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Career Options

OPT for the right career option is quite precarious for both students and their parents. Most of us go through the same dilemma after passing class 12th exams or during graduation. Career options for students who are pursuing professional courses or degree, are quite clear but for the remaining, a lot of thought goes into choosing the right option after graduation

Career planning is one of the most decisive (vital) factors in our life. It is important at least for two reasons:

First, whether you opt for a career in jobs or prefer to be on your own, you must appreciate that there is fierce competition for getting a space in the world of work. Remember the old adage, “Survival of the fittest”.

Second, in view of new developments primarily triggered off by the information technology (IT) and globalisation of the economy, there are now more options than ever before. You will have to look for these options.

Remember also that these are days of specialisation.

Parental apprehension and affliction for conforming to social norms often unconsciously do more harm than good.

It is the individual who has to make an appropriate choice after weighing the pros and cons of the various options.

This, however, does not mean that parental advice and guidance have no role in shaping your career.

You should feel free to tell your parents what you want to be and why.

Your choice should not be bias simply by those of your friends.
They may have suitable reasons for making those choices, but your decisive decision should be based on your own cool intelligence.

And your appraisal, in turn should be based on adequate information about educational and training requirements needed for entering precise careers.
Access to a wide range of information about educational and training opportunities is one of the most imperative for career choice.

They may have suitable reasons for making those choices, but your decisive decision should be based on your own cool intelligence.

And your appraisal, in turn should be based on adequate information about educational and training requirements needed for entering precise careers.

Access to a wide range of information about educational and training opportunities is one of the most imperative for career choice.

When to begin the career planning?
The age that could be considered felicitous for lay the first stone is the age of 14-15 years when you drop in the 9th Class under the 10 + 2 pattern of education; this is the cognizant age to shape your career.

However, much more important reason is that after the 10 th a wide variety of course options are available to choose from.

This means when you enter the 10 + 2 level, as the first step you will have to choose from the three streams viz.

A) Science  B) Arts and humanities  C) Commerce

with the appropriate combination of subjects. To a great extent, this choice would determine the course options available to you after the 10 + 2 level. For example, if you want to take up medical degree course, you should not only join the science stream but should also opt for the combination comprising Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

A lot depends on the interest of the student but lucrativeness of the career and job prospects also play an important role in making the decision

Besides top paying career options such as MBA, Software, Chartered Accountancy, Journalism, Medical, Advertising, PR and architecture, there are multifarious career options like Flying & aviation, Physical education & Sports, Law, Fashion designing, Research & Development and Administrative services.

Careers in Arts, Entertainment and Media

  • Advertising
  • Animation
  • Film Making
  • Music Dance
  • Journalism /Mass Communication
  • Modelling
  • Audio Engineering
  • Photography
  • Radio Jockey
  • Social Work
  • Technical Writing
  • Video Editing
  • Video Jockey

Careers in Engineering, Architecture & Designing

  • Engineering
  • Aeronautical
  • Architects
  • Fire Engineering
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Interior Designing
  • Marine Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Dairy Technology

Careers in Defence & Government Services

  • Air Force
  • Civil Service
  • Indian Army
  • Merchant Navy

Careers in Accounting, Banking, Finance & Insurance

  • Actuarial Science
  • Chartered Accountancy
  • Insurance
  • Securities Analysts
  • Company Secretary
  • ICWAI
  • Statistician

Careers in Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

  • Hotel Industry
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Hospital Management

Careers in Fashion, Beauty Care & other Lifestyle

  • Beauty Care
  • Fashion Technology
  • Gemmology
  • Jewellery Designing

Careers in Health Care, Medicine & Allied Fields

  • Ayurveda
  • Dentistry
  • Forensic Science
  • Medical Transcription
  • Medical Lab Technology
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition & Dietetics
  • Hospital Management
  • Pharmacy
  • Prosthetics & Orthotics
  • Psychology
  • Speech Pathology & Audiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiography
  • Veterinary Science

Careers in Basic & Applied Sciences

  • Bioinformatics
  • Floriculture
  • Forestry / Wildlife
  • Oceanography
  • Photonics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Astronomy
  • Biotechnology
  • Fisheries Science
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Archaeology

Careers in Education and Library Science

  • Foreign Language
  • Teaching
  • Librarianship

Careers in Management

  • Business Administration
  • Event Management
  • Public Relations
  • Tea Management
  • Retail Management
  • Human Resource Management

Careers in the IT sector & allied fields

  • Call Centres

Careers in Aviation Industry

  • Airhostess / Pursers
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Aeronautical

Careers in Sales & Marketing

  • Public Relations

Resume Tips

A good quality resume is a central component in the employment process.

Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. It gives the prospective employer a first look at who you are, what you can do and how do you serve a company. Typically, an introductory cover letter should accompany the resume when it is sent to a company.

How does one make sure that his resume is top notch and bullet proof?
Your goal is to make the resume easy to read, concise and convincing. Consider it as your initial marketing tool. With some luck, your resume and letter will result in an interview.

