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Career Guidance for fresh graduates

Getting your first job is like taking any major decision in life - be it buying a home or a car. Do your spadework well. Besides, you have hordes of information at the click of a button. Log onto the Internet and get details of the industry you want to work in. Also, visit company websites for relevant information, such as the directors' profiles, products/services, as well as the competitors' profile.

Until the D-day, keep updating your knowledge of news and developments - some general and also specific to your career space. Your level of awareness of current affairs on the industry can impress the interviewer. Newspapers and other forms of media and websites such as, not only advertise job openings but also have articles on the employment market, salary levels and current perquisites offered to employees and so on.

Compensation packages are a function of the status of the company in the industry, the geographic location, the type of industry and the economic cycle prevailing at that time. Knowledge of all these factors will help you negotiate for a market-linked salary and will give you the confidence to make some demands for yourself.

Good networking

It's a good idea to stay in touch with your school and college alumni, through the Internet. In fact, senior students especially those from the immediate previous batch, often give a correct picture of the job market, the best paid jobs, work culture and the present salary structures. You could then have a benchmark to negotiate for a good salary.

However, a word of caution here. Even if you know a senior, do not take his name at the interview, in the hope that it will fetch you a better pay packet, unless asked. If you need to give his reference, you may do so in the written resume, which is usually sent before the personal interview takes place.

Negotiate right

There's no harm in stating the industry benchmark on compensation packages, if you are asked by the interviewer. But remember that an unreasonably high salary demand may put off the interviewer. It is better to discuss salary ranges instead of haggling over a ballpark figure. Some employers may just want to test the candidates' ability to convince and negotiate, which is a reflection of the ability to influence others.

It's appropriate to allow the employer to initiate the discussion on salary. Also, do not be argumentative or dismissive of an offer at the interview. In fact, there is no harm in being polite and requesting for time to revert. However, according to Sudhakar, 'Do not stretch your luck too far during times when the job market is not too buoyant. Most freshers refuse jobs in the hope that there is always a better one waiting ahead. They forget that in the next six months or so, there is another batch of students hitting the job market.

Know yourself

Even as you are being interviewed for the first time, bear in mind that it may not be so for the interviewer. He may have met scores of candidates earlier and can see through falsehood or inconsistency. Always remember what you have communicated about your achievements and salary, either in your resume&nbspor, to the human resources consultant or, in your earlier round of interview with another company official.

Above all, be fair in your salary expectation, else you may be doing grave injustice to yourself. 'Candidates must know that salaries to some extent take into account the status of the educational institution and your personality,' adds Sudhakar, who explains how students returning after completing their postgraduate degree overseas expect sky-high salaries in India. Bargaining beyond set salary structures may put off a prospective employer, as from his perspective, 'The company needs to invest time and effort to train a fresher in the job,' adds Menon.

Know the jargon

In any salary negotiation, there are always trade-offs to be made between the employer and employee. Employers may question you on the structure of salary desired or, give you a choice. Hence, introspection about your needs and goals before attending the interview will help you answer these questions.

For instance, are you looking for employee stock options? Do you prefer a higher variable component in the salary which is performance-driven? What kind of perquisites or incentives do you seek from your employer? Is a secure job your priority or are you willing to handle start-ups? Joining a start-up is risky but offers tremendous growth potential if you are willing to risk the initial years and rough it out, as the company grows.

Know when to give in

It's important to get the right start in your career graph. But, it is also important to be able to read the body language of the interviewers or read between lines and be able to leave the conversation politely, if it is getting nowhere. If the expectations of both parties do not match, it is better to look elsewhere for a job.

In the final run, there have to be some compromises a fresher might have to make as it needs to be a win-win situation for both you and your employer. Understand that even as your prospective employer wants you to feel good about joining his company, he wants you at the least cost to company. Does that meet your expectations? Well, your first job could be one of your best learning experience in earning.

Being new in the corporate world, you may feel highly motivated about the whole new beginning of a new chapter of life. You should have a strategy in hand that can help in making professional dreams come true. The career goals, big or small, should be happening now. At the starting of work life you have to be pro-active in managing the fresh career and at the same time fulfilling the other important aspects of working in a corporation.

The new professional life can be challenging as well as a source of a great deal of learnings and knowledge sessions. Make sure that you reap the maximum and best out of it. Here is the strategy.

Have a Clear Vision

This is the first and firm step towards accomplishing your career goals. Moreover, the approach will also help you to measure his achievement at each step of a give task on a regular interval. If a person knows the ultimate point where he wants to take his career then things will be easier to a great extent. There are simple ways to do away with this task:

Wake up every morning and ask yourself; "what is the reason to wake up this morning?", "what all I have to achieve?" Such questions will spark a desire to commence one's day on a positive note and stay motivated throughout the day.

