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Professional Education

Over the past 2 years with major technology advances a new era has begun. Amidst pandemic challenges, we have seen new mindsets being born. But complications follow on the career aspects as firms now push more towards adopting competitive, sustainable models for talent acquisition. Cracking interviews for MNC’s has become more challenging than ever.

My journey of finding a job started during my final year of my bachelor’s course in Information Technology. I was selected for an interview and somehow made it to the final round only to find out that I was rejected since I had no hands-on experience with any skill set I had mentioned. There were only a few skills in my resume for which I could give justice. I learned that relying only on my college will take me nowhere and I would have to work hard on my own if I want to clear my interviews. Ever since my quest to enhance my skills began. I noted all my learnings from my mentors’ experience, favorite YouTube influencers, books and kept an open mind. While I was enrolled in my master’s course I participated in most opportunities that came by and through those I came to know my new interests which aligned to my coursework and later developed those into skillsets.

Knowledge and Skill go hand in hand. Without skills, knowledge is useless. Here’s an official definition:

‘Skills’ means the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. It’s the responsibility of the college to equip us with knowledge and our efforts to develop skills. And these are the aspects that are looked for while you’re applying for a job.

So why not start with the question WHY? — why do you want to be skilled? Rather than what. You can note the answers in your journal as it will help you in the future in case you lose track.

For this very reason, the article will give a direction to restructure the approach as you get skilled in your area of interest. This approach may help those who are in college and trying to apply for jobs in the coming year.

You can easily find the skills required in your area of interest by just a google search or by visiting any job posting website and start learning those from day one which is fabulous but as you progress you need to give that learning a purpose and meaning as that will help you excel your upcoming interviews.

My experience is based on my observations in the IT industry but feel free to use these approaches in your respective fields too.

Here are some things to begin with:

  1. Get a Mentor – As important it may sound but it’s the best thing you can do from day one as it will give you a head start. If you feel one is not enough you can have multiple mentors across different disciplines and expertise. They will be sure to help to give you guidance, connections, and job opportunities. And the best part if your mentor is open enough then you can even learn from their failures and mistakes.
  2. Basics – Make sure you know your course, certifications, etc in and out. Important basics like Microsoft Office, etc must be known. For example, if you’re applying for a Fullstack development job the basics of a web framework are must know. And expect cross-questions if you’ve added skill in your resume. That’s why specificity also plays a big role here. If you know only the basics of a coding language you can put up “Java (Basics)” in your resume.
  3. Awareness – As Science and technology progress it is equally important for everyone to be aware of new changes, discoveries, technological advances
    happening in the domain/ area of your interest. This will give you an idea of what new opportunities lie ahead of you and also ignite curiosity. One way to keep updating yourself with the latest updates is via blogs, TED videos and Twitter handles like @techcrunch.
  4. Brainstorm ways on how you can be an asset to the organization using the tools. Spark a conversation with your recruiters on new opportunities in the processes they are working on and how adopting them can cut costs and provide better results.

Some other important areas of focus:

Problem Solving Skills –

Problem-solving skills help you solve issues quickly and effectively. It’s one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants, as employees with these skills tend to be self-reliant. Problem-solving skills require quickly identifying the underlying issue and implementing a solution.

One can practice coding with the intent to solve different problems through platforms like HackerRank and HackerEarth.

Building your portfolio – All these skills boils down to finally building your portfolio, which includes past experiences in the form of volunteer, hackathons, projects, etc. The best way is to make it available in the online space.
For eg. If you have written any articles/blogs make sure you have posted them on some popular sites. The same goes for any websites you might have developed. You can publish them to the online space through free hosting mediums.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”” James 4:6
This verse reminds me no matter what our achievements are, we are vulnerable to letting pride take control and that’s where we lose track but in everything, our duty must be to avoid this so that God can work in our lives.
And not to forget that we believers are always called to serve and glorify our Lord rather than ourselves.

Background Checks –

For experienced ,Individuals the drill-down of interviews will be more on the process and how they apply their experience into developing what the organization aims to do.

For freshers, the focus is more on your approach to problem-solving, curiosity, creativity, learning attitude, and adaptability to the changing environment.
Here’s a rough plan one can follow to be job-ready by the time you graduate:

Approach –

The first year – Spend more time learning, understanding basics, and making simple solo projects.

Second-year – Apply for Internships/group projects.

The third-year – Apply for Internships /make live projects.

Fourth Year – Placement year (the year when you’ll be busy with placement, etc)

Those who have passed out – They can apply for jobs if not internships/training that can get converted into a full-time offer.

You can prioritize these activities other than your regular academics –

  1. Internships – It will give hands-on experience for students. As students, you can start with unpaid internships and gradually jump towards paid ones.
  2. Projects, Hackathons – Participate in challenges that are organized by companies that visit on campus via hackathons.
  3. Certifications – Networking and cloud certifications go a long way and one can get these certifications done.

I know all these will be a handful but as careers become more challenging I believe working hard and showing persistence at least for the initial 3-4 years will pay off and with God’s help we can continue to grow in our careers.

Othniel Alexander is from Mumbai, right now working at Colgate as a Data Engineer. He has been involved in EU since college and also was part of ICEU committee. He enjoys cycling, outdoor adventures, music, designing, coding and through it he is passionate to explore creative ways of evangelism.

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