We wanted to put them all together in a single place,

Here are a few tips to help you put it all together to prepare a good resume.

Your resume is your personal testament that you are the right candidate for the applied position. Try to reveal your best in the resume. Include only relevant information. Your resume should be full of action verbs that are results-oriented and portray your accomplishments in a positive light.

  1. Know the purpose of your resume
  2. Back up your qualities and strengths
  3. Make sure to use the right keywords
  4. Use effective titles
  5. Proofread it twice
  6. Use bullet points
  7. Where are you going?
  8. Put the most important information first
  9. Attention to the typography
  10. Do not include “no kidding” information
  11. Explain the benefits of your skills
  12. Avoid negativity
  13. Achievements instead of responsibilities
  14. No pictures
  15. Use numbers
  16. One resume for each employer
  17. Identify the problems of the employer
  18. Avoid age discrimination
  19. You don’t need to list all your work experiences
  20. Go with what you got
  21. Sell your fish
  22. Don’t include irrelevant information
  1. Use Mr. and Ms. if appropriate
  2. No lies, please
  3. Keep the salary in mind
  4. Analyze job ads
  5. Get someone else to review your resume
  6. One or two pages
  7. Use action verbs
  8. Use a good printer
  9. No hobbies
  10. Update your resume regularly
  11. Mention who you worked with
  12. No scattered information
  13. Make the design flow with white space
  14. Lists all your positions
  15. No jargon or slang
  16. Careful with sample resume templates
  17. an email proof formatting
  18. Remove your older work experiences
  19. fancy design details
  20. No pronouns
  21. Don’t forget the basics
  22. Consider getting professional help

Do's and Don'ts for Resume Writing

DO’S

  • Make sure your resume is easy to read. Remember, it's a summary, not an autobiography. Use concise, unambiguous sentences and avoid over-writing. The reader is likely to be busy and not inclined to struggle through flowery prose.
  • Keep the overall length of your resume short. Depending upon your experience, one or two pages is ideal. A three-page resume should be considered only if it is absolutely necessary to do justice to your career experience.
  • Stress your past accomplishments and the skills you used to get the desired results. Your accomplishment statements must grab the reader, and quantify the results. Did you increase profits? By what percentage or dollar amount? Did you save the organization time and/or money? How much?
  • Focus on information that's relevant to your own career goals. If you're making a career change, stress what skills are transferable to support your new career objectives.
  • Neatness counts. And how! A poorly structured, badly typed resume tells the reader much about the applicant — none of it good. Spend the extra money to have your resume typed or word processed, or even printed. It's well worth it.

DON'TS

  • If you're considering enclosing a photograph of yourself, don't! It's not necessary, and no matter how attractive you may be, it's possible that you may bear a striking resemblance to someone the reader doesn't like, and that could mean a strike-out for you!
  • If you're planning to include personal references on your resume, don't! A potential employer is interested in references only if he or she is seriously considering hiring you. At that time, you may be asked to provide reference information.
  • Avoid odd-size paper or loud colours. 8 1/2 X 11-inch paper — in white, buff or beige, is appropriate. Also, be sure to use a good quality paper.
  • Your salary history or reasons for leaving previous jobs should never be included in a resume. Also, don't mention sexual harassment issues, lawsuits, workers' compensation claims, or say, "They fired me for no good reason." In addition, leave out any discussion about hobbies, musical instruments you play, sports you enjoy, your marital status (with the number and gender of kids), age or race. This is a business marketing document, so limit the information on it to business related issues.
  • Don't include references to areas of your life that are not business related, or have nothing to do with your current career goals. Membership in outside social organizations, military service, etc., has no place in a resume, unless they somehow apply to your job objectives.

Last, but certainly not least -- don't have any unreasonable expectations of what a resume can do.

You will be guilty of a grave error in judgment if you expect someone to hire you because of your resume. It never happens! Your resume is simply a piece of paper. It comes with no guarantee of truthfulness, and it certainly can't close a deal. You may choose to believe that your record speaks for itself, but the truth is: Only you speak for yourself.

Interview Tips

An interview is a conversation between the interviewer and the candidate for both parties to learn more about each other for the purpose of filling a position within an organization.

Interview is the process of evaluating the candidate left, right and centre. The decision is on the interviewer who leaves no chance to satisfy himself in every aspect with respect to the candidate.

An Employer looks for following things from the candidate

Intelligence (intellectual and emotional),
Communication skills,
Leadership qualities,
Ethics,
Competence,
Energy,
Imagination etc.,

Important Notes

People never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your success or failure in getting the job is determined within the first few minutes of the interview. So it is important to create a positive first impression.

  • The most important thing is confidence. Just attend the interview that you will get the job.
  • Be clear in your answers
  • Ask twice if you are unable to understand the question
  • Use paper if you are unable to explain. It is always easy explaining using a paper
  • If you do not know something, say frankly. But the answer should not be "NO" to basic questions.
  • Try to know about the company before attending the interview.
  • If a company is working on networking concentrate more on Computer networks and Data structures. You should plan your preparation according to the area of working.

