( who can be your potential customers when you decide to do independent consulting at a later stage).

5] Use your Network Resources: At 50 plus, you would have developed the wealth of a strong Network by sheer work experience of so many years. It only means that you need to re-connect with them and activate your relationships . And believe me, with the social media platforms, it is far easier to do so today. The Network Sources can be a big source for leads  :

  • Alumni Groups ( College, management institutes)
  • Classmates
  • Former colleagues
  • Ex Bosses
  • Former Team members
  • Professional Associations ( like BMA – Bombay Management Association)
  • Teaching Faculty Groups ( in case you have been a guest lecturer)

6] Resume needs to be updated:Your Resume needs to be updated and be with the times ( 2 pager) . The recent past 8 to 10 years experience needs to be elaborated rather than the entire 30 years. Customizing your Resume for each job is critical. It should also reflect that you have kept yourself updated with the use of technology positioning you as a progressive individual. New innovative approaches used by you to solve problems displays you as an enthusiastic  ‘learner’. As it was said by Mahatma Gandhi “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. Avoid mentioning skills or experience which might reflect being outdated. Videos are the in thing, not so much of long PPT presentations.

7] Cover Note : This again should capture and focus on points which you as an experienced professional bring to the table. Like Diversity , Maturity of going through the crests and troughs of professional challenges, Great work ethics and Stability in thinking backed by positive results. At the same time the tone and presentation of your note should showcase you as an open minded individual who has absorbed the latest happenings and put them to good use.

8] Speaking engagements : Accept speaking engagements with management institutes, professional bodies and other relevant platforms. Prepare and present unique perspectives with your experience on the subject. It helps you to be top of mind.

9] Energy levels : Needless to mention, a well maintained healthy body and minddemonstrating high energy levels are essential to impress the prospective employer.

10] Being active on Managing Committees : There are management associations or other professional groups which offer a platform catering to the development needs of organisations both big and small . Being on the management committee or leading projects for such groups helps you to position yourself as an active resource for any company. You might do it for free now, but over time, people at the right places see the value you bring to the table and when there is a suitable opportunity, chances of your getting a lead and preference are high.

These TIPS would certainly catch the eye of the prospective employers making you a WISE (not the so called OLD) candidate being sought after 🙂

Would be happy to answer any queries in ‘comments’ below or you can mail me on


Sarabjeet Sachar

Founder  & CEO – Aspiration – Job search and Interview success expert

6 Situations When A Candidate Can Accept An Offer At Par Or A Lower Compensation

It sounds painful to accept an offer at a CTC ( cost to company) which is either at par or lower than your current one. Right? The answer to this question I know is subjective. But it’s similar to life situations when we, at times, consciously accept things which give us short term pain to achieve long term pleasure.

I am in no way saying that you need to under value yourself in the job market. You certainly need to keep the focus on your strengths and worthiness you bring to the table. However with my experience of handling thousands of candidates, I have come across situations wherein candidates miss the woods for the trees and do not evaluate the offer in it’s totality.

If the overall prospects of the job offer are good and you as a job seeker currently find yourself in a challenging situation, evaluating an offer at a lower CTC or at par does make sense.

It is important to evaluate an offer holistically rather than just focusing on the immediate gain /loss in terms of money. Let me list down situations where in such an offer is worth considering:

Situation 1 :If you have been jobless for some time now and in spite of your structured efforts for a job search, a concrete offer has not materialised.

As you know, getting hired depends upon multiple variables which might not necessarily be under your control. Maybe your experience is limited to a specific niche or you are competing on the age factor with youngsters. And age being more of a perception challenge, requires a different kind of approach to handle it.

The reason you are without a job could have been a sudden decision on part of your past employer, maybe down sizing or any other like there could have been issues with the man management style of your boss. But the fact is that being jobless is painful.

So take a decision considering the other aspects besides the monetary loss like

  • Job profile
  • Work culture of the company
  • Career prospects
  • Stability offered
  • Opportunity to learn and develop new skills
  • Brand reputation of the company.

If some of the above outweigh the money offered, it is worth considering the opportunity because within say one year, you will be in a position to  cover up also for the monetary loss you experienced while accepting the offer. It is better than being without any income for another few months and increasing the career gap. You can always continue building your career once you get employed. Remember, the larger the gap, the more challenging it becomes to get your next job.

