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How to make your CV sell...

Having a job is no longer an exclusive privilege for the 20 something plus. Everywhere you look teenagers are keen to earn a few bucks, and the opportunities are better than ever before. But before you go inside that interview room, or select shirts, or even before you apply in the first place, you need to prepare a CV.

For those of you who have no idea what a CV, or a résumé is, it's a formal piece of document which tells the employer if you are worth considering for the company. So take note of the following before you prepare yours.

Format: In fact there are thousands of different ways to make a CV. You can try out a few formats in your MS-Word if you are using Office XP / 2000. From the 'File' menu click on 'New...'. When the window opens, click on the tab, which says 'Other documents' and you will be able to select the right type of CV for you.

Now the format of the CV could actually be very important. It is going to create the very first impression about the person you are. Some companies may prefer the classic styled one with 'Curriculum Vitae' written in large block letters on the top; while the others might prefer something creative and original. It's totally up to you to figure out the best match.

Keeping it simple: Remember the employer is likely to be sorting from a few hundred different CVs, and would be keen to get some out of the way. So your challenge is to make it attractive, and simple at the same time. Your CV should have something original and unique about it, but at the same time it should be concise and easy to understand.

Contents: Things you need to put in
Personal details
Name, home address, college address, phone number, email address, date of birth.
(If your name does not obviously show if you are male or female, include this!)

Give places of education where you have studied - most recent education first. Include subject options and any special course/s you may have taken.

Work experience
List your most recent experience first. Give the name of your employer, job title, and very important, what you actually did and achieved in that job. Part-time work should be included.

They will be particularly interested in activities where you have leadership or responsibility, or which involve you in relating to others in a team. If you have been involved in any type of volunteer work, do give details.

Ability in other languages, computing experience, and anything else that is relevant.

I hate to say this, but references are a big factor in the local context. So if you happen to have a bigshot mama or khalu in the family, ask them to write a reference letter. This might just make all the difference...

The tidbits: Don't try out too many font types and sizes, and it's best to try and stick to the good old 'Times New Roman'. Check your spellings, and do not entirely rely on the 'spell-check' option. Use plenty of white spaces, and keep a generous border around the text.

Final words: One last piece of advice: keep it short. Nobody would look forward to reading a draft of your autobiography. So focus on the key points, and strike a balance so as not to sound you are bragging about your achievements.

Best of luck with your job applications, and if this actually helps, you are most welcome to send a percentage of your first month salary.

By Tausif Salim

The Façade of Indifference

Have you heard of Rabindranath Tagore?
Stop smirking you know-it-alls, as your answers to this are truly obvious. While most of you would say that he was this cool bearded dude with loads of attitude and was god-knows-why awarded a Nobel Prize for his incomprehensible (to you) work, others would greet my inquiry with a casual-Who's that? However, not all are as ignorant about Bengali literature as the majority is.

This, readers, is not a current issue. We, Bengalis, have for ages had a tendency to welcome foreign traits rather than our own, mostly personified by the use of languages. The British Colonial times had witnessed English being the then adopted language of Bengalis being considered the mark of the elite, whilst the then East Pakistan saw its Bengali residents seeking the much favored refuge of English and Urdu. As language gradually heightened to be the ultimate manipulative instrument, it was not until some true Bengalis took it in their hands to protest and in effect embrace martyrdom that Bengali was established as the state language followed subsequently by the creation of Bangladesh.

A tiny loophole, then, in the form of some English Medium schools had fueled the Bengalis' all time craze for English at the stake of their mother tongue. And, of course, led to history repeating itself---the 'ami bangla bolte pari na' culture (the 'I-cannot-speak-in-Bengali' culture).

Bengali now being the 'second language', playgrounds, classrooms, cafeterias and even washrooms are closely watched by such schools to make sure not a word of bangla can be heard. These stringent security measures relax a bit in times of the Bengali (not 'Bangla') classes as, though exercising your mother tongue is allowed, it must strictly be in syllabus. As a reply to parents' worries and complaints regarding their children's inability to speak English, such measures being taken guarantee parents that, yes, children would attain their much desired fluency in English in no time at all. After all, s/he had been sent to an English Medium school solely to learn English (What-else-does-one-need-in-life-when-s/he-can-speak-english?).

While I was lucky enough to belong to a school with great language teachers whose love for their respective languages reflected in their teachings, I feel terribly sorry for those poor ones being taught Bengali in English (What else?!?).Bengali itself, being a not-so-easy language with the addition of a dull syllabus, if not taught with interest detaches a budding Bangali from the true aroma of Bangla.

Where does this lead to? The 'Bangali-ness' having been driven out of the kid, he finds the practice of English much easier and more appealing. And how proud his parents are, to say thatAmar chele/mey bangla bolte pare na (My son/daughter cannot speak in Bengali). S/he hangs out with similar species; listens to Dream Theater and at times to the local bands that sing Bengali lyrics in English; reads Sidney Sheldon, Alistair Mclean but knows not who Tagore was. But what truly happens when such kids make their final escape from all things Bengali, is---they get trapped in the web of 'nationalities', where complexion, passport and the last inkling of 'Bangalitto' left in one matters. You are left being neither a Bengali nor do you belong to any other nationality, regardless of how well you know their Language---an identity crisis takes over. The solution to this would have rested in your hands, had you given some importance to your own language.