Preparation

Before going to an interview

Before going to an interview, preparation is the finest tool to give the best shot.
Interviews are like anything else in life, they take practice to perfect.
In this highly competitive world one should always maintain a high standard of professionalism.
This is guaranteed to impress your potential employer, as it will show focus and maturity.

  • Professionalism means Preparation, Presentation & Punctuality
  • Have a good sleep at night as you will be all fresh on the day of interview
  • Shake hands with the interviewer only if they offer you first
  • Accumulate all your strengths, qualifications, interest in the field
  • Describe all the points concisely and accurately in the interview
  • Make sure that all your documents look clean, presentable and has proper set up. Always try to acquire a brief idea about the institution
  • Being on time is essential to a successful interview. This comes under punctuality. Being early gives you time to relax and prepare for the interview

Practice

Practice makes the man perfect. The more you practice more you groom yourself. How to go about it

  • Go through the frequently asked questions (FAQs) available
  • Take at least 5-10 probable questions and try answering them
  • Practice answering the FAQs with a friend or in front of a mirror or by yourself
  • By reviewing possible answers, you will feel more relaxed and confident in the interview and will then be able to cover all key points in your responses

Dress code

Do not forget to dress properly because it matters. Be sure that you look smart and confident. See to it that your attire is well ironed and is not wrinkled. It should be neat and clean. Always carry a handkerchief with you. Arrive about 10 minutes early so that you can relax and muddle up all the things before entering in to the interview room. Looking shabby can negate your chances of getting through in the interview.

  • Don't raise new points
  • Never state only your viewpoint
  • Cover every aspects of the GD
  • Give a brief and concise overview of all the important points raised during the discussion

The Previous Day

  • Confirm the venue of the interview, distance, and mode of transport
  • Locate the venue earlier
  • Relax, have good sleep, visualise and pray

The Interview Day

  • Reach the venue at least 45 minutes ahead of the interview
  • Get familiar with the amblience
  • Dont carry too much baggage
  • Report to the authority concerned

Waiting Hall Behaviour

  • Maintain Decorum
  • Mingle with others politely
  • Avoid smoking, chewing, flirting, gossiping, defamatory comments
  • Greet others present
  • Switch off the mobile
  • Relax and visualise

While Entering The Interview Hall

  • Enter confidently, not arrogantly
  • Shut the door gently
  • Smile and greet the interviewers
  • Shake hands only if they offer their hand

During interview

  • Start it off like a winner
  • Be comfortable. Take a seat facing the interviewer, however, slightly off center
  • Listen carefully to interviewers
  • Maintain eye contact as it is the sign of confidence
  • Be attentive, listen carefully, and lean forward
  • Don't lean on the table, and don't slouch
  • Don't toss your files across
  • Hand over your file-right side facing them
  • Don't laugh or giggle but smile gently
  • Be polite. Use the words "Please" and "thank you"
  • Don't argue but can orally acknowledge
  • Speak clearly with proper pronunciations
  • Use good grammar and a friendly tone
  • Never answer just "yes" or "no" to a question. Always clarify, expand on your answers
  • Your answers should be straight and clear
  • Be positive and enthusiastic
  • You want to outshine all other candidates so "turn it on" during the interview
  • Pump up your enthusiasm prior to the interview
  • Ask pertinent questions
  • Be prepared to ask a few questions
  • Do ask thoughtful questions
  • Watch for a cue that the interview is over
  • Don't linger if you sense the interviewer is done interviewing you
  • When it is over, stand up, thank the interviewer for their time and shake hands firmly
  • Don't forget to express interest in being a part of the institution
  • Say you are impressed with the institution and would like to study there
  • Be sure to find out the next step
  • Ask the interviewer when the decision will be made, when you can expect to hear from them.
  • This way you won't be left hanging

In Case Of Stress Interviews

  • Don't be upset
  • Let them not see that you are upset
  • Accept their point of view
  • Smile
  • Don't argue but be specific in responses with justification

End Of The Interview

  • Convey your interest in being a part of the institution
  • When informed, collect your belongings
  • Do not forget to say that you are very optimistic for the result
  • Thank everyone
  • For a few steps from your seat, don't show your back
  • Don't rush. But move out with dignity
  • Close the door gently when you leave

Successful Interview Tips

An Employer looks for intelligence (intellectual and emotional), communication skills, leadership qualities, ethics, competence, energy, imagination etc., from the candidate.

