UNIT I – FUNCTIONAL ENGLISH
Introduction: Functional English is usage of the English language required to perform a specific function. This is typically taught as a foundation subject as a good command of English is often required for academic study and career progression. In some cases, a particular form of technical English may be required for a particular profession. Such specialized usage is known and taught as English for Specific Purposes which is Functional English.
The term “Functional” should be considered in the broad sense of providing learners with the skills and abilities they need to take an active and responsible role in their communities, everyday life, the workplace and educational settings. Functional English requires learners to communicate in ways that make them effective and involved as citizens, to operate confidently and to convey their ideas and opinions clearly.
Conversation: Conversation in plain context means the use of speech for informal exchange of views or ideas or information, or the spoken exchange of thoughts, opinions and feelings. It needs at least two persons to carry out a conversation because it is interactive and participants take turns to exchange messages. Therefore, conversation is fundamentally a sequential activity. Strong conversation skills benefit both the speaker and the listener in several ways.
Starting a Conversation – General Tips:
- Speak with clarity and purpose. Show interest in the conversation.
- Reflect before speaking if it’s your turn to talk and allow silence to also have its rightful place in your conversation. Don’t be afraid of pauses – use them to change topics, re-energize the conversation, or to take a short breather even.
- It will help if you watch some TV, listen to radio shows, and/or read a lot – newspapers, magazines, and/or books. Doing this will ensure that you have some idea of what’s going on in the world.
- Follow the lead that your listener is expressing. If he or she appears interested, then continue. If he or she is looking at a clock or watch, or worse, looking for an escape strategy, then you’ve been going on for too long.
- Interesting and funny quotes or facts can lighten things up, and make way for things to talk about
- Practice better non-verbal skills that are friendly and confident.
- Remember, whoever you are talking to, you always have something in common. We all experience the weather, like good food, and enjoy a good laugh. When in doubt, just talk to them about what they are there for. For example, if you meet them at a bus stop, ask them where they are going. If they are from out of town, ask them about their life at home.
- To break the ice, a compliment is always nice.
- Make sure what you say is relevant to others. You can’t make a connection with someone without commonality. It’s just human nature.
- Additionally, you can always resort to fun but obvious conversation applications.
- Look at the person or people you are talking to
- If you haven’t met before, introduce yourself and ask their name
- Use a person’s name when talking to them
- Ask questions when you don’t understand something
- Stick to the subject
- Say nice things about people and praise those who deserve it
- It’s fine to disagree, but disagree politely
Social Etiquette Conversation:
Social etiquette conversation occurs when you are in a large social group and interacting with a wide variety of people and interests. As a result, there are some general rules to follow in order to engage in social etiquette conversation and be socially accepted.
1. Be Polite: Remember when you are in a social situation it is important to always be polite and respectful of other guests even if you vehemently disapprove of certain comments or other individuals are not being polite. Make sure you follow the rules of social etiquette conversation and remember your manners, always saying thank you, you are welcome, please.
2. Ask Appropriate Questions: Ask appropriate questions for the situation at hand, comment on the décor, and other surface topics that will keep the conversation going.
3. Keep it Short: In social situations it is always important to understand the nature of social etiquette conversation and keep conversations short and socialize with everyone present. If you have a long, in depth conversation with certain individuals they might be resentful because they are interested in exchanging pleasantries with everyone in attendance.
4. Eye Contact and Personal Space: Making eye contact and allowing individuals their personal space is important in all conversations, but especially in social etiquette conversation. This allows you to seem interested, polite and respectful of the other individual which are all social requirements.
5. Smile and Be Happy: Just because you are not completely comfortable with everyone you meet, that does not give you a reason to not smile. Be happy, and you will attract other happy people into your life.
Starting & Responding a Conversation:
How are you getting on? – just another way of saying ‘how are you?’
You doing OK? – asked when the person has had some tough experience recently and you want to ask politely if they’re OK.
Hi, …! What’s new? – this is a very informal way of greeting a close friend or anyone who you see on a regular basis and you want to ask has anything happened since you last met.
Hi, …! What’s up? – the same as above with a difference that you’re probably not that interested in what news the other person might have.
Hi, …! Long time no see! – used when you haven’t seen the person for a long period of time and you want to state that fact in the greeting.
Hi, …! Have you been keeping busy? – just a standard enquiry with little or no direct meaning.
Do you mind me asking…? – a typical way of asking something that might be a slightly personal question.
OK, here’s the thing … – a very handy way to start making your point if you’re not sure how to begin the sentence.
Responding to a Conversation:
Thanks, I’ve been keeping busy – just a standard response to a standard greeting with little or no direct meaning.
Thanks for asking, I’m fine, how are you? – a typical response and counter-question to a greeting phrase ‘how are you?’
Hi, how you’re doing! It’s good to see you! – a typical response to a greeting from someone you haven’t seen for a while.
Can’t complain – a response to a standard greeting like ‘How are you?’ It’s not as exciting phrase as ‘Thanks, I’m great!’ but it doesn’t mean you’re having some problems in your life.
Can you say it again, please? – a request to repeat the question if you didn’t understand what was said. A more direct question: Can you slow it down a bit, please?
And how about you? – a typical response when you’re not sure what to ask next so you’re asking the other person the same think they asked you. You can respond with this counter-greeting on nearly all standard greetings.
To the best of my knowledge … – when you’re 99% sure about the statement you’re making. Also a good start of a response you want to take a bit more time to consider what you’re going to say.
As far as I know … – the same as above.
Good for you! – a response to someone telling you about their success in something or some good news that they’re happy about.
Can’t argue with that – used when you agree with the statement of the other person.
How do you know? – a counter-question you can ask when someone surprises you with a question about something they’re not really expected to know.
That’s a good one! – a surprise response to funny or surprising news from your chat partner.
Really? Tell me more about it! – used when you want your chat partner to tell me about what he/she just said.
Frankly speaking… – just a way to start your response. It indicates that you’re about to open up and be very honest with your chat partner.
Well, to be honest with you, … – the same as above.
No problem – a typical response to a small request you’re happy to do.
Never mind, it’s fine! – this phrase is used when the person offers to do a favour for you but it’s not really necessary.
Never mind, forget what I just said –You can use this phrase if you feel that he/she might be slightly annoyed or offended by your question or comment so you want to end it there.
You got me there – this can be said instead of ‘I don’t’ know’ – it will sound more casual and not as defensive as the old ‘I don’t know’!
You’ve got to be kidding me! – said when someone tells you something that borders on the unbelievable and you want to express your surprise.
That’s a good question. – a phrase used when you want to take your time to think over the question. This is an ideal phrase to use when you’re stuck but instead of remaining silent you can start your response with this phrase.
Well, how to put it in the right words. – the same as above.
That would be great! – a response to an offer that you’re really happy about.
… you know what I mean? – when you want to emphasize what you just said.
You see, the thing is that … – this is how you begin a sentence when you’re asked to explain something.
I’d better be going – followed by a simple phrase like ‘it’s too late’, or ‘have lots to do’ – and indicator you’d like to walk off and finish the conversation.
OK, I’m sorry but I have to leave now! – used when your chat partner has clear intentions of continuing the conversation but you just need to go so you’re making it clear that you need to go.
See you later! – used when you know that you’ll be seeing each other again sometime.
See you around! – the same as above
Keep in touch! – a good-bye phrase meaning you want the other person to get in touch with you every now and then and that you’ve the same intentions.
It was nice seeing you, take care! – a good-bye phrase used when you know that you won’t see the person for a while.
It’s been good talking to you! – the same as above phrase.
Hope to see you again! – you can use this phrase when finishing a conversation with someone you’ve just met.
Say hello to …! – a short and handy way of saying to remind someone from you.
Role playing games, exercises and activities improve training, learning development, and liven up conferences and workshops. Role playing games, exercises and activities can also enhance business projects, giving specific business outputs and organizational benefits.
- Role Play is a fast way to improve speaking and listening for real life situations.
- Role Play uses scripts that you read with your partner, like actors in a movie.
- Role Play gives you information about your role. You can then talk with your partner using this information.
Role Play to Practice English:
- Role Play helps you speak English in full sentences.
- Role Play makes you think about what you are saying, so you remember the language.
- Role Play gives you many things to think and talk about.
Types of Role Play
1. Situation Role Plays: Situation Role Plays give you practice speaking English with correct sentences and pronunciation. Examples: At the Markets, Clothes Shopping, Airport Check-in, Job Interview etc.
2. Story Role Plays : In Story Role Plays, you and your partner are characters in a story.
3. Short Discussions : Short Discussions give you practice in asking and answering questions about a topic. Examples – Introduction, Talk about Food, Talk about America, NEWS! Global Warming
4. Long Discussions: Long Discussions give you practice in asking and answering questions about a topic, as well as discussing the opinions of other people.
Examples: Environment, Movies.
How to Overcome Shyness
Many people suffer from some form of social anxiety. It is true that being an introvert can lead to shyness. However, refrain from allowing shyness to hold you back from speaking up when there is a need to.
Tips to overcome shyness and be more confident:
1. Work on deeper fears. Take shyness as a symptom for the need to address your deeper fears. Is your shyness a case of poor self esteem, related to childhood conditioning, excessive worrying and so on?
2. Appreciate your individuality. In case you haven’t noticed, everyone is unique and different. Instead of feeling self-conscious, embrace who you are – unconditionally. When you learn to embrace your uniqueness, you will have more confidence.
3. Take Deep breaths. When you are in situations where you feel shyness trying to takeover, it can be helpful to take deep breaths. This will help you to clear your mind, give you some time to gain composure and avoid an anxiety attack.
