Writing resume is like real estate development …

A resume is probably the single most important document for your hiring plans. A good resume cannot land you a job by itself but a bad one can certainly deny you one. Resume evaluation is the first filter applied by potential employers and it works like Darwin’s principle of survival of the fittest. That is, the fittest of the resumes – not the person. Investing in this document is critical to passing the first hiring hurdle – specially for the young graduates who unfortunately treat their resume just like another assignment to be submitted.

I tend to treat developing resume as planning and developing your personal real estate – like your home or farmhouse.

ImageDeveloping your personal real estate – with limited space and resources – requires specific skills and mindset. You focus on both style and substance. You plan where to put what. You choose your best items and put them in limelight. You focus on the entry points so the first impressions are good. You make sure its well-kept. You clean, tweak, prune and tend it to regularly – it would go stale if you don’t. You also make it practical and efficient. The driveways are clear. The doors are locked. The entire premises is secured. You also ensure that no space goes waste. You make your name board prominent. Also, the stylistic impressions do not interfere with the basic premise of efficient and comfortable living. You tend to hide away the not-so-presentable. Finally, while you make your small world look stylistic, you are wise enough to not give any wrong impressions – things that put you in a wrong light or give a false impression. You do not try to come off richer or different than what you are.

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The Fish-Pond way of career planning

I sometimes envy military or civil service for their complete ownership of career planning of its people. All the folks have to do is to perform. This seems a great convenience when those in the so-called open and free work-world have to make career choices and decisions frequently. They need to plan their career themselves. Left to itself, it goes nowhere. 

Make no mistake: making one’s career is one’s own responsibility. The military or civil bureaucracy do so for their own sake. Planning and executing careers of its men is required to achieve their objectives in their gigantic systems. They don’t really love you for nothing. 

So what’s for us – the lonely warriors. Hopping from working at a startup to giant multinational to starting our own shop which fails and takes us back to safety of a ‘job’. 

I always like to use models to give context and structure to a problem. Well, here is one – what I call the “Fish-Pond” model to analyze and plan your career. It’s a 30,000 feet view – so don’t consider it prescriptive. It’s a framework to think, not set of instructions to follow. 

ImageA pond of water has fish. Big fish, small fish, fish in-between. Big fish eat small fish. Fish eat weeds. Fish grow within the pond as they eat and move around. Sometimes the pond grows bigger. Sometimes it shrinks. At others, it disappears. A smaller pond can get intruded on by outsiders. It can get dried up. The fish are of a variety. The fish can outgrow the pond. The pond can get overly populated. All fish in a small pond know each other. Fish in a big pond may never have crossed each other. While the fish can move everywhere in a small pond, fish in a big pond have territories. Generally, big fish have more say than small fish (they can eat them, remember!). There may be alligators and turtles too, but consider them as minorities. 

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Dare you work from home!

Yahoo! recently banned work from home. The news made splashes and attracted backlash.


To me, it looks more an effort to rectify the inefficiencies in Yahoo organization that have creeped up over the years than a productivity statement. It looks remedial and reactive. If so, the Yahoo-wide ban on working from home is an overkill. It is doctoring the symptoms rather than addressing the cause. If not, and it is actually the company’s vision of how Yahoo engineers should work, the move may backfire.

I am not a big proponent of work from home. You won’t find me canvassing for it on campaign trail. Work from home is a privilege not a right. Organizations are social structures to make people work together to achieve its goals. Getting together under one roof certainly looks the most efficient way to get people to work together. Kids go to school – they don’t “study from home”. Hospitals need patients to come over – they don’t “heal from home”. Passengers don’t “fly from home”, lawyers don’t “argue from home” and prisoners don’t “serve their term from home”.

So what’s the problem?

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