Why Do Candidates Fail In An Interview

  • Poor grooming
  • Discourteous and ungraceful body language
  • Poor manners
  • Poor diction
  • Vague responses
  • Unappealing resume
  • Monetary benefits-centric approach
  • Lack of punctuality
  • Poor waiting hall behaviour

Some Behavioural "Unfavourable" Aspects

  • Lack of personal or career goals
  • Lack of enthusiasm and confidence
  • Not owning up responsibility for mistakes
  • Self-justification, aggressiveness
  • Lack ofemotional maturity
  • Negative and cynical attitude
  • Over-reacting to questions
  • Lacking sense of humour
  • Complaining about various things and previous employers

DO’S & DON’T’S

DO’S

  • Reaserch the current industrial trends,company and the job profile before your interview.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early.
  • Be sure to give a firm handshake,smile,maintain eye contact and have positive body language.
  • Listen carefully to questions and if you don’t understand a question, politly ask for clarification.
  • You cant know for everything. So if u don’t know the answer , say no. don’t try to give wrong answer or mislead .
  • Be honest about your background and experience.
  • It is important to make an eye contact as you speak , which shows that you are confident and honest.
  • Express authentic interest in the position you applied for. Tell the interviewer about inherent aspect of the job, which are of particular interest for you.
  • At the end of the interview, it is likely to be asked ,”do you any question for us?” This is the right time to ask any relative question you ve about the company or position.
  • Thank the interviewer for his / her time.
  • Send a thank you note.

DONT'S

  • Indulge in negative talk about your employer.
  • Make vague statement – be concise & specific.
  • Be too informal.
  • Speak for too long – more than 2 minutes is normally too much.
  • Act as though you r desperate for employment.
  • Appear anxious to end the interview.
  • Chew gum or smell like smoke.
  • Ask about the salary unless the interviewer brings it up.
  • Allow your cell phone to ring during the interview.

How to prepare for exams

At university level you are not just tested on simply what you can remember & testing how much you know, but also in finding out how well you apply your knowledge.

Exams are the be all and end all of education. They represent a means of assessing the level at which you understand key concepts and work covered during the academic year.

Try not to think of exams as hurdles. Instead, think about exams as an opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding of material you have studied.

Of course exams require you to work under conditions and time constraints which can be stressful, but this is just practice for dealing with the pressures and deadlines you will face in your working life after you graduate.

The most important thing any student can do to prepare for exam is to start early to plan your revision, and to use sound learning strategies. College courses require far more effort.

  • Start preparing for the next test the day after you take the prior one. Daily preparation is crucial. At a minimum, review material once every week between exams.

How much time is needed? The classic question.

    • Some recommend 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour of class time. In some cases homework problems will require this much effort.
  • For a straightforward lecture course try the following:

    • Every day before class, preview the material for 15-20 minutes.
    • Attend every lecture. Seems simple but it's the biggest mistake students make. Take good notes.
    • Spend another 20-30 minutes after class going over the notes.
    • Use this time to get any confusing points cleared up in your head; much better now than later. This will make later exam easier.
    • Once a week, review the material to get a more complete overview of the information

    Exam strategies

    Five important points to remember on exam day

    • Get there on time - make arriving at the exam on time as simple and straightforward as possible so you feel relaxed.
    • Take care of the technicalities - budgeting time, bringing the right equipment, writing legibly, improving weaker answers before polishing good ones.
    • Read the instructions.
    • Breathe deeply and don't panic.
    • Answer the question. Establish what it asks for; then recall, select the relevant material, organise it, and formulate your answer.

    Planning & priority

    • Prioritise what % for which course?
    • Calculate how many hours for each course
    • Add up total time available
    • Divide course work in ‘chunks’ /tasks
    • Fill in your time plan

    Keep motivation up

    • Alternate study tasks (hard/easy, different note-making approaches: mind-mapping, diagrams, cue cards etc.)
    • Plan some rewards/treats for yourself
    • Work with other students: studying together has been proven to be effective for many students!

    Body, Brain & spirit

    • Exercise regularly: this is important, especially in stressful times
    • Share your challenges…….talking helps
    • Eat healthy… especially in this Exam Period…… your body needs to be helped in putting in a top performance
    • Keep your fluids up (water!!): your body is 70% water
    • Engage in positive self-talk: yes, exams are stressful, no, they are not the end of the world
    • Have a good breakfast. If you are too anxious, eat a banana, smoothie or other liquid breakfast
    • Practice a simple breathing relaxation technique
    • Listen to music that makes you feel good
    • Do not meet up with friends who are likely to distress you with questions or doom scenarios
    • Affirm some positive messages: I have done my best; exams are not pleasant but I can do it; exams are not the end of the world.

    Below are listed some other specific suggestions.

    • Flashcards - help to memorize facts NOT understanding
    • Groups - good to work through difficult material, quiz each other for understanding
    • Review sessions - only go to early ones, last minute reviews sometimes cause needless confusion
    • Tutors - get help early, waiting till the last minute only fosters aggravation and panic
    • Professors/TA's - same as above, don't email about material the night before, do it early

    The day of the exam

    Substantial check-list

    • Have you checked out where the exam venue is (better to do that the day before if you can...)?
    • Have you double checked, triple checked: what exam, where and what time?
    • Exam pack ready? ID card, multiple pens, handkerchief, water bottle, right calculator (if allowed) with fresh batteries
    • Have a planned plenty of time to get to the exam venue?