4. Go on new adventures. Being bold is an important step in overcoming feelings of shyness. The next time you are presented with a social opportunity that is not your usual scene, go out as a member and give it a try.
5. Stop saying you are shy. Instead of constantly talking about how shy you are, try reframing your mind with positive affirmations. Affirm statements such as “I am confident”, “I speak clearly and with ease” and “I can articulate beautifully, eloquently and freely”.
6. Release the past. Don’t allow past hurts to rule your future. Find new friends who will appreciate you for who you are.
7. Learn to speak up. It is okay to speak and be heard, so try to get into the habit of talking louder. Practice in front of the mirror. Get someone you feel comfortable with to provide you with feedback about your audibility.
8. Meet new people regularly. A great way to overcome shyness is to make it a point to meet someone new every week. When you are constantly focused on making new friends, you will forget all about your shyness
9. Creative visualization. Imagine yourself striking conversations with strangers and giving public presentations. See yourself as someone who is every bit confident. Act as-if and soon, you will play the part for real!
10. Get role models. It helps to get role models who are not shy in the least. Study the behavior, habits and likes of these people.
Body Language in Conversation:
1. Don’t cross your arms or legs – We have probably already heard we shouldn’t cross your arms as it might make us seem defensive or guarded. This goes for our legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.
2. Have eye contact, but don’t stare – If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening.
3. Relax your shoulders – When you feel tense it’s easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly.
4. Nod when they are talking – nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But don’t overdo it.
5. Don’t slouch; sit up straight – but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner.
6. Lean, but not too much – If you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking.
7. Smile – Relax a bit, smile when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person
8. Don’t touch your face – it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation.
9. Keep your head up – Don’t keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.
10. Slow down a bit – this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed.
11. Don’t fidget – try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. You’ll seem nervous.
12. Use your hands more confidently –Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make.
13. Don’t stand too close –Let people have their personal space, don’t invade it.
18. Keep a good attitude – keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference.
UNIT II – VOCABULARY BUILDING
Vocabulary: A person’s vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person. A vocabulary usually develops with time, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge. Vocabulary is commonly defined as “all the words known and used by a particular person”.
The importance of a vocabulary
- An extensive vocabulary aids expressions and communication.
- Vocabulary size has been directly linked to reading comprehension.
- A person may be judged by others based on his or her vocabulary.
Phrasal verb: It is a combination of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition. A phrasal verb often has a meaning which is different from the original verb.
Idiom: It is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.
Acronym: a pronounceable name made up of a series of initial letters or parts of words; for example, UNESCO for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization . as Wac from Women’s Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation.
Analogy: The word analogy can refer to the relation between the source and the target themselves, which is often, a similarity.
Synonyms: Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. Antonyms: A word that expresses a meaning opposed to the meaning of another word, in which case the two words are antonyms of each other.
Word Root, Prefix & Suffix: A root, as its name suggests, is a word or word part from which other words grow, usually through the addition of prefixes and suffixes. The root of the word vocabulary, for example, is voc, a Latin root meaning “word” or “name.” This root also appears in the words advocacy, convocation, evocative, vocal, and vociferous.
The very words prefix and suffix are good examples too. Pre means before and fix means to fasten or attach, so quite literally, a prefix is something attached to the beginning of something else. Suf is a variant of sub, below or under, so a suffix is something fastened underneath something else (in this case, behind the root).
|-audi- (L)||hear||audible, audience|
|-auto- (G)||self||automatic, autopsy|
|-bene- (L)||good||benefit, benign|
|-bio- (G)||life||biography, biology|
|-chrono- (G)||time||chronic, synchronize|
|-dict- (L)||say||dictate, diction|
|-duc- (L)||lead, make||deduce, produce|
|-gen- (L)||give birth||gene, generate|
|-geo- (G)||earth||geography, geology|
|-graph- (G)||write||autograph, graph|
|-jur-, -jus- (L)||law||jury, justice|
|-log-, -logue- (L)||thought||logic, obloquy|
|-luc- (L)||light||lucid, translucent|
|-man(u)- (L)||hand||manual, manure|
|-mand-, -mend- (L)||order||demand, recommend|
|-mis-, -mit- (L)||send||missile, transmission|
|-path- (G)||feel||empathy, pathetic|
|-phil- (G)||love||philosophy, bibliophile|
|-phon- (G)||sound||phonics, telephone|
|-photo- (G)||light||photograph, photon|
|-port- (L)||carry||export, portable|
|-qui(t)- (L)||quiet, rest||acquit, tranquil|
|-scrib-, -script- (L)||write||ascribe, script|
|-sens-, -sent- (L)||feel||resent, sensitive|
|-tele- (G)||far off||telecast, telephone|
|-terr- (L)||earth||terrain, territory|
|-vac- (L)||empty||evacuate, vacate|
|-vid-, -vis- (L)||see||visible, video|
|com-, con-||with||companion, contact|
|de-||off, away from||devalue|
|ex-||out of, former||extract, ex-president|
|extra-||beyond, more than||extracurricular|
|il-, im-, in-, ir-||not, without||illegal, immoral, inconsiderate, irresponsible|
|pre-, pro-||before, forward||precede, project|
|-acy||state or quality||privacy|
|-al||act or process of||refusal|
|-ance, -ence||state or quality of||maintenance, eminence|
|-dom||place or state of being||freedom, kingdom|
|-er, -or||one who||trainer, protector|
|-ity, -ty||quality of||veracity|
|-ness||state of being||heaviness|
|-sion, -tion||state of being||concession, transition|
|-ify, -fy||make or become||terrify|
|-able, -ible||capable of being||edible, presentable|
|-ic, -ical||pertaining to||musical, mythic|
|-ious, -ous||characterized by||nutritious, portentous|
|-ish||having the quality of||fiendish|
|-ive||having the nature of||creative|
Idioms & Phrases: An idiom is a form of expression peculiar to a particular language and often having a meaning other than the one that it appears to have.
Smell a Rat: How come the front door is open? Frankly, I smell a rat. I’m convinced that something is definitely wrong here.
Go to the Dogs: Have you seen their house lately? It’s really gone to the dogs.
It’s true that it has become run-down and in serious need of repair.
Fishy: When the security guard saw a light in the store after closing hours, it seemed to him that there was something fishy (something strange) going on.
Take the Bull by the Horns: She finally took the bull by the horns (acted decisively to correct the situation) and went to a professional dance school for help.
Let the cat out of the Bag: He wasn’t supposed to know about it, but someone let the cat out of the bag (reveal secret).
For the Birds: As far as they were concerned, it was for the birds! They left during an intermission because they found the reading totally uninteresting and meaningless.
Straight From the Horse’s Mouth: That’s right. I got it straight from the horse’s mouth!
Pay Through the Nose: Since many other stamp collectors would also be bidding for it, he realized that he would have to pay through the nose in order to have it.
Tongue-in-Cheek: I didn’t mean to offend her. I was simply making a tongue-in-cheek remark.
Pull Someone’s Leg: Oh, really? Come on, you’re pulling my leg! Do you really think that I’m trying to fool you with a ridiculous story?
One Word Substitutions:
|1.||One who is out to subvert a government||Anarchist|
|2.||One who is recovering from illness||Convalescent|
|3.||One who is all powerful||Omnipotent|
|4.||One who is present everywhere||Omnipresent|
|5.||One who knows everything||Omniscient|
|6.||One who is easily deceived||Gullible|
|7.||One who does not make mistakes||Infallible|
|8.||One who can do anything for money||Mercenary|
|9.||One who has no money||Pauper|
|10.||One who changes sides||Turncoat|
|11.||One who works for free||Volunteer|
|12.||One who loves books||Bibliophile|
|13.||One who can speak two languages||Bilingual|
|14.||One who loves mankind||Philanthropist|
|15.||One who hates mankind||Misanthrope|
|16.||One who looks on the bright side of things||Optimist|
|17.||One who looks on the dark side of things||Pessimist|
|18.||One who doubts the existence of god||Agnostic|
|19.||One who pretends to be what he is not||Hypocrite|
|20.||One incapable of being tired||Indefatigable|
|21.||One who helps others Good||Samaritan|
|22.||One who copies from other writers||Plagiarist|
|23.||One who hates women||Misogynist|
|24.||One who knows many languages||Polyglot|
|25.||One who is fond of sensuous pleasures||Epicure|
|26.||One who thinks only of himself||Egoist|
|27.||One who thinks only of welfare of women||Feminist.|
|28.||One who is indifferent to pleasure or pain||Stoic|
|29.||One who is quite like a woman||Effeminate|
|30.||One who has strange habits||Eccentric|
|31.||One who speaks less||Reticent|
|32.||One who goes on foot||Pedestrian|
|33.||One who believes in fate||Fatalist|
|34.||One who dies without a Will||Intestate|
|35.||One who always thinks himself to be ill||Valetudinarian|
|36.||A Government by the people||Democracy|
|37.||A Government by a king or queen||Monarchy|
|38.||A Government by the officials||Bureaucracy|
|39.||A Government by the rich||Plutocracy|
|40.||A Government by the few||Oligarchy|
|41.||A Government by the Nobles||Aristocracy|
|42.||A Government by one||Autocracy|
|43.||Rule by the mob||Mobocracy|
|44.||That through which light can pass||Transparent|
|45.||That through which light cannot pass||Opaque|
|46.||That through which light can partly pass||Translucent|
|47.||A sentence whose meaning is unclear||Ambiguous|
|48.||A place where orphans live||Orphanage|
|49.||That which cannot be described||Indescribable|
An analogy is a comparison of two things that seem unrelated, but are actually related or
similar to each other in some respect.
