Want to get ready for the placement season and ensure you get your dream job? Here’s every student’s COMPLETE guide on how to prepare for campus placement.
So you have placement season coming up and you are little tense whether you can make it or not. If that’s on your mind, then you have already started to prepare for campus placement.
Campus placements are a stressful time, and rightly so. Getting a good job offers you the right way to step out into the real world, and makes your first professional experiences. For some, it is a do or die situation. It’s very real life, a win or lose race, as you would be competing with your peers who you have studied with the last 2 to 4 years. Let me give you my piece of advice that will make you well-prepared for this situation.
How to Get Your Resume on the Top of the Pile
A lot of factors determine how the process of campus placement is in your college, and success thereof. Most importantly, your school’s reputations, the effort put by placement committee to bring in companies and finally the health of the industry. All these factors will determine how good the campus placement of your batch would be, to start with.
1. If You Can’t Beat the System, Join It
Now you can’t control your schools reputation and the health of your industry. However, there is one thing you can control. The first thing that you should be doing is becoming a part of the placement committee, as these people definitely save some cake for themselves.
Usually, it’s the outgoing, good-in-the-professor’s-eyes students who become a part of placement committees. If recruitment is important to you, get out there and take that spot. Also, it’ll help you gain exposure and confidence while approaching companies.
2. Create a Strong Resume with Impressive Credentials
While we have been talking about “networking”, students don’t get good placements just by knowing what companies are coming or the recruiters who’ll be interviewing you. To prepare for campus placement properly, you need to have an overall impressive package. It includes a great resume, credentials, communication skills and executive presence.
Before we move further, you need to understand that the most important aspect is to have good academic record and strong grasp on fundamentals. Unless you’re strong at these, everything else will count for nothing. This is something you need to keep working on long before the placement season.
Experienced professionals can look through students and know their caliber, you can’t fool them much with words. This is the first thing you need to be focusing on when you prepare for campus placement.
So make a resume that stands out among those of your classmates. Use a unique format, be sure it showcases all your strengths and academic achievements to the fullest. However, your resume should never be too long, just keep it 1 or 2 pages long so interviewer can get through it without wasting time.
Read more here: Basic Resume Writing Tips for Students with Examples + Templates
3. Work on Your Communication Skills for an Impressionable Interview
Ideally, your credentials should speak for themselves, but never underestimate the power of preparing for an interview. Because, if your interview doesn’t make the recruiter remember you among so many of your peers, then all your resume details will go to waste!
Also read: Importance of Developing Soft Skills (Not just Technical Skills) in College
Next up is your communication skills, yes you need to work on them consciously. Communication skill is something we keep working on all our lives. Good communication skills don’t mean using heavy or big words at all. It’s all about communicating your ideas clearly in a simple language. Thus I advise you read a lot of books, speak in simple words during conversation with your teachers.
This is the most important thing when you prepare for campus placement. How to improve your communication? Practice your body language and common interview questions in front of the mirror again and again. I used to look at myself in the mirror and talk to myself out loud, as if I was conversing with myself.
Learn to talk about yourself, your academic work and your extra-curricular achievements or hobbies. You have to practice a lot just by yourself, with friends & family, teachers etc. This will help you speak confidently and clearly in the real interview. Look up online tutorials on YouTube on interview practice, too. Good communication can also help you find your dream girl or boy if you are up for it!
4. Prepare Your Look
So now that you put effort on your academics and verbal communication, you need to become presentable in front of the eyes of an interviewer. Your objective here is to give comfort to your interviewer that you are one of them.
A professional attire is often something that a lot of students ignore when they prepare for campus placement. So this will definitely give you an edge over your classmates.
A formal dress code is the most recommended choice. What is formal clothing? In simple words, a light-colored full-sleeved button-up shirt, dark front-pleated pants with a 2 button blazer, tie, black oxford shoes with black socks and a simple leather belt is what a formal dress is. For girls, the same goes in western formal. Everything else besides this is an exception.
No matter what everybody else says, when you are appearing for an interview, you project yourself in complete formal attire as it communicates that you are serious about the job and you have put effort.
I will advise students to try out the formal attire multiple times before the interview, so that you can get familiar and comfortable wearing it. If suddenly one fine day you decide to go formal and put all these things on – you may not be able to carry yourself well.
Also, I will strongly recommend you to keep yourself in good shape and keep working out. A fit body brings out the life in good clothes, and improves your posture.
