Those who get involved with extra-curricular activities early on in their university experience are attractive to prospective employers. But what types of activities are out there and which types will develop those transferable skills, making you useful to a future employer?
1. Voluntary Work/Community Service: from volunteering at a local charity shop to working in a nursing home, helping others in your own time signifies you’re gaining work experience while giving back to your local community. Both of which will help you to stand out once you come to apply for those graduate positions.
2. Governance/Student Body: being involved in student affairs can be important to university life. How about being elected to a student committee or representing the student body as an academic representative? Displaying an interest in academic affairs will give you that edge for your future career.
3. Event Organising: often there are facilities and opportunities to hold events whether it be a small bake-sale to raise some money or a campus bar event. These display skills of organisation, time-management and leadership (often a team is involved to assist in running the event) and will also give you a feeling of success when you see that event come to fruition!
4. Sport: Joining a sports team or even coaching your local school’s team can provide a whole set of transferable skills including competitive spirit and teamwork. If you don’t get involved directly, there could still be an opportunity to enjoy sport by spectating and/or fundraising for your university team!
5. Society: societies are there for students to try something new and meet new people with shared interests. Depending on what you are looking for, they can appear in all different forms from sports to dance or academic societies. By being a member you are showing initiative, social skills and most importantly that you like to have fun!
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6. Media: student media is a good way to get involved in the fun part of university. The student paper or radio station are just a couple of ways to get involved in student news that is relevant to you. Also, creating a blog or regularly interacting on social media both represent an interactive and media savvy individual.
7. Hobbies: each individual is unique and often individuals’ hobbies are what make them stand out. What sort of leisure activities do you enjoy? Is there a talent that makes you stand out? These are the things that employers will be looking for.
8. Part-time job: as well as a way to earn money, part-time jobs can give you great work experience. It is beneficial to start thinking about this early on during your academic career. This could also come in many forms whether it be in retail, voluntary, promotions or helping with a family business.
9. Business/Enterprise: many students spot a ‘gap-in-the-market’ during their academic career and act upon it creating a small business opportunity. This is eye-catching for employers as it shows entrepreneurial instinct and someone who is not afraid to act upon their ideas to make them happen.
10. Extra Skills-related workshops: these are skills developed outside of your academic career by going above and beyond your core subjects. Have you taken employability-related workshops or attended networking events? Have you taken a first-aid course or evening classes to learn a new language? All of these help to develop your core skillset.
Remember involvement is the first step, but once you have attended a few sessions then why not take it a step further and take on a leadership position. Such skills create a well-rounded individual and help to make your brand stand out.
Once you’ve ticked off a few of these activities why not apply to one of our graduate jobs.