ANALOGIES—THE TOP TEN TYPES
Being aware of the most frequently asked analogy types will give you a much
better chance of mastering analogies.
1. WORD : SYNONYM
Scent : aroma
Magazine : periodical
2. WORD : ANTONYM
Destroy : build
Remember : forget
3. CAUSE : EFFECT
Microbe : disease
Cloud : rain
4. PART : WHOLE
Leg : body
Branch : tree
5. CONDITION : LESSER DEGREE OF THE SAME CONDITION
Flooded : moist
Dark : murky
6. CONDITON : GREATER DEGREE OF THE SAME CONDITION
Intelligent : brilliant
Bright : radiant
7. PERSON OR THING : CHARACTERISTIC OR QUALITY
Teacher : scholarly
Hero : brave
8. PERSON OR THING : GROUP OR CATEGORY
Accountant : professional
Hammer : tool
9. PERSON OR THING : ACTION OR FUNCTION
Actor : portray
Knife : cut
10. WORKER : DEVICE HE/SHE USES
Mechanic : wrench
Surgeon : scalpel
UNIT III – GROUP DISCUSSION
As in a football game, where you play like a team, passing the ball to each team member and aim for a common goal, GD is also based on team work, incorporating views of different team members to reach a common goal. A Group Discussion can be defined as a formal discussion involving 8 to 10 participants in a group. They are given a topic. After some time, during which they collect their thoughts, the group is asked to discuss the topic for 15 to 20 minutes. The GD process is to assess a candidate’s personality traits.
There is a considerable difference between public speaking and GD. In public speaking, the audience merely judges and passes a verdict on the speaker. Nobody in the audience competes with you. They listen to what the speaker says but do not compete with the speaker. They listen to what the speaker says, but do not discuss the subject with equal rights as does the speaker.
The same is the case with an interview. In an interview, a candidate has to deal with the interviewer who asks questions to which the interviewed responds. He will be given ample opportunities as the interviewer is interested in the answers. In a debate or lecture, the candidate is given some time to think and marshal his ideas and the chairman or the presiding officer will ensure that no one intervenes. The interview focuses on personality traits wherein the interviewers ask well directed questions to assess the overall personality of a candidate.
Dynamics of GD:
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 start your GD with a stand or a conclusion. 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.
Assertiveness: You must put forth your point to the group in a very emphatic, positive and confident manner
Initiative: A general trend amongst students is to start a GD and get the initial kitty of points earmarked for the initiator. But that is a high risk-high return strategy. Initiate a GD only if you are well versed with the topic.
Creativity: An idea or a perspective which opens new horizons for discussion on the GD 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
Team Player: It lays great emphasis on this parameter because it is essential for managers to be team players. Management aspirants who lack team skills cannot be good managers.
Reasoning Ability: Reasoning ability plays an important role while expressing your opinions or ideas at a GD.
Leadership: A leader would have the following qualities:
S/he shows direction to the group whenever group moves away from the topic.
S/he coordinates the effort of the different team members in the GD.
S/he contributes to the GD at regular intervals with valuable insights.
S/he also inspires and motivates team members to express their views.
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.
Awareness: The content or awareness generally constitutes 40 to 50 percent marks of your GD. Apart from these qualities, communication skills, confidence and the ability to think on one’s feet are also very important.
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.
A conclusion is where the whole group decides in favour or against the topic. You can summarise what the group has discussed in the GD in a nutshell.Keep it brief and concise.
It must incorporate all the important points that came out during the GD. If the examiner asks you to summarise a GD, it means the GD has come to an end. Do not add anything once the GD has been summarised.
GD – Points Marked on :
1. Audibility : Communication skills.
2. Analysis : supported by facts & examples
3. Content : Obtain by good reading
4. Team Work
5.Demeanor : Body Language counts, don’t sit cross-legged
6. Leadership : People should listen and agree to you.
There are a few simple techniques that can make you an effective participant:
Prepare: If you know what the topic of the discussion will be, there is a lot you can do to prepare in advance. You can read round the topic to make sure you are aware of the main issues and arguments, and spend some time deciding what your own position is.
Listen: An effective discussion is one in which people listen to each other. Listening is a very important discussion skill and make sure you listen and respond to what other people have to say.
Be polite: In a discussion, it’s important to stay calm and be polite, even if you feel strongly about the topic under discussion. Using words like please, thank you, I’d like to… May I…? Would you mind…? Could you…? Make you sound polite and respectful.
Take / make notes: It’s a good idea to have a pen and paper handy. You can jot down any useful or important words or ideas that might come in handy later in the discussion – or afterwards.
Speak clearly: Practise your pronunciation and speak clearly and confidently. If you need time to collect your thoughts, you could say something like Hmmm… just let me have a minute to think about this.
Useful phrases for GD:
There are lots of useful phrases that you can use in discussions. Here are just a few of them:
o Agreeing: You’re absolutely right about that.
o Disagreeing: I’m sorry, I don’t see it that way at all.
o Interrupting: Sorry, do you mind if I say something here?
o Dealing with interruptions: Could I just finish what I’m saying?
o Asking for explanation: Would you mind telling us what exactly you mean by that?
o Asking for more information: Would you mind saying a little bit more about that?
o Adding more information: Another point I’d like to make is…
Different parts of a GD: – (considering a 15 minutes GD).
- Chaos period. (1-2 minutes).
- Generating ideas. (7-8 minutes).
- Building on ideas. (5-6 minutes).
- Conclusion. (rarely comes; ½ – 1 minutes)
Roles in Group Discussion:
Group enterprise roles: These roles are constructive to the group.
- Initiator-contributor: Generates new ideas.
- Information-seeker: Asks for information about the task.
- Opinion-seeker: Asks for the input from the group about its values.
- Information-giver: Offers facts or generalization to the group.
- Opinion-giver: States his or her beliefs about a group issue.
- Elaborator: Explains ideas within the group, offers examples to clarify ideas.
- Coordinator: Shows the relationships between ideas.
- Encourager: Praises the ideas of others.
- Harmonizer: Mediates differences between group members.
- Standard Setter: Suggests standards or criteria for the group to achieve.
- Follower: Goes along with the group and accepts the group’s ideas.
These roles are destructive to the group.
- Aggressor: Attacks other group members, deflates the status of others, and other aggressive behavior.
- Blocker: Resists movement by the group.
- Recognition seeker: Calls attention to himself or herself.
- Self-confessor: Seeks to disclose non-group related feelings or opinions.
- Dominator: Asserts control over the group by manipulating the other group members.
- Help seeker: Tries to gain the sympathy of the group.
- Special interest pleader: Uses stereotypes to assert his or her own prejudices.
Types of GD Topics: GDs are Topic Based and Case Based
Topic Based GDs:
1. Factual speech topics
2. Controversial and argumentative issues
3. Abstract discussion material
Case Based GDs:4. Case studies
Factual topics for a group are – as the word says – about facts. This is a sample list of speech topics on current issues and facts: Why drinking and driving is dangerous to yourself and others.
A controversial group discussion topic is a speech topic that has many controversies.
What is wrong with child labor?
Abstract group discussion 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
Case Studies: The fourth type of group discussion topics are 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. Dropouts – Individual attention in safe schools and smaller classes; is that the way to stop students to drop out?
Body Language: Body language plays an important role during the Group Discussion. The panelists will surely take note of your body language.
1. Pointing fingers: Pointing fingers generally signifies talking in anger and accusing someone with your finger. It exhibits your aggression. This should be completely avoided.
2. Playing with pen or paper: Playing with pen, paper or just moving your hands shows careless attitude. Whether you remain silent or talk while playing with such objects, it will show your lack of interest.
3. Stooping or slouching: You should sit straight while in a GD. Don’t slouch or bend forward. That is an informal posture and is not at all welcomed in GD rounds.
4. Sitting with crossed arms or legs: When you sit with crossed arms/legs or both, it refers to a closed mindset and a person who is not ready to accept/listen to others’ point of views.
5. Throwing your hand: Don’t throw your hands in such a manner that it enters your next group member’s space. Everyone has their own personal space and entering that disturbs the entire group coherence.
6. Fidget: You should not keep fidgeting or moving uncomfortably in your chair.
7. Not to be stiff: When it is advised that you should not keep fidgeting, it is also meant that you should not be absolutely stiff in your position. You should have a relaxed posture.
8. Scratching, pricking, rubbing: You should not engage your hands in inappropriate activities such as scratching, pricking, rubbing etc. This will again show your lack of interest in the GD and too much obsession with yourself.
9. Control your facial expressions: Control your facial expression and avoid showing your anger/disgust/frustration reflect on your face. Also don’t smirk, smile or laugh unnecessarily. Don’t make it too stoic.
10. Moving your legs: Continuous movement of legs will show your impatience. If you keep moving your legs, you will communicate that you want to get rid of the GD process.
Do’s of participating in a GD:
- Listen to the subject carefully
- Put down your thoughts on a paper
- Initiate the discussion if you know the subject well
- Listen to others if you don’t know the subject
- Support you point with some facts and figures
- Make short contribution of 25-30 seconds 3-4 times
- Give others a chance to speak
- Speak politely and pleasantly. Respect contribution from other members.
- Disagree politely and agree with what is right.
- Summarize the discussion if the group has not reached a conclusion.
Don’ts of participating in a Group Discussion
- Initiate the discussion if you do not have sufficient knowledge about the given topic.
- Over speak, intervene and snatch other’s chance to speak.
- Argue and shout during the GD
- Look at the evaluators or a particular group member
- Talk irrelevant things and distract the discussion
- Pose negative body gestures like touching the nose, leaning back on the chair, knocking the table with a pen etc.
