For university students in India who will soon be approaching their final semester, this is the time of the year when passive job searching becomes a bit more intentional.
The market for top jobs in India remains competitive, to say the least. The country’s economic growth is significantly outpacing job creation—and the jobs that are being offered don’t always match up with the skills and aspirations of prospective candidates, according to The New York Times.
This means that standing out to prospective employers has never been more important, or more challenging, for job seekers who are just beginning their careers. With that in mind, here are six tips for students and recent graduates to keep in mind as they prepare to enter the world of work.
- Do your research.
Doing your research is important for all job seekers, regardless of where you are in your career. Understanding what the company does and the products or services they offer will not only give you an advantage if you make it to the interview stage but will also help you tailor your resume and cover letter to speak to the specifics of that particular industry or type of company.
Your research may also help you discover employers to avoid that wouldn’t be a good fit for your skillset or values.
- Think about location.
Do you want to stay in the city where you’ve been studying? If you moved away to attend university, are you ready to return to your hometown? Is there a new part of the country you’re interested in exploring? These are important questions to consider as you’re starting your job search that will help you to narrow down—or in some cases, expand—the job opportunities available to you.
At the same time, think about the work arrangements you prefer (fully remote, onsite, or a hybrid of the two) and the length of commute you’d be comfortable with.
You want to avoid getting into a situation where you’ve gone through the bulk of the hiring process and built a solid relationship with the hiring team, only to end up backtracking.
- Leverage your university’s career services.
Many colleges and universities have career development centres that help connect students with prospective employers and provide information about different jobs and industries. If you’re unfamiliar with your school’s career services, now is an ideal time to find out what they offer and how they might be able to aid your job search.
Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask your instructors for guidance or to tap into your university’s alumni network. Remember, these are people who have been in your situation before and understand what you’re going through.
- No openings at this time? Reach out anyway.
Perhaps you have your sights set on a specific company and have been anxiously refreshing their career webpage to see if a job becomes available that matches your education and experience. While you’re waiting, it doesn’t hurt to reach out and make an introduction.
Use LinkedIn to find a hiring manager or department head. Send a short note introducing yourself and explaining that you are graduating soon and beginning your job search. Note your degree program and the type of role you’ll be looking for after completing your studies, along with any prior work experience (internships, part-time jobs, etc.). It also doesn’t hurt to provide some reasoning around why you’re interested in working for their company—and will certainly show them you’ve done your research!
- Be smart about timing your search.
If graduation is still a few months away, you’ll need to time your search so you’re not applying to roles that an employer would expect you to start immediately. You also don’t want to wait until the last minute.
Do you have any big trips planned for the summer months that may impact your start date? If you’re relocating, how much time would you need to find a new place to live? These are some of the factors you’ll want to think through before getting too far into the hiring process and committing to a timeline.
- Connect with a staffing firm.
At any given time, staffing firms like Acara are working to fill dozens of roles for a broad range of clients. Most have online portals for job seekers where you can view current openings and upload your resume. Connecting with a recruiter can be a great way to find opportunities, not only as you’re beginning your job search but throughout your entire career.
This blog was authored by Sashikala Skylab.