    Go for it!--- Do it!

    In the actual exam – hot tips

    • Read instructions carefully: sometimes you don’t have to answer all questions, and you may have to choose
    • Make a quick time-plan: often questions have different mark allocations; the time you spend on each question should reflect this
    • Read the questions carefully, underline key words: answer the exact question they want you to answer, do not write ‘around’ the question
    • Especially for essay-type questions: plan your answer. You can use your answer booklet for this, the left-hand page (just put a diagonal line through it afterwards).
    • Do your best question first
    • Attempt all the required questions
    • When you run out of time: bullet point the answer

    DO’S & DON’T’S

    DO’S:

    • Start early for preparation.
    • Organized your course material
    • Allocate the study time into several manageable study sessions
    • Divide the course material into small segments and assign them to the study sessions
    • Set clear and specific goals for the study sessions
    • Plan your revision
    • Include regular breaks
    • Get a reasonable amount of sleep
    • Eat properly
    • Travel carefully
    • Take care of yourself
    DONT'S
    • Make the study sessions too long
    • Cramming before the exam
    • Boredom and loss of effectiveness
    • Make longer Revision sessions
    • Have heavy foods that can make you drowsy
    • Stay up too late
    • Keep a negative attitude about the exam
    • Meet up with friends who are likely to distress you with questions or doom scenarios
    • Get panic before exam
    • spend precious time agonising over something

    Group Discussion (GD)

    A group discussion (GD) is a simulated exercise, where you cannot suddenly put up a show, since the evaluators will see through you easily. In this page you can find tips on GD and how to handle them to ensure a positive outcome.

    Group discussion is a useful tool to ascertain qualities and many organizations use GD as a selection tool along with Personal Interviews, aptitude tests etc.

    A GD is an activity where

    • Groups of 8-10 candidates are formed into a leaderless group, and are given a specific situation to analyse and discuss within a given time limit, which may vary between twenty minutes and forty-five minutes, or
    • They may be given a case study and asked to come out with a solution for a problem
    • They may be given a topic and are asked to discuss the same

    GD is a test of your ability to think, your analytical capabilities and your ability to make your point in a team-based environment .

    Group Discussion basically means searching your team player, leadership, communication capability.

    Preparing for a Group Discussion:

    While GD reflects the inherent qualities of an individual, appearing for it unprepared may not augur well for you.

    These tips would help you prepare for GDs:

    Reading:

    • This is the first and the most crucial step in preparation.
    • This is a never ending process and the more you read, the better you are in your thoughts.
    • While you may read anything to everything, you must ensure that you are in good touch with current affairs, the debates and hot topics of discussion and also with the latest in the IT and ITES industry.
    • Chances are the topics would be around these. Read both for the thoughts as well as for data.
    • Also read multiple view points on the same topic and then create your point of view with rationale. Also create answers for counter arguments for your point of view.
    • The electronic media also will be of good use here.

    Mocks:

    • Create an informal GD group and meet regularly to discuss and exchange feedback. This is the best way to prepare.
    • This would give you a good idea about your thoughts and how well can you convince.
    • Remember, it is important that you are able to express your thoughts well.
    • The better you perform in these mocks the better would be you chances to perform on the final day.
    • Also try to interact and participate in other GD groups.
    • This will develop in you a skill to discuss with unknown people as well.

    Here are some of the most important personality traits that a candidate should possess to do well at a Group Discussion:

    1. Team Player

    B-Schools lay great emphasis on this parameter because it is essential for managers to be team players.
    The reason: Managers always work in teams.
    At the beginning of his career, a manager works as a team member. And, later, as a team leader.
    Management aspirants who lack team skills cannot be good managers.

    2. Reasoning Ability

    Reasoning ability plays an important role while expressing your opinions or ideas at a Group Discussion.
    For example, an opinion like 'Reduction in IIMs' fees will affect quality' can be better stated by demonstrating your reasoning ability and completing the missing links between fees and quality as:
    'Reduction in IIMs' fees will result in less funds being invested on study material, student exchange programmes, research, student development activities, etc.
    'Moreover, it costs money to attract good faculty, create good infrastructure and upgrade technology.
    'With reduction in fees, less money will be available to perform these ,activities which will lead to deterioration in the quality of IIMs.

    3. Leadership

    There are three types of situations that can arise in a Group Discussion:

    • A Group Discussion where participants are unable to establish a proper rapport and do not speak much.
    • A Group Discussion where participants get emotionally charged and the Group Discussion gets chaotic.
    • A Group Discussion where participants discuss the topic assertively by touching on all its nuances and try to reach the objective.
    • Here, a leader would be someone who facilitates the third situation at a Group Discussion.

    A leader would have the following qualities:

    • She/he shows direction to the group whenever group moves away from the topic.
    • She/he coordinates the effort of the different team members in the Group Discussion.
    • She/he contributes to the Group Discussion at regular intervals with valuable insights.
    • She/he also inspires and motivates team members to express their views.

