May 26, 2013

How to get your first job?

You have to get your first job. At times, this is the most difficult task-at-hand. IMO, the reason for this is the lack of basic marketing principals applied to yourself – segmentation, positioning and differentiation!

So what can you do about it?

1) Avoid copy-paste / or template based resumes

You are unique. Prepare a resume that represents you. Highlight your personality traits and soft skills (max three) – keep it short but effective. Your soft skills are what make you stand out of the masses, because every one in your batch has the same degree and they have gone through the same lessons. When mentioning your technical skills, highlight the ones you have mastery in.

2) Achieve depth

You learn so many things during four years in your college. You may connect with selected subjects. You need to go deep into those subjects (even if your college curriculum has a touch-and-go policy for the same). You must base your academic projects on the same and explain the same in detail in your CV.

3) Do you have a pet project? What have you done on your own?

Lets say you are a software engineer. You have always dreamt of being a software engineer. You are in love with this subject – right? (If not, then software engineering is not the right career for you, even if you have studied so!) So, show the love! If you are truly in love, you must have played around with an idea or two. You must have created a pet project of your own (even if it failed). You must have picked a technology or two which has no mention in your course curriculum.

Talk about that pet project. Talk about those learnings. Employers want to hear about them. This is your key to the job.

4) Apply selectively, but firmly

When you apply for a job, do so selectively. Make your application specific to the company and put strong reasons and the capabilities that you bring on board in the email.

5) Gain experience

When you are in college, try to gain some experience by working as a freelancer for a company or a startup. If you can work evenings, do an internship in a software company in your neighborhood and gain practical experience. Do not look for monetary reward as the prime objective in such engagements. Do not leave any such opportunity.

The above five ideas will help you position yourself well infront of the segment of the companies you wish to go and work for. And hopefully you will have strong differentiators in comparison to thousands of applicants which will flood their mailboxes.

Happy job hunting.

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