07 April 2022 11:44:27 IST

How to get job-search ready?

An excerpt from the book —  Get Job Ready: How to Land Your Dream Job Out of College — written by Vasu Eda. The book is a step-by-step guide for students to transition from college to career, prepared to take on the corporate world. 

The key to having a job when you graduate is to begin preparing as early as possible. To jump-start your journey from college to career, a multi-year plan and timeline are recommended to get job ready — plan, develop, and execute.

Plan

Develop strong academic habits from the beginning. Maintaining a strong GPA will help you gain access to the greatest number of job opportunities, from internships to full-time positions. Give proper focus to your academic performance. Develop an ability to effectively manage your time, commitments and relationships to reduce stress and perform well.

Establish a professional email address with your first name and/or last name or some variation thereof. Use your college-provided email address or create one with gmail.com, outlook.com or icloud.com.

Review your social media presence (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn) now and then. to remove any inappropriate content or make any such content private. Social media is playing a role in how employers evaluate job candidates. Some employers tend to review candidates’ social profiles before offering a job.

The first step in exploring your career options is to gain a solid understanding of your interests, skills and knowledge. Identify your strengths and interests by completing self-assessments.

Obtain a professional wardrobe for informational interviews, job interviews, internships and career fairs. Your professional appearance (neat and clean) can make a great first impression.

Develop

While in college, develop skills and competencies sought by employers, from communication to teamwork, through experiential learning opportunities.

Attend career fairs and other career recruiting events on campus and off campus. These events offer you great opportunities to meet and network with employers and learn about industry trends. Build your professional network of contacts, including those made through job shadowing, internships, volunteering and informational interviews.

Create and continue to update your résumé for your target jobs by highlighting your career goals, strengths, skills and accomplishments. Ask at least two people to review your résumé for any spelling or grammatical errors.

Establish a LinkedIn profile. If you already have one, keep it updated. Your LinkedIn profile is your online résumé. Some tips to create a powerful LinkedIn profile include: uploading a professional-looking photo for the profile picture, adding a headline, customising your public URL to include your name, making your profile public, and adding past experiences, projects, activities, awards and achievements.

Explore and participate in on-campus or off-campus clubs or extracurricular activities that are based on your interests. Your participation in extracurricular activities can help build your résumé and land an internship or job in the future.

You can also enhance your résumé with your academic work and on-campus positions. These experiences can help you demonstrate your dedication, teamwork, time management, digital competence, communication skills and confidence. Such experiences can make you attractive to potential employers!

Research the jobs that are of interest to you. Find two to three such jobs and look at the skills required. Identify technical and domain competencies required for your dream job and create a plan to develop the required technical skills. It will give you a good understanding of the skills you may require to develop domain competency.

Develop a cover letter for your target jobs and have it reviewed by two or three people (e.g., placement staff, mentor, family friend). Your cover letter should highlight your career goals, strengths, skills and accomplishments. The cover letter complements your résumé and is usually sent in the body of an email or as an attachment. It provides an opportunity to add to your résumé and explains how you are qualified for the job.

Execute

Seek and participate in informational interviews and job shadowing, and talk to people working in jobs that interest you. These can help you learn more about your chosen career path and help you prepare for interviews by empowering you with a wealth of information to answer commonly asked interview questions.

Weigh the pros and cons of your job options before you accept any offer. Discuss it with your placement office, mentor and friends/family to get guidance.

If you’re considering going for further studies (e.g., graduate education), learn about your options and the entrance requirements (e.g., entrance exam).

Find and apply to jobs related to your field of interest through career fairs, your network, on-campus job boards and online job boards. Searching for a job requires a plan and takes time.

Participate in mock interviews. The more interview practice you have, the more confident and successful you will be. Review and practise commonly asked interview questions (e.g., ‘Tell me about yourself’). Interview practice helps you land your dream job.

Identify and request recommendation letters from at least three references (e.g., your professors, your managers at work outside of college, a supervisor or manager from an internship).

About the Book
Get Job Ready
Vasu Eda
Penguin Random House India
₹299; 240 pages

Schedule a meeting with your placement office to discuss your career goals, and to discuss experiential learning and internship opportunities. Your placement office can help you develop an action plan and achieve your career goals.

If you don’t have a full-time job offer by now, accelerate your job search. Identify and address any gaps in your preparation. Expand your job search criteria by working closely with your placement office and mentor.

(Vasu Eda is the CEO of RiseSharp, a venture helping college students in India find a job. He founded a human capital management company, Boniva Software, and served as its CEO until its acquisition. He also worked at multinational companies, Alcatel-Lucent and Intel, in corporate strategy, and mergers and acquisitions. Vasu holds an MBA from Columbia University, an MS in computer science from Stevens Institute of Technology, and a BE in mechanical engineering from Shivaji University.)

This excerpt is being carried with permission from Penguin Random House India.