Placement Season: Grab your seat!

Getting placed is one of the best feelings in the world! Starting a professional career after completion of an undergraduate degree is a dream come true for several students. The companies that visit colleges for placements have different criteria. Some of them hire candidates based on fit and skill, others look for specific traits that match their needs.


October is a busy month for college students, with placements getting started at most colleges across India. Here are some tips to deal with the placement season jitters!

  1.        Understand the process:

Any company’s recruitment process typically starts with a written test or online registration. Shortlisted candidates are then called for a group discussion round and those who perform well are further called on for rounds of interviews. Be thorough with the placement policies of your college and the kind of profile you are looking to apply for. Keep a tab on the activities of the placement cell as to which company hires the most candidates for your preferred profile and how their selection process is structured.

  1.        Company specific research: Understand the company’s profile and what they are looking for in entry-level hires. Research their work-culture, structure, hierarchy and background. Visit the company’s website and try to understand the different kind of domains that the company is involved in. Understand their locations of operation and what their core values are. Speak to seniors and mentors who can give you insights on the company so you are adequately aware and can prepare accordingly.
  2.        Practice makes perfect:

Revise your resume depending on the job role and think about the way you present yourself in front of the interviewer. Google commonly asked interview questions and make sure you solve previous years’ test papers in order to be better positioned for the aptitude test. A week before the big day, go through your resume from start to finish and make sure you can give supporting examples for all the things you’ve achieved. Work on your communication skills and try practicing mock interviews with your friends. Also, finalize your outfit at least a week in advance so that there are no last minute surprises!

  1.        Final countdown: A day before the interview, stay calm and focused. Carry an interview folder with 4 copies of your resume, an ID and also photos / certificates where needed. Research the panel of interviewers a night before the interview so that you’re better positioned when you enter the interview room and don’t feel uncomfortable. Remember to have a good night’s’ sleep a night before your interview and don’t forget to carry your interview folder on the final day!


Talerang was invited to IIT Roorkee to train the graduating class of 800 students of the B.Tech program. The objective was to make them work ready before the placement season. The students were trained on their spoken communication, resume preparation, interview practice, first impression and etiquette. We also conducted 300 mock interviews to coach and train the students individually. Based on my experience at IIT Roorkee, I realized that confidence goes a long way in wowing an interviewer. You may not have all the skills as a fresher, but if you have the will and the right attitude, companies might be willing to take a chance on you! So go get your dreams!


Link to the published article:

Considering a career in Marketing? This might help you decide!

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a one-person shop, every business needs to have a marketing strategy and it needs to be implemented consistently if the business is to grow. It doesn’t matter if you have a stellar product. Unless it’s marketed well, its target base customers may never know it even exists!

There are several types of Marketing- Market research, Brand Management, Advertising, Promotions/ Sales, Public Relations, Written Communication, Event Management and Digital Media. While Market research has more to do with conducting research, analyzing trends and having an out-of-the-box thought process when required, Digital Media requires you to develop strategies for an organization’s social media marketing platforms and create progress reports for clients. Event Management requires you to have a creative mindset, excellent organizational abilities and leadership skills.

Depending on the kind of business you’re involved in, your firm’s marketing strategy needs to be nurtured accordingly. Most successful marketers today are revenue-driven and know their market. They are known to create remarkable customer experiences, use customer data to come up with effective marketing campaigns and work backwards from the product launch date so as to ensure consistent results.

