How to be employable

I had a chance to address a gathering of about 150 “soon to graduate” engineering students a few months back. Here are my speech notes:


Transcribed and lightly edited:

Long term

1. Engineering is not domain specific and cannot directly teach you to do a job, and there is a very good reason for that. You should learn how to learn and that is the principal thing that hiring managers look for. Demonstrate your

initiative in looking up and exploring new things

2. Demonstrate an ability to learn-cultivate a habit of exploring and researching and learning about the engineering marvels around us

3. Develop depth and width Look at and explore all branches of knowledge. Understand and appreciate the value of the first year subjects from other branches that are a part of your curriculum Read a lot on diverse fields Eg Medical Electronics, Natural language processing algorithms and data structures in embedded.

4. Do not forget the basics. 1st and 2nd year subjects are where the fundamentals are built and explored. Always ask the question “What is the physical implication of what we are being taught”. Do not optimize your learning only for examinations. Often, topics that do not render themselves well to examination formats are the ones that are most applicable to the real world. While you are at it do remember what you learnt in school as well. That is helpful

5. Develop a mathematical acumen. Maths is the language of the universe, and of the business world. Learn to look at numbers and draw conclusions. Brush up your statistics.

6. Develop computer skills. I advise learning at least 1 programming language for everyone Do not limit your computer skills to FB and Instagram.

7. Develop communication skills, both verbal and written Start writing a blog. Grasp opportunities to speak in public.

For a specific job application/interview

1. Spell check and grammar check your Resume.

2. Do not lie on your resume on the skills section. There might be a listed skill in which the interviewer may have an expertise, and you may be grilled on that.

3. Prepare for the interview. Never go unprepared and hope to wing it.

4 Research the organization that you are going to interview for. It is always a big “no” when the candidate asks “What does this company do? in an interview.

5. Identify a few subjects and topics that are both relevant to the organization, and interesting to you. Prepare them well and try to steer the interview towards your strengths

6 Be careful with respect to your mannerisms when on the organisation’s premises. Dress professionally. Behave in a dignified manner. Be respectful to the interviewers

7. Take individual ownership in the project that you did. We did xyz is not valid as no one is hiring the entire team. identify the specific role that YOU played in the project.

These will probably of some help to folks out there!

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