Monthly Archives: July 2012

Advice for Freshers – To Certificate or not to Certificate?

Advice for Freshers – To Certificate or not to Certificate – that is the question.

Pardon us for converting Certificate into a verb 🙂

But you get the drift. Our point of discussion now is whether there is any point in getting certified. How much does a certificate help you or hurt you in your job search. Should you go after certifications or should you just focus on the learning process. How about getting certified when you really have no knowledge in the subject matter? – You know it happens more often than we care to believe it does. We have seen plenty of people who have successfully gotten themselves certified in something like say VC++ and havent really written any VC++ program.

There are several professional certifications out there. Most of them are for IT/Software professionals. Sun Certified Java Associate , Oracle Certified Professional Java SE Programmer, Microsoft Certified Professional – the list of software certifications is a long one.

There are some non-software certifications as well – thankfully in smaller numbers 🙂 – PMI Certified Project Management Professional, ITIL Certifications, Six Sigma Certifications are some of the most famous.

These are all respectable certifications issued by institutions of repute. Now there are a slew of certifications that are not as popular or well-known. Take for instance php certifications in general. The PHP community has not, to the best of our knowledge, agreed on any particular certification in general although there is the Zend Php Certification.

So what should be your approach? Let us say you are targeting the Java platform for a job. Then by all means DO get certified if possible. The truth is that when employers scan resumes for potential candidates, they will give more importance to your experience. But for freshers, that benefit is lost. So how will you prove that you know a particular skill or language. So certifications are a huge benefit for freshers. At the same time, your certifications should give a particular image of you as a candidate. So if you already have an Oracle Certified Java certificate then you can also go for a Linux Certificate.

As a fresher, even certificates issued by training centers (if they are well known) could give you an edge over other candidate who don’t have these certificates.

Our advice is that if you are a fresher, everything that gives your resume an advantage is good for you. So getting certified is a good idea. But make it a point to learn the topic that you are getting certified on. Why? All the certificate will do is get your resume selected for an interview. On the interview, if you are questioned on the topic, you should be ready to answer confidently.

 

 

Interview Tips for Freshers – Can I have your CV Please?

Congrats dear new graduate. Its commendable that you have been selected for an interview. So good job there. Now you are preparing to go that interview. All dressed up and everything. Good. So what are you taking with you to your job interview? Directions to your interview location, contact phone numbers of the HR folks whom you have been talking to about this position for freshers. Now how about your resume? You say – “but I already sent it to them via email. Shouldn’t they already have that on their system?” – True. Your HR contact probably does. However, your interviewer may or may not have it. And then will ask for a resume. You don’t want to look sheepish and say – “I already sent it” – no thats not going to help your job interview.

So a day before the interview, make sure you have at least 5 copies of your resume/CV printed out on good paper. And be sure to take these resume copies with you on your job interview.

Trust us! The candidates who readily offer an extra copy of their resume looks good to the interviewer!

Advice for Freshers – Keep yourself updated

So Freshers, you are looking for a job and its taking some time. Ok. Not a big deal. The economy, the industry in which you are seeking a job, your location – all of these bear into your success rate and timing.

And in the meanwhile you are hitting all the job sites and applying away happily. Good. And this – applying for jobs – is in fact a fulltime job for you.

All the same, we have an important piece of advice for all of you freshers in this situation. Look at the job descriptions closely. We mean, the jobs that you are going after. Say, you are a Computer Science Engineer and looking for programming jobs. eg. Php programmer. Look at the job that really want. And look at the job description to see what they are looking for in terms of skillset – are they asking for php experience, are they looking for knowledge in winrunner, are they looking for some Microsoft ASP.Net knowledge.

Now make a note of the top two skills that they are asking for in your job descriptions. Now ask yourself do you have these skills? Are you good at it. Can you handle the interview questions in those skills. Now, when you are still in the job-search-mode, is the time to make sure you are adept at using skills. Go out and buy yourself a simple book on php (if that is the skill) and learn that language. Is there a good training center for that? For instance if you are in the accounting line, you need to learn tally – can you get enrolled in an course that teaches you these skills?

So identify the top two skills and go after them. You can

1. Learn by buying a book
2. Join some teaching institute like a software training center.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Learning by book is cheaper. And you don’t want to burn your father’s money unnecessarily 🙂

But some training institutes may offer certifications and some may offer placements. You also get to meet others in the industry who are trying to pick up these skills.

One way or another please do make it a point to keep learning and keep yourself abreast of the latest in your industry – that will help you land that job sooner than you think 🙂

Freshers’ Common Mistakes & Pitfalls – Part 1 – Waiting for the “right” job or “dream” job

Freshers, when they are about to finish their college degree and about to start out on a career have all kinds of notions and expectations. Frequently some freshers believe that there is a “right” job that they need to wait for.

Here is an important piece of advice for you. You can wait for your right job if you are still in college. However once you are out of college and once you are on your own, then you need to be less choosy. Yes. It sounds a bit harsh for career advice. But this is important.  “Oh, I need to get this job, then I will do that. I will follow that up with an MBA degree. Then a job in so and so company.” Yes. Planning ahead is good. We recommend it. But don’t get too hung up on your own plans. Don’t let your quest for your “dream job” delay the start of your career.

