8 things a graduate must do to become job-ready
Identify your calling, start early and invest in the right resources -- people. Towards the end of your graduation, you will have a job offer you can't refuse.
For a fresh graduate, finding the right job can be an exhausting experience.
While some manage to land the ideal position after a long, hard search, there are those who are unsuccessful even a year after they have completed their education.
Where are they going wrong in the job-hunting process?
Even as multiple employment surveys pointed out that an increasing number of graduates are not readily employable for various reasons, we asked a few experts to share their advice as to what youngsters can do to improve their chances of being hired.
And we are told that the road to employment is not very difficult.
In fact, the key to success is starting early and planning in advance. Which means that if you want a job at the end of your graduation, you may have to start preparing when you are in Class 12.
For those of you who are still struggling, here's where to start.
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Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
1. Find a part-time job
Most youngsters are unable to find the right job because they are not yet ready for it.
Kapil Deorukhkar, Regional Manager at Pearson Education, says the best way youngsters can ready themselves for the professional journey is by taking up a part-time job after Class 12.
"A part-time job can acquaint you with job-relevant skills like team work, management, delegation of responsibilities and will keep you ahead when you apply for a job at the end of your career," says Deorukhkar, adding that employers attach importance to internship experiences in professional courses.
For those aspiring to pursue a career in hospitality, retail and operations, the possibilities of finding a part-time job are immense.
"If a BPO job will teach you how to improve your communication and marketing skills, working as a part-time waiter in a food joint will prove beneficial when applying for a job in the hospitality sector," says Mumbai-based HR consultant Smita Tikekar, who thinks youngsters should put their holidays to good use.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier
2. Add skills and certifications to your career
If you are an aspiring professional, an employer will definitely be interested in the additional qualifications you possess.
While additional certifications in programming languages are useful to an IT pursuant, Kapil Deorukhkar insists that even commerce graduates must enroll for certificate courses in banking operations, insurance and securities along with their graduation.
He says that in the first or second year of a graduation course, youngsters must find time to list the specialisations they will require for a prospective job of their choice and enroll in an institute that offers them.
"Corporate organisations welcome candidates with dual degrees and specialisations. If you are not among the five per cent who become doctors or CAs at the end of their course, you will at least have an edge over those who don't have industry-relevant certifications," explains Deorukhkar.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
3. Work on your communication skills
We live in the Information Age, where a major part of our communication takes place via e-mail, text messaging, telephone or video conferencing.
For obvious reasons, candidates who can read, write, speak and understand English fluently score over those who can't.
"In this age, where information is available at your fingertips, there is a demand for professionals who have the ability to comprehend information faster, sift through needless data and respond immediately," feels ARKS Srinivas, CEO, Vista Mind Education.
As an investment into their careers, youngsters must subscribe to at least one national daily, one online news service and be updated on what's new and happening around them.
Read as much as you can, find the time to blog and express your views and improve your written and spoken communication skills before you graduate, advises Srinivas, who interviews candidates for various b-schools and mentors management students to get ready for jobs.
4. Apply for the right job
According to Jaspal Shakya, CEO at Opportune Jobs, most youngsters apply for jobs randomly and hence often end up in embarrassing situations.
When the consultant calls to discuss an opportunity, he says, it is not uncommon for candidates to ask themselves: Did I really apply for this job?
Offering a solution to candidates, he says, "Even if you are desperate for a job, you must read the job description or required qualifications before applying."
"If a certain consultancy rejects you for a particular position, chances are they won't approach you for the next six months," warns Shakya, reminding us how important it is for graduates to apply for jobs that match their skill sets.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier
5. Take up a social activity
With corporate social responsibility being valued by most organisations, candidates who have contributed to a social cause have an upper hand.
"Participating in a social cause shows that you are compassionate and selfless -- an attribute that is valued in every organisation," feels Professor Anil Gupta, who teaches sociology at the University of Mumbai and organises social activities and workshops for students.
"If you are applying to a multinational organisation, candidates with social activities on their CV stand a better chance at managerial positions," he adds, emphasising how social activities help improve youngsters' communication, networking, volunteering and marketing skills.
So, if you have ever organised or been part of any social activity, no matter how big or small, mention it on your CV.
And if you haven't, ensure you participate in at least one social cause and notice the difference it makes to you, insists Gupta.
Photographs: Courtesy Careers360
6. Create a LinkedIn profile
Most youngsters have a Google e-mail ID, a Facebook profile and a Twitter and YouTube account, but how much does it take to create a LinkedIn profile?
For an aspiring professional, a LinkedIn profile is a must, for it gives the employer the impression that you are serious about your career.
Besides, it gives you ample opportunities to explore prospective jobs and network with employers.
According to Kapil Deorukhkar, LinkedIn allows youngsters to learn more about educational qualifications and access important information about those working in a given organisation, which helps them prepare better for a dream job.
7. Maintain a clean online presence
Given the importance of social media, along with creating a LinkedIn profile, it is important that you keep your online presence clean.
"Avoid posting sleazy pictures or messages on your Facebook profile. If one of your friends has tagged you in a message or picture that you disapprove of, it's best to un-tag yourself immediately."
"If you are applying online, run a Google search with your name and check what the immediate results lead to. By all means, keep your online presence free from controversial content," advises Smita Tikekar.
Use the privacy settings on social networking sites to the best of your advantage.
In case an employer looks you up online, s/he should not find anything unhealthy that will rob you of a prospective job.
Photographs: Tan Shung Sin/Reuters
8. Networking is important
For a fresh graduate, an untapped network of alumni members from school/college can prove the biggest impetus.
If you are a member of your school and college community, talk to your senior batchmates and find out if they can recommend you for a prospective job, or help you find an internship during graduation.
For the fun of it, run a search on your social networking site and find out where your seniors from college are working. You will be amazed at the opportunities you can explore.
"Use your networking skills to the maximum. It is better to be turned down by a senior than not having asked for help at all. Chances are that you'd find a job through a college senior much quicker than through a consultant," concludes Professor Gupta.