Being a Marketing major is not compulsory to be interested in the marketing space. Here are a few skills that you might want to build on before entering the creative and deadline-driven world of marketing:

  1. Identify your target market: Anybody or everybody might be potential clients for your product. As a marketer on a strict budget, what you need to identify is who your ideal customer is. You might define your ideal customer in terms of income, age, geographical area, number of employees or revenues. Only after you’ve identified your primary market can you actually start devising your marketing campaign.
  2. Analytics: Marketing analytics is the measurement and optimization of your marketing activities. Since marketers now have access to a tremendous amount of data, they are expected to focus on how their marketing efforts are performing and adjust/modify them accordingly. Factors such as number of visitors to your website, bounce rate, conversions, number of shares on social media, number of tweets during a webinar and number of brand mentions from an event are just some of the factors that brand marketers these days tend to study rather deeply. The ability to understand, interpret and draw inferences from the market is an important skill for any budding marketer today.
  3. Ability to write: Digital marketing areas such as content marketing, social media messaging and search engine optimization all have close ties to quality writing. As a marketing analyst at any firm, you’ll be expected to interpret what data shows and communicate the results to team members who would build targeted and engaging creative pieces. Without clear, concise and well-articulated research interpretation, there’s not much that can be done.
  4. Interpersonal skills: The ability to collaborate cross-functionality is one of the key traits of any successful marketing team. The best marketing ideas come from brainstorming, teamwork and collaboration and having a strong cultural fit with other departments within the company. Candidates who fully comprehend how the company functions will be better at highlighting the company’s best features. Taking initiative and coming up with out-of-the-box ideas also goes a long way.

Entering the marketing sector does not only mean developing the business, it also means building your ability to make decisions and inculcating various other values and skills in you. It involves the art of knowing your customers and catering to their needs in the most effective manner. It’s a two-way process where you not only nurture the business but also develop yourself. The marketing world is full of things to learn and lots of opportunities to grow as an individual!

Link to the published article:

Jobs in the Creative space – becoming more rewarding over time


What are jobs in the creative space? These are roles or industries that are based on individual creativity with the potential to generate revenue.

Broadly, creative industries have been categorized into advertising, marketing, architecture, crafts, design (product, graphic and fashion), performing arts (theatre, dance, music) and visual arts (drawing, painting, photography and filmmaking). (Source:


Jobs in the creative space are now in serious consideration when students are graduating. Previous generations were not as lucky when it came to choosing the profession they wanted to pursue. It is estimated that as much as 45% of India’s employment could come from the Cultural and Creative Industries. (Source:


Here are some things to mentally prepare yourself for before signing up for a job in the creative space:

  1. Flexibility: If you’re planning on entering the creative sector, you need to accept the fact that your work timelines might not be well structured. Since artists tend to work whenever their creative juices are flowing and when the entire team is producing work, office hours tend to not be fixed. Also, since artistic work involves a lot of freelancing, you might be filled with work for a few weeks and completely devoid of work for some weeks to follow.
  2. Appreciation of the artists themselves: Artists tend to be completely immersed into their work. There are thinner boundaries for them between their personal and professional life and their work tends to be their passion. They take pride in their creations be it music, writing or art. Working with them effectively often requires the ability to understand and appreciate their personalities in addition to their creative contribution.
  3. Patience: It may take some time before your work is recognized at a job in the creative space. You may need to wait before you’re appreciated and rewarded for your work. Being patient is a critical trait that you need to inculcate as an artist.


Interestingly, technology and digitalization is disrupting the creative space. Graphic designing, 3D printing and digital magazines are evolving. Acting for online channels such as YouTube and Netflix is also picking up rapidly. Designers, musicians and comedians are now paid well and awarded recognition.

Companies are hiring creative people in mainstream roles at competitive salaries. Applying for creative jobs no longer needs to be considered as a breakaway from the traditional job sectors. You could be financially successful and working towards your passion- if you find the right click!

Link to the published article:





Skills required to enter the start-up sector

The start-up ecosystem in India has grown significantly in the last 5 years. Opportunities for funding, and a savvier Indian consumer have helped. From 3,100 start-ups in 2014 to a projection of more than 11,500 by 2020, there’s a lot of hype about working at a start-up. These organizations are beginning to change the outlook among Indian youth towards jobs. (Source: TheNextWeb)

After speaking to several entrepreneurs in the start-up space looking to hire young talent, I have highlighted some of the skills, mindsets and behaviours that these organizations expect from their staff.