5. Don’t Forget the Final Details
So now that you have dressed yourself formally and look confident, you need to look at the minute things. Improve your overall grooming – get a clean haircut before the interview, a good shave is a must for boys. Girls, make sure your face looks clean, hair looks neat and well groomed. Get a facial and/or eyebrows done, etc. Your hands and nails need to be clean, too.
Also check out: How to Dress for an Interview for Girls
So what I have talked about till now are just the basics, these things are must haves. Putting good effort in all these things will help you beat at least 50% of your peers.
6. Be an Authentic & Memorable Candidate
However this is not enough, you need to prepare yourself in ways that differentiate you from your classmates, through the extra-curricular activities, projects, internship, sports, serious hobbies, etc. Employers always ask about hobbies, or what you do apart from academics. It helps them understand the real you. Your personality needs to be interesting enough to stand out in a crowd, and it needs to be genuine.
If you don’t have any interesting extra-curricular activities, achievements or hobbies to talk about, you may feel like faking them at the last moment. However, superficial things can often get caught and I would advise against it. So it’s best to start working on these well in advance. Everyone has some interests and skills, and it’s a good idea to bring out your story.
It’s also advisable to have some published material like blogs, papers, etc. which builds your credibility. Also, don’t forget the power of having good social media accounts. These days, it’s common practice for some employers to look up your profiles to see if they need to flag any candidates for unwanted activity.
When is the Best Time for Students to Start Preparing for Placements?
It’s never too early to start to prepare for campus placement, since building good credentials takes years. So I hope you are reading this well in advance of your recruitment season! If so, I would seriously advise you make a check-list and start working on your preparation after reading this article.
Now that you have really prepped well on the above, it’s time to face the interview. I’m not going into details about which companies to sit for and which not in this article.
7. Last-Minute Preparation for Campus Placement
So while attending an interview, you need to always carry a smart-looking folder with 3 to 7 copies of your resume.
Now the most important thing that everybody needs to practice is posture. Always walk straight when you enter the interview room. The moment you walk in, you start giving subconscious signals. Remember, your interviewer is judging your body language, too.
Wait until you ask to be seated, and greet the interviewer with a “Good morning” or a “Good afternoon”. Now, interviews can be tough and grueling, but I would advise you make sure that you are in a relaxed position while seated. Sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. A relaxed seating position (not slouchy) gives the message to your mind to be relaxed. If you sit with an aggressive or eager stance, your mind will act accordingly.
If you get too nervous in public settings, I would recommend doing some deep-breathing exercises in the morning before you start appearing for any interviews. And mediate for ten minutes the night before you go to sleep, so that you can be well-rested on the day. You can also do quick deep-breathing exercises right before your interview to relax your mind.
8. Be Prepared to Handle Rejection & Keep Moving Forward
Up until now, we’ve talked about the easy part of campus interview preparation. Now comes the most difficult part – The Result. Now, if you get selected – congratulations!
However, not everybody gets selected. Everyone has to face rejection one day or the other. Interview rejections can be tough, they create a lot of self-doubt and lower your confidence. At times, they also create jealousy amongst peers.
If you got rejected, this is the time you need to pick yourself up. Don’t take it personally – getting rejected does not make you a failure in any way. An interview rejection is not the end of the world. We try to console ourselves by telling many things, but interview rejections do bite us.
So when it gets tough, you need pick yourself up and get going for the next. At this time, you will feel alone and sympathy may not help much. You may get distracted by your peers’ selection. But don’t lose focus, nor let fear of rejection set in.
I remember during my campus placement, it was very difficult for my friends who didn’t get shortlisted or selected. I may have been lucky to get my job offer before the placement even started, but I have lived through those tensions.
Campus placements are just the beginning – rejections are a part of life – you will face them, if not today, then tomorrow. You need to remember that rejection is temporary, but giving up is permanent.
Finally, it’s grit that differentiates a successful person from a not so successful one. So hope for the best and plan for the worst.
So I hope this guide will help you prepare for campus placement in the best way possible. All the best!
Abhishek Sareen is a marketing professional with over 16 years of experience. He started his career as a management consultant and currently works in international business. He has set up businesses like Track & Trail, BrooksBicycles.com and created consumer brands like Montra, Machcity and Roadeo. He’s is a passionate cyclist and participated in several endurance competitive events like MTB Himalaya. His interests are in behavioral psychology, economics and chess. He is a graduate in Computer Science and an MBA in Marketing. He completed his executive education from IIM-A in 2016 focusing on business strategy.