- Mention erratic statistics.
- Display low self confidence with shaky voice and trembling hands.
UNIT IV – INTERVIEW SKILLS
Introduction: Life is full of challenges. To meet the challenges of professional life, one has to be familiar with many skills to grab the attention of an interviewer, out of which Interview skills are the basic necessities to meet up the future challenges with success. Either you are applying for a job or want to qualify an entrance examination for a professional degree; you should have to be prepared in advance for an interview. An interviewer always attempt to decide that why they should select you? If you can show your trust, your confidence, your commitment, and appropriate skills, then you could win a successful future.
Interview is a form of oral communication. It’s one to one, or one to group interaction, where an applicant proves themselves as a unique person to be the part of an organization. Remember that interview is always pre-planned and structured. It’s a formal presentation between an interviewer and an interviewee.
Planning – The Interview Process
Once you have sent your resume to a company and survived the weeding out process, your resume typically gets passed along to the hiring manager.
Phone Interview: So why do companies conduct phone interviews? Phone interviews give the company a chance to get a feel for your skill-set, interests, desired compensation etc., and see if there is a match between their needs and your strengths. If there is enough common ground, then the phone interviews are almost always followed-up by an in-person interview. Phone interviews are generally conducted in two steps. The first step is with a recruiter in Human Resources. The second step is a technical interview, usually with one of the people you would be working with.
In-Person Interview: If you survived the initial phone interview, the next step is probably an in-person interview. Every company has their own way of conducting these interviews. Some prefer to have “panel-like” interviews, while others prefer one-to-one interviews. Expect to interview with three to four technical people and maybe a group manager.
Expect a wide variety of questions that range from common personal questions to very challenging technical questions relevant to the job you are applying for.
Before the Interview
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses, goals, skills, etc
- Research the company
- Rehearse what you plan to say
- Practice answers to common questions
- Prepare questions to ask the employer
During the Interview
- Make sure you arrive a few minutes early
- Be aware of nonverbal communication. Sit up straight, look alert, speak clearly and forcefully, but stay relaxed. Make good eye contact, avoid nervous mannerisms, and try to be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile!
- Follow the interviewer’s lead, but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and duties to you fairly early in the interview so that you can then relate your background and skills in context
- Be specific, concrete, and detailed in your answers. The more information you volunteer, the better the employer gets to know you
- Offer examples of your work and references which will document your best qualities
- Answer questions as truthfully and as frankly as you can. Answer honestly, while trying not to say more than is necessary
After the Interview
- Take notes on what you feel you could improve upon for your next interview
- Write a brief thank-you letter to the interviewer indicating your interest within 24 hours of your interview
- If offered the position, one to two weeks is a reasonable amount of time to make a decision. All employment offers deserve a written reply whether or not you accept them.
Go through the Process: Regardless of the type of interview, most will incorporate the following stages: establishing rapport, exchanging information, and closing the interview.
This is a very important part of the interview because while establishing rapport, first impressions are made, and the tone of the interview is set. Some people suggest that the decision to hire is greatly influenced by the first five minutes of the interview. A good interviewer will introduce him/herself, and take the lead. Follow his or her lead – if they are chatty, be chatty; if they are formal, be formal. Some employers use what seems to be casual conversation to get to know you on a more personal level – this may be crucial to a hiring decision!
Exchange of Information: It is your opportunity to let the interviewer know what you have to offer, and your chance to learn more about the organization.
Closing the Interview: When the interviewer is done gathering the information that is needed, he or she will ask if you have anything to add, or if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to mentally review your inventory of skills and make sure that you have communicated everything that you wanted to. If any of your questions have not been addressed during the course of the interview, now is the time to ask them.
- Don’t be discouraged if no definite offer is made or if no specific salary is discussed
- If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, do not let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested may seem to discourage you to test your reaction
- A typical interviewer comment toward the close of an interview is to ask if you have any questions. Use those that you’ve prepared
- At the conclusion of your interview, ask when a hiring decision will be made. Then thank your interviewer for his or her time and express your interest in the position once again
Research is a critical part of preparing for an interview. If you haven’t done your homework, it is going to be obvious. Spend time researching and thinking about yourself, the occupation, the organization, and questions you might ask at the end of the interview.
Know Yourself: The first step in preparing for an interview is to do a thorough self-assessment so that you will know what you have to offer an employer. It is very important to develop a complete inventory of skills, experience, and personal attributes that you can use to market yourself to employers at any time during the interview process.
Following is a list of the ten most marketable skills. You will notice that they are all generic.
- Analytical/Problem Solving
- Oral/Written Communication
- Time Management
- Team Player
Know the Occupation: The second step in preparing for an interview is to research the occupation. This is necessary because in order to present a convincing argument that you have the experience and skills required for that occupation, you must first know what those requirements and duties are. It is also in your best interest to identify the approximate starting salary for that position, or those similar.
Know the Organization: The more you know about an organization, the better prepared you will be to discuss how you can meet its needs. Some of the characteristics that you should know about an organization are:
- Where is it located?
- How big is it?
- What are its products and who does it serve?
- How is the organization structured?
- What is its history?
- Have there been any recent changes, new developments?
Prepare Questions: Having completed your background research, you are now ready to prepare questions to ask the interviewer(s). Try to think of questions for which the answer was not readily available in company literature. Intelligent well thought-out questions will demonstrate your genuine interest in the position. Some sample questions are:
- What future direction do you see the company taking?
- Where is the greatest demand for your services or product?
- How do you differ from your competitors?
- How much responsibility will I be given in this position?
- Can you tell me more about the training program?
- Have any new product lines been introduced recently?
- What criteria will be used to evaluate my performance?
- Will I work independently or as part of a team?
- What are the career paths available in this organization?
- When can I expect to hear from you regarding this position?
Entrance and Introduction:
In fact, the best way to enter an interview is to knock, ask for permission to enter and then wait for a while before you actually sit down. Few interviewees know this but the interview panel needs a little quiet time to discuss the previous candidate before they get around to the next one. So your silence till you actually get seated would be very valuable. Try and keep a bag with you for all your papers and certificates.
Ten Things That an Interviewer Looks in You:
- 1. Family Background
- 2. Education
- 3. Experience
- 4. Stability
- 5. Initiative
- 6. General Ability
- 7. Interpersonal Skills
- 8. Confidence
- 9. Aptitude
- 10. Pleasant Looks
Employing a new candidate for a company is very difficult for the interviewer. Because in this job market competitors are increased and new interview methods are introduced. There are many types of interviews. If you attended any interview you can realize that you had faced the given below interview types.
* Face to Face interview
* Group interview
* Behavioral interview
* Telephone interview
* Panel interview
* Stress interview
Face to Face interview: Most of the interviews are face to face interviews. This is also known traditional interview in which job seekers meet the employers in face to face. Whether you are fresher or experienced you are in need to attend the interview. The advantage of the traditional interview is that the employer and job seekers can get to know each other about their environment.
Group interview: Group interviews are conducted by some large companies for graduates who are all interviewed at one time. They may give some exercises to solve in a group and observes how the candidates react with other people. The group interview will show the candidates.
* Knowledge level
* Leadership qualities
* Communication skill
* Team work
* Listening Capacity
* Reaction under stress
Behavioral Interview: In behavioral interviews, candidates are asked to explain their skills, experience, activities, hobbies, school projects, family life – anything really – as examples of your past behavior. The purpose of this type of interview is to predict future based on past experiences.
Telephone interview: Telephone interview is a technique used to recruit the candidates for employment through phone. The main purpose of conducting telephone interview is to reduce the expenses of the out of state or out of town candidates. Telephone interview is also conducted in professional manner as like other interviews.
Panel interview: In Panel interviews or Committee interviews candidates will meet several higher authorities and this method is used to hire for advanced positions. Questions may be asked by all panel members and you can expect any type of critical questions from them. Try to answer for all questions and be sure to impress all of the interviewers. The Panel members may be
* The supervisor
* The manager
* The human resource officer
* The union representative
* Employees who are in recruiting team
Stress interview: Stress interview creates discomfort in you and the main purpose of stress interview is to give you stress and difficult situation. This type of interview is to test the candidates ability in stress situations. The interviewer’s may try to introduce stress by asking continuous questions without giving time to think and answer the questions. Starting you might be asked to wait in the waiting room for an hour before the interview. The interviewer might openly challenge your believes or judgment. You might be called upon to perform an impossible task on convincing the interviewer to exchange. Answer each question in calm as it comes.
Telephone Interview: Here are some phone interview tips to help you.
- Be Prepared
For preparing the phone interview, there are several things you can do. To prepare for the phone interview you can consider the following points:
- You can keep all of your employer research materials within easy reach of the phone.
- You can tape your resume to a wall near the phone. It will help a lot during the call and will be a constant reminder for your job search.
- Have a notepad handy to take notes.
If the phone interview will occur at a set time, Following are some additional points you have to consider:
- Turn off call waiting on your phone.
- Place a “Do Not Disturb” note on your door.
- Warm up your voice while waiting for the call.
- Have a glass of water handy, so that you will not have a chance to take a break during the call.
- Turn off your stereo, TV, and any other potential distraction.
- Do not be afraid to pick up the phone
The first step in the hiring process is the telephone interview. It may happen that when you pick up the phone, the call may be from any company. Then that time ask the recruiter to repeat his or her name. Verify the spelling and write it down. Use the recruiter’s name in your response. If there is really any problem for you to talk, then ask for a telephone number and a convenient time to call back. You are now ready to make a good impression during your first five minutes. The phone interview tips will help you master the phone interview and get you to the next step – the face to face interview. So do not afraid to pick the phone.