Situation 2 : If your current  CTC is exceptionally high as compared to industry standards for some reason. Maybe you have joined a start up wherein the tendency of employers is to give an exceptionally attractive hike to hire talent. Or, it can be that you have received a very recent salary hike in your current organisation .

Even in situations like these, if the overall prospects of the job are better and offers a stronger platform to make greater use of your skills, then a lower CTC or at par can be considered.

Situation 3 : The job offer gives you an opportunity to learn a new skill in a different domain or industry which you are certain will see a far better growth rate as compared to your current job.

For example if you are inclined to move from traditional media to the Digital space, and the offer is from a reasonably reputed brand with an enriching job role, it would propel your career on a fast track.

Situation 4 : In case you are keen to relocate to a particular region/city or have any other compelling personal reason, then also you can consider the offer.

In such cases, the compromise gets compensated by achieving a balance with your other priorities in life.

Situation 5 : You have made too frequent job shifts in your career span. Here again to handle the instability factor remains a challenge.

In case the offer is from a company which is relatively well established in the marketplace and has a track record of offering long term career prospects, then it is worth considering an adjustment on the salary front.

Situation 6 : The prospective employer is offering a lower fixed component but a high and attractive variable linked to performance.

If there is a track record of the company rewarding it’s employees with a better compensation linked to results, consider it. Evaluate the other aspects of the offer.

While as I mentioned in the beginning of my article that the decision is subjective, the above 6 situations can give you some food for thought so that you do not miss the woods for the trees. And decisions in such instances can help put your career back on track.

In case you have any queries, please feel free to ask in the ‘comments’ section below.

Best of luck!!

Sarabjeet Sachar

Founder & CEO- Aspiration- Recruitment and Job search assistance services

The Only Follow Up Approach That Increases The Number Of Interview Calls

How many times do you decide to purchase a product after simply reading a promotional leaflet delivered along with your newspaper? If the leaflet’s content is well designed and targeted towards your specific need, it may attract your attention to know more. But to improve your response towards an action of considering it as a buy, there needs to be a follow up call from a sales person addressing your needs after studying your specific requirements.

Similarly, making an application is an activity done by almost 100 percent of the job seekers. Also, ensuring that it reaches the hiring manager is achieved by many. But does it get the job seeker a higher number of interview calls? Well, it might if your achievements match the job requirements for more vacant positions. But with thousands of applications, there is every chance that your application along with your Resume ( which are important tools too) alone might get you very few interview calls.

In our customised Job & Interview assistance service, we coach job seekers with a technique that works and increases their chance by 10 times of getting the call? The tool is the elevator pitch follow up call to the hiring manager ( HM) or the HR manager ( HRM).

However most the times, job seekers either shy away from making that follow up call or are unable to do it because of the challenge of locating co-ordinates of the HM/HRM. And even if they do get hold of them, the question remains how to present yourself and what to say. We all know that time being a constraint with everyone, a follow up call has to hit the nail on the head and that too within 1 minute on lines of an elevator pitch. Just in case, you are not familiar, an elevator pitch is when you have to sell something within one minute to a prospective buyer/individual. Let us assume that you and your boss enter an elevator/lift on the ground floor to go to the 40th storey of an office building. And you have been brimming with a new profitable idea which you want the company to implement which would also ensure a promotion/reward for you. Now, you need to convince( sell) your boss within the one minute that it takes for the lift to reach from the ground floor to the 40th.

Similarly, in a follow phone call, you have precisely one minute to convince the HM to meet you. Needless to mention, a lot of research work on the job requirements needs to be done combined with enough practise before you make that call.

The following 4 steps will help you achieve the objective:

Step 1– Name :

It is critical to know the full name of the hiring manger/HR manager. You need to introduce yourself simply by saying “ I am XYZ with ……years of experience, working in /worked in ABC company and have applied for the position of …………..”.

Advantage : By addressing the HM by his/her name, you will gain his/her attentionand it helps in building a rapport. And you will come across as an individual who is a professional who is serious about doing homework.

