SWE India Hosts Panel Discussion on Job Search Challenges

This panel event recap was provided by SWE Member Riya Shah.


Can you single out an event that changed you as a person? Last weekend, my father asked me this tough question while we were driving back from my grandmother’s place. After a few moments, I recalled how the internship crisis and loneliness in 2014 had made me introspect and grow manifold. Interestingly, as per my father, the decision to join the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) in the same year topped the list of transformational events. I was not only surprised but felt supremely proud to be part of the SWE community that was just lauded by my role model.

In retrospection, the SWE community has given me a plethora of opportunities to upgrade my technical and non-technical skills. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for me to give back to my source of growth by being part of a panel event.

In these dire times with failing economies and job crises, the SWE India group in collaboration with IIT Ropar organized a panel discussion focused on job search challenges in 2020 and how to overcome them. I had the pleasure to share the panel with the energetic and articulate Rinita, HR director of the technological giant Emerson in Pune, India. Being the brainchild of the professional development team, Dr. Asad, and Subodh, at IIT Ropar, ensured that the event hit the nail on the head for college students and early career professionals.

Here is an excerpt from the discussion which served the purpose of EASing out the grueling process of job searches, resume write-ups, interviews, soft skills, and many more.

Exploration

In the pool of thousands of applicants, how do you stand out with your 2-page resume? As Rinita rightly said, it is indeed a test of your communication skills. As part of the event, we discussed how to build a resume like a champion. The primary step is to keep it simple and structured. But the dilemma is—how do you make it content-rich when you are lacking industrial experiences or are new to the corporate world? I believe the key lies in exploring and exploiting all the opportunities available to you on the university campus or at your new job/internship. The top three attributes that not only helped me find the job of my dreams but also in outperforming myself are:

  • Passion towards one’s field of choice Not reflected through your GPA alone but based on technical projects you choose to do.
  • Ability to step outside your comfort zone – Through raising hands and opting for extended assignments, extracurricular activities, and leadership positions.
  • Learning mindsetCapability to learn beyond your course structure/job needs.

I loved the fact that beyond concurring to the above three attributes, Rinita added pointers to consider during the entire process of resume building and publishing. It felt like two peas in a pod who brought in their best experiences to help the students grow. Those shared by her were connectivity, ethics, and reception to feedback.

Awareness

What do you do after getting selected? How will your first 90 days at the company be? Each one of us has gone through the mixed emotions of excitement and nervousness for the first few months in our first job. With her extensive experience of mentoring academia, Rinita came to the rescue of the audience by answering these questions. Being her patient and energetic self, she shared the process effectively by dividing it into three distinct parts:

  • Work – This part involves the absorption of product knowledge, work practices, and tool adaptation. Here, you can find the knowledge gap you have and work towards it.
  • People – It is the part which focuses on each individual you come in contact with, starting from your manager, peers, HR team to admin team, security guards, canteen team, and developing a positive relationship with them.
  • Behavioural/ Psychological – The transition from university classroom to office cubicles can prove to be overwhelming, but Rinita shares that understanding and adapting to work culture can help you overcome it.

I felt nostalgic about my first few months in the first job and added about the importance of having a buddy and mentor who can guide you through these challenging yet, interesting times. I wish for every college student to gain awareness about this framework to enable them to use their 90-days most effectively. Because, as they say: “Awareness is like the sun. It transforms everything it throws light on.”

Skills

How do you ace your interview or your introduction to the management team as a new hire? The answer lies within honing and displaying your effective communication skills. As panelists, we got the chance to discuss the importance of soft skills. There were many which came out such as communication, teamwork, openness to feedback, and resilience.

Recently, while reading about the life story of Jeff Bezos, I understood how he loved trying and failing. The book quoted him: ” I believe we (Amazon) are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!), and failure and invention are inseparable twins.”

Taking the cue from the richest man on earth, I believe the skill of resilience can be a game changer when honed right from the college days.

We touched upon a lot of other topics such as common mistakes made by students during the application process, decisions of the pre-placement offer, preparation for an interview, and more. Watch the entire panel event here. To sum up, “Everyone has the fire, but the champions know when to ignite the spark.”

The panel event was an effort from SWE India and the IIT Ropar team to help students in igniting their spark.

The event would not have been possible without the superb organization by the SWE India team Paul and Sunayana.


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Author(s) Information

  • SWE India Hosts Panel Discussion on Job Search Challenges panel Riya Shah

    Riya Shah is a Functional Safety Manager at Mahindra Electric Mobility Ltd. Riya is an environmentalist at heart, reader by choice, and writer by passion.

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