The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Engineering Students to Prepare for Campus Placements
Posted By vLEAD

So, you took up engineering dreaming to earn a handsome six-figure salary but you go weak in your knees when you learn the fact that only 20% of engineers graduating from India are employable. 

By now you must be wondering how to fall into that pleasant 20% spot and how come employability rate for engineers is this low.

Is it just in India or all over the world? Can this be tackled? Can I find my dream job? What should I do now?  

All these questions must be rattling your brain right now.

Well, don’t worry we’ll answer all your questions and also provide you the necessary steps you must follow to become employable and bag that dream job of yours.

According to a study by the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, India is the largest producer of engineers in the world. But still, almost all Indian engineers lack the basic technical skill or knowledge required to get employed. Why is this happening?

Is it because Indian engineers aren’t professional enough or is it because of our education system? Is there something more required out of our Indian engineers? What should the graduates be doing to get the jobs?

So what are the steps an engineer should follow to get his dream job?

Let’s dig in find out what you should do to get that awesome job.

1.   Be an Intern in your college years

Do as many internships and projects as possible in your engineering years. This is the only way a recruiter will know that you have the ability to practically apply what you have learned theoretically.  95% of employers feel that candidate experience is a factor in hiring decisions, according to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). So, doing internships will surely place you a small step above others.

The humongous amount of experience you will get doing an internship will surely help you settle more easily into the workplace environment. You need experience to get experience and internships are a very good to way to get that experience and if you work diligently and with hard work, may be the company you are an intern at may delight you with a Pre-Placement Offer. 

If you have some great internships under your belt, the recruiter will know that you have the maturity and self-commitment that is required to thrive in this cutthroat corporate world.

Also, internships tell the recruiters that you always manage to finish everything on your plate, as during internships you manage both your studies as well as the work. So, an internship in your resume speaks loads about your commitment and dedication.

Internships will also teach you how to balance both personal and professional life very early in your life so you will have no problem in your job years.

Internships also provide you the chance to interact with new people and create some strong important networks which may become fruitful for you afterwards.

It is during these internship months that you can learn properly how to weave a proper network and also gain the first-hand experience of networking.

Internshala is a great website to get some good quality internships under your belt. It has a variety of internships to choose from so make sure you check the site out.

Say you want a software development internship, when you search on internshala for a software development internship, you’ll see something like this.

Pro Tip: Use the filter feature(on the left in the above photo) to carve out the internships you like. This way you’ll really save the time you spend on finding the suitable internship for you.  After applying the relevant filters you will only see the internships that fall into your domain. As you can see in the image below, we scaled the 7066 internships to just 11 internships.

You can also apply for research internships under college professors. Look for the research areas of the professors and start contacting them. Research internships are highly valued if you want to go for a Master’s degree after your BTech as it will have a good impact on your resume. Also, most of the foreign universities highly value research internships. So, if you dream of studying abroad then research internships hold the key to it.

You also have to make sure that projects you make for your Majors and Minors are interesting, challenging and innovative. Who knows maybe this small project shapes up into a successful start-up idea and this will also leave a good impression on the recruiter.

2.   Start building your own Network

Start using LinkedIn, networking is much more important than you think. Networking not only helps you in climbing the career ladder, it also helps you to get your first firm and stronghold into the competitive modern world.

According to a joint research carried out by LinkedIn itself, they found that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. That’s not a small number!

Fun Fact: A study by Statistic Brain Research Institute found that 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site.

Pro Tip: Try adding a personal note whenever you send a connection request on LinkedIn, this will make your request different from others and make it more likely to get accepted. A simple message as shown in the image below can work wonders.

So, do you get the idea of how important networking is? Start interacting with your seniors and alumni and build a small network and keep on expanding it. You never know who might be of extreme help to you suddenly. Attending conferences, talks in other colleges can be a great opportunity for you to create new networks.

Let’s think about it in another way say you have to buy a refrigerator and you have two shops near you and the owner of one of the shops is your friend. Where will you go? Obviously to your friend.

That’s what simple networking is! A recruiter is most likely to assign a work to somebody who he knows as compared to a person he has just met.

So, keep your LinkedIn profile up to date by mentioning your skills, letting people know you are available and start approaching companies or jobs which seem to suit your interest and skill set.

3.    Improve your Problem-Solving Skills

Work on your problem-solving skills. That’s what recruiters look for the most in all their employees because they are interested in knowing how you will perform when you are put in completely new, unique and ambiguous conditions.