Step 2 -Address the pain point:

Immediately present the most crucial point point of the job. For example, if the job is in project management, the improvement in the TAT ( turn around time) and the yield/pay off per project are two pain points, then purely focus on those.

Advantage : Since you obviously are not known to the HM/ HR manager, the emphasis on the job’s most crucial deliverable will further gain his/her attention.

Step 3 Connect your expertise with the pain point:

Smoothly transit your communication towards a brief mention of your demonstrated experience with success in that area. Mention how you have been recognised by your company for your achievement in that specific task.

Advantage : You will come across as an individual worth meeting and evaluating.

Step 4Seek an appointment : Mention you are keen for the job because you are confident of adding value and would like to elaborate in a face to face meeting how you would be a solution provider.

The above 4 steps will serve as a guideline for you to work out the approach you need to take to increase the number of times you get an audience with the HM or HRM .

Remember the objective of the follow up call is to only to get you a face to face meeting with the company’s influencer/decision maker. It is not an interview, so you have to resist the temptation to fall into your own trap of starting to elaborate your achievements. Because in your first connect over the phone with someone who does not know you and has innumerable applications to attend to, there is always the great risk that you will not have the opportunity to present your candidature holistically and you may not be called further for an interview. The suggested approach will motivate the hiring manger to call you for the interview.

Now, since you are ready to follow up, please go ahead and do make use of this effective tool and land up successfully with more interview calls.

Best Wishes!!

Sarabjeet Sachar – Founder, Aspiration- Recruitment, Out Of The Box job search and interview success expert.

4 Tricky Reasons For A Job Change And Simple Ways To Handle Them In An Interview

In continuation of my article How to convincingly answer the interview question “Why do you want to leave your current job?“, let me share with you few guidelines on handling tricky reasons like a] not getting along with your boss b] not enjoying your current job profile c] not happy with the work culture of your current organization and d] you have been jobless for some time. With my interview coaching experience, these are common reasons job seekers generally have for seeking a change.

Please do remember that in an interview situation, presenting any kind of limitation or discontentment with your current employer has the risk of reflecting a negative mind set and that can become a concern for an interviewer. It depends a lot on the way it is presented. So let us see how to circumvent the hurdle and tackle these reasons.

Reason 1 : You are unable to get along with your immediate boss.

Suggested approach : It is said that professionals leave managers and not organizations. While it might be a genuine challenge for you, one needs to remember that the interviewer is also human and someone’s boss. It is a natural tendency to think “Will he/she have a problem with me too?” So unknowingly you end up building a wall between you and your prospective boss in the interview. Because not getting along with people is a sensitive matter for every organization, blatantly mentioning it as a reason can boomerang. Instead, keep the focus of discussion on the excitement you have for the prospective job profile because it matches with your skills and share the value you would get to the table.

Advantage : There is no blame game but a positive value add.

Reason 2: You are not enjoying your current job profile.

Suggested approach : You may mention that the prospective job profile aroused a high interest level in you because while you enjoy your current job and have been meeting  the goals, the scope to expand your learning horizon is getting somewhat limited. And then immediately emphasise on the wider scope the new job offers which has excited you.

Advantage : You are seen as a contributor who likes to grow and is enthusiastic.

Reason 3 : You are not enjoying the work culture of the organization.

Suggested approach : We need to remember that the work culture in every organization will be different and one needs to adapt to it. In case you are not enjoying the environment, it is expected by the interviewer that you be equipped to handle the challenge. Let me explain with an example. If the issue in your current job is regular uncalled for and unreasonable late working hours on a daily basis and over weekends, then it might be affecting your health. But if unreasonable working hours is a challenge in your current organization, there could be something else in the prospective employer company. And remember you need to present yourself as an individual with a positive mind set who manages the crests and troughs of life by focusing on the solution. So it is expected of you that you discuss the issue with your current boss/ seniors and try to arrive at a win win situation. If the issue still remains unresolved and is affecting your health, you may decide to leave but it does not help by presenting the same as the reason. If you do, then the interview might get into a discussion on how are the others managing and so on. For you to take a call, you can always do an independent research with employees or HR in the prospective company and find out if there is a similar situation of late working hours. In the interview situation, focus on the attraction of the job profile and the value proposition that you bring along with you.