  1.      Entrepreneurial spirit: As a part of a dynamic start-up team, each person on the team is expected to think like an entrepreneur. This involves risk-taking, ability to solve a problem rather than delegating it to someone else and ideating. You should be able to take initiative without hesitation.

Departments and designations are secondary – everyone is working toward growth and a common vision and should be willing to go the extra mile for the bigger picture.


  1.      Passionate about the company’s mission: A person entering into the start-up sector should be passionate about what the company stands for and confident about the ideas he/ she brings to the table. Working at a start-up is seldom smooth sailing: there are often extreme highs and lows. If you’re passionate about your work you will be more likely to work harder and do justice to the tasks assigned to you. Additionally, passion and conviction in your product is the first step to convincing customers that you have something worth buying!


  1.   Getting the job done: You are responsible for the job assigned to you, no-one else is going to follow up daily with you. Ownership is critical which involves the ability to solve problems that may not be in your domain.

Being comfortable with MS Excel, PowerPoint as well as applications such as Google sheets and maps will increase your efficiency at work. You will have an endless list of tasks on your plate everyday so get ready to prioritize and multitask! At the end of the day, you need to ensure that each day of yours is productive and irrespective of the obstacles, you are inching toward your goals! The ability to influence and motivate people goes a long way in a start-up environment.
Enter with zeal, the ability to work hard and be flexible with your work. If things go well, you could see tremendous growth in a short span of time! Irrespective of how things go, most start-ups ensure young talent a steep learning curve and the experience of a lifetime!

Link to published article:


How crucial are extra-curricular activities to a student’s overall development?

Research shows that having an impressive academic track record might not be enough to secure a job after graduation. Employers today believe that a degree alone is not indicative of a well-rounded graduate. According to most corporate recruiters, a University should be seen as an overall transformative experience rather than focusing just on academics. So, what else can help?


70% of businesses believe extra-curricular activities make job-seeking college graduates stand out from the crowd (Source: Prospects, UK). Extra-curricular activities play a vital role in developing and harnessing essential skills in students. Here are some ways that doing activities outside your academics can help you!


  • Time management: As a working professional, you will be expected to get a variety of stuff done every single day. These tasks may include meeting work-related deadlines, doctors appointments and other personal work too. They will require task prioritization, organisational ability and multi-tasking. Most clubs and societies on campus require you to stay back after college and take out additional time for the activity. It requires you to balance your energy and ensure it doesn’t hamper your academic performance. Given peer pressure, you also need to ensure that the tasks assigned to you are done on time. This is a great way to start learning how to manage multiple tasks and still keep your grades intact. Employers are impressed when they see that a student has not only done well in their academics but also had the bandwidth to make a mark elsewhere. It also shows that the person isn’t boring or unidimensional and can make time for their interests and passions!


  • Positivity and initiative: The highly competitive and ever-evolving job market requires the candidate to grasp things quickly and always have a positive attitude toward work. This can be inculcated by participating in extracurricular activities at college. For example, organising a college festival might require you to look for sponsorships, which might not be always be smooth sailing. Sometimes events go well, at other time the turn-out isn’t so great. As the organizer, you need to keep your chin up at all times! Additionally, since students are the governing body at such college societies and festivals, they need to be self-starters. There is no-one to spoon feed them how to do each task. They have to take initiative and figure out everything themselves – from the planning to the execution. This ability to learn quickly and take initiative is much appreciated in the work world.


  • Leadership and team-work: Extracurricular activities provide a platform to students to build leadership qualities by taking up responsibilities. Most such activities require students to work in teams and delegate work to one another, thus inculcating the very important skill of how to get your work done. Since most college positions are unpaid, there is a lack of proper hierarchy in college student bodies. As a result of this, getting your work done is an art in itself! You need to learn how to function in teams more effectively and extracurricular activities help you achieve that.

