I just sent a second congratulations to Srigar who was a fresher not too long ago. When I contacted Srigar, he was a fresher and looking for a job in the US. I started corresponding with him and helped him with his cover letter and resume. In his cover letter, he stated he was a 'fresher' and had graduated recently from Anna University with a Bachelors in Electronics and Communications Engineering. My first advice to him was to lose the word 'fresher'. He did not have to state that to his future employer and in my opinion, I thought it was more of a detriment than an advantage.
When you are applying for a job, you have to put your best foot forward and use every advantage you have at your disposal. I don't have to tell you that it is a competitive job market out there and that if you want a job in the IT industry, you have to find a ingenious way to stand out from the crowd.
Srigar had the skills for an entry level programmer position but he needed a company to give him a chance to prove that. I got Srigar to explain his senior project to me. He told me he worked in a team and together, they collaborated on the idea. Each member was assigned a module. He programmed his part in Java and added his classes to the build that he worked on. It was a fully functional service-oriented application with a UI that he helped designed and programmed. I asked if he acted as the team lead and assigned the tasks. He said no. I asked if he was the technical lead and provided the technical support. He said no. He was the programmer and he worked in a team with his fellow classmates.
Freshers have to realize that without any experience, employers and IT recruiters will have to look at relevant experience from your interests, hobbies and school projects. To stand out from the crowd, employers like candidates that are star programmers or natural born leaders. Freshers have a better chance in being selected for interviews if they can show that they acted as a lead of some kind, whether technically or on a personnel basis. Try to think back when you solved a difficult problem, dealt with a difficult person or had risen to a challenge. The more realistic the problem, the better it will be perceived as a work experience.
Srigar realized that his technical skills were better than most of his team mates. He said he was the only one who understood the problem when certain classes were missing. While his team mates were scrambling, he was looking for the implementation manual of the Web Server. He had a good grasp of the technical environment and knew how things worked technically. He knew that class files had to be in a certain directory when compiling, otherwise it would be missed and not installed.
Freshers should understand how things work technically. Instead of mastering the Java language, try to understand how Java works with the application server or the web server. The more you understand on how things work, the better equipped you are in figuring things out. Employers like candidates that can work on their own and can figure things out.
I provided Srigar a chance to be hired in Bangalore when a good friend of mine who worked for an offshore company was looking to double his staff. Srigar revised his cover letter and resume and presented it in person to the hiring manager. He was told to sit tight as he was reviewing thousands of applicants. In a month and a little bit, Srigar was hired and he went ballistic. Today, Srigar celebrated his second year anniversary as a Junior Programmer for a software company in India.
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