Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Campus placement delayed? 10 things to do

Campus placements at engineering colleges by IT companies are very low at present. Those who got placed last year are also being asked to join late. Overall the job situation is not very encouraging. Those who joined engineering 3-4 years ago expecting a nice placement at top IT Companies are now in a tension as to what their future will be. Here’re some tips and alternatives to keep oneself engaged, if the dream job doesn't come knocking.

1 Develop something on your own- a mobile app, or a website or anything creative/useful which you can proudly talk about and show to others. This will up your confidence level, get you lots of visibility and might even make good money. You’ll enjoy evey minute spent on this and will never get bored.

2 Work at startups: Pay may not be great, but experience gained will be priceless. There’re several startups already operational and more spinning up. Join the one which suits your interest and passion. If you like what you’re doing, there’s no working. On any day working in a startup is much much better than sitting on bench in an IT company. If your startup makes it big, you’ll definitely have your share of fame and money. With a formal offer, you may not be allowed to take employment in other rival companies, but no one will usually question if you join a start up. Entry and exit also will be easy in startups without long notice periods or paperwork.

3 Enhance soft skills: Despite good technical skills, people get rejected due to poor command over languages, not being able to communicate effectively and lacking other soft skills. If you feel you’re suffering from lack of adequate soft skills, use the time to get it fixed. If your English is poor, read and write a lot. If you can’t speak/communicate, join clubs like toastmasters or form your own groups, converse in English and gain confidence.

4 Get job in relevant industry. A software employee also needs to have good knowledge on the industry for which he/she develops software. If you intend to work in Banking domain, you should know as much as about how banks function, as much you should know how to code in Java. Without knowing how your work will be used by the end user (say customer or staff of a bank), you’ll not be able to build effective solutions. Industry experience doesn’t come for free. Joining as interns or taking up jobs in relevant industries will make your case easy when you apply for software jobs later.

5 Work on your network: Lot of jobs happen through referrals. Join clubs or groups of your interest- photography club, trekking club, bike club, toastmasters club etc. These groups will have considerable number of IT employees in them. Once you get to know them, chances are high that they’ll refer you when there’s appropriate opening in their companies. Please note that joining these clubs will not get you a job and joining with sole intention of getting a job will also backfire. Participate in relevant events to meet like minded people

6 Work on additional certifications: Couple of additional certifications can make all the difference while being shortlisted for a job. It helps you utilize time effectively, indicates that you don’t waste time unnecessarily and gives you an edge in peer group.

7. Work at your family business: If your family or relatives have a business- may be a small shop or a large enterprise, spend time there, learn tricks of the trade. Experience gained there, first hand, helps understand buyer behavior, labor management, profit and loss and so on. A 6 month experience running a medium size grocery shop is much better than 1 year experience at an IT company, half of which spent on bench and other half doing some mundane training or some primitive task.

8. Travel: If you have some savings or if you can get some funds, travel around. Explore the country. Once on job, you’ll have to almost beg for leaves and getting long leaves (say 2 weeks or more) will be near impossible unless you’ve major event (marriage, pregnancy etc). So if you’re fond of traveling, travel as much you can before joining a day job. If reading and writing also interests you, then there’s more you can do.

9. Do NOT bug your contacts: Many people get frustrated after few months of waiting and start torturing their contacts (placement officers, representative of company which hired them or their friends in the company). Please understand that if your on-boarding is getting delayed, such decisions are taken at much senior levels and your immediate contacts like friends, placement officers etc won’t have much control over it.  Being in touch is fine but too many follow ups will annoy them. Understand their limitations.

10. Form an online group and stay in touch- create a group for all freshers who’ve been hired by a company that year. Staying in touch with other recruits helps getting faster and reliable updates. However, do mind what you write there. Do not use bad language.