Aside from all the parties and socialising that you might get out of university, there will also be plenty of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of lectures and – god forbid – the pub!
However, as daunting as this might seem, these opportunities could actually benefit your future employability; after all a university qualification only gets you so far – adding weight to your CV outside of your degree is essential.
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Boosting your CV can set you apart from other graduates and be the difference in getting you that job after you graduate. Here are five things you can do while at university that will improve your CV and employability prospects to a future employer.
1. Join a sports team
Perhaps an obvious one but a large percentage of students join sports clubs only to drop out after the first few weeks. But think about the benefits – no business wants to employ someone who has no personality or outside interests. Sport is a great way to showcase your ability to work as part of a team, to compete, and to give things a go.
Sign up with a local netball, football, rugby or hockey team – either in the local community or with the university – as getting involved with a sports team will show a future employer that you have teamwork skills, commitment and endurance. Getting a spell in the first team, or as captain, will always look good on a CV as well.
2. Get involved with Student politics
You might have noticed that, for a few weeks every year, universities all over the country become plastered with hundreds of posters and flyers, detailing exactly why you should vote for various members of the student body.
Budding politicians and entrepreneurs might can use this opportunity to campaign for a Student Union position, as President or one of the many other roles. Campaigning and, hopefully, winning will demonstrate a drive to lead change and manage projects.
Putting yourself in the frame for an official role can also make university life more interesting and is great for impressing employers if you are elected. The fact that you can make all your friends wear T-shirts with your face on is just a bonus.
3. Student media
For anyone with the intention of going into the media world after university, getting involved with the university radio stations, film teams or newspapers can be the ideal proving ground.
Startlingly, recent studies have shown that there are significantly more journalism graduates than there are entry-level jobs. This is why you need to set yourself apart, and working for a student newspaper or radio station – particularly if it’s in a position of power – can ensure that your CV will be placed on the top of any pile.
Working with the student newspaper or radio station you can get practical experience and learn the techniques and skills that are invaluable when trying to get the attention of employers.
Many universities also have dedicated TV channels now, so budding TV presenters can get a chance to cut their teeth in front of the camera.
An easy way to make your CV more impressive and make a difference is by volunteering. Many agencies take on volunteers and there will also be volunteer societies at university.
Volunteer work looks excellent on your CV as it throws you into many tasks you wouldn’t usually do, such as cooking, gardening or even customer service. This way you demonstrate that you’re able to learn new and transferrable skills. Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to build a network, possibly even in the field you plan to start your career in.
A popular place to volunteer is with Nightline. Nightline provides emotional support to students in distress with phones manned throughout the night during term time when other specialist university welfare services are closed. As a volunteer you will receive all necessary training, and again it is perfect for displaying your communication skills, as well as showing the you are a genuinely kind and helpful person.
5. Part-time or casual work
Aside from earning a bit of cash, working actual jobs provide useful experience and insights into the working world. They are helpful in presenting future employers with evidence of skills such as teamwork, working under pressure, dealing with people, and balancing the demands of work and life.
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