I was recently chatting with a few friends (Abhishek and Pallav, owners of various IT companies) and the topic of short-listing candidates applying for jobs in our companies came up. We were pretty unanimous that while we do take a cursory glance at the academic scores and colleges from where they have studied, we mostly search for off-beat work that they have done while in college.
The projects and research (thesis, surveys etc) that they participated in are very strong clues to the nature and capabilities. So if you have done the classic library management software, inventory control software, survey customer satisfaction levels and like, you do not have any special reason to be on the short-list.
However if you have developed a software or hardware product (even if it is not path-breaking), setup a blog where you comment on the industry developments, products being launched and like, we would conclude that you are aware of the current trends and have passion for developing some worthwhile products, given a chance.
These help you score valuable brownie points and put you at the head of the queue. Sorry but wearing Rupa Frontline vests won’t help (you would know what I mean if you have seen that ad).
So the take home is – build a CV over the entire duration of your studies, and not just write it when you have started looking for the job.