Get online. Update LinkedIn and have a well drafted resume and cover letter to begin with, says Sarvesh Agrawal.
Photograph: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
Imagine a card that says, 'The statement on the other side of the card is true' on one side and 'The statement on the other side is false' on the other.
A mind-boggling paradox, isn't it?
If the former is true, then the latter is true, which makes the former false and all hell breaks loose in your head.
Do you know what's a bigger and a rather heart-wrenching paradox?
It's that you need experience to get a job and a job to get experience. But that doesn't mean that you cannot get a job at all, of course, you can!
You must first try and understand why employers are reluctant to offer jobs to recently-graduated students.
Most employers find it dissatisfying to hire freshers since they have an incompetent resume, insufficient technical skills, and lack of workplace etiquette.
This, however, is no enigma that you can't break.
Here are some simple things you must do while you graduate.
1. Find what's best for you
It would be a good surprise to twist your ways a little and spend some time to figure out what would be a good career after graduation for you.
Prepare a list of jobs that you find exciting and analyse your skill set to understand what suits your profile and interest.
2. Prepare a resume and a cover letter
Whether you're applying to a job online or offline, a well written resume and cover letter are two weapons that you need before marching into the battleground.
A resume is to a job application what rhubarb is to custard, and a cover letter is the puff pastry that complements it.
A cover letter provides the recruiter with a detailed description of your skill set and what makes you a perfect fit for the role.
3. Prepare for an interview
You've already won half the battle by getting shortlisted for an interview round but this is the more crucial part of the process.
Research the company before appearing for an interview.
Two questions employers almost always ask freshers would be: 'What do you know about our organisation?' and 'What suggestions or feedback do you have?'.
The objective behind these questions is to check if a candidate is passionate about the organisation, understands the job profile and what ideas or insights s/he can bring to the table.
While you prepare answers for the commonly asked interview questions make sure you don't recite a template answer.
Your answers should give a clear view of your skills and interests along with your passion for the job.
You might argue that with millions of students graduating every year, it has become a mammoth task to find a job for freshers, but it is not that big a task, believe me!
4. Utilise walk-in interviews
Walk-in interviews are great to let yourself get comfortable with the interview process.
With every interview you sit for, you gain confidence and understand the dos and don'ts of the process and when the time comes, you are ready!
You need no prior appointments, and you can just walk in and meet with the recruiter.
5. The good old internships
Internships are a panacea to all probable issues you could face while looking for graduate jobs.
They give you a chance to understand what the industry expects from you and utilise your skills in a real-time environment, subtracting the label of inexperience.
6. Learn the required skills
Every graduate job comes with a broad skill set that employers look for in a candidate and there are plenty of online courses available to learn them.
7. Talk smooth
Everyone loves a smooth talker.
Now, the recruiter wants no Lincoln but you should be able to articulate your thoughts in a manner that it becomes easy to follow and inspires confidence.
A few things you can try are reading a lot of newspapers and books, watching shows in the language you wish to improve on, and participating in activities that involve public speaking and people management.
8. Don't fake it if you can't make it
Mentioning skills that you don't have would only worsen the condition.
Do you want the recruiter to ask you an alien question that you have zero knowledge about?
If not, write only what you know in your resume.
9. Break up with grammatical errors and crammed answers
The two biggest turn-offs for your interviewer are -- grammatical and spelling errors in your application and the 100-year-old template answers to the questions.
Surprise the interviewer with your answers and your honesty!
10. Customise your resume
Your best opener may work on all your matches on Tinder but the same resume won't charm all the recruiters.
Customise your resume for the job profile and highlight the skills relevant to the job responsibilities.
For instance, if you're applying to a sales job, highlight your presentation and communication skills along with relationship management, while if you're applying for a marketing job, you should highlight your analytical and creative bent.
How to get started
Sign up on some of the best career sites so to keep you updated on who's hiring and what are the skills you'll need to get there.
If you have your eyes set on a particular company, you could simply visit their official careers page and follow the process they have stated for applying to a job there.
Usually, the process involves filling in an application form and attaching your resume and cover letter or sending the two across to the point of contact.
You can update your LinkedIn headline and make your job-hunting wishes known to the employers.
You can also get in touch with the employees of an organisation you would want to work at and request them to refer you or learn about the requirements of an organisation.
Internship with a pre-placement offer (PPO)
A comparatively better way to find a job is to do an internship with a pre-placement offer (PPO) to build a career after graduation.
What is pre-placement offer?
Since most employers are skeptical whether freshers would be a good fit for their organisation or not, they hire interns and evaluate their performance.
After a short span ranging from 2 to 6 months, they offer a pre-placement offer to them.
Since this is an internship, the employer doesn't want you to have five years of experience rather values your keenness to learn.
You get a chance to learn the required skills on the job and understand the functioning of the organisation.
A lot of organisations rely on internships with PPOs for hiring purposes.
Such internships are particularly useful for graduates since they are a sure shot way (provided you perform exceptionally well) to get the graduate job you've survived your degree for.
Sarvesh Agrawal is founder and CEO of Internshala, an internships and trainings platform.
Lead image published for representational purposes only.