Let us say you are an electrical engineer and want a job in a related field. Sounds reasonable. But suppose you are out of college for 3 or 4 months and about to get a tag of “being jobless”, you now need to re-assess your situation. Sure. You can try for that EEE job that you always wanted. But we recommend that you widen your scope of search. Say, you are able to land a related job – hmm.. how about a job in Software Testing or a job in a college or university as a Lecturer or Assistant Professor. Maybe you don’t really like the job. But please do take it up. And then of course you can continue to look for that dream job as you move in your career. And that will get the “jobless” off your back which of course is good news by itself. And think of this job as a springboard for a better job. Also please keep in mind that every job is a blessing in that you will always learn new things and more importantly make new and interesting friends in a different industry or line of work.

We do hope all of you, readers of FreshersGateway, do land jobs that you desire, but in the meanwhile, do take our advice.

Good luck in your job search dear Freshers.

Resume/CV Tips – Part- 6 – Absolute Essentials

The following are some very essential (important) things that should be written very clearly on your resume.

1. Name. Yes, believe it or not, we have seen plenty of resumes where the name of the candidate is not clear. There are cases where you borrow your friend’s resume to create your own copy and then you change everything except the name! Yes! We have seen such resumes as well. Sometimes people use two different names on the same resume. Stick to one version of your name and state it clearly near the top of the resume.

2. Phone Number. If its a landline number add your area code (STD code) in front of your resume. Eg. 011-823312738.

3. Email Address.

Please ensure the above essentials are clearly written and are visible at the top of the resume.

Resume/CV Tips – Part- 5 – Proofread it!

Proofreading is the process  of going through your content to eliminate spelling mistakes etc.

Please proofread your resume at least twice. Thrice over a period of two days is better. Then definitely, we mean definitely, get one of you friends or relatives to have a look at it and ask them to proofread it to eliminate any common mistakes. You cannot catch all the mistakes yourself – so you need someone else to look at it.

Proofreading your resume to get rid of mistakes is too important to ignore.

1. By all means avoid typos (spelling mistakes.) Spelling mistakes on your resume is going to spoil your chances of landing that job.

2. Look for mistakes in your dates (like year of graduation.)

3. Ensure your email is spelt correctly and is visible near the top of the CV.

Resume/CV Tips – Part 5 – Bullet Points

Recruiters and employers don’t read the full resume. They just glance at it. So avoid long paragraphs of text. Also be sure to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, your educational qualifications and your project details whereever possible.

 

Instead of using a long paragraph describing your experience at a company break it down into a few bullet point like so:

1. Was Tech Lead in the team.

2. Oversaw team building activities.

 

Freshers Job Interview -Common Interview Questions – 1

As a new grad, some job interview questions are just too common. You need to be prepared to answer these questions.

The most common question and you will get this question 99.99% percent of the time is this:

“Tell me about yourself”

So what are they looking for here?

1. They want to know more about you – stuff you could not say on the resume/cv

2. They want to know how you present yourself when you talk about yourself.

This is a very open ended question that you can use to your advantage. You can even tell them that you are superman – just kidding guys 🙂 But seriously, you can tell the interviewer stuff that you can’t otherwise say. For example that your father was a school principal or that you are a son of a doctor.

So you should have an answer for this question.

1. Quicky tell them what you have studied.

2. If you have an interesting family background, then you may say a quick sentence about that.

3. If you grew up in a different part of the country or know multiple languages you can say so.

and so on. but do plan on answering this question. Most job interviews have this question as pretty much the very first question.

Also keep it short so that you don’t test the interviewer’s patience 🙂

Resume/CV Tips – Part 3 – Extracurricular Activities

Since you are a fresher, most recruiters will look at your academic achievements and knowledge to hire you. But they will also look at your extra-curricular activities.

So make sure you have a sub-title called Extracurricular Activities at the end of your CV. You should mention anything that you have done in addition to your school work. Have you participated in NSS? Then list that here. Have been in Scouts, NCC, or done any other thing similar. Were you on the debate team? Are you a good sportsperson. Even if you have not participated in school matches, if you are good athlete do mention it here. You could say for example “Good swimmer.”

Or if you have any hobbies, please list them here. Examples are reading mystery novels, stamp-collecting.

Even if you were elected as a student representative at some point, that needs to be listed here.

 

Resume/CV Tips – Part 2 – Email

The email is a very important piece of information.

Create a good email address:

This seems like a very obvious piece of advice. But we have seen several people having non-businesslike emails. So here are some tips from FreshersGateway on how to create a good email id for your winning resume.

1. Create an email that is simple and clear.

2. Have your first name on the email.

3. Please avoid childish or crazy email ids. Superman, Batman, hotgal – these are not the kind of words you want on your email address.

4. Your email address should be business-like. Also avoid very long email ids.

 

Ensure the resume’s email is valid

Many recruiters will reach out to candidates through their email. Please make sure your email is valid.

1. Ensure that you are able to login to your email address

2. Ensure that you don’t forget the email’s password at any point.

3. Check your email at least once a day

Check your trash or spam folder

Sometimes the recruiter’s email may be sent to your spam folder or bulk folder in your email. It won’t show up on your inbox. So once a week please quickly glance through your spam folder.