    Caution: Being a mere coordinator in a Group Discussion does not help, because it is a secondary role.

    Contribute to the Group Discussion with your ideas and opinions, but also try and steer the conversation towards a goal.

    4. Flexibility

    You must be open to other ideas as well as to the evaluation of your ideas: That is what flexibility is all about.

    But first, remember: Never ever starts your Group Discussion with a stand or a conclusion.

    Say the topic of a Group Discussion is, 'Should India go to war with Pakistan?'

    Some participants tend to get emotionally attached to the topic and take a stand either in favour or against the topic, ie 'Yes, India should', or, 'No, India should not'.

    By taking a stand, you have already given your decision without discussing the topic at hand or listening to the views of your team members.

    Also, if you encounter an opposition with a very strong point at the 11th hour, you end up in a typical catch-22 situation:
    ~If you change your stand, you are seen as a fickle-minded or a whimsical person.
    ~If you do not change your stand, you are seen as an inflexible, stubborn and obstinate person.

    5. Assertiveness

    You must put forth your point to the group in a very emphatic, positive and confident manner.
    Participants often confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness.

    Aggressiveness is all about forcing your point on the other person, and can be a threat to the group.

    An aggressive person can also demonstrate negative body language, whereas an assertive person displays positive body language.

    6. Initiative

    A general trend amongst students is to start a Group Discussion and get the initial kitty of points earmarked for the initiator.
    But that is a high risk-high return strategy.
    Initiate a Group Discussion only if you are well versed with the topic.
    If you start and fail to contribute at regular intervals, it gives the impression that you started the Group Discussion just for the sake of the initial points.
    Also, if you fumble, stammer or misquote facts, it may work against you.

    Remember:

    You never ever get a second chance to create a first impression.

    7. Creativity/ Out of the box thinking

    An idea or a perspective which opens new horizons for discussion on the Group Discussion topic is always highly appreciated.

    When you put across a new idea convincingly, such that it is discussed at length by the group, it can only be positive.

    You will find yourself in the good books of the examiner.

    8. Inspiring ability

    A good group discussion should incorporate views of all the team members.

    If some team members want to express their ideas but are not getting the opportunity to do so, giving them an opportunity to express their ideas or opinions will be seen as a positive trait.

    Caution: If a participant is not willing to speak, you need not necessarily go out of the way to ask him to express his views.

    This may insult him and hamper the flow of the Group Discussion.

    9. Listening

    Always try and strike a proper balance between expressing your ideas and imbibing ideas.

    10. Awareness

    You must be well versed with both the micro and macro environment.
    Your awareness about your environment helps a lot in your Group Discussion content, which carries maximum weightage.

    Caution: The content or awareness generally constitutes 40 to 50 percent marks of your Group Discussion.

    Apart from these qualities, communication skills, confidence and the ability to think on one's feet are also very important.

    A group discussion can be categorically divided into three different phases:
    • Initiation Techniques
    • Body of the group discussion
    • Summarization/ Conclusion

    Initiation Techniques

    Initiating a GD is a high profit-high loss strategy.

    When you initiate a GD, you not only grab the opportunity to speak, you also grab the attention of the examiner and your fellow candidates.

    If you can make a favourable first impression with your content and communication skills after you initiate a GD, it will help you sail through the discussion.

    But if you initiate a GD and stammer/ stutter/ quote wrong facts and figures, the damage might be irreparable.

    If you initiate a GD impeccably but don't speak much after that, it gives the impression that you started the GD for the sake of starting it or getting those initial kitty of points earmarked for an initiator!

    When you start a GD, you are responsible for putting it into the right perspective or framework. So initiate one only if you have in-depth knowledge about the topic at hand.

    Body of the group discussion

    Different techniques to initiate a GD and make a good first impression:

    i. Quotes
    ii. Definition
    iii. Question
    iv. Shock statement
    v. Facts, figures and statistics
    vi. Short story
    vii. General statement

    i. Quotes

    Quotes are an effective way of initiating a GD.

    If the topic of a GD is: Should the Censor Board be abolished?, you could start with a quote like, 'Hidden apples are always sweet'.

    For a GD topic like, Customer is King, you could quote Sam (Wall-mart) Walton's famous saying, 'There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company -- from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.'

    ii. Definition

    Start a GD by defining the topic or an important term in the topic.

    For example, if the topic of the GD is Advertising is a Diplomatic Way of Telling a Lie, why not start the GD by defining advertising as, 'Any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services through mass media like newspapers, magazines, television or radio by an identified sponsor'?

    For a topic like The Malthusian Economic Prophecy is no longer relevant, you could start by explaining the definition of the Malthusian Economic Prophecy.

    iii. Question

    Asking a question is an impact way of starting a GD.

    It does not signify asking a question to any of the candidates in a GD so as to hamper the flow. It implies asking a question, and answering it yourself.

    Any question that might hamper the flow of a GD or insult a participant or play devil's advocate must be discouraged.

