How Social Networking And E-Recruiting Can Get You Hired

by Jaineel Aga

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Getting Consulting Jobs In India.

There's always something happening on campus; there's always something going on in terms of clubs or sororities or frat houses. Make sure that you have your ears glued to the right sources. Every U.S. university has an e-recruiting website. It's almost a given that every university here has a recruiting website. It's the job portal that becomes really active during the job recruiting season. The problem, though, is that most people log on to the e-recruiting website only during the job season.

Instead, I had an RSS feed, that sent new updates from the e-recruiting system from the first day I landed on campus. This served 2 purposes: A) to know what kind of campus opportunities would be available to me, and B) to always be on the lookout for opportunities which had nothing to do with a full time job and nothing to do with internships, but provided an opportunity to actually build a resume. In fact, that's how an American Red Cross volunteer position I held came about; I found out about it only because it was posted on e-recruiting. That is where a lot of other people applied as well during the job phase. Some people only look at it when they know the consulting companies are coming, when the finance companies are coming, but I looked all the time, and that's how I got that position.

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There's always something happening on campus; there's always something going on in terms of clubs or sororities or frat houses. Make sure that you have your ears glued to the right sources. Every U.S. university has an e-recruiting website. It's almost a given that every university here has a recruiting website. It's the job portal that becomes really active during the job recruiting season. The problem, though, is that most people log on to the e-recruiting website only during the job season.

Instead, I had an RSS feed, that sent new updates from the e-recruiting system from the first day I landed on campus. This served 2 purposes: A) to know what kind of campus opportunities would be available to me, and B) to always be on the lookout for opportunities which had nothing to do with a full time job and nothing to do with internships, but provided an opportunity to actually build a resume. In fact, that's how an American Red Cross volunteer position I held came about; I found out about it only because it was posted on e-recruiting. That is where a lot of other people applied as well during the job phase. Some people only look at it when they know the consulting companies are coming, when the finance companies are coming, but I looked all the time, and that's how I got that position.

In an Indian context, it's slightly difficult when looking at the tier 2 colleges. My undergraduate college, even though it was one of the top private colleges, didn't really have an e-portal to manage jobs and placements; it was more on an ad-hoc basis. When a job opportunity came through, we would be told through a common job board, where a piece of paper or a document stuck on the board would provide details of the job profile.

This is one of the challenges, especially for Indian students: you have to dig outside of the university network. These kinds of opportunities may be difficult to come by on their own. You  have to take the initiative of networking with companies that don't typically come to campus. Where can an Indian student find such opportunities? We've already discussed the power of networking, but today there are various web portals like LinkedIn that have various job postings available directly applicable to undergraduate students. Try to work for a startup or hold an unpaid internship if you have to so that you can gain solid experience and build your resume.

While I was in engineering in Mumbai, a start-up based out of the entrepreneurship cell at IIT Bombay came to recruit for seniors to work on a patent outsourcing start-up. At least 3 of my classmates lapped up this opportunity and used this experience to sell their resume. One of them is in California with Microsoft, one is with Apple in the U.S. and the third one chose to work full time with the company today.

I leveraged the e-recruiting website at Duke during a lean phase, in the middle of the spring semester when activity on the portal had significantly reduced following the core recruiting season. The key is to always be on a lookout for opportunities that are aligned with your goals.

To set the record straight, a few of my classmates who had also understood the importance of building their resume on the way and here is an example  of a success story from a classmate. Every year Stanford holds a big entrepreneurship meeting (I think it goes on for a couple of days, probably a week) where business ideas from students across campuses are presented. First, you present your idea internally to your college, then 1 or 2 are selected to fly to California and interact with venture capitalists and professors.

This was another thing that I applied for, but given that I really had no data to back up my entrepreneurial spirit, my application wasn't approved; however, one of my colleagues in the same program did get selected for this program, and that was something he ended up putting on his resume as well. He had been part of a small start-up company back in Hyderabad, and he leveraged that, even though it was a tiny company, conceived straight out of undergraduate school. He leveraged his story to get shortlisted to go to Stanford and be a part of the entrepreneurship summit. Plus one on the resume for him!

There are plenty of opportunities available on every campus, but you  have to dig for them. There are at least 5 start-up competitions at various points throughout the year where you could present a business plan. There are at least 5 or 6 clubs doing interesting things. For instance, at Duke there is a club known as the Smart Home, where they build a house that's 100% sustainable, where everything will be built and powered using renewable energy, and any and everything out there is completely eco-friendly. That's a very interesting project they are working on, a great bullet point on your resume and a great story to talk about during your consulting interviews. One of my friends who worked on the Smart Home project is today an analyst with Blackrock in New York.

Anything that you do that differentiates you and shows that you have drive outside of the classroom should go on your consulting resume, because it shows the consultants that you are intellectually curious and have the drive to push beyond the minimum requirements of the program.
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