Advantage : You continue to be seen as a valuable resource who will be a solution provider.

Reason 4 : You have been jobless for few months to a year.

Suggested approach : It is important to share a reason why you left your previous job. For example, if it was due to downsizing in the organization, then present it as an incidental situation wherein you were part of a number of other employees who were affected by the transition process. While one understands the pain to be in a jobless situation, you need to present it as a learning experience and share what you gained positively during this trying phase. A solution oriented approach would be to take up freelance assignments to keep honing your skills. In case it is difficult to get freelance projects, offer to be of service within your domain to smaller companies through known sources . Compensation is not as critical as much as reflecting the continuity in your career. The point is that such an engagement reflects a positive attitude which impresses an interviewer.

Advanatge : You are seen as an individual who has the maturity to take things in his/her stride and is a solution seeker.

Do study the above approaches and use them to create a winning situation for yourself by getting the job you so much deserve.

Best Wishes!!

Sarabjeet Sachar, Founder, Aspiration- Recruitment , Out Of The Box Job Search and Interview Success Expert.

How to convincingly answer the interview question “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

Why do your want to leave your current job? is one of the most common question that I come across from job seekers while coaching them for interview success.

Generally speaking, the response to the question offered by most job seekers falls broadly into the following two categories:

1] Standard canned kind of answers like for a better career and growth prospects or wanting to work for a bigger/ better organization brand or for a better compensation.


2] Reflecting discontentment like  not being happy with the current role or the organisation . Sometimes , the work culture mismatch is an issue. On other occasions, it is also mentioned that one cannot get along with the boss. And at other times, it could be downsizing or restructuring in the organisation.

There is nothing wrong with any of the above reasons because they might be your genuine reasons. But because you as a job seeker tend to forget that you are worthyand do bring a lot of value to the job, the emphasis of your response shifts towards the dissatisfaction aspect. That is where the disconnect takes place.

On the basis of my experience of over 15 years mentoring job seekers , let me share few tips which will help you establish a rapport with the interviewer. And even at the cost of sounding repetitive, I would emphasise that for devising a convincing response, it is absolutely mandatory that you do an in depth research on the requirements of the job and the organisation and accordingly customise your response. Only then can you present a ‘value proposition ’.

You may use the following guidelines and devise  reasons that come closest to your situation.

1] Reason : Excited with the job profile.

Assuming you are dissatisfied with your current job profile and feel that the career prospects it currently offers are limited. The focus of your response needs to be on your skill sets and the huge opportunity the prospective job offers to make use of  your talent . Your emotional excitement should be reflected. Here it reminds me of a saying “The only thing which is more contagious than enthusiasm is the lack of it” ( I do get this very common feedback from employers that the candidate was not at all enthusiastic and hence rejected). Importantly, you need to demonstrate how you have successfully used your skills in your current job.

Advantage : The emphasis is not on your dissatisfaction with the current job but on the excitement of the potential job reflecting interest level and that is valued by any prospective employer.

2] Reason :Better learning opportunity

It is possible that the opportunity to learn new things is getting limited at your current job. You must present your success stories of how you have always kept learning and applying new skills to your job. Then, focus on the new learning avenues the potential job offers .

Advantage : Shows the interviewer that you are an evolving kind of a person who will constantly contributes.

3] Reason :Better career and growth prospects

Present the information you have gathered in terms of the better career prospects that the potential organisation has in store in terms of growth. Share live examples of how you have always made use of opportunities to contribute and now you are seeking a different platform to grow ( keeping the emphasis on your contribution). Mention an aspect like mentoring or the investments in training that the potential organisation offers and you are keen to be a part of such a work culture.

Advantage : You show that you are attracted to the organisation’s values reflecting a better suitability for both, you and the prospective employer.

So you will notice that the underlying emphasis across all three responses is to demonstrate a connect with the potential job applied for. It is critical to respond in a holistic manner which includes the context for your reason along with your valueproposition .Or else, it would fail to strike a chord the interviewer as he/she would have heard these same reasons from numerous candidates .

