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Fresher? Your job search questions answered!

April 16, 2010 12:56 IST

As another academic year draws to a close, students who will be graduating from graduate and postgraduate courses are no doubt apprehensive about the next step -- finding a job.

So what are the skills fresh graduates need in order to find a rewarding job?

Are there certain attributes that MNCs look for? Certain personality traits interviewers look for?

To answer these and anumber of other related queries, Amit Bansal (career counselor and trainer who heads PurpleLeap, an organisation that works with colleges to make students employment-ready) hosted a chat with Get Ahead readers on April 9, 2010. 

For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited chat transcript:

Follow Amit Bansal

Amit Bansal says, Hi everyone! I am Amit Bansal and I am looking forward to your questions!

sen asked, I mean to get into MNC what a fresher should learn ?

Amit Bansal answers, Sen, apart from learning technical skills (depending on the MNC and industry you want to go to) one also needs to learn Soft Skills.

mamu asked, sir, sir I am just completed my Class XII exams and am planning to work for BPO and carry on with my studies. what kind of future can I have in BPOs?

Amit Bansal answers, If you wish to join a BPO to continue with your studies, it maybe the right thing to do. Normally, experience earned in a BPO is relevant only if you wish to continue in the BPO industry. The BPO industry is here to stay and offers good growth. However, a lot of young people move out of it as they are unable to cope with sales pressure and night shifts on a longterm basis.

rajesh asked, Hello Sir,I passed out of college last year.I have completed my master's in computer science.I m not able to find a proper job.Although i have few programming skills,most of the companies ask for experience which i dont have.

Amit Bansal answers, Hi Rajesh, i believe that if you work on your soft skills and improve your resume, you will get a good job. Also, try to do some internships / projects that may give you experience even if they don't pay.

Jeev asked, Hello Bansalji, My son is 9 th standard and there is an opton of droping Maths, you think it is advisable to drop Maths? Other optional subject is Environmental science

Amit Bansal answers, Sir, it depends entirely on your son's aptitude. Please get an aptitude test done. let him learn according to his aptitude and without any kind of pressure.

ajay asked, what kind of preparation should freshers require for campaus/interview

Amit Bansal answers, 
Freshers should work on enhancing their 'self awareness'. They should understand themselves, their goals, strengths and weaknesses. The more 'self-aware' they are, the better they will perform in the GD/PI rounds. Also, they should do practice tests, GDs and interviews. They should also have an original resume and not simply cut-copy-paste someone else's.

Anand asked, Do you feel Management really makes a difference to a life of a businessman? Afterall, there are people like Adani and Dhirubhai who are only class 10 pass.

Amit Bansal answers, 
Training in management grooms a person to face the business world. It cannot teach a person to do business if that person has no aptitude for it. Let's put it this way - management training is like puting the icing on the cake. It can't help you if there is no cake!

Chidambaram asked, Dear Mr Bansal, I have often seen that the students who do better in colleges don't do that well in their careers. What is the reason? Moreover, those who are street smart they go on to do very well in their careers. Why is it so? Infact, companies too hire people who are more street smart, why so?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Chidambaram, that is a very pertinent question - one that all young people should ponder on. What you call 'street smartness' I would call Personal Effectiveness. It is the ability to bring out a high output with minimum input. Corporates today want people who are effective at the end of the day. Qualifications do not guarantee personal effectiveness. Young people should work on developing personal effectiveness by developing their soft skills.

Sundeep asked, how much weightage is put on soft skills for an experienced (2 yrs) MBA desirous of shifting his company? Can u elaborate on the importance of SS vis-a-vis the stress on domain knowledge?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Sundeep, Soft Skills will be just as important if not more important than domain knowledge. A corporate is not scared of hiring someone with limited domain-specific knowledge as long as that person is trainable. But it would stay miles away from a person who does not have the right attitude / soft skills.

AmitV asked, Hi, My Brother is completed hi 10th & Diploma(E & TC) in 2002. Till then he had no gap in his education. After that due to some crisis on family front, he could not continue with his education and had to look after the family business. However re joined part time BE (E & TC) (Pune University) in 2006 and will complete it in 2010. Thought being hard working and good in academics his resume will now show some Gap in his education. What do you think are the Job prospects for him. Regards

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi AmitV, Your brother should do some practice interviews. He should work hard on answers pertaining to the gap - he should be able to explain the reasons for the gap and also prove that he did not waste his time and actually grew in that period. If he can do that, he will get a good job. The gap is really not the point. What he says about it and his own confidence will matter.