They don’t want an employee who needs to be guided at every small step. Rahter they need someone who can adapt, understand and execute.

Most technical jobs require you to be at a pro level in problem-solving skills.

There is a misconception among people that problem-solving skills cannot be developed and they are just certain gifted traits some people have. But this is not the case. With practice you can develop anything.

So, start exercising your brain with puzzles and riddles and improve these skills. Your brain is just like your muscles, you can exercise it to grow it. These skills will also help you in clearing the Aptitude tests most companies take before the main interview round.

Even doing one crossword or a game of sudoku every day can sharpen out your brain. The puzzle section on GeeksforGeeks and sites like www.folj.com and www.pzzls.com can help you in kickstarting your problem-solving conquest.

4.   Improve your spoken English and Soft Skills

The recruiters look for employees who are confident and have no problem in conversing in English. So, poor English can take you straight out of the game. It’s better you start working on your English so that you have no problem in talking to the employer or anyone else.

You also need to work on your soft skills, otherwise you won’t be able to express yourself clearly.

A study conducted by A New Delhi-based employment solutions company, Aspiring Minds found that 73.63% lack basic English communication skills.

Even reading the newspaper every day and joining the literary hub of your college can drastically improve your English.

Attending various events like MUNs and Ted Talks also help in improving your spoken English and will give you a confidence boost. You can also make a mantra of learning two new words every day to have a rich vocabulary. Apps like Orai, ELSA Speak can also help you in improving your English.

As you can look in the images below, Orai gives you instant feedback about various aspects of your speech like pauses, clarity and much more.

Pro Tip: Try to use these applications at least twice a week to really improve your spoken English.

According to a study by an analytics firm Burning Glass, one in three skills requested in job postings is a soft skill. There is a general trend in the industry of thinking that technical skills are easier to teach than soft skills.

If you aren’t able to talk or express yourself clearly to the recruiter, then there is a high probability of you getting rejected no matter how strong you may be at the technical level. Many companies have an HR interview where there is a key focus on your English and soft skills.

So, start working on your soft skills now so that you don’t fall down just because of a small pebble on your way to glory.

5.    Apply what you have learned

Rote learning doesn’t land you a job and neither does it help you in truly learning something.

Stop cramming and start questioning what you have learned, think about how you would apply it and where you would apply it. It’s only when you start questioning what is being taught to you that you start getting a real hang of things.

Get out of the old school habit of cramming everything you don’t understand, instead try and find out why aren’t you able to understand the topic, like – Is it because it is related to a topic you haven’t studied before or is it because of the way it is presented.

Until and unless you don’t question, you won’t get anything out of what you have learned. Look for online videos, editorials, research papers and study them or make teachers clear your doubts.

Educate yourself and don’t just train yourself, enrich your mind with knowledge and don’t overburden it with memorizing everything. For example: if you are a Computer Science student don’t just memorise all the algorithms, you try to understand them so that you can use the logic behind those algorithms elsewhere.

If you keep on studying your subjects just for the sake of clearing your exams, you won’t ever be able to understand and truly apply what you have learned afterwards. And then, when the interviewer asks a question related to what you have studied, you won’t be able to answer it.

Recruiters want people who are methodical and practical. They don’t want people who know the complete and crisp definition of every technical term. Instead they want someone who has a crystal clear understanding of all the underlying concepts.

6.   Start Expanding Your Horizon

Start expanding your horizon by gaining real industry knowledge through rigorous and competitive online courses and training programs.

This is quite important as there is no dearth to BTech graduates or BTech colleges in India. So, in this densely populated and competitive sector, you have to find something that isn’t being done by everybody.

If you don’t, then you will be competing with an awful lot of people for a job that has very few seats.

So, be on the lookout for the advances in your field. For example in the case of Computer Science students, Data Science, Computer Generated Imagery, and Augmented Reality are some fields that are not much explored as of now. So you can try your hand at these by researching and by doing online courses on these topics.

You can also contribute to the open source world if you are a computer science graduate.

And if you are a chemical engineer, you can start studying and researching on the newly developed polymers .

Similarly, all the streams have their specific areas where extensive research is always being carried on, so you can start looking for these new areas and start studying about them.

Sites like Udacity, Coursera and Udemy have some great courses on these topics. You can check them out and start expanding your knowledge.   

As you can see, sites like Coursera have an abundance of quality courses on any topic you search for, so go on and start learning.

