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How To Use Extra-Curricular Activities To Your Advantage

Graduate Jobs Skills Employability

Going away to university offers you countless opportunities; you experience life as an independent adult - for lots of people it is the first time they will cook themselves dinner or pick up a hoover. The absence of parents may also afford you a new sense of social freedom, with no curfew or nagging to wear you down.

University is primarily a fantastic educational opportunity, allowing you to focus your interests on a single subject that you feel passionate about and will help guide you into a career.

Amidst the studying and socialising, there is another aspect to university life that may hold the key to your success in post university life. Each year a plethora of students come out with a solid 2:1/first class honour degree and enter the increasingly competitive jobs market. A good degree is simply no longer enough to make you stand out. It is how you spend your time in addition to your course that is what prospective employers are interested in.

Most university student unions offer a wealth of extra curricular opportunities. While at school you may have shied away from curricular activities as you found yourself uninspired by your school's limited sport and musical offerings, you will find that many student unions have a much greater budget to spend on extracurricular activities, and hence have a lot more to offer.

You may find it useful to make a list of the professional areas that interest you, and go on to your student union website to have a look at what there is on offer that may enhance your CV in relation to this job. For example, if you are interested in going into business, have a look for entrepreneurial societies. If journalism is your thing, try and get involved with your university paper or radio station.

Do not exclusively seek extra curricular activities related to your future career. Employers want to see that you are a well rounded person, and so throw yourself into as much as possible, regardless as to whether it is related to what you envisage yourself doing post university. Hot air ballooning, photography society and voluntary work may bear little relevance to your future occupation, however taking on challenges will help build confidence and provide the opportunity for you to meet new people, practice your networking skills and will offer useful examples for future interview questions such as 'give an example of when you have worked well in a team'.

Recent graduates often find themselves at a disadvantage with regards to job applications when up against older and more experienced candidates. It is important, therefore, that you use your years at university to get involved with societies and committees that will provide examples with which you can demonstrate your skill set to prospective employers. Being part of a society or committee tests your organisational, interpersonal and leadership skills and so it is important you make the most of these opportunities to prepare you for making a good impression on the jobs hunt.

mona tabbara grb author

Mona studied English at the University of Bristol.

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