Employers are looking for potential employees who are great communicators, can think outside the box and are able to perform well under pressure. All you need to do is demonstrate to them why you’re that person. Extra-curricular activities are a good way to go about it since they help in the overall development of a student. They play a significant role in creating a bridge-to-career and help you stand apart from the crowd when applying for jobs! 

Link to the published article:


Introspection is critical to select your specialization

After finishing with the class XII Board examinations, or your college degree, students in India and their parents spend a significant amount of time deciding which stream they want to pursue further. After speaking to several such students and their parents, I realized that we tend to spend a lot of time taking advice and doing research. However, the choice is more personal than anything else.


Instead of agonizing over what is the “right” choice, it’s more important to reflect on who you are, and what you want from life! First, focus on the following 3 things. The choices will follow.

  1. Self Awareness: 

Take the time to think about what your interests are. Which subjects do you truly enjoy studying? What do you like to read about in your free time? What kinds of people do you admire and what news do you actively try to keep up with? Any path requires hard-work, so if you enjoy the subject you are more likely to put in the hours. What are your strengths? What comes naturally to you? It’s a competitive world, so you want to be good at the stream you pick.

Now think of the intersection between your interests and your strengths and look for streams accordingly! For this, you need to believe that there is something that you truly love doing and you will find it.


For example, if you are passionate about music but cannot sing, it’s probably not a good choice. If you are excited about numbers and are also a math whiz, that makes sense for you!


  1. Life vision:Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Identify your end goal and work backwards. Your degree should only be an enabler in helping you meet your larger goal. It’s not an end in itself. If your parents have a vision for you, understand their perspective and see whether you are aligned with them. If not, work to convince them because their support will make you more confident and happier about your choices.


  1. Bridge to Career: If you are picking something specific to study like a Masters in English or a Graduate Degree in Physics, find out what the career prospects are before getting into the program. Understand which companies  hire candidates from those streams on a regular basis and see if you are interested in those kinds of jobs. This is important especially to avoid herd mentality. People tend to follow either their friends, their older siblings and cousins, or their parents and often overlook the reality of what jobs are actually going to be available if they pick a certain stream.


Ultimately you have to live with the choices you make. Getting into any program be it Engineering or an MBA program is one thing, fitting in to that program is another. So don’t give in to pressure to pursue something if you aren’t convinced it is right for you. Stay true to yourself and find what you love! There is something out there for everyone.


Link to the published article:




Dainik Bhaskar weekly: Does ‘will’ matter more than ‘skill’ at your first job?


While the perception is that people are hired for their skills, their ‘will’ once they join actually differentiates one newbie from another! Based on conversations with ~200 managers over the past 2 years, we have found that there are several aspects that matter to them when someone new joins! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you enter the work world, whether it is your first internship, or your first job.


1) Be open-minded and flexible


Irrespective of the role that you were hired for, as a fresher, all sorts of tasks will be put on your plate. Be open to all kinds of work, no matter how big or small. By being flexible, several freshers found their true calling – you may think you are the right fit for analytics, but might enjoy more creative work that is given to you! It is only when you try out different types of work and experience different projects that you will recognize where you are truly happy. Additionally, being positive to take on work helps you build your reputation as a good team-player and employee. How your colleagues perceive you is important because most jobs require you to be working on various projects in teams.


2) Ask for feedback and approval


Every week, reach out to your manager for feedback on your performance. How are you doing? Is it as expected? What more can you do to improve? Try and understand the kind of person your manager is and how he or she is reacting to your work. Understand their working style and adjust to it.


During a feedback session, your manager will highlight areas you are doing well, as well as areas you need to work on. Take the feedback as a gift. Do not argue or get defensive. If appropriate, you can ask clarifying questions but keep your tone calm and positive. Don’t take things personally. Feedback is critical to improving performance, because since it’s your first time doing many things there is no way you will be perfect!


