It has begun. You’re in a college. In 2-4 years, you will be ready to spread your wings and take flight to a wonderful career. But are you employable?
People often think that being hired in a decent company or scoring the job role you want is about luck, or how smart you are already. You may have thought so yourself. “He’s so good at speaking English”, “She scored so well in her Board exams”, “My entire class is so much smarter than me”.
But it is not impossible to get your dream job, if you know what you need to be a good fit for the role.
What does it take to be placed?
Imagine a company that is looking for engineers. What would you want your employee to know, or be able to do?
A good employee for such a company will have to be a good engineer. If you’re applying for such a role, you’ll probably become a decent engineer, as you progress through your engineering degree, as long as you keep attending classes and do your assignments.
But there are other skills that companies test, and you don’t need to finish your degree to refine them, or attend extra classes to learn them, like for coding, for example.
Hone your Aptitude!
There are three elements of aptitude that companies always test candidates for, which you can start preparing right now. These are English, Analytical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability. The earlier you start, the better you will perform in these. A high score in Aptitude can take you a step closer to the job you are aiming for. It doesn’t matter how you’ve performed in these subjects before. Here are some quick tips on how to start preparing for Aptitude tests, one section at a time.
You need to be able to frame sentences properly, know where to put articles, what words mean and how they are used. Most companies test the basics of grammar and punctuation, and almost all companies test Reading Comprehension. So, how do you prepare for these?
Read, read and read. It doesn’t have to be a novel if you don’t enjoy long books. Pick up something small and go as slow or as fast as you like. Pick a newspaper you like and read the Editorial and the guest columns. This will also boost your GK, and GD skills for interviews.
- Keep a dictionary app on your cellphone or keep a dictionary in handy when you sit down to read. Try to figure out meanings of difficult or new words, and later check them in the dictionary. This will enormously improve your Reading Comprehension skills.
- Increase your exposure to English content: Watch English movies, TV series, YouTube videos, gaming streams, whatever you like. Practicing English doesn’t have to be all serious or boring.
- Go through a few books on vocabulary and Grammar. A few popular titles like Word Power Made Easy, and Wren and Martin are nice options to try out.
Scoring high in Analytical Ability requires being able to crack the pattern of a series, being able to arrange things under certain conditions and constraints, thinking visually, coding and decoding words and letters of the alphabet, and dealing with new types of puzzles, thinking on your feet. While a lot of this is dependent upon your natural logical abilities, you can learn how to structure your solutions better, and learn about the type of questions usually asked, which can help you score better in such assessments. Here’s how.
- Solve puzzles. This can be the daily newspaper crossword, a Sudoku, brain teasers, riddles and other kinds of puzzles. This can help you think visually, think out of the box, recall information quickly and arrange things to suit a given set of conditions.
- Play with words and information. Read about skills like critical and lateral thinking and practice them, reason what can make things similar and not so similar. This will help you in sections such as Odd One Out, Directions,Analogies and other such types of questions that many think are tricky.
- Pick up a popular puzzle book, like Puzzles to Puzzle you by Shakuntala Devi for example, and solve a couple of puzzles every week. This can be entertaining to do on Sundays.
You don’t have to be a math wizard to score well in Quantitative ability. The Quant section is more about gauging your ability to deal with day to day use of numbers. If you are familiar with your basic mathematics (say from class 6th to 10th), you’re probably going to score well. But you can always aim to be better. Here’s how…
- Practice, practice and practice. There’s so much math to wrap one’s head around in the college curriculum that one often forgets the math they learned in school. Pick up a book on Quantitative Ability and solve one exercise per day.
- Make cheat-sheets or flashcards of formulae and identities you often forget. Keep referring to them every now and then!
- Try to think of quicker ways of getting through a problem. Refer to YouTube tutorials, or ask your teachers if they know some quick tricks, if they’re game. They’ll probably have a lot of fun shortcuts to share.
- It’s also essential to keep testing oneself on these topics, so that all this practice you do can be personally checked, and so you may devote more time and energy to topics or sections you find yourself to be weak in. In fact, you should also keep assessing where you stand when it comes to the technical knowledge and understanding gained every year of your bachelor’s degree. The CoCubes Continuous Evaluation Programme has been designed to help students test their readiness in both Aptitude as well as Engineering subjects you may have learned that same year. Your goals become more achievable if you can keep track of your progress.
With all this practice, slowly but surely, you will get good even at sections you think you’re not good at. And by the time placement season arrives, you’ll be way ahead of your competition when it comes to assessments!
But what about group discussions and placement interviews?
Group discussions and placement interviews are important too, but there is no specific direction you can predict that these will take. Nevertheless, most recruiters test if you have a basic understanding of your job role, if you can perform well in the company environment and what your perspectives in life are. Here are some practices to adapt that can help you in group discussions and placement interviews.
- Research about the role you want to take up. If you dream of being a Software Developer, read as much as you can on what a Software Developer does, what he/she needs to know, which subjects you are required to be good at for that role, and what the latest developments in the field are.
- To give yourself confidence in your spoken English, start practicing now! Speak with your friends in English. More importantly, start thinking in English. Most people think more than they ever put into words. You’ll get a lot of additional practice this way and become faster and more confident in English speaking.
- Keep yourself aware of current affairs. This will help you in your GD sessions. Form your own opinions, by thinking critically and by reading a variety of literature on the same.
- Learn about yourself, and about where you were born, where you were brought up, where your college is and other places around it. Learn about the history of the place, the geography and the culture. Most recruiters appreciate candidates who are aware and appreciative of their environment. And yes, Be honest!
- Have a hobby. Do something that makes you happy. Or do something that spreads happiness. It will add a neat set of extra-curricular activities to your CV, which companies regard very highly.
Getting a good placement is easy, provided you start in earnest and keep at it. A little bit of effort every day will go a long way in making your dreams come true.