VJ asked, What do interviewers look in candidates when they hire ?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi VJ, thank you for your question. Interviewers look for 3 things: 1. Can you do the job - ie do you have the ability? 2. Will you do the job - ie do you have the drive? 3. Will you fit in - ie is your attitude and work style compatible with the work culture of the company? They are scared of hiring a misfit.

jia asked, I have completed my MBA in HR this year. Due to some reason, though I attend most interviews that are coming to my campus, I don't seem to get through. What kind of skills do you think are necessary in this field other than the knowledge that I've gained from my Degree.

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Jia, To crack the GD/PI rounds, take care of the following: 1. Make sure your resume really talks about you. The questions will come from your resume so you should be able to talk about what you have written. 2. Think seriously about what kind of person you are, what are your goals in life, what are your strenths and weaknesses. 3. As you become more and more aware of what kind of person you are and where you are headed in life, your clarity and confidence will show in what you say and how yo present yourself. 4. Do a lot of practice GDs and interviews

Shiven asked, Mr Bansal, There is something called genetics and inherent nature of human being. By coming to training institutes and developing skill, to what degree you feel a person can change his attitude? I mean if a person is dumb, he is dumb period. Do you think training can make his smarter when the fact is he is genetically a duffer and dumb.

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Shiven, The purpose of personality development / soft skills / personal effectiveness training is not to turn everyone into a CEO or a genius. It is to enable each person to bring out his / her highest potential. Whether one is a receptionist or a CEO, is he / she able to perform effectively and to his / her maximum potential. That is the objective.

panku asked, Mr Bansal, While applying for companies off campus, what important things should be kept in mind?? How should long should be the cover letter? Thanks in advance.

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Panku, Your covering letter should be brief and to the point. It should make the other person want to see your resume. 1-2 paragraphs are enough.

neel asked, hello Amitji, what if have work experience of 3 years and then I do a 2 years full time MBA course. will I still be called a Fresher in campus and will do I get a good chance fro selection

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Neel, No, if you already have 3 years of experience, you will not be called a fresher. And yes, you will get a good placement after your MBA.

jagzrk asked, I am a final year BE student. My aggregate is 59% till now with a semester remaining. As far as campus placements go, do the companies look for just percentage as a deciding factor, or your project experience and knowledge is considered? I have worked on a lot of freelance projects and even a research project, but I'm not 1st class. How to convince HR to get to the interview stage atleast to prove urself instead of being rejected at the marks stage itself.

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi, Most companies that come to the campus announce a cut off. They only allow students above that cut off to sit for the tests. If you are unable to qualify for many of those tests, apply off-campus. Write a smart covering letter and revamp your resume.

manoj 1252 asked,  Hello amitji, I have 4+ exp. in finance filed and now i am looking to do MBA courese from weilingkar. they said me 50000/- fees for two year. My question Will i do this course or not?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Manoj, It depends entirely on how much you are earning right now and what is your current job profile. Compare the average earnings of Wellingkar graduates with how much you are earning today and how much you would be earning after 2 years if you don't do the MBA. Also ask yourself if the MBA will make a serious change in your job profile. Then decide.

jagdishr asked, (jagzrk): Thankyou for answering, but isn't it true that off-campus applications are hardly ever looked at. Is it a good idea to establish personal contact with the HR person at employer's side and fix an appointment to prove yourself. Or is it considered rude to do that?

Amit Bansal answers, 
No, it is not considered rude. If you don't get a response by going the usual way, you should do what you have in mind.

rahul_77 asked, Does part-time MBA/MBS candidates is serious considered as euivalent to regular MBA canditates by MNC's

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Rahul, A part-time MBA is given consideration when: 1. it is from a good institute 2. the candidate has relevant experience Normally, it helps one go up the corporate ladder. However, a regular MBA is a better starting point for a fresher.

dpp asked, im currently pursuing engg. in IT & plan to do mba in IT out of interest. People say it doesn't have much scope. Is it true?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Normally, it is better to do a generalised MBA and specialise later. Since you already have an IT background, you will anyway be able to use your IT skills even if you do a general MBA. Having said that, I must tell you that many people who do specialised MBAs like - foriegn trade, HR, IT, etc. go on to perform generalised managerial roles. So it is best that you follow your interests and at the same time try not to limit yourself.

biju asked, sir i completed Bcom and MCA from india and worked in an IT service industry for 3 yrs as support engineer. i didnt find a career growth and i went to UK and completed a masters in IT and just returned. will i be considered as fresher? will i get a good opening here?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Biju, Yes you will get a good opening. No, you will not be considered as a fresher.

