The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Career Hotline

Build a winning image

Q: Often, while being interviewed for a job, one is asked a standard question, “Tell us about yourself”. I never know where to begin and get carried away when I start. Please help.

P. Kamath

A: Yes, firms often ask job applicants to deliver a short, succinct presentation on a topic of their interest or ask the question, “Tell me something about yourself”. It’s amazing how much a brief, powerful communication can tell you about a person.

Preparing a short 50-second presentation about yourself can be valuable.

Fifty seconds is the right length. Go past that and you’ll lose them. Anything less and you haven’t given yourself enough credit. The purpose of a brief pitch is to hook the other party into wanting to hear your second, third and fourth minutes.

It takes immense practice to be able to present that 50-second statement under pressure. Count on those close to you for help. Let your father or even your 10-year old sister listen to you for weeks, helping with the nuances of how you are vocalising those few paragraphs of text.

The most difficult thing, of course, is to make a rehearsed pitch sound natural and spontaneous after you’ve memorised your lines but that’s what separates the winners.

A final piece of advice is not to sit back and wait for an interview to utilise your well-rehearsed presentation. Integrate that piece of practised verbiage into other conversations. Don’t hesitate to approach people where you may have the opportunity to use these lines.

Whether you are selling a company to investors or selling yourself for an open job, if you wait for people to dig it out of you, you’ll never get any use out of your own fast-pitch elevator speech (so called after the time it takes to reach a top floor in a lift, which is also the time you would get to introduce yourself).


Still some goodies in the ITES basket

Q: Given that the Indian rupee has been rising in value as compared to the US dollar, how good will it be for me to start a career in an Indian ITES company'

Rajika Arora

A: Mostly good. A rising rupee is a reflection of the increasing strength of the Indian economy. It also encourages foreign institutional investors (FIIs) to invest more in Indian companies.

However, the strengthening Indian rupee coupled with the slowdown in the US economy is forcing US companies to reduce their overall business, including that directed to Indian IT companies. So the average net profit of top Indian IT companies has decreased in recent months. But this could be a temporary phase. The outsourcing of more functions to regions outside the US is a possibility. So, there is still some light on the IT horizon.


Litmus test for visiting foreign institutions

Q: I am enrolled in a private college under a foreign university. What will happen after such institutes are regulated'

Manish Kumar

A: Despite the fact that students like you are spending huge amounts on foreign-affiliated courses, the government has only recently woken up to formulate policies to check the infiltration of sub-standard universities. There is a move to ratify the Regulation of Foreign University Entry & Operation (Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialisation) Bill, 2007, to regulate the entry of foreign institutes in India.

The proposed Bill to make registration of all foreign educational institutions (FEIs) compulsory will make things tough for the 140-odd FEIs already operating in India. An FEI will be granted autonomy as a recognised university only if it is approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The FEI must also ensure that the quality of programmes is of the level of courses offered in India.

In a case such as yours, where you are already enrolled in an FEI, the government may make alternative arrangements for students and even compensate employees from the FEI’s financial kitty in India. However, institutions of global standing will be exempted from this requirement subject to approval by an advisory board consisting of UGC and others. If an FEI collaborates with a recognised Indian university, the latter may be required to ensure the foreign university’s conduct.

The Bill also says that the commercialisation of FEIs would be prevented and that they cannot repatriate gains to their countries. Besides, franchising will not be permitted.

The FEIs have to get a no objection certificate from their embassy in India and an accreditation certificate from appropriate regulatory bodies of their parent country.

The popularity of FEIs in India stems from the fact that they offer market-oriented professional courses in law, accounting, management and financial planning.

So far, the All India Council for Technical Education has approved three institutions in India with foreign collaborators, one of which is the Institute of Hotel Management of Aurangabad (affiliated to the University of Huddersfield, UK).

Send your queries to Career Hotline, Careergraph, The Telegraph, 6, Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700 001. Fax: 22253142; e-mail:
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