There are more than 4000 engineering colleges in India which churn out over 1.5 million engineers every year. However the employment scenario is quite the opposite. Having a degree is no longer enough; it is only the bare minimum these days. But colleges offer many more opportunities that could help us acquire new skills and in turn spruce up our resumes. Here are a couple of activities that one can enroll oneself in, beyond the course/curriculum, in order to stand out from the hordes of engineering students that graduate every year:
Set your priorities straight- You might have gotten into your Bachelors without a very clear idea about your dreams and targets. However the longer this goes on, the harder it will be to achieve what you are capable of. So set your priorities and targets, and allocate resources, including finances and time, to it.
Join a college club- A college has numerous clubs that you can join. The club may be directly related to your stream, which will provide you with in-depth knowledge. For instance, SAE clubs for auto enthusiasts, in colleges, provide memberships, and conduct programs which you can attend only if you’re a member.
Join an organization- Volunteering in an NGO is always a worthwhile cause and helps you develop emotional intelligence, while AIESEC provides you with a genuine organizational experience along with international exposure. Toastmasters provides you with a platform to hone your people skills and meet people in position of power looking to do the same.
Participate in MUNs- One of the ways to work on your communication skills and general knowledge is to participate in MUNs, and be a part of the circuit. With institutes across the country holding MUN, there is a lot of scope for building your personality through formal and informal interaction.
Submit research papers- With multiple journals existing across the globe, one can send research papers to multiple journals and have their work published. It adds credentials to your resume while providing content to talk about in interviews.
Attend college fests- Yes, you read that right. Attending fests can help you. Eating at the stalls won’t, but competing in events will. They cater to a wide range of interests and talents, and are appreciated by the society as holistic activities which test you on multiple parameters instead of one. Not to mention all the fellow students from other colleges you could meet.
Attend a summer school- Schools can help you bolster your confidence on a subject you are weak at, immerse yourself in new surroundings, gain cultural and institutional exposure all at the same time. Also, you can pursue unique courses some universities offer.
Online courses- If you want to gain better understanding on a particular topic or prepare yourself for a shift in your stream, this is perhaps the best and the most cost-effective option. One can decide their study schedule, decide on the courses they want to take and view videos multiple times, if they cannot follow the topic. Sites such as Coursera offer some of the best programs from prestigious universities. You can also opt to get certificates for the courses you complete.
Play sports- Teamwork, integrity, solidarity are not just big words, but attributes people look up to, including employers and interviewers. It is also an excellent outlet for your frustrations and stress, and helps you maintain your physique at the same time. Participating at a competitive level adds further to your profile, should that be a driving motivation.
Attend networking events- You meet people everywhere you go, so theoretically every event is a networking event if you play it right. However, there are events meant specifically for this purpose and they generally have a theme attached to it that one can attend such as entrepreneur meet ups, or hackathons. To quote a cliché, “A good lawyer knows the law; a great lawyer knows the judge.”
Intern- Your institute would have a dedicated time-frame for industrial training and internships, use that to get as much industrial exposure as you can, instead of working just for the certificate, and the final report.
The idea is simple- to stand out. In order to do that, one needs to offer something that sets them apart and is useful for the other party, be it another institute or a potential employer and let them know that you are better. Grades make you qualified, connections get you the job, and knowledge lets you keep the job.