And, when there are reasons which are hovering around a huge discontentment (falling under the category 2 responses mentioned above), there is a different way to handle them.To know how to tackle those, you may want to read my article 4 Tricky Reasons For A Job Change And Simple Ways To Handle Them In An Interview.

Best wishes for your job hunt!!

Sarabjeet Sachar – Founder, Aspiration – Recruitment, Out of the box job search and interview success expert.

8 costly mistakes that ruin your chances of receiving the interview call

During my interview coaching sessions, most job seekers share that their major pain point is that they do not receive an interview call in spite of sending multiple applications to various prospective employers. I understand it is a frustrating experience as a professional but you as a job seeker can certainly turn this situation around by avoiding 8 common mistakes. These slip-ups may not seem crucial to you on the face of it but are certainly responsible for you missing out on getting the interview call. So let us think out of the box.

MISTAKE 1 :  ‘Cursory’ homework

Not doing  in depth homework on the organization as well as the job’s requirement before sending the application.

Solution : Even before you send in your Resume, you need to literally behave and think as if you are already an employee of the company. Connecting with vendors, employees, ex employees to find out about the business pain points of the job and the organization is mandatory.

MISTAKE 2 : A ‘general’ cover letter

Sending a generalised cover letter across different positions is like gifting the same size shirt to 10 of your friends. Does that work? You know the answer.

Solution : a] Make the cover letter  appealing. It should strike an emotional chord within the reader and not be limited to only a nice well done format . b] The business pain point needs to be addressed and you need to find that connect by demonstrating that you are the solution provider.

MISTAKE 3 : ‘General’ Resume

Sending a general Resume without customizing and tweaking. Without a tailor made approach is as bad as trying to board flight A while you have the ticket for flight B.

Solution :  Every skill that you possess which matches the Key Result Area in the Job description should be included and highlighted.

MISTAKE 4: The ‘anonymous’ hiring manager

There is an interesting quote “ I call everyone darling because I don’t remember their names” – Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Solution : Addressing the hiring manager by his/her name is a must. Only then it attracts attention and increases the chances of your letter being read.

MISTAKE 5: No ‘Follow up’

Not following up with the Hiring manager/HR manager after sending the application is an opportunity lost. In sales, research has demonstrated that during cold calling, it takes on an average 5 connects with the prospective buyer to convert into a sale. Selling yourself as a solution provider is similar.

Solution : You need to call the hiring manager and follow up. A note of caution however is that we need not come across as desperate.It has to be a well planned call and has to be made after an appropriate gap. Make an elevator pitch and you will improve your chances of being called for an interview. Here again, addressing the business point of the prospective job and company is what matters during the follow up call.

MISTAKE 6 : Taking the ‘Recruitment Agency for granted’ .

Many times, as a job seeker, we assume that the Recruitment Agency need not necessarily be taken as seriously  as  the prospective employer in terms of approach. So the mode used commonly is sending the Resume without any specific objective for a specific client ( prospective employer). We need to remember that a good Recruitment agency enjoys  deep relationships with their clients ( prospective employer) and it is their business and you should capitalize on it.

Solution: Studying the list of the agency’s clients , understanding the business pain points of each, demonstrating how you can add value, all the steps need to be followed. That motivates an agency to build a case and present your candidature to their clients.

MISTAKE  7: Not routing your application through a ‘known source’ who has a ‘relationship’ with the hiring manager.

Solution : If there is someone who knows the hiring manager, it can be very helpful to go through him/her. It could be ex colleagues, ex bosses or business partners .However, this route is no substitute for presentation of your candidature meritoriously.

MISTAKE 8 : Depending only on the mode of ‘soft copy’ for your application.

Most commonly used for sending an application is the soft copy. It is good to remember that within the 24 hours of a day, there is a multi media mix which is vying for the attention of the prospective employer. While we all do follow the digital medium a lot, but we haven’t stopped reading the print newspaper or watching TV.Right?

Solution : It is a good idea to send a hard copy of your application and Resume which is well formatted, on a good high quality paper,with easy to read font to the hiring manager. It makes you stand out as a candidate and increases your brand recall.

We are more learned now :-). So let us go ahead and evolve as smart job seekers.

Good luck !!

Sarabjeet Sachar – Founder , Aspiration –Out of the box job search and interview success expert