- Be a good listener
During telephonic interview, you must keep in mind that you must be a good listener.
Avoid interrupting and let the recruiter complete his thought or question before you respond. Ask for clarification. Use open-ended questions. The more information you can gather, the better you can respond. We must know the fact that good listener is the best quality.
Helpful video conference interview tips for candidates.
Think of the video conference in the same way as you would a physical face to face interview and do your preparation accordingly, however there are some subtle differences because of the technology. The following video conference interview tips will help you negotiate these successfully.
Wear neutral. Checks, stripes and busy patterns should be avoided as these may distort with movement.
You should arrive 10 to 15 before the start time of the video conferencing interview so that you can become familiar with your surroundings before the interview begins.
The on-site operator will explain the process to you and will adjust the camera and volume if necessary. You will either see two or one television monitors. If there are two you are likely to see the interview panel on one and yourself on the other. If there is one monitor you will see the interview panel on it and then a smaller box in the corner of the screen showing yourself.
The reason for being able to see yourself is so that you know how they see you. If you are too far to one side or the camera is pointing elsewhere in the room, the on-site operator should alter this so that you can be seen clearly.
Modern high quality microphones are very sensitive so avoid tapping on the desk or shuffling papers.
Keep your hand or body movements down to a minimum. Rapid or repetitious movements can look quite jerky on a video monitor or you could move out of shot.
As you speak try to look at the camera, usually positioned on top of the monitor, rather than the monitor itself. This will give a better appearance of eye contact. Speak normally as you would in a conversation, and don’t forget to smile
Sometimes there can be a slight time delay. If this happens wait a moment before answering questions to ensure that they have finished speaking. The interview panel will notice this and appreciate that you are making allowances for the delay. In addition don’t speak for too long; as well as losing your interviewers concentration, if the interview is being recorded you may be ‘fast forward’.
Should there be any problem such as the picture freezing, do calmly inform the interview panel. Explain what you can see, or not see and that you will be leaving the room for a moment to ask the on-site operator to help. Do not worry, on the rare occasions that this happens all that is needed is a re-boot.
Duration of meeting
Be aware of the time. Make sure you can cover your agenda in the allotted interview time as the facility has been booked for a specific time it may not be possible to over run.
End of interview
At the end of the interview, thank the employer for the interview. Mute the sound and leave the room. Let the operator or receptionist know that you have left.
General HR Interview Questions with Possible Answers:
1. How would you describe yourself?
My background to date has been centered around preparing myself to become the very best engineer I can become. I was born and raised in …………. I’ve graduated from the JNT University with a B.Tech degree in………… I have worked for 2 years as a junior engineer in LQ-Soft Solutions. I enjoy playing cricket in my free time and learning languages.
2. What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established for your life?
I want to be working for an excellent company like yours. I plan to contribute my leadership, interpersonal, and technical skills. My long-range career goal is to be the best engineer I can for the company I work for.
3. How has your college experience prepared you for this career?
I have prepared myself to transition into the work force through real-world experience involving travel abroad, internship, and entrepreneurial opportunities which were given to me at our college. As you can see from my academic, extracurricular and experiential background, I have unconditionally committed myself to success as an engineering professional.
4. Please describe the ideal job for you following graduation.
My ideal job is one that incorporates both my education and practical work skills to be the best I can be. Namely combining my education in engineering with my working knowledge, entrepreneurial abilities, computer skills, and administrative skills.
5. What influenced you to choose this career?
I like engineering because my potential for success is limited only by how much of myself I dedicate toward my goal. If any profession is founded on self-determinism, it surely must be engineering.
6. Do you have the qualifications and personal characteristics necessary for success in your chosen career?
I believe I have a combination of qualities to be successful in this career. First, I have a strong interest, backed by a solid, well-rounded, state-of-the-art education, especially in a career that is technically oriented. I am convinced that I possess these characteristics and am ready to be a successful team member for your firm.
7. Are you more energized by working with data or by collaborating with other individuals?
I like the validity of information and also like the energy that comes with working with people. The best thing about working in a group is combining the great minds from different perspectives and coming up with something extremely great, compared with when you’re working alone. At the same time, information can generate vitality in the project you’re working on.
8. How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as a member of a team?
I have had many opportunities in both athletics and academics to develop my skills as a team player. My experience as a project research team leader also helped me to learn the role of “team player.” I ensured that everyone in the group had equal opportunity to contribute, maintained excellent communication among group members, and coordinated their energies toward reaching our team’s goal.
9. What motivates you to put forth you greatest effort?
Although monetary rewards are important, I am driven to succeed internally more than anything, I want to be respected by my friends and coworkers for being the best at what I do. I want to be recognized as the best.
10. Would you describe yourself as goal-driven?
Yes, and I demonstrated my goal orientation as president of the local community service organization. I am very proud of the fact that I set a goal of signing 50 new members by the end of the year, and I accomplished that.
11. Can you describe your long-range goals and objectives?
My primary objectives are to learn as much as possible about your company, organizational structure, and professional techniques so that I may become the most productive member of your team.
12. What do you expect to be doing in five years?
Although it is hard to predict the future, I sincerely believe that I will become a very good engineer. I believe that my abilities will allow me to excel to the point that I can seek other opportunities as a chief engineer and possibly even higher.
13. What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
Ten years from now I see myself as a successful CEO for a world-class firm like yours. I want to have developed a wonderful bond with my employer.
14. How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?
I believe I am quite good at handling conflict. I would always make sure that I fully explained the situation, the policies behind my decision, and why those policies exist. Usually by the end of the conversation, the person could see the other side of the situation.
15. Would you say that you can easily deal with high-pressure situations?
Yes. My past experience as an Administrative Coordinator required me to deal with many serious situations since I held emergency on-call duties as a supervisor.
16. What quality or attribute do you feel will most contribute to your career success?
My greatest strength is my flexibility. I have learned that work conditions change from day to day and throughout the day, as well, no matter where I have worked in the past. My flexibility to adapt to the different demands of the job has allowed me to surpass my employer’s expectations.
17. What were your reasons for selecting your college?
My college LaQshya Institute of Technology & Sciences, Khammam has always had a reputation as having an excellent infrastructure, so I knew that if I enrolled there, I would achieve first-class preparation for my chosen career field.
18. Which college classes did you like best? Why?
My favorite classes have been the ones pertaining to my major, which is………….. These classes have laid the groundwork for my career in engineering.
19. Do you think that your grades are an indication of your academic achievement?
I have focused much of my energy on work and obtaining real-world experience. Sometimes my heavy load has not allowed me to keep up with some of my studies, but I have learned an enormous amount that I can apply in my future industry.
20. What plans do you have for continued study? An advanced degree?
I plan to continue my education for the rest of my life. In my technology-related field, keeping up to date through continuing education is of the utmost importance.
21. Describe the characteristics of a successful leader.
A successful leader should have the vision and capabilities to formulate strategies to reach his or her objectives and communicate these ideas to his or her team members.
22. Why did you decide to seek a position in this field?
I want to work in the MNC’s because ever since I took my first course in college, I have felt very passionate toward the MNC’s and cannot imagine myself doing anything else.
23. Tell me what you know about our company.
You’re respected worldwide. Over the last 15 to 20 years you’ve produced award-winning products.
24. Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?
I am convinced that there would be no better place to work than in yours. You are the top technical firm in India. You provide your employees with the tools they need to stay competitive and sharpen their skills while working in an open, team-based environment.
25. Which is more important to you, the job itself or your salary?
A salary commensurate with my experience and skills is important, but it’s only one piece of the package. But more importantly, to enjoy what I’m doing.
26. What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?
I am not depending on money to make me happy. What makes me happy is having a satisfying job that provides challenge and new situations daily.
27. Tell me about the salary range you’re seeking.
If you feel that I am the candidate you are looking for, that I’m sure your offer will be fair and commensurate with the value I can bring to the company.
28. Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
As a senior in college, my goal was to play college cricket tournaments. So over that summer I worked on my cricket to the point where I won almost every tournament I entered.
29. What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision?
Define the problem to be solved and decision to be made. Gather the necessary information. List all possible choices. Consider possible outcomes for each choice. Choose one, from the possible alternatives.
30. Describe some times when you were not very satisfied with your performance.
I failed my first year M1 subject, which made me very unhappy. I wasn’t going to let this incident set the trend for the rest of my B.Tech. My lecturers helped me out incredibly and my grades soon improved.
31. How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time?
I took a time-management course in which I learned to prioritize all tasks on A, B, or C lists. I always try to tackle the A list first. In every working situation, co-workers have always complimented me on how well I manage my time.
32. What has been your experience in giving presentations?
I have grown to be a confident presenter. My most successful presentation took place at my university when I was responsible for presenting a leadership-development program. Each student successfully understood my presentation.
33. Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple responsibilities.
While attending college, I also worked at a firm. I was successful because I practiced good time-management skills and I made a to-do list every day. As I completed each task, I checked it off the list.
34. What suggestions do you have for our organization?
After examining several sources, including your company’s annual report and Web site, as well as some of your competitors’ sources, I see that you have a strong product line with good demographic segments, in a growing industry. I think you have a great opportunity to expand your target market and increase your market share by marketing your product line.
35. What is the most significant contribution you made to the company during a past job or internship?
My organization was undergoing an accreditation process. I developed two detailed accreditation self-evaluation reports that documented how the organization met accreditation standards. These self-evaluations served as basis for accreditation site visits and enabled all eligible programs to be accredited in record time.
36. What type of position are you looking for?
I’m interested in an entry level position and I’m looking for a position in which I can utilize my experience.
37. Are you interested in a full-time or part-time position?
I am more interested in a full-time position. However, I would also consider a part-time position.