    Questions that promote a flow of ideas are always appreciated.

    For a topic like, Should India go to war with Pakistan, you could start by asking, 'What does war bring to the people of a nation? We have had four clashes with Pakistan. The pertinent question is: what have we achieved?'

    iv. Shock statement

    Initiating a GD with a shocking statement is the best way to grab immediate attention and put forth your point.

    If a GD topic is, The Impact of Population on the Indian Economy, you could start with, 'At the centre of the Indian capital stands a population clock that ticks away relentlessly. It tracks 33 births a minute, 2,000 an hour, 48,000 a day. Which calculates to about 12 million every year. That is roughly the size of Australia. As a current political slogan puts it, 'Nothing's impossible when 1 billion Indians work together'.'

    v. Facts, figures and statistics

    If you decide to initiate your GD with facts, figure and statistics, make sure to quote them accurately.

    Approximation is allowed in macro level figures, but micro level figures need to be correct and accurate.

    For example, you can say, approximately 70 per cent of the Indian population stays in rural areas (macro figures, approximation allowed).

    But you cannot say 30 states of India instead of 28 (micro figures, no approximations).

    Stating wrong facts works to your disadvantage.

    For a GD topic like, China, a Rising Tiger, you could start with, 'In 1983, when China was still in its initial stages of reform and opening up, China's real use of Foreign Direct Investment only stood at $636 million. China actually utilized $60 billion of FID in 2004, which is almost 100 times that of its 1983 statistics."

    vi. Short story

    Use a short story in a GD topic like, Attitude is Everything.

    This can be initiated with, 'A child once asked a balloon vendor, who was selling helium gas-filled balloons, whether a blue-colored balloon will go as high in the sky as a green-colored balloon. The balloon vendor told the child, it is not the color of the balloon but what is inside it that makes it go high.'

    vii. General statement

    Use a general statement to put the GD in proper perspective.

    For example, if the topic is, Should Sonia Gandhi be the prime minister of India?, you could start by saying, 'Before jumping to conclusions like, 'Yes, Sonia Gandhi should be', or 'No, Sonia Gandhi should not be', let's first find out the qualities one needs to be a a good prime minister of India. Then we can compare these qualities with those that Mrs. Gandhi possesses. This will help us reach the conclusion in a more objective and effective manner.'

    Summarization/ Conclusion

    • Most GD do not really have conclusions. A conclusion is where the whole group decides in favor or against the topic.
    • But every GD is summarized. You can summaries what the group has discussed in the GD in a nutshell.

    Keep the following points in mind while summarizing a discussion:

    1. Avoid raising new points.
    2. Avoid stating only your viewpoint.
    3. Avoid dwelling only on one aspect of the GD.
    4. Keep it brief and concise.
    5. It must incorporate all the important points that came out during the GD.
    6. If the examiner asks you to summaries a GD, it means the GD has come to an end.
    7. Do not add anything once the GD has been summarized.

    Some of the qualities assessed by panellists in a GD are:

    Leadership Skills

    Ability to take leadership roles and be able to lead, inspire and carry the team along to help them achieve the group's objectives.

    Communication Skills

    Candidates will be assessed in terms of clarity of thought, expression and aptness of language. One key aspect is listening. It indicates a willingness to accommodate others views.

    Interpersonal Skills

    People skills are an important aspect of any job. They are reflected in the ability to interact with other members of the group in a brief situation. Emotional maturity and balance promotes good interpersonal relationships. The person has to be more people centric and less self-centered.

    Persuasive Skills

    The ability to analyze and persuade others to see the problem from multiple perspectives.

    GD is a test of your ability to think, your analytical capabilities and your ability to make your point in a team-based environment.

    These are some of the sub-skills that also get assessed with the skills mentioned above:

    • Clarity of thought
    • Group working skills (especially during a group task of case study discussion)
    • Conflict handling
    • Listening and probing skills
    • Knowledge about the subject and individual point of view
    • Ability to create a consensus
    • Openness and flexibility towards new ideas
    • Data based approach to decision making

    While, it is not possible to reflect all these qualities in a short time, you would do well if you are able to show a couple or more qualities and avoid giving negative evidence on others.

    DO’S & DONT’S

    DO’s:

    Be as natural as possible. Be yourself.