Before you roll out anything, especially to external customers or clients, make sure to get your manager’s approval. It’s better to check-in with him or her on a daily basis (both morning and evening) to ensure both of you are on the same page. At the beginning of every project, create an execution plan and run it by your manager to ensure the timelines and deadlines are also aligned!


3) Seek out mentors

Learning from others in your career is of immense importance and value. A mentor can guide and help you excel at your first job. Seek out someone either within or outside your company who is well-respected and someone you can connect with. You can have multiple informal mentors if your company doesn’t have a formal mentorship program. They can be across ages (either recent graduates who have been in your shoes or older, more experienced corporate professionals). Both kinds of mentors can add value in their own way. Seek out a conversation at least quarterly with this person and share any questions or concerns with them!


4) Be willing to work hard

The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Thomas Jefferson

Hard work and humility are critical as you enter the workforce. The ability to recognize that you don’t know everything (which is why you have a manager!) is important. Taking the time to understand what is required and then putting in the hours to complete your tasks are critical. Initially, you might be expected to stay late, work on the weekends, and be the first person entering office. These are all part and parcel of being in your first job at several organizations. Don’t get intimidated by the time commitment – you will slowly adjust to it! If you find that you cannot manage your work hours after a few years of trying, you can always switch to a company with lower expectations. However, your commitment and your rewards / recognition are usually linked so keep that in mind as you think about how much time you want to put in!

Remember that your first job isn’t going to be easy. Ups and downs will be part of the journey. Don’t get emotional and involved with company politics. Find activities and friends outside work that help you manage your stress. This will bring you the required positive energy to do a fantastic job!

Link to the published article:




How to prepare for your first job interview?

On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes*! In a scenario so competitive, applicants should be aware of what is required of them on their first interview or job.

Research with 400+ college students from the top 50 colleges in India shows that the following steps make a huge difference in acing your interview:

1) Preparation can go a long way in acing an interview.

  • Background Research and pre-work: Ensure that you research the company well before you sit for the interview. What position you are applying for? This will help you in answering smartly in the interview and also asking relevant questions at the end of the interview. There are certain questions that you can prepare beforehand, such as: Tell me about yourself, Why should we hire you, What is your 3-5 year plan going forward, what are some of your leadership experiences at school or college, Tell me about yourself and what is the most challenging situation you’ve faced.
  • Practice makes perfect: Make sure you practice some basic questions with a friend or in front of a mirror before you go for the interview. This will improve your knowledge and  your confidence. Prepare your resume, carry it for the interview and practice going over all the points on it.

2) On the day of the interview, how you present yourself is 55% of your first impression!

  • Dress Sense: Unfortunately, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Ensuring that you are dressed appropriately is a good start to making a lasting first impression at an interview. Make sure you are in proper business attire and know the difference between Business casuals and Business formals. We recently had a student interview with a large business conglomerate at Talerang and he was rejected because he was in jeans and looked too casual for the interview!
  • Punctuality: This is the most important aspect. One should always be on time. Make it a point to reach at least 15-20 minutes before the time of your interview.
  • Body language: Introduce yourself, speak clearly and confidently, a firm handshake with the interviewer and most importantly, eye contact. This reveals a lot about you. The way you carry yourself is the key to be remembered at an interview. Never forget to smile. Keep your body calm and mind too. Your body language should reflect your inner qualities. Smile, shake hands and thank the interviewer for spending their precious time.

3) Next steps from the interview:

Send a thank-you mail to your interviewer expressing your interest in the job.

Ankit Samdariya, VP at Xander group says, “Preparedness is one of the major factors that I look at while interviewing students. If you’re going in for an interview, make it a point to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn, have 2-3 intelligent questions prepared, present yourself well, exuberate confidence and you should be good to go!”

Pooja Aggarwal, Deputy General Manager at Aditya Birla Group says, “It’s extremely important to know yourself very well; your biggest areas of strength and how it will help the company. Ensure your basics are strong, they will help you throughout your life!”