38. Can you tell me about your responsibilities at your last job?
I collaborated with colleagues to prepare the best possible package for the client. The clients were then presented with a summarized report on their financial activities that I formulated on a quarterly basis.
39. What is your greatest strength?
I work well under pressure. When there is a deadline, I can focus on the task at hand and structure my work schedule well. I am an excellent communicator. People trust me and come to me for advice.
40. What is your greatest weakness?
I work too hard and become nervous. I tend to spend too much time making sure the client is satisfied. However, I began setting time-limits for myself.
41. Why do you want to work for LQ-soft?
After following your firm’s progress for the last 3 years, I am convinced that LQ-soft is becoming one of the market leaders and I would like to be part of the team.
42. When can you begin?
As soon as you would like me to begin.
43. What is your attitude to authority?
I do what I am told with respect to the job I am employed to do.
44. How would you deal with a difficult person?
I would first keep an open mind and listen to them, which in itself calms most people anyway.
45. What motivates you?
Recognition and promotion prospects.
46. What is your definition of success?
Achieving what we set out to achieve and never giving up.
47.You may have to tell the occasional lie in this position, are you Okay with that?
I can be diplomatic tactful and sensitive to people but I do not deliberately lie and deceive people.
48. Why should I choose you?
Because I am the best and most appropriate for the job.
49. If we did offer you the job, how would you react?
I would take it, thank you very much, when can I start?
UNIT V – RESUME’ WRITING
A resume (or curriculum vitae) is a brief summary of your abilities, education, experience, and skills. A successful résumé will review, summarize, and present your training, experience, and achievements clearly and concisely. Its main task is to convince prospective employers to contact you for an interview. Resumes are used for most jobs and are generally 1-2 pages. Curriculum vitae are used in academics and can be longer.
The resume has three major purposes:
1. To help you get a personal interview;
2. To provide the employer with reference material during the interview;
3. To serve as a reminder to the employer after the interview.
Types of Resumes:
1. Chronological Resume
2. Functional Resume
3. Combination Resume
4. Targeted resume
Chronological Resume: A chronological resume starts by listing your work history, with the most recent position listed first. Your jobs are listed in reverse chronological order with your current or most recent job, first. Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it’s easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them. This type of resume works well for job seekers with a strong, solid work history.
Functional Resume: A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history. The body of a functional resume highlights your major skill areas. Emphasis is placed on your skills, not on work experience. Job titles, dates, or name of employers may be left out. However, other sections may include a job objective, information on education, a summary of abilities, and memberships and other work-related associations. You may label the section describing your skills in a variety of ways, such as:
- Areas of Competence
Combination Resume: A combination resume lists your skills and experience first. Your employment history is listed next. With this type of resume you can highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and also provide the chronological work history that employers prefer.
- You have a steady and progressive employment history.
- You are applying for a position for which the chronological resume is expected but you also want to highlight qualifications from earlier positions.
- You are writing a targeted resume and need an effective way to match your skills to the job requirements.
Targeted Resume: A targeted resume is a resume that is customized so that it specifically highlights the experience and skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for. It’s well worth the effort, especially when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience.
- You know the title of the position you are interested in and have a good idea of the qualifications that will be required for entry into this position.
- You are applying in response to an employment advertisement.
- You are applying to a specific company.
- You have several different specific career objectives and want a different resume for each one.
Resume Structure: The resume structure is important in more than one way. The ideal resume structure gives the resume a professional outlook while displaying a career-oriented attitude of the applicant. Also it influences the flow of the resume and thereby affecting its readability. Hence, constructing your resume perfectly will improve your chances of gaining that important interview call. Each applicant decides on the structure of the resume as per his strengths, capacities and the expectations of his prospective employer and hence, every resume tends to differ from the other.
A resume is divided in three sections: 1. Introduction 2. Primary Section 3. Secondary Section
As the name suggests this section introduces the document to the employer. It includes only two sub sections namely header and objectives.
Header: This includes name and contact details of the applicants. The document opens up with these details. Highlight your name in bold form in an eye catching way. Do not use numbering or bullets to write information like address, email id or telephone number.
Objectives: The objective holds the ambitions and career plans of the applicant. The employer tries to figure out the candidate’s potentials, his expectations from the job and how he plans to shape up his own career with this job. The objective should be so well written that it interests the employer in knowing more about your credentials.
2. Primary Section:
This is the most important part of the resume. The employer spends maximum time reading this section and thus the contents, the look and the flow of this section has to be perfect. Adopt the reverse chronology for all the subsections. Ideally, the experience section should get more prominence and therefore should come first. Nevertheless applicants can put forth educational qualification section prior if they wish to stress on it more.
Experience: This section includes your work history with details like your designation, where you worked, the total work duration and the responsibilities you handled during your working period. Using bullet format and action words is a good way of emphasizing the work done by you within the responsibilities section. Elaborate this section wisely to bring out the best of your capacities.
Educational Qualifications: This includes the qualifications gained by you. This section should also include the name of the awarding body, year of passing and the grades scored so that the employer has better understanding of your qualifications.
Certifications: This section includes the skills and abilities acquired by attending courses, internships, workshops or training sessions etc. Certifications help you understand your area of work better by teaching you more whereas the licenses give you the authority to perform that particular work.
Achievements: This includes the awards and the accolades won by the applicant during his course of work or studies. Include a maximum of 4 achievements to avoid making it look immodest.
3. Secondary Section
Personal Details: These details help the employer in knowing you better beyond your professional status. It includes family background, marital status, age, hobbies etc. In reality, these details do not matter to the employer.
References: This includes the name and contact details of people you have worked with or studied under the guidance of. However, the practice of writing references is slowly thinning down and concluded in only one sentence, ‘available upon request.’ The references should always come last in the resume.
General editing and proofreading: A fresh eye can spot any mistakes you may have missed, and another reviewer may also notice when there is a better way of saying something, a clearer way to make a point. Many a time resumes are rejected by employers for misspellings.
Resume Parsing Services: “Resume Parsing Systems” Computer programs, if any, actually filter through resumes utilizing key words to choose resumes that have a set percentage of and / or match the key words.
Key words from the job posting: Since a Parsing Service may be utilized, it is useful to include actual wording from the job posting within your resume.
Titles are important: Be sure that the job titles on your resume match the job position for which you are applying.
Don’t use the Page Header and Footer Features: Your resume will probably not make it past the Parsing Service if you put your contact information, etc. as a header or footer. Using a page header or footer on your resume is a good way not to get noticed.
Legible and attractive: Stay with the traditional Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, or Courier. The font size for the content could be between 11 and 12 points, and for headers could be between 12 and 14. Anything smaller is difficult for some people to read; anything larger is unnecessary. The content should be in black, however for the sake of highlighting headers, one can used dark gray, and a deep navy blue color too. As for weight and size, with the computer you are able to call attention to words that highlight important elements — including your name and contact information — by sparingly using bold, italic and larger type for emphasis.
Creative white space: Much as with effective print advertising, a relatively simple, uncluttered look best projects your message. In most all cases there is elegance in simplicity, to make your unique qualities stand out on the printed page.
Final formatting: Always check the job posting requirements to be sure you are submitting your resume in the preferred format. Whether you submit your resume as an email attachment, inline in an email, or hard copy via postal mail or fax, it is important to send it in a format that is simple for the receiving end to use.
Preferred file format for email attachments: Check to see what attachment format, if any, is listed. The most commonly preferred format is Microsoft Word.
Your resume’s file name: As the file name (save as name) of your resume, use your name and the position for which you are applying.
Summary: By conveying your truth in creating both the look and content of your resume, your unique skills will make it to the desk of the employer. Hopefully the interview will be the next step.
The cover letter will give splendid look to your resume. The letter basically consists of a request or you can say self-recommendation on the basis of what work experience you have garnered and how and why do you think the recruiter or employer should give you preference over other candidates applying for the same post. Cover letters are short and should have the post applied for, written clearly and also from where you have come to know of the vacant position in that particular organization.
It is best to personalize the letter for maximum impact on the reader, whoever it be, whether a recruiting agency or the employer directly. You have to give factual statements of your achievements if that is your plus point. Else, you could mention what you think of the company that is making you apply for working with them and how do you think it would benefit you as well as the company with the mutual association. We anticipate that furnished information regarding the cover letter will be useful for you in creating a cover letter for your resume in an efficient way.
Cover Letters Format: A cover letter mainly consists of three paragraphs. The three paragraphs should be written separately. Each paragraph has its own importance. These three paragraphs are written in a way that you can inform about yourself, and request the employer for an interview. The three paragraphs should be precise but very clear and impressive. A cover letter should not be too descriptive, that the employer gets bored reading it. You just need to mention the skills in a short and an impressive manner to get an interview call, and thus your purpose gets solved.
Cover Letter Sample:
Your Address with city, state, pin code
Your Contact Number
Your Email Id
Name of the Employer
Name of the Organization
Address of the Organization
Dear Sir (Salutation),
First Paragraph: In the first paragraph, you need to request politely that you would like to apply for the vacancy, and you also need to mention the source from where you came to know about the job vacancy. If you are attaching your resume with the cover letter, also mention the same in this paragraph. You can mention that you are attaching the cover letter for the further reference of the employer.
Second Paragraph: In the second paragraph mention about your qualifications you possess relating to the job requirements. You should also mention the skills you possess which would be helpful in the job profile. The skills should be mentioned in such a way that the employer is impressed by your skills and qualities, and calls you for an interview. Overall, it can be said that you have to convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the job profile.