Tell me readers, when you talk of a country, what do you relate it with first? The country's language, of course. And if the mother tongue of a nation fails to acquire its due respect from its own habitants, how can outsiders be expected to recognize it? Also, your patriotism identifies with your practice of your mother tongue. You're ignoring it, talks of the absence of nationalism in you. And that isn't something to be proud of.

It isn't the practice of English that I am against. Nohad I been against it, I would never have had studied in an English Medium school myself, neither would I have been writing an English article for an English Newspaper and you too would not have been reading it. What I wish to say is, Bangla should be practiced as the mother tongue, not a second language. Our revere for the International Language Day and our very own Ekushey February, should not last just a day but should literally echo in the everyday practice of the language those gallant martyrs sacrificed their lives for and yet would be alive through.

After all, if it's the west that one wants to tag on, why not try following and loving your mother tongue, the way they love theirs.

By Reesana S. Siraj

A visit that changed my perspectives

It was last July when as a participant of the South Asian Undergraduate Student Leadership Institute sponsored by the U.S. State Department, I visited America, the dreamland of millions of people

around the world. The 6-week-long program was characterized by numerous site visits, seminars, discussion sessions and community services.

The experiences were breath-taking. While the visit to New York City presented before us the lifestyle of the largest metropolis of the U.S.A. and the business hub of the world, the hours spent in Baltimore, Maryland made us a part of the American crowd as we sat in the gallery of Orioles Park and watched a grand baseball match between the home team and the Texas Rangers. While the lush mountains of Appalachians in Pennsylvania left us admiring the natural splendor of America, the friendliness of the general people changed most of our attitude towards the common people of the U.S.A. Our five weeks seemed to have gone by in a jiffy.

Our last week in the U.S.A. was spent packing our baggage, reminiscing our first days in Carlisle,

Pennsylvania and paying a truly informative visit to Washington D.C., the picturesque capital of the U.S.A. The architectural beauty and the neatness of the place would impress any visitor. A trolley tour around the capital introduced us to Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, the White House, and Arlington National Cemetery, where John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy were buried. Other added attractions were our visits to The Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court.

On August 2, 2005 we paid our most anticipated visit to the U.S. State Department, the office that sponsored the South Asian Undergraduate Student Leadership Institute to bring India, Bangladesh and Pakistan under the same roof in the U.S.A. A round table discussion on the possible fruitful outcomes of this program and the recommendations to make it more worthwhile in the future made the whole session a very productive one. Important officials of the State Department attended

the meeting, which ended with distribution of certificates to the participants by Rosalind L. Swenson, Director of the Office of Academic Exchange Programs.

The grand museums of the Smithsonian Institutions in Washington D.C. were eye-popping. The grandeur of the Museum of Natural History, Air and Space Museum or the African American Art would mesmerize anyone. A shiver literally ran down my spine as I lay my hand on a moon rock in the Air and Space Museum. I never imagined myself to be standing in front of a rock from the moon and then actually touching it.

The sight of the world famous, Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum would fascinate one. Tourists' cameras began to click as they stood in front of this huge 45.52-carat diamond; its dark greyish-blue shade shone with pride as the stand circled inside the protective glass casing.

Bidding good-bye to our new friends from India and Pakistan, the facilitators and the professors of Dickinson College, the college that hosted the 21 South Asian students, was more than just heartbreaking.

In 6 weeks we built a very strong bonding of love and friendship, which is quite rare in the modern world, where animosity and hostility define most relations. This trip taught me a lot; this was an extraordinary opportunity that enabled us to voice our opinions and uphold truths about our respective countries. Detailed discussions on issues like U.S. War on Terrorism on a number of occasions made it possible for us to let the American government officials, professors and community leaders know how it affected us as Muslims and as conscious global citizens. As a young undergraduate of South Asia I could never find a bigger platform to experience U.S.A in my own eyes and judge its people and society.

The frankness and amiability of the general people of America certainly made a positive impression on my mind. The program has also made me more responsible than before. The homesickness has taught me how much I love my country, how much I'm proud of my country's rich history, culture and heritage, its beauty and its common people. Now I strongly believe that the united effort of the youth can certainly build a more prosperous Bangladesh. We can be as good as any other nation if we have that little will power within us.

Today when I look back in time and tend to reminisce the time I spent filling out the application form for this program and then appearing for an interview, I feel that the path wasn't that easy. Even though we all had to bear a rigorous selection process, at the end, we heaved a sigh of relief saying that the program was really worth it. This program has given me new friends. I admit that my first meeting with my fellow Bangladeshi participants wasn't a very easy one especially since our personal backgrounds varied pretty widely. But whatever ice existed between the seven Bangladeshis melted well at the reception, which took place at the residence of Jonathan Cebra, the Director of the U.S. Embassy's American Center. The ice melted so well that we have promised to remain connected to each other and help each other in making positive changes in the country we live.

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. -Seneca. My visit to the U.S.A. has certainly broadened my horizons and made it possible for me to perceive my country and my own abilities and aptitudes in a new way.

By Wara Karim


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