How exciting must it be to have reached this juncture of life? The stage where the first thought towards carving your life’s course happens. The point of life’s innumerable possibilities.
These can be very confusing times. It’s always a great strategy to think ahead and make plans to build your profile, enabling yourself to stand out amongst your peer group, who will be graduating around the same time as you, with similar credentials.
In this article, you can look at 10 ways to build yourself a marketable profile, while you are still in college, to earn those extra merits that will push your resume ahead of others.
Awareness about the work culture in your desired industry enables you to stay on top of trends. It helps you gain first-hand experience of real-world projects and an opportunity to put your textbook theory in practice. The ability to demonstrate such an insight makes your profile more appealing than those who do not.
Internships at startups are generally considered more effective than at established companies, for students, in terms of learning and experience. You get more exposure to different sectors, have more responsibilities and make a greater impact while working for a project in a startup.
Wherever you end up getting your internship, make sure to get a striking review or recommendation from your supervisor when your program comes to an end.
If you are good with Mathematics and computer programming especially in languages like C++, Java and Python, this can be very helpful for you. As the name suggests, competitive programming is kind of a mental 9sport, where you use your programming skills to write code for some particular problems, under certain restrictions like low time and space complexities.
A few examples of good programming judges available online are Skillenza, Codechef, HackerEarth, HackerRank, SPOJ, TopCoder, etc. These are supported by companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc among others.
Hackathons are highly-engaging marathon-like events for people with a technical background, to come together and form teams with an intent to solve problems or resolve ideas within 24–36 hours is most cases. Every member on the team is assigned a responsibility and with their cumulative contributions as designers, UX developers, backend developers, project managers, etc, they create a working solution like products, mobile apps, etc by the end of the event.
It creates the perfect setting for networking with people having similar skills and interests. Your knack for creating innovative ideas and concepts while completing your project will not go unnoticed by recruiters of companies involved in the event.
Successful completion of a hackathon makes for a brilliant addition to your resume.
Having a working knowledge of digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Cloud Computing, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), etc, has never been more important as it is today.
All sectors of the IT industry are focusing on embracing these by rebuilding their platforms and solutions. To achieve this, they require relevant talent and are willing to pay higher salaries to those who qualify.
Addition of one or more certifications in one of the above-mentioned technologies will certainly give your profile the much-needed boost.
If your strength is research capability, then conducting new studies and experiments in your field of interest and getting the results published in IEEE could be one of the top-notch approvals that you could achieve.
Almost all tech companies that have R&D departments are members of IEEE. Being an IEEE published author gives you increased visibility and research credibility. Besides the IT industry, even IEEE itself offers positions to its members whose research ideologies and work qualifies them for their open positions.
From a job-growth and job-security point of view, mobile apps development is a lucrative career option. If you have any career interest in this field, it would be a useful idea to build an app as your project during your final semesters. You have to develop a working solution for a real-world problem and your app should have some features that do not exist in any similar app already available in the app stores.
Different operating systems require different platforms for app development. So, the more platforms you learn and master, the more sought-after you will be as a mobile app developer.
Join debate clubs, participate in MUNs or Symposiums (National or International) or take up leadership roles in college clubs and campus organizations. By doing so, you can add an effective extra-curricular attribute to your profile. They provide employers with proof of your soft skills like effective communication, leadership, and being a team player.
Make sure to bag a glowing recommendation letter from your institution’s concerned faculty, acknowledging, appreciating and validating these skills.
You can create your online professional profile by joining networking platforms like LinkedIn. It will help you to build and grow your network. You can reach out to your college alumni to get advice on choosing career paths and prepare for interviews.
You might get referrals from your contacts and also be able to extend your resume to interested recruiters.
Communication skills in a foreign language help finding jobs in MNCs where you can present yourself as a global employee. It’s a general industry observation that Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, German and Japanese are the topmost effective foreign language options for better job prospects in India.
However, do self evaluate before beginning this task as it’s not easy to be affluent in a new language, especially when you are still in college and have ample coursework to do. If and only if, learning a new language truly interests you and off-shore opportunities do excite you, you should go ahead with this plan. There are plenty of language learning apps available online like Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, Udemy, Memrise, etc.
You can volunteer to share your skills by joining open source communities like GitHub, Stack Overflow, etc.
An active GitHub profile showcases your continuous involvement in the programming community and completed projects if any demonstrate your software engineering skills.
A good Stack Overflow profile will help your recruiters to understand how competent and assisting you are.
If you have any such social profiles to showcase, make sure you provide the links to them when you are preparing your job applications.
As a quick guide to all the steps mentioned above, you can refer to the summarized representation below:
However, it is important to remember that consistent grades and scores on your degree mark sheets are as much relevant as having an advanced skill set while building your resume. You do not have to be the high scorer in your batch, but you should have good scores preferably in almost every subject through all your semesters. Losing focus on your course studies while in pursuit of extra-curricular credits will not create a good impression on your recruiters when they go through all your semester mark sheets.
Therefore, assess yourself and plan accordingly. Focus on what you can do and should do. Start working on skills that you think you are falling behind in. Finally, be happy and optimistic because it shows in your personality. A positive attitude is a harbinger of positive results.