Pro Tip: Whenever you join a course on Coursera, you’ll get a pop up (shown in the image below).

Coursera offers a 7 day trial for every course and specialization they offer, in these 7 days try and take a complete drive of the course, go as fast as you can and try to finish it in these 7 days itself. If you don’t want a certificate for the course, you can also click the ‘audit this course’ button. When you audit a course you can access everything but cannot submit answers to quizzes to get your grades.

Also, as these fields don’t have many people in them right now, so companies are willing to shell quite a lot of money for the right person and you could be that right person. All you have to do is sit and start learning!

Try doing these courses along with your semester studies and not only during the vacations, doing this will give you a big head start over others and you would also have finished the course before the vacations, leaving you with ample time to master it.

7. Be a Jack of all Trades and Master of Some

A jack of all trades and master of none doesn’t work now, you have to be a jack of all trades and master of some. Try to gain mastery in at least one of the core subjects. By doing this, you will get your own originality among everyone.

You don’t win a league just by drawing all the matches, you have to win the important games too.

Just like that, you can be an average in all of the subjects but to balance that out you have to be at a supreme level in at least one of your subjects.

And the level of supremacy in those subjects should be outstanding. You shouldn’t have a problem in answering any question which the recruiter asks based on this topic. This subject is your weapon of mass destruction and only you should have the launch codes to it.

So, start looking for subjects you find to be easy or interesting and begin your conquest over it and don’t forget to do some interesting projects based on this topic too. This will show the recruiter that this is certainly your niche and craft.

8.   Go All In

Either go all in or don’t do it at all. Never settle for loose ends. Don’t go for the easy way, sometimes you have to embark on a tough journey just to live a more easy and comfortable life in the future.

Whenever you feel like things are going beyond your control or you aren’t getting even a small knack of your studies, don’t quit. It may feel easy to quit right now but in the long run, you will surely regret this harsh decision because quitting to learn today will shatter down your hopes of becoming a big gun tomorrow.

What do all the great entrepreneurs or the top businessmen have in common? It’s not their education or their talent, it’s their mindset of not quitting. They don’t quit no matter how dark the situation is. You have to be at your A game, you have to work and keep pushing until you succeed.

No company wants a quitter as their employee so you have got to show the recruiter the passion that you have for completing things. This way the recruiter will know that you are a tough nut to crack and you won’t break under extreme circumstances.

So, rise up and work on yourself and make yourself the best out there.

9.   Non-Core is Also an Option

The main aim is to be job worthy, so doing something that may harvest good results after some time isn’t harmful at all. Go on and use whatever time you have after classes or your commute time and start learning. And what you study can be completely different from what you are doing in your college.

There is a great demand for engineers in the field of data analytics primarily because of their analytical skills. You can also do a course on Treasury Management which is one of the most lucrative jobs right now.

Many engineers are also choosing business analysis as their career option. You can also develop your financial skills and try for CFA. The CFA charter is one of the highest distinctions you can earn in the investment management profession.

So, if core subjects don’t work for you, then non-core is also an option.

So, look for the courses which interest you and do them. This will make you feel more empowered and you would also have gained a great amount of knowledge during the course.

Learning is a never-ending curve. All the great people around the world accept the fact that if you aren’t learning anything as you keep growing then you aren’t doing justice to yourself. Satya Nadella the CEO of Microsoft openly admits that he keeps on learning through online courses along being the head of Microsoft.

But we all know that everything is not so black and white, what may work for someone may not work for others. But one doesn’t get to know what’s right for him/her until and unless he/she has tried everything. So, keep on trying, keep on pushing and one day you will get to your destination.

Also, there is no need to feel disheartened or depressed if you are unable to find a job maybe destiny has planned something else for you. Maybe engineering is not what you want to do after all.

What if you are the next Chetan Bhagat or the next Anil Kumble the world is looking for? What if these two had let engineering govern their career instead of their passion driving it? The world would have lost its two precious gems then. Be a part of all the hubs and sports team which you like in your college years maybe that’s where your secret passion is hidden.

Also, if you find a job that doesn’t pay much but offers you a chance to test and enhance your knowledge, stick to it. Money can be a driving factor for a graduate who has just earned his B Tech degree but sometimes job satisfaction and gaining experience is also important.

So, get on and follow these 9 simple steps an engineer should follow to get his dream job and always keep in mind that you are doing this for yourself and your family, this will give you the extra motivation you need in this long and tiring journey.

Hope you get the job you want!  

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