Third Paragraph: This is the final and concluding part of your cover letter. In this paragraph you need to request the employer to call you for an interview if s/he finds you fit for the profile. Mention that, if the employer wants to meet you in person to discuss about your knowledge and skills, he can revert back on the contact number or your given email id.
UNIT VI – READING COMPREHENSION
Define Reading Comprehension?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, comprehension is “the capacity for understanding fully; the act or action of grasping with the intellect.” Reading is “to receive or take in the sense of , as letters or symbols, by scanning; to understand the meaning of written or printed matter; to learn from what one has seen or found in writing or printing.
Identifying words on a page does not make someone a successful reader. When the words are understood and transcend the pages to become thoughts and ideas then you are truly reading. Comprehension therefore is the capacity for understanding those thoughts and ideas. Applying what you have read and understood becomes the successful conclusion.
You can become an active, effective reader through comprehension regulation. This is a method for consciously controlling the reading process. Comprehension regulation involves the use of preplanned strategies to understand text. It is a plan for getting the most out of reading. It allows you to have an idea of what to expect from the text. Most importantly, it gives you techniques to use when you are experiencing difficulties.
As an active reader, you can get an idea of what the writer is trying to communicate by:
- Setting goals based on your purpose for reading
- Previewing the text to make predictions
- Relating new information to old
Skills for being an effective reader and for increasing comprehension are:
- Finding main ideas and supporting details/evidence
- Making inferences and drawing conclusions
- Recognizing a text’s patterns of organization
- Perceiving conceptual relationships
- Testing your knowledge and understanding of the material through application
When comprehension fails, we can use a plan that includes:
- Using structural analysis and contextual clues to identify unknown vocabulary words (e.g., look at roots, prefixes, suffixes). If this fails, keep a dictionary close by and look up words you don’t understand
- Reading more critically – ask questions while you read
- Summarizing or outlining main points and supporting details
- Rereading the material
- Try to explain what you’ve read to someone else
Read the Preface & Introduction: Read the preface and introduction you’ll get essential information for understanding the author’s perspective. The preface usually provides information about the author’s objective, the organizational plan, how it is different from others, and the author’s background. Once you know the author’s objective or goal, it’s easier to see relationships among the facts presented. The introduction lays the foundation for the rest of the text in the form of overview and background information that will make it easier to digest information.
Make More Than One Pass: Reading articles and textbooks often requires more than one pass. It usually takes two, three, or even more readings to grasp difficult concepts. Skim the table of contents, preface, headings, and conclusions. Stop and think about the author’s intent as well the instructor’s purpose in making the assignment and purpose for reading.
Take Notes: In early readings, take the briefest of notes while reading by adding brackets in margins or underlining minimally. Note pages where you might want to take formal notes. After reading, take more extensive notes. When reading and note taking are complete, reread all of your notes, think about what you’ve read, and add more notes based on your reflections. Your goal is to have notes that are concise, capture the reading – and replace it so that you don’t have to go back and reread.
Don’t Highlight: If you underline text, do so minimally and stay focused on the important details. Avoid the temptation to highlight every line. Heavy highlighting is a procrastination tool because usually you’re marking what you should learn instead of focusing on learning it.
Identifying Topics, Main Ideas and Supporting Details: Understanding the topic, the gist, or the larger conceptual framework of a textbook chapter, an article, a paragraph, a sentence or a passage is a sophisticated reading task. Being able to draw conclusions, evaluate, and critically interpret articles or chapters is important for overall comprehension in college reading. Textbook chapters, articles, paragraphs, sentences, or passages all have topics and main ideas. The topic is the broad, general theme or message. It is what some call the subject. The main idea is the “key concept” being expressed. Details, major and minor, support the main idea by telling how, what, when, where, why, how much, or how many. Locating the topic, main idea, and supporting details helps you understand the point(s) the writer is attempting to express. Identifying the relationship between these will increase your comprehension.
Grasping the Main Idea: A paragraph is a group of sentences related to a particular topic, or central theme. Every paragraph has a key concept or main idea. The main idea is the most important piece of information the author wants you to know about the concept of that paragraph. When authors write they have an idea in mind that they are trying to get across. This is especially true as authors compose paragraphs. An author organizes each paragraph’s main idea and supporting details in support of the topic or central theme, and each paragraph supports the paragraph preceding it. A writer will state his/her main idea explicitly somewhere in the paragraph. That main idea may be stated at the beginning of the paragraph, in the middle, or at the end. The sentence in which the main idea is stated is the topic sentence of that paragraph.
Identifying the Topic: The first thing you must be able to do to get at the main idea of a paragraph is to identify the topic – the subject of the paragraph. Think of the paragraph as a wheel with the topic being the hub – the central core around which the whole wheel (or paragraph) spins. Your strategy for topic identification is simply to ask yourself the question, “What is this about?” Keep asking yourself that question as you read a paragraph, until the answer to your question becomes clear. Sometimes you can spot the topic by looking for a word or two that repeat. Usually you can state the topic in a few words.
The bulk of an expository paragraph is made up of supporting sentences (major and minor details), which help to explain or prove the main idea. These sentences present facts, reasons, examples, definitions, comparison, contrasts, and other pertinent details. They are most important because they sell the main idea.
In writing, there are three types of paragraphs: introductory, transitional, and summarizing.
Introductory paragraphs tell you, in advance, such things as (1) the main ideas of the chapter or section; (2) the extent or limits of the coverage; (3) how the topic is developed; and (4) the writer’s attitude toward the topic. Transitional paragraphs are usually short; their sole function is to tie together what you have read so far and what is to come – to set the stage for succeeding ideas of the chapter or section. Summarizing paragraphs are used to restate briefly the main ideas of the chapter or section. The writer may also draw some conclusion from these ideas, or speculate on some conclusion based on the evidence he/she has presented.
All three types should alert you: the introductory paragraph of things to come; the transitional paragraph of a new topic; and the summarizing paragraph of main ideas that you should have gotten.
Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions
Read with purpose and meaning: Drawing conclusions refers to information that is implied or inferred. This means that the information is never clearly stated. Writers often tell you more than they say directly. They give you hints or clues that help you “read between the lines.” Using these clues to give you a deeper understanding of your reading is called inferring. When you infer, you go beyond the surface details to see other meanings that the details suggest or imply (not stated). When the meanings of words are not stated clearly in the context of the text, they may be implied – that is, suggested or hinted at. When meanings are implied, you may infer them.
Inference is just a big word that means a conclusion or judgement. Example: you are sitting in your car stopped at a red signal light. You hear screeching tires, then a loud crash and breaking glass. You see nothing, but you infer that there has been a car accident. We all know the sounds of screeching tires and a crash. We know that these sounds almost always mean a car accident. But there could be some other reason, and therefore another explanation, for the sounds. Perhaps it was not an accident involving two moving vehicles. Maybe an angry driver rammed a parked car. Or maybe someone played the sound of a car crash from a recording. Making inferences means choosing the most likely explanation from the facts at hand.
There are several ways to help you draw conclusions from what an author may be implying. The following are descriptions of the various ways to aid you in reaching a conclusion.
Antonyms and Contrasts: When the meaning of a word is not implied by the general sense of its context or by examples, it may be implied by an antonym or by a contrasting thought in a context. Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings, such as happy and sad. For instance, Ben is fearless, but his brother is timorous. You may infer the meaning of timorous by answering the question “If Ben is fearless and Jim is very different from Ben with regard to fear, then what word describes Jim?” Write your answer on the following line. If you wrote a word such as timid, or afraid, or fearful, you inferred the meaning of timorous.
Reading Rate: Good readers are flexible readers. Once they determine their purpose for reading, they adjust their rate to fit the type of material they are reading.
Five Categories of Reading Rates
- Careful - used to master content including details, evaluate material, outline, summarize, paraphrase, analyze, solve problems, memorize, evaluate literary value or read poetry.
- Normal - used to answer a specific question, note details, solve problems, read material of average difficulty, understand relationship of details to main ideas, appreciate beauty or literary style, keep up with current events, or read with the intention of later retelling what you have read.
- Rapid - used to review familiar material, get the main idea or central thought, retrieve information for short-term use, read light material for relaxation or pleasure or comprehend the basic plot.
- Scanning - the method by which you read the newspaper – used to get an overview of the content or to preview.
- Skimming - done a little more quickly. It is what you do when you are searching for something particular in the text – the way you might read a phone book or dictionary. Used to find a specific reference, locate new material, locate the answer to a specific question, get the main idea of a selection, or review.
Knowing how to use all five reading styles is a great advantage to you because it gives you a wide variety of ways to handle your reading. It also gives you choices, and the more choices you have, the more power you have to arrange your life in satisfying ways…
Strengthening Reading Comprehension:
- Analyze the time and place in which you are reading - If you’ve been reading or studying for several hours, mental fatigue may be the source of the problem. If you are reading in a place with distractions or interruptions, you may not be able to understand what you’re reading.
- Rephrase each paragraph in your own words - You might need to approach complicated material sentence by sentence, expressing each in your own words.
- Read aloud sentences or sections that are particularly difficult - Reading out loud sometimes makes complicated material easier to understand.
- Reread difficult or complicated sections - At times, in fact, several readings are appropriate and necessary.
- Slow down your reading rate - On occasion, simply reading more slowly and carefully will provide you with the needed boost in comprehension.
- Turn headings into questions - Refer to these questions frequently and jot down or underline answers.
- Write a brief outline of major points - This will help you see the overall organization and progression of ideas.
- Highlight key ideas - After you’ve read a section, go back and think about and highlight what is important. Highlighting forces you to sort out what is important, and this sorting process builds comprehension and recall.
- Write notes in the margins - Explain or rephrase difficult or complicated ideas or sections.