biju asked, sir i completed Bcom and MCA from india and worked in an IT service industry for 3 yrs as support engineer. i didnt find a career growth and i went to UK and completed a masters in IT and just returned. will i be considered as fresher? will i get a good opening here?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Biju, Yes you will get a good opening. No, you will not be considered as a fresher.

chiri asked, Hi Amit can you tell me for a working professional going for correspondence MBA program wil add any value?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi, It is better to go in for an executive MBA rather than a correspondence MBA.

vatsala asked, sir,i'll be going in for my 1st interviewfor a finance school.could you plz help me out by telling me few things to be taken care of

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Vatsala, Be well-prepared for technical questions. If you don't have a finance background, please learn basics. Also prepare well about what you have studied so far. Apart from that, think about your answers for FAQs like - tell us something about yourself, your goals, strengths and weaknesses. Do some practice interviews. Do not cram the answers. Simply know your points well. Be natural and confident.

Ayu asked, sir, im in my final year of engineering in I.T. the problem is i got a drop after 2nd year and thus my aggregate is only 53%...what are my job prospects on and off-campus? are there companies where the min requirement is below 55%? thnx...

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Ayu, If the companies that come to campus have a higher cut-off, apply directly to the companies of your interest. If your resume, covering letter and the way you talk to the HR managers are convincing enough, you will get the break you want.

hema asked, Hi I have 2 years and 8 months exp as a sw developer.Howeever i want to shift my career towards HR or something else .Can an executive MBA help me?And which are the good colleges for Exec MBA?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Hema, Yes, an executive MBA can help you. Most A grade and B+ category colleges would have an executive MBA. Make sure you go to a good college.

Balaji asked, hi. Amit sir, m planning 2 make my career in the field of networking. sir, will you b able 2 tell me that hw far is this network industry established in India??

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Balaji, The networking industry is well-established and is bound to grow rapidly.

Mirza asked, Sir i am in B.Tech final Year Computer Science and want to do a MBA in System does it better or doing in Computer is better

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Mirza, It depends on whether you would want to play a purely technical role or would you like to go in for a managerial role? After an MTech, you could also pursue further research.

TarunBewildered asked, I did my PGDM from MICA, not the flagship course but another regular course. My prob is that though got plcd, littl monetation was offerred, and certainly not the profile i wanted. its just been 1 month wroking and i am looking for changes...Shuld profile be the criteria or Money, as well my splstn is in Strategic Marketing & Comm (Brands & Mrkt Rsrch) Guide me the iondutries opening to the same...and how to go frwrd to get my dream job//??? PLZZZZz

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Tarun, For now, the profile should be your priority. Find out which industries / companies have the kind of work you want to do and pursue them aggressively till you get there. However, till you get through somewhere, don't quit your present job. Do your best in this job... take it as training... it will help you in the long-run.

biju asked, (biju asked, sir i completed Bcom and MCA from india and worked in an IT service industry for 3 yrs as support engineer. i didnt find a career growth and i went to UK and completed a masters in IT and just returned. will i be considered as fresher? will i get a good opening here? Amit Bansal answers, Hi Biju, Yes you will get a good opening. No, you will not be considered as a fresher. ) Sir u said i will get a good opening here in india. i have a doubt and confussion. i have a education loan of 10 lks and i have recieved a 2 yrs work permit in uk. is it advisable for me to look for jobs here or go to uk to hunt jobs? plz advice

Amit Bansal answers, 
Biju, go where the profile is good and gives you enough money to repay your loans. Take both things into account.

Saraswathy asked, Sir: Can you please reply: Sir, I finished my MCA in 2005 and after that got married and went to US. Worked there for 2 years and then came back to India in 2008. I went on pregnancy leave in between, so my resume shows lot of gaps as after passing out in 2005, I have only worked for 2 years. Now I am applying to lot of companies (even for freasher post) but no one calls. Any specific reason Why?

Amit Bansal answers, 
Hi Saraswathy, Try writing a covering note and talking beforehand to the HR manager wherever you apply. This should help them see the gaps in the right perspective.

Amit Bansal says, Dear All: Thank you for being here with me today. I apologise for not being able to respond to all your queries.

Amit Bansal says, For mre information on how you can enhance your career chances and develop soft skills, please visit

Amit Bansal says, Watch out for us in this chat room.. we will be back soon with a brand new topic for discussion.