    1. A GD is your chance to be more vocal. The evaluator wants to hear you speak.
    2. Maintain a good posture in the GD
    3. Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say.
    4. Seek clarification if you have any doubts regarding the subject.
    5. Have an eye contact with everyone during the GD especially when making a point.
    6. Work out various strategies to help you make an entry: initiate the discussion or agree with someone else's point and then move onto express your views.
    7. Give valuable insights during the discussion, all your efforts of initiating the discussion will be in vain.
    8. Your body language says a lot about you - your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say.
    9. Language skills are important only to the effect as to how you get your points across clearly and fluently.
    10. Note down or remember what all has been discussed, If you have not spoken in a GD before. It’s highly probable that you will be asked to summarize.
    11. Be assertive not dominating; try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis.
    12. Brush up on your leadership skills; motivate the other members of the team to speak (this surely does not mean that the only thing that you do in the GD is to say "let us hear what the young lady with the blue scarf has to say," or "Raghu, let us hear your views" - Essentially be subtle), and listen to their views. Be receptive to others' opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive.
    13. Mock group discussion with like-minded friends where you can learn from each other through giving and receiving feedback.
    14. Apart from the above points, the panel will also judge team members for their alertness and presence of mind, problem-solving abilities, ability to work as a team without alienating certain members, and creativity.
    15. Be precise and if possible do use the PREP model. (Point Reason Example Point) but again BE PRECISE coz no 1 will let you speak for longer time.

    DON’T’S

    • Be aggressive in the GD.
    • Speak for long duration or for number of times
    • Look at the panel in a GD.
    • Use too many gestures and do not cross your space...i.e. Let you hands go beyond the width of your shoulders. Otherwise you will be encroaching into the other person’s personal space.
    • Point at anyone, either by finger or by pen/pencil..
    • Use slang or regional language….Mind ur language.
    • Start the GD, If you know nothing about the topic, Wait.. Let a couple of people speak, get a general idea and then use others points as the base and either tinker with them to present them as yours or give examples of the same.
    • In summarizing NEVER add your own points which you have not been able to speak in the GD.
    • Stick to what has been discussed. Express the opinion of the group not your own opinion while summarizing. If a consensus has not been reached say so.. Do not say falsely that the group has reached a consensus.
    • Show an uninterested expression EVER in a GD. No matter how boring or irrelevant the point is.
    • DONT EVER SMIRK at the others point. If someone is making a good point let him complete it before cutting in. The panel wont appreciate a good speaker being cut short for no reason. Give him just enough time to complete his point.. if he keeps rambling... Then DO CUT him.
    • Start speaking until you have clearly understood and analyzed the subject.
    • Lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don't take the discussion personally
    • Use extreme phrases like: `I strongly object' or `I disagree'. Instead try phrases like: `I would like to share my views on…' or `One difference between your point and mine…' or "I beg to differ with you"

    Group Discussion Topics

    There are roughly four types of group discussion topics:

    1. Factual speech topics
    2. Controversial and argumentative issues
    3. Abstract discussion material
    4. Case studies

    Keep in mind that all current group discussion topics are not my opinion, but just a sample list of topics!

    1. Factual topics

    As the word says - about facts. This is a sample list of speech topics on current issues and facts:

    • Conspiracy is a very common form of political behaviour.
    • The pros and cons of having a credit card.
    • A chain gang is a modern form of slavery.
    • Why drinking and driving is dangerous to yourself and others.
    • smoking is equally harmful.
    • economic boycott causes most of the problems in Cuba.
    • International trade barriers work.
    • City curfews help to prevent juvenile crime and to protect youth from victimization.
    • The U.N. is mainly based on diplomacy and enhancing relationships.
    • Affirmative action draws people to work they never considered before.

    2. Speech topic

    A controversial group discussion topic, that has many controversies, pros and cons.

    • Sustainable urban living without the use of excessive natural resources must be our future.
    • Are there extraterrestrials who influence events on Earth?
    • Marijuana has a medical value.
    • mail is a special form of junk mail.
    • The pros and cons of a female President.
    • Online dating chats have nothing to do with a search for a soul mate.
    • Should schools distribute condoms?
    • people support embryonic stem cell research.
    • Life imprisonment is a good alternative to capital punishment.
    • What is wrong with child labor?

    3. Abstract discussion materials

    Topics are things that cannot be touched, not be easily defined or formulated. Just think in a creative manner and start a vivid group discussion with one of these abstract topics to talk about:

    • The Nostradamus Code
    • Breast Implants
    • in Business
    • Computer Viruses
    • Hidden Persuaders
    • Moral Majority
    • The Hippocratic Oath
    • Political Correctness
    • Vegetarianism

    4. Case Studies

    You determine a problem and together with the other group members you have to find a satisfying solution.

    These are small group discussion topic ideas. Just modify and alter where necessary, these are just guiding light topic ideas:

      Leadership - What necessary changes are needed in your community organization and how do you want to lead the process?
    • Malpractice Insurance - Doctors walk out on the job to protest the rising malpractice insurance costs. What to do about it?
    • Work Ethics - Can we shape workers who have the sense that they serve the company ánd community?
    • School Violence - What are the real causes of violence and bullying in Schools?
    • Recycling - Sort out how to make money with recycling.
    • Dropouts - Individual attention in safe schools and smaller classes; is that the way to stop students to drop out?
    • Iraq - What are the best exit strategies?
    • Speech Privacy - What are the best technologies to safeguard the right of free speech privacy on the internet?
    • Minimum Wage - Why should we have a minimum wage or why not?
    • Burnout - Should everybody check his or herself of burnout signs? How?

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