- Determine whether you lack background knowledge - Comprehension is difficult, at times, and it is impossible, if you lack essential information that the writer assumes you have.
Levels of Comprehension
The three levels of comprehension.
- Least = surface, simple reading
- Most = in-depth, complex reading
Literal – what is actually stated?
- Facts and details
- Rote learning and memorization
- Surface understanding only
Tests in this category are objective tests dealing with true / false, multiple choice and fill-in-the blank questions. Common questions used to illicit this type of thinking are who, what, when, and where questions.
Interpretive – what is implied or meant, rather than what is actually stated.
- Drawing inferences
- Tapping into prior knowledge / experience
- Attaching new learning to old information
- Making logical leaps and educated guesses
- Reading between the lines to determine what is meant by what is stated.
Tests in this category are subjective, and the types of questions asked are open-ended, thought-provoking questions like why, what if, and how.
Applied – taking what was said (literal) and then what was meant by what was said (interpretive) and then extend (apply) the concepts or ideas beyond the situation.
In this level we are analyzing or synthesizing information and applying it to other information.
UNIT VII – TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING
A technical report is a formal report designed to convey technical information in a clear and easily accessible format. It is divided into sections which allow different readers to access different levels of information. This explains the commonly accepted format for a technical report; explains the purposes of the individual sections; and gives hints on how to go about drafting and refining a report in order to produce an accurate, professional document.
Technical Report Writing Laws
The purpose of a technical report is to transmit conclusions and their supporting evidence. To do this, your report must convey your exact meaning to the reader. The text must be clear and unambiguous, mathematical symbols must be fully defined, and the figures and tables must be easily understood.
Most of your intended readers are busy. Therefore your reports should be concisely written. That is, your story should be told with the fewest possible words and illustrations. Help your readers by omitting everything irrelevant to the results and conclusions. Do not be disappointed if a report that describes a lengthy program is only a few pages long: Report quality is often inversely related to report length. Your readers will be interested in your conclusions and the supporting evidence and will want to get these as quickly as possible. Include all details needed to understand the current report. In short, make your reports brief but comprehensible.
Reports should tell a complete story as logically and interestingly as possible. This requires continuity between succeeding sentences, paragraphs, and sections and between the written text and the figures and tables. Transitional words, phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs may be needed to lead your readers through the story. But overusing transitions can slow the pace of your narrative. Carefully choose the places at which you refer to figures and tables to limit distraction. Making these references at the beginning or end of a discussion is usually preferable.
Technical reports should be objective and show restraint. They expect you to evaluate the data honestly. Do not try to hide deficiencies in your research. No technical report is better than the research on which it is based. Tell your readers frankly what your assumptions were, what your probable errors are, and what you may not understand about the results.
In addition to being honest, be tactful. Your readers will be persuaded by facts, but they may become irritated if you attempt to impress them with your cleverness or to claim credit for accomplishments. Write to express, not to impress.
Types of Technical Reports:
Informal Reports: Memoranda, Brief Analysis, Trip Report, Laboratory Report, Field Report, Inspection Report etc.
Formal Reports: Committee Reports, Institution Report, Reprints, Project Report, State-of-the Art Report, Status Reports, Trend Reports, Progress Report, Annual Report, Project / Letter Report, Analytical Report, Feasibility Study, Position Paper, Damage Report, Maintenance Report , Project Proposal etc.
A technical report should contain the following sections; Section Details
Title page: Must include the title of the report. Reports for assessment, where the word length has been specified, will often also require the summary word count and the main text word count.
Summary: A summary of the whole report including important features, results and conclusions.
Contents: Numbers and lists all section and subsection headings with page numbers
Introduction: States the objectives of the report and comments on the way the topic of the report is to be treated. Leads straight into the report itself.
Contents: Numbers and lists all section and subsection headings with page numbers
This section which makes up the body of the report divided into numbered and headed sections. These sections separate the different main ideas in a logical order
Conclusions: A short, logical summing up of the theme(s) developed in the main text
References: Details of published sources of material referred to or quoted in the text.
Bibliography: Other published sources of material, including websites, not referred to in the text but useful for background or further reading.
Acknowledgements: List of people who helped you research or prepare the report, including your proofreaders
Appendices: Any further material which is essential for full understanding of your report (e.g. large scale diagrams, computer code, raw data, specifications).
For technical reports required as part of an assessment, the following presentation guidelines are recommended:
The report must be printed single sided on white A4 paper. Hand written or dot-matrix printed reports are not acceptable.
Margins: All four margins must be at least 2.54 cm
Page numbers: Do not number the title, summary or contents pages. Number all other pages consecutively starting at 1
Planning the Report
Main stages in Planning the Report;
Collect your information. Sources include laboratory handouts and lecture notes, the University Library, the reference books and journals. Keep an accurate record of all the published references which you intend to use in your report, by noting down the following information;
title of article
name of journal (italic or underlined)
year of publication
volume number (bold)
issue number, if provided (in brackets)
title of book (italic or underlined)
edition, if appropriate
year of publication
Creative phase of planning: Write down topics and ideas from your researched material in random order. Next arrange them into logical groups. Keep note of topics that do not fit into groups in case they come in useful later. Put the groups into a logical sequence which covers the topic of your report.
Structuring the report: Using your logical sequence of grouped ideas, write out a rough outline of the report with headings and subheadings.
Writing the first draft
Who is going to read the report? For coursework assignments, the readers might be fellow students and/or faculty. In professional contexts, the readers might be managers, clients, project team members. The answer will affect the content and technical level, and is a major consideration in the level of detail required in the introduction.
Begin writing with the main text, not the introduction. Follow your outline in terms of headings and subheadings. Let the ideas flow; do not worry at this stage about style, spelling or word processing. If you get stuck, go back to your outline plan and make more detailed preparatory notes to get the writing flowing again.
Make rough sketches of diagrams or graphs. Keep a numbered list of references as they are included in your writing and put any quoted material inside quotation marks
Write the Conclusion next, followed by the Introduction. Do not write the Summary at this stage.
Revising the first draft
This is the stage at which your report will start to take shape as a professional, technical document. In revising what you have drafted you must bear in mind the following, important principle; the essence of a successful technical report lies in how accurately and concisely it conveys the intended information to the intended readership.
Diagrams, graphs, tables and mathematics
It is often the case that technical information is most concisely and clearly conveyed by means other than words. Imagine how you would describe an electrical circuit layout using words rather than a circuit diagram.
The report layout
The appearance of a report is no less important than its content. An attractive, clearly organised report stands a better chance of being read. Use a standard, 12pt, font, such as Times New Roman, for the main text. Use different font sizes, bold, italic and underline where appropriate but not to excess. Too many changes of type style can look very fussy.
Use heading and sub-headings to break up the text and to guide the reader. They should be based on the logical sequence which you identified at the planning stage but with enough sub-headings to break up the material into manageable chunks. The use of numbering and type size and style can clarify the structure.
This document mostly uses styles called Normal (used for default paragraphs), Caption (for captions), Headings (for paragraph heading), and Program (used for program code examples). There are a few others (used for footnotes, headers, and footers, as well). Try to limit the number of different styles you use, and above all, be consistent. Type: Any professional serif font (e.g., Times). Headings may employ a sans serif font (e.g. Arial). Size: Minimum 12pt., but use the same font size throughout, including title page and headings. Professional reports generally do not increase the font size for titles and headings.
Write carefully and concisely; there is no extra credit for long reports, and short reports are preferred so long as they are complete.
After a first draft, read through the report to eliminate unnecessary phrases and words
Structure and Meaning
Structure each paragraph so that it is easily readable. Each paragraph should contain one central idea, summarized in the first sentence of a paragraph.
Check each sentence for accuracy. Read through the report a day after you write it and be sure that each sentence conveys the intended meaning and no other.
Use past tense when discussing results and methods. Use present tense for general background, significance, or theory. Make sure tenses agree within a sentence.
Generally, the third person is most commonly used for technical reports. However, the first person is becoming more common and may be used if desired and appropriate to the content of the sentence.
References to diagrams, graphs, tables and equations
In the main text you must always refer to any diagram, graph or table which you use.
Originality and plagiarism
Whenever you make use of other people’s facts or ideas, you must indicate this in the text with a number which refers to an item in the list of references. Any phrases, sentences or paragraphs which are copied unaltered must be enclosed in quotation marks and referenced by a number. Material which is not reproduced unaltered should not be in quotation marks but must still be referenced. It is not sufficient to list the sources of information at the end of the report; you must indicate the sources of information individually within the report using the reference numbering system.
Finalising the Report
Your report should now be nearly complete with an introduction, main text in sections, conclusions, properly formatted references and bibliography and any appendices. Now you must add the page numbers, contents and title pages and write the summary.
The summary, with the title, should indicate the scope of the report and give the main results and conclusions. It must be intelligible without the rest of the report. Many people may read, and refer to, a report summary but only a few may read the full report, as often happens in a professional organisation.
Purpose – a short version of the report and a guide to the report.
Length – short, typically not more than 100-300 words
Content – provide information, not just a description of the report.
This refers to the checking of every aspect of a piece of written work from the content to the layout and is an absolutely necessary part of the writing process. You should acquire the habit of never sending or submitting any piece of written work, from email to course work, without at least one and preferably several processes of proofreading. In addition, it is not possible for you, as the author of a long piece of writing, to proofread accurately yourself; you are too familiar with what you have written and will not spot all the mistakes.
When you have finished your report, and before you staple it, you must check it very carefully yourself. You should then give it to someone else, e.g. one of your friends or colleagues, to read carefully and check for any errors in content, style, structure and layout. You should record the name of this person in your acknowledgements.