Our engineering colleges might impart knowledge and skills to students but only a few of them have good programs to hone them for job interviews they face during campus placements.
Sanjay Agrawal, a 5th-year student of the dual degree M.Tech course at IIT Kharagpur, was left disappointed in campus placements this year. He shared, “Campus placements can be a tricky thing. I was not selected because I was a topper of my class! They opined that toppers would switch jobs quickly and run after higher salary packages. So, they hired average students in bulk who they thought would stick to jobs for a longer time.”
Sanjay is right. Employers’ selection parameters are changing these days. They are being cautious in hiring and employing sophisticated strategies to pick up candidates that are skillful, result-oriented, and dependable.
Characteristics Employers Look For in Engineers
An organization’s human resources team always prioritize fast learners over their peers as they are more efficient, learn things swiftly, and can be trained for the job in a shorter period of time.
However, listing ‘fast learner’ on your resume is nothing but meaningless self-aggrandizement. Instead, you might depict your ability to do things faster by describing that you never missed a core requirement and were able to deliver projects ahead of time on a consistent basis.
You might also mention a technology you learned on your own and used it to do a project in a better. Self-development is an attractive quality as it shows that you are really interested in your field and have the required self-motivation to improve yourself.
Excellent communication skills are mandatory to get any good job. When you are attending campus interviews, remember that the interviewer is also assessing your verbal and non-verbal communication skills along with your responses. How carefully you listen to the interviewer, how articulate are you, how well you explain your answers, what is your body language – are some of the things that hiring managers to observe quite closely.
Make sure that you look confident, friendly, and answer the questions clearly. Showing a little respect to the interview can’t hurt either.
Brush up your interviewing skills by googling up common interview questions for your chosen line and practice how to answer them with your friends. You may also want to read up a few articles on body language and iron out any weak points that you may have in time for the campus interviews.
Potential employees who can take initiatives and accountability for their work, have a high degree of competence in their line of work and have a certain level of ambition hold high appeal for the employers.
Preparation is the key to handle interview questions with confidence. When the recruiter asks you a question about the time when you took an initiative, you could cull out examples from what you did during group projects or skills-related extracurricular activities or internships.
You might tell them about the new ideas you came up with or how you thought things out and came up with creative solutions to a problem. You may also mention what you did to come out of a difficult situation. Make sure that you demonstrate that you could persuade other people to put your ideas into action and talk about how they improved the results.
When hiring managers are looking for fresh engineers, they expect dynamic, creative set of talent who is eager to take risks and face challenges head-on. They would like to employ someone who does not just follow their defined job responsibilities doggedly but is eager to step out of their comfort zones and learn new things.
There are a few ways to show how committed you are to a particular job. A tailored resume and cover letter for each company you are applying to go a long way in showing that you really want them to pay attention to you. Similarly, a student or a recent graduate who is a part of a professional organization and attend its meetings regularly gets spotted easily.
Tips to Fast-Track Your Success in Campus Placements of Engineering Colleges
Be a Leader
It doesn’t matter if you are the Captain or Manager or President of your club or team or not, it doesn’t hurt to learn and apply different leadership styles in your team and see which one works for you best. Learn how to take or influence decisions for the team, and how to influence people to work together to yield good results on a consistent basis. These experiences will help you come up with authentic and real stories to share with the interviewers during placements and prove that you are capable of taking top positions in your company.
Be a Team Player
If you are in the habit of flying solo, this is the time to learn teamwork skills. Join the clubs and hobby groups in your college. Participate in a sport or a tech contest where you’ll learn how to be a good team player and also how to be a good leader.
Be Business Savvy
Taking a business course or two can go a long way in helping you get plush jobs during campus placements. If you are technically proficient and can also read organization charts and negotiate contracts, you’ll certainly earn a ‘gold star’ from your employers.
Do Something Productive in Summer
During the 4 or 5 years, you spend in an engineering college, summers provide you wonderful opportunity to gain practical experience. Internship opportunities and summer jobs are a great way to make a good portfolio to show to the potential employers later on.
Extra Courses are Valuable
In campus placements where employers interview hundreds of students with similar skill sets, ones who have taken extra effort to increase their employability manage to stand out from the crowd. Language courses, work or study abroad experiences, literature course where you learn to write and communicate more effectively, cognitive science courses that help you understand people better, and visual design courses that help you demonstrate your ideas graphically are some of the things that add stars to your resume.
Nurture Your Network
When you attend college lectures, try to introduce yourself to the speakers. Maintain good relations with your seniors and faculty members. If your college has an alumni program, use it to your advantage. You can connect with them through e-mail, LinkedIn or social media but there is nothing like face-to-face meeting when it comes to forming lasting impressions on someone. This network can prove to be quite useful when you are looking for new career opportunities, looking for mentors, or when you want to switch jobs later in life.
Plug Your Weak Spots
It is always good to invite and share constructive criticism. Try to get feedback from your faculty, team members, and group leaders – and try to fix any flaws that you might have. College is the time to improve yourself and be ready to face the world. You might want to improve your communication skills or your body language or work on some of the basic skills expected from people in your stream.
Employers are looking for engineers who can apply what they have learned to solve real-world problems. Hence, enthusiastically participate in an experiential learning opportunity that comes your way (that can be managed without neglecting your academics). This will help you apply the knowledge you acquire in your class, hone your communication and interpersonal skills, and give you a number of projects to mention in your portfolio.
Remember, it is up to you to develop and nurture yourself and present yourself to the employers in the best light. Once you take ownership of your own future, Success and Happiness will surely come your way.