Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tough days ahead for the 2009 batch - but there is hope

Let's have no illusions. The students passing out this year are going to be seriously affected by the current downturn.

Very little campus recruitment
To start with, campus recruitment has dried up. While, last year companies were competing the be the first to reach the campus, this year very few companies seem interested in conducting campus interviews.

Delayed joining dates
Even when campus recruitment has been conducted, the tentative joining dates are way out into the future (tentative being the operative word here). Some may never be asked to join, or they may be asked to take up roles that they may not want (Wipro recently gave freshers, recruited for their software divisions, the option of joining the BPO wing).

Very few jobs in the market
Many of the companies I have talked to in recent days have told me that they have very few or no vacancies, especially at entry and junior levels. The market conditions have to get better, not just here, but in the rest of the developed world as well, for this situation to change.

And even when the market bounces back...
Let's say the market bounces back next year and there are a lot of job opportunities. Most companies, based on their behaviour so far, would be looking to recruit the "freshest" freshers (2010 pass out) ahead of the still experience-less 2009 batch.

What to do?
There are few things that you, as a 2009 student, can do to redeem the situation. First thing to remember is that though things are bad, they are not completely hopeless. There are still jobs out there - they are just not so easy to find anymore. So, this means that you will have to be really enterprising to find job openings first, and then get yourself selected.

So how do you find the job openings?
  1. Exhaust the usual sources first - jobsites, newspapers, college notice boards, etc. Everybody is going to be doing that.
  2. Milk your network. Here is where you can join together with all your classmates and collectively improve your prospects. Let's say you have 30 people in your batch. Let's also assume that you've had 5 batches pass out before you. That means that you have a potential group of 150 alumni that you can tap. Out of this, say, a 100 of them are currently gainfully employed. Conservatively, they may be distributed among 30 companies. The equation is very simple now. If each alumnus can help one fresher into his company, the entire class will get employed. Voila!
You will need the support of your college, the professors, and the alumni association (if there is one), but it is definitely possible. can help you build this network quickly and tap into it. Get all your classmates to register and rope in your alumni too.

All the best!

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