A ‘first interview’, is like scaling a mountain. It seems difficult because you don’t know what’s on the other side. It’s scary at first, but with preparation and practice you can reach the top!

*As cited by Glassdoor for employers

Link to the published article:



Hire based on the talent of the candidate, not the location


Hello everyone!

We are extremely delighted to announce our weekly column on the most widely circulated newspaper in the country- Dainik Bhaskar!

In our attempt to conduct continuous research to update our curriculum based on the industry’s needs, having a weekly column on Dainik Bhaskar has really helped us spread awareness about the concept of work-readiness among a wider audience!

Here’s our latest piece for Dainik Bhaskar where we talk about how things need to change in tier 2 & 3 cities in India and the Employability Research study in Andhra Pradesh we were invited for.


As of the 2011 census, there are 8 tier 1 cities in India and as many as 3,133 tier 2 & 3 cities (as well as 1,233 rural hubs). Ensuring access to good quality jobs and work-readiness training in small town India is of utmost importance if we want to ensure sustainable growth for the Indian economy.

This past week, as part of an Employability Research study in Andhra Pradesh, we travelled to several colleges around Vishakhapatnam and Vijayawada. The study was conducted in association with professors at Harvard University and Stanford University, as well as the Ministry of Education. We interacted with close to 1000 students who will soon be sitting for placement season. As expected, the colleges in smaller towns tend to be homogeneous and conservative, but extremely welcoming and hospitable of external researchers and trainers.


We sat down with several placement heads in these colleges to get their thoughts. For them, getting companies to visit colleges often involves traveling to their offices and convincing their HR heads to make the trip to recruit. The placement cells have put in significant effort (as compared to tier 1 colleges) to get the students placed.

Here are some trends that we observed:

Firstly, India was one of the big players in manufacturing when colleges in AP were set up. But now, most of the recruiters that visit colleges are IT Services companies who are looking to hire for software development jobs. Since the college curriculum trains students in core engineering, there’s a major gap between what the students are being taught and what companies are looking for. If we could revive Make In India and increase spending in the manufacturing and infrastructure space, more jobs could be created in these sectors.

As Mr. M. Lakshmi Deepak – Placement head, Sir CR Reddy College of Engineering (Eluru) shared, “If the government could increase emphasis on creating jobs for these core engineers, that would be a great solution to the current situation. Our curriculums also need to be constantly updated according to industry needs.”

Secondly, girls are doing better than boys when it comes to placements in these regions. The job offers rolled out to girls is much higher, and companies also want to increase their ratios so conduct additional events for recruiting women.

Thirdly, the students were fantastic academically, with extremely high grades and significant grit and hard-work. However, confidence and exposure are the main differentiators between students in larger cities. This can be overcome with effective training and mentorship. When asked their fears of placement season, students cited their key challenges as confidence, communication skills and English fluency. When asked what their vision and career objectives are, most of them are looking to be respected in society and are keen to work for any reputed company and have a good role.


In conclusion, the colleges were impressive and the students have significant potential and drive. They are sincere and very eager to be hired. While it might take some effort to travel to smaller towns, it is time that companies across industries started hiring from across India instead of only from the big brand colleges!





Shibika’s Internship Experience at The Aditya Birla Group- Bangalore

As a second year student doing a Sales internship at The Aditya Birla Group, I have learnt a lot! Starting from strategizing to making pitch-in report to companies, I have grown as an individual. This internship has also helped me improve the quality of my PowerPoint presentations. I am presently working with the Corporate Sales department under Mr. Amit Shekhar Nayak (Sales Manager), who has been a very supportive mentor. 

IMG_20160519_155051235I plan out strategies as to how to tie-up with other companies. I am responsible for making presentations and reports on how to make a pitch in to other companies for an alliance. Thank you Talerang for giving me the opportunity to explore the world of Sales and Marketing through such a well structured internship!