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Archive for October, 2012

Ethics in daily business

October 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The terms „business ethics“ and „business as usual“ are not necessarily related. But why is that so? It seems that the ethically of business choices  is only challenged in exceptional (and often public) circumstances . As such, the behaviour of a brand, a company or a person in day-to-day business situations are not continuously evaluated from an ethical point of view.

Most probably such state is the result of the publicity and impact extraordinary decisions have. But can we judge the general degree of ethics in a business solely based on such events? Does the impact of such big decisions have a higher influence on the ethical image than the “small” daily encounters that are being labelled “usual”? Furthermore, if “usual” manners are not seen as ethically correct, shouldn’t they be put in the focus, even more than one-of-a-kind big-ticket decisions?

One example:

A couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about Apple’s supplier Foxconn that got scorned by the press for unacceptable working conditions. Recently, Foxconn managed to be on the cover of a worldwide newspapers again. Even though the working conditions they provide are generally not humane, the only time the issue gets raised in the press  is when Apple launches their next big product. The poor conditions Foxconn provides and decisions they make on a daily basis do not seem to be of major concern. It requires a major singular incident, a focal event, to get the company back into the discussion about ethically, only to discover that their “business as usual” might not support an ethical environment…

To conclude, I would like to ask you if we judge the ethically of a company only based on singular major decisions and miss out on evaluating the morale applied in their day-to-day business?

Sebastian

More on Foxconn

Resume writing part 2

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Last week we discussed how the first resume page of a recent graduate could look like.

Today we will review the second and in most cases final page for a student resume. Sections that are included on the second page are professional memberships, extra-curricular activities, notable accomplishments, and additional skills.

It’s quite possible that as a student you do not have a lot of knowledge regarding various professional bodies that are prominent in your particular industry. Researching these organisations and applying for a student membership (in most cases it’s free!) will allow you to show your interest in the career field you are pursuing, as well as giving you access to a wealth of industry specific discussions and information, which will allow you to show your depth of knowledge during an interview. In summary, the professional memberships section is a good addition to your resume. In some industries this will make your resume stand out, in others it is a prerequisite.

Extra-curricular activities is a rather common section. It is frequently described as the section that allows you to present yourself as an individual. By showing the interviewer that you are able to participate in a variety of student organisations, charity projects, and community events, you are illustrating your team work- and leadership-skills as well as your character-traits. If you are not part of a student organisation, I strongly recommend to join one, not only for resume building value, but for personal enjoyment.

The notable accomplishments section allows you to demonstrate your academic and personal achievements and provide a basis for small talk during an interview. Any accomplishment, big or small, should be included in this section. Did you complete a marathon? Competed professionally/semi professionally in a sporting event? Received a commemorative letter for outstanding performance? Played a musical instrument during a concert at your local community center or theatre? Even second/third place awards are fine! In sprinting events frequently a one hundredth of a second makes a differences between first and second place.

Lastly, the Additional Skills Section… It has some formality to it, but also an opportunity to make one last impression. The formality revolves around the need to state your language skills (including test scores if you have them), computer skills, and industry specific skills. The opportunity hides in the fact that you can also share your professional interests and recent industry related books that you’ve read.

Thank you for reading! As always, here, at eMusketeers, we realize that our view (although we frequently disagree with each other, too) is just one of many. True learning can only be achieved on the edge of comparison, so we encourage you to comment and engage with us in a debate.

Alex

Resume writing part 1

October 5, 2012 3 comments

In today’s discussion we wanted to discuss something applicable to the most of our audience, thus our choice naturally fell on resumes. Everyone has one, everyone has an advice on how to write one, and nobody knows what format is the best after all.

However, the search for one single resume format is probably misplaced, since the format of the resume should work with the professional experiences of the applicant and in certain industries highlight particular features. In our discussion we would like to focus on recent business graduates, who have limited (1 year-2 years) professional experience.

So let’s begin!

Virtually all resumes begin with a header. It contains all of your basic contact information, in some countries you can put your date of birth or a picture, in other countries this practice is avoided on discrimination grounds. eMusketeers would however advise you to put your Linked-in link and working rights. A Linked-in link allows for an interested recruiter to go to an information source that you control and allows you to share more detailed positive information (such as skill endorsements, or co-worker references). Stating your work rights up front will also ensure that your resume is not set aside just because your last name sounds foreign (this does happen!).

It is advisable to include an executive summary after you completed your header. It should be very short and summarise the essence of the sections to follow. My executive summary currently reads :”Strong educational background – Internal audit and consulting experience – Proactive learner”

For recently graduated students, who do not have a lot of professional experience, it is often advised to put their educational credentials section before their professional experiences section. That said, I think it is quite important to limit the description of your qualifications to a minimum, just enough to answer the questions: What? When? What was it about? For example, my current degree is set in the resume as “Master of Professional Accounting – University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia – Nov 2012 – Specialised education in accounting, law and statistics.” By keeping it short you will ensure that your resume is inviting to read and captivating enough. This way recruiters will have enough attention left for the professional experiences section. It is not to say that all the team projects and courses that you have done are not important, they are, but best described during an interview.

The Professional experiences section is arguably the most important. Simplicity is key here as well. The information that you give should answer these questions: What? When? What was it about? How did you perform? An illustrative example can be seen below:

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FUNNY LAND FACTORY, Sydney, Australia (11/2011 – 12/2012)

Internal Auditor (part-time)

Leading fun making factory

Lead the internal audit function

Planned and executed audits across a wide range of functions

Developed essential audit skills: interviewing, documentation, and time management

Achievement: Established a formal internal auditor training program

SECRET LAND FACTORY, St Petersburg, Russian Federation (01/ 2011 – 06/2011)

External Consultant

Leading widget manufacturer

– Analysed brand communication channels

– Reviewed product portfolio of the Russian market

– Surveyed current distributor network

Achievement: Team product – distributor oriented brand management program

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As you can see my descriptions are purposefully short, but interesting enough to warrant further discussion. After the professional skills section is completed, you should have the first page of your resume completed and now our attention falls on professional memberships, extra-curricular activities, notable accomplishments, and additional skills sections, which will be discussed in the next week’s post.

Alex