If you’re wondering how to prepare for campus placements, this blog is just what you need. We’ve put together a handy checklist and step-by-step guide to getting set for your interview.
Campus placements from IITs make national headlines because of starting salary packages that go into crores. For the rest of us mere mortals, just finding that first job – preferably through a campus placement – would be quite an achievement. When you don’t land a campus placement, you might find yourself applying for job after job only to hear “we don’t hire freshers,” on repeat. This can be an incredibly frustrating experience. How exactly do you stop being a fresher if nobody will hire a fresher?
To avoid all that misery and hopelessness, it would definitely help to land an on-campus placement. At least you’re only competing with your college mates, rather than being pitted against people with on-the-job experience.
Biting your nails already? You aren’t the only one. Lots of college-goers struggle to understand how to prepare for placements. Why not channel that nervous energy into positive action with simple moves to prepare for campus placement opportunities? If you’re ready to get your placement preparation underway, start checking off items from the following list:
8 Tips to Build Good Career Profiles for Campus Placement
- Prepare Your Resume
Several online tools like Google Docs, Canva, and Resume.io provide you with helpful templates, which can be a good place to start in terms of layout and presentation.
But what exactly should you say in your resume, since you have no past jobs to speak of? Good alternatives to include are your interests, hobbies, awards you may have received, clubs or societies you might have been part of in college, and social work you may be involved in. You should also mention diplomas or certifications, and additional courses you might have undertaken with pride.
Don’t forget to include your educational qualifications and personal details. Include the languages you can understand, speak and write, especially if you have some additional ones in the mix.
- Create a LinkedIn Profile
This is like the business equivalent of your Instagram, and a must-have for every working (or soon-to-be-working) professional.
All your academic or professional flexes go here. Any professional contacts you have (or that your parents or mentors can extend to you) should be added here to boost your profile.
If you don’t know what to add to your LinkedIn, ask your parents, or stalk their bosses, or your own professors to understand what goes on a LinkedIn profile. Hint: you don’t post pet and party pictures on there. Ever.
You can also start following key figures within your sector, to not only get a sense of LinkedIn-appropriate behaviour, but also to read up and get prepared on group discussion topics for placements.
- Network and Build Connections
Ask parents, educators, and mentors to make introductions on LinkedIn and in real life. Then, ask if you can help, rather than asking them to help you right off the bat. That’s the first rule of networking. If your parents work in the same sector, start accompanying them to networking events where they are allowed a plus-one, or where family is welcome. This enables your campus placement preparation in another way: You learn how professional casual conversation works, and how people interact with one another in a professional setting. This does wonders for your confidence.
Linked to our previous point, you can also network with people from your sector on LinkedIn. You don’t need to say much until you’re confident; you can begin by simply responding to opinion polls and hitting like for write-ups that resonate with you.
- Pursue Relevant Internships and Experience
That resume you’re struggling to build becomes a lot easier to put together when you can talk about relevant prior experience. It also gives you an edge in the campus placement selection process.
Internships often exploit this need, but it might pay dividends to accept internships without pay, and work hard at them to pick up learnings. Plus, working in an office environment helps you understand how you can answer questions like “why would you be a good fit for this position” because you start overhearing this type of conversation, or might even gather experience in answering such questions during your internship interviews.
Your internship also allows you to make connections. Your connections can coach you for your campus placements or become professional references for your resume.
- Acquire Certifications and Additional Skills
An additional certification or allied skills development is a critical part of aptitude preparation for placements.
Having these “bells and whistles” gives you greater confidence, an edge over your peers, and a chance to meet other people from your sector. You might just meet your future boss – or at least someone who can offer you mentorship, an internship, an interview, or updates on job vacancies – at a certificate course.
- Sign Up For Extracurricular Activities and Projects
This gives you much-needed fodder for your first resume because like we discussed, you don’t have prior jobs to list and describe.
Although you might be tempted to follow your friends around, or pick “cooler” activities, resist and choose activities and projects that align with your career path.
Pro tip: Think about how you would present various options at a campus placement interview and pick the activity, project or club that would be most impressive, and easiest to sell as “relevant experience” to that “why would you be a good fit for this job” question.
- Practise Interview Skills
If your parents and teachers are honest, they’ll probably tell you that job interviews give them the jitters to this day. The best way to overcome this nervousness and go in prepared is role play.
Here’s how you can rehearse for your campus placement interview:
Step 1: Get together a typical list of questions for your job and sector, and prepare your answers.
Step 2: Interview yourself in front of the mirror, to begin with.
Step 3: Pick a parent or mentor to role-play as the campus placement interviewer with you.
Step 4: Get feedback and make improvements.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you are fully confident.
- Create a Professional Portfolio
If you’ve had an internship and have been involved in relevant activities and projects, you might just have a handful of items that you can put together to create a portfolio for your campus placement interview.
For example, maybe you want to be in advertising and haven’t got any real-world advertising experience, but your college projects and the poster you created for your college festival are a good showcase of your abilities.
You don’t need anything fancy for your campus placement portfolio. A neat presentation in Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, with (readable) screenshots of your work, will do the job. Keep it short. Your interviewer probably doesn’t need 60 slides. Just three to six will do.
Final thoughts: You may be right for the job, but is it right for you?
Preparing for campus placement interviews is serious business. You need to prepare yourself and your paperwork. But have you ever given thought to what the best-fit job is for you? Have you ever thought about whether your personality traits and the career you're pursuing align?
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