Manage Your Goals

You may never know what the new day has in store for you. The peers and the superiors may want to test your time as well as task management abilities and burden you up with assignments that will require you to collaborate and interact with people. In such cases, you will have to realize the importance of managing you goals effectively. This may include steps like setting priority to each task and doing them accordingly, working as team, approaching people and extracting the required information and finally constant networking with other professionals

Schedule Quarterly Meetings

You can interact with your boss or manager and ask him/her to schedule a quarterly meeting for you. This will be a thoroughly assessment meeting where your performance can be reviewed. Moreover, this can be utilized as an opportunity to get constructive feedback for your toil all these months. At the nascent stage of career, feedback and correct amount of guidance can prove to be extremely beneficial for you; therefore, such meetings will be definitely your secret weapon to win the new battle of life.

Be Professional Yet Polite

It sounds philosophical but the fact is that when you are nice to people then they go out of their way to help you out and you may never know what kind of help you may need in future. Being new in the organization, you can face problems any time till the time you are fully settled and in during such times your best behavior will pay off. When you are nice at work, people will definitely want to work with you and this will elevate your good will as well.

There are cases when you as a fresher will be asked to work cross-culturally and there your polite behavior will fetch you fortunes. Countries like Middle East and America are generally fond of polite professionals as they are very much attached to their culture and traditions.

Maintain a Professional Image

At the nascent stage of your career, it is important to maintain a very professional image. Now, this is not about behaving professionally but about wearing the right attire. Follow the corporate policy of wearing formal wear during the first 4 days of the week and for Fridays, a trend of wearing casuals is generally followed. However, make sure that the clothes you choose to wear are as per the company policy so that breach of regulations is not committed. Professional behavior coupled with the right clothing can make an extremely nice image of yours in the office setting.

Follow Career Guidance Online & Stay Positive

Nowadays, the professionals of this new era are constantly looking out for gigs that can motivate them to a greater level. For all aspirants and newbies in the corporate world, the job boards and portals online maintain a separate career guidance section where you can get to know about tips to be a great professional and have a rocking career. Moreover, you can also access the world web for a slew of career related tips and techniques. This approach can make your mindset positive and your approach to achieve the career goals will be much more aligned.

Reach out to your career goals by following these simple steps and make sure you remain positive through the ups and downs of your professional life.

Some resume writing tips

The first important thing is your resume should not have any grammatical or spelling mistakes. We see many resumes without any proper alignment of the text. Use a good font and size.

For a fresher it is always must to mention their percentages in the resume. Some people mention only for their highest degree and not for all. This is not acceptable in most of the companies. Try to keep your highest degree as the first in the table.

Your e-mail and phone number should be visible at first sight. Please do not expect HR to search and find your mail-id in the resume. Some people keep their mail-id in the header of the doc. Try to avoid this practice. Double check your mail-id and phone number before sending your resume.

Save the mail in your sent items whenever you apply to a company.

Do not apply to multiple companies in one mail. If you cannot avoid it at least use "BCC" instead of "To"

Do not keep your passport number in the resume, nobody will ask for that.

Do not keep more than three pages in your resume.

Make sure that your resume contains at least two very good projects but do not keep more than three. Generally two are enough. The more the projects you keep the more the questions you face.


You must be familiar with C, C++ and basic JAVA concepts

Following is the descending order of number questions from each subject interviewer will ask.

Data Structures (Very important) - Try to exercise simple programs on all types of data structures

Operating systems - Should be familiar with all basic concepts and definitions, try to learn some OS algorithms

Computer Networks (TCP/IP, ISO-OSI, Congestion, etc...)

DBMS (Basic definitions, Normalization with examples)

Software Engineering (s/w paradigms, types of testing and its definition and SDLC)

Apart from the above you should exercise RS Agarwal Objective Aptitude, Sukunthala Devi Puzzles and some math and English in old GRE book.

For a fresher no one will ask for J2EE, .NET and some other software in the market. Once you are selected they will train you according to their requirement. Please remove it from your resume unless if you get a call based on those software.


The most important thing is CONFIDENCE. Just attend the interview that you will get the job.

Be clear in your answers

Ask twice if you are unable to understand the question

Use paper if you are unable to explain. It is always easy explaining using a paper

If you do not know something, say frankly. But the answer should not be "NO" to basic questions.

Try to know about the company before attending the interview.

If a company is working on networking concentrate more on Computer networks and Data structures. You should plan your preparation according to the area of working.

You should be very familiar with your projects. Please do not keep some application projects in your resume if you are an engineer. This is ok for MCAs.

Please keep in mind that interviewer does not know anything about your projects, he will ask questions only from your explanation. Be well prepared about your projects.

I have personally seen many resumes got rejected in my company even after they cleared the written test because of bad resume and projects.

For management and HR rounds you should expose yourself that taking you into their company will be a big asset to them

Try to know about the company history, their area of working, no.of people, number of countries they work, CEO of the company and etc... Everything is available in their web site.

Do not keep hopes on trying on a fake experience; many companies started doing background verification...

You can work hard if you can just imagine software life, money and comforts you are going to get...Interviews are always simple it just depends on how confident you are