Class of 2024: Campus placements unsuccessful? Do not lose heart, try these avenues instead

The next few months are crucial for final-year college students. It involves selecting a line of work, going through placement processes and interviews, and generally taking the first steps towards the rest of their lives. The process can lead to more questions than answers.

This series, the Class of 2024, aims to simplify the way to navigate the world beyond the campus by talking about the sectors with opportunities, ways to use online platforms and preparing resumes, among other things.

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The ninth of the 10-part series looks at the options for students who are unable to land a job through campus placements.

For students graduating from colleges and universities this year, getting a job — the first for many — would be on top of their minds. And this year, the road might seem especially hard given the market trends. But looking at the broader implications of post-college life, experts say students should start imbibing the nature of career paths.

S Pasupathi, Chief Operating Officer, HirePro, says that career paths may not always be linear, and individuals can face many types of setbacks in any chosen field. Students should develop a dynamic and flexible trait. If they do not get an opportunity in campus placements, they should start exploring the numerous other career options. “The job market can be competitive, and hitches may occur, but it is essential to remain proactive, stay persistent and remain adaptable to explore alternative paths and opportunities. If a candidate’s interests have evolved or if the person is not finding opportunities in the chosen field, consider reskilling and pivoting into a different career path,” he says.

Acquiring industry-specific certifications is one way Pasupathi says candidates can become attractive to employers. Candidates who are sure of their field can consider pursuing postgraduate studies such as a master’s to enhance their qualifications. This will arm them with more skills and knowledge.The COO of HirePro says those who miss the campus placement window can also explore government agencies that conduct independent recruitment examinations.

Aditya Narayan Mishra, Managing Director & CEO of CIEL HR, says “Students can bolster their employability through initiatives like the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), which mandates employers to hire a minimum of 2.5% of their workforce through this programme. Additionally, NSDC Fee-Based Courses, Technical Intern Training Program (TITP), and industry-specific online certification courses provide valuable skills that align with market demands.”

Entrepreneurship is an option for the enterprising kind. Doing short-term projects or internships can give them practical experience, which can be a path to full-time positions.

“After graduating, many people opt for internships to gain hands-on experience, which not only enhances their resume but also their skills,” says Mishra. “For newcomers to the job market, it’s a good idea to earn certifications in their field and focus on improving skills that are in high demand in their chosen industries.”

Pasupathi points out that not all companies may come to the campus. Students can try their luck through online job portals, company websites and networking platforms. He asks freshers to not limit themselves to their degree’s field as the skills and knowledge can be transferable to other segments.

Coursera says it has degree pathways that focus on skills-first learning, which aids in transferability. Students cannot afford to wait years for their degree to pay off, says the learning platform. So industry microcredentials have become an important part of degrees, creating hybrid credentials. Students earn a diploma and industry certificate and can use these to advance their career before graduation. This provides an immediate return on income on their education.

The New Education Policy is also paving the way for more such innovations that can drastically improve the gross enrolment rates and reduce cost of private education.

Foundit says students should be open to roles that may not directly align with their major but still allows them to develop transferable skills and gain experience. They can take these jobs and invest in online learning to arm themselves better and then use talent platforms to explore industry-specific jobs that closely align with career interests. Most smaller companies, startups and SMEs that may not participate in campus placements have their job postings on these platforms, says foundit.

Then there are career fairs — both virtual and physical — that can help candidates land jobs of their choice. Job seekers can efficiently manage their time during virtual career fairs by scheduling specific time slots to interact with employers.

The jobs platform suggests that graduates should not rule out freelancing and gig jobs. There are opportunities in writing, graphic design, web development, digital marketing and such areas. Also, these allow remote working opportunities; so students can save more and have time to add skills.

TeamLease Edtech estimates that there are a significant number of people who seek to gain work experience before formally entering the job market. This often takes the form of apprenticeship programmes, like the one being implemented by CSC Academy in partnership with TeamLease EdTech. This collaboration aims to make India more employable, especially in rural areas. They plan to integrate degree programmes with practical on-the-job training, creating a pathway for students to develop real-world skills.

The collaboration between CSC Academy and TeamLease EdTech aims to enroll one lakh (100,000) students in the next year, with programmes in diverse domains like banking, financial services, retail, IT, and more.

These initiatives are also in alignment with the Skill India Mission, a government initiative aimed at training millions in new-age skills.

The learnings and opportunities will vary and the career pathways will often not be linear. But, we hope through the guidance from the experts we have spoken to, the students can get some immediate actions that can help them.
We wish the Class of 2024 all the very best in their journey from campus to work.

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