Are you stuck for extra-curricular activities to add to your CV? Perhaps you don’t know which of your experiences is worthy of mentioning, or maybe you’ve not yet got round to taking part in anything outside of your degree. In this article, we’ll look at four activities outside of your course that employers love, providing you with inspiration for writing your CV, or new ideas for activities to apply for in September.
1. Doing charity work
Taking on charity work is a great way to show your passion for a cause close to you, as well as providing an opportunity to learn new skills relevant to your future career. Charity work doesn’t always involve fundraising or providing frontline services, there are often opportunities to take on a volunteering position with the management of a local charity, teaching you valuable business skills such as a good email manner, project management skills or event planning.
A volunteering role such as this is a great way to fill any gaps in your experience, for example if you were unsuccessful in applying for a summer internship. You may have to go without pay, but don’t forget that even a day or an afternoon a week during term time can be enough for you to learn many of the useful transferrable skills mentioned above.
2. Actively learning new skills
A highly sought-after trait of new hires is being a self-starter when it comes to learning new skills. If you regularly spend time learning new skills outside of your degree course, you’re able to demonstrate that you’re willing and able to fill any gaps in your knowledge, which can really help to reassure your interviewer if you don’t yet have all the skills necessary for the job you’re interviewing for.
There are two types of skills you may wish to teach yourself. Firstly, extra-curricular skills can demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded person, for example learning first aid. Learning this life skill shows you have a willingness to become a resource to your community, and is also relevant to the business world, since organisations need a number of trained first aiders in the building as part of their first aid obligation. If you have a first aid certificate already, check it’s in date, as due to a rule change, an out of date certificate means you’re no longer a first aider.
Second, is learning a skill relevant to your industry that you may not have gained through your course. For example, if you’re looking to get into digital marketing, you need to learn industry-specific skills which are not on offer on many courses. Show you’re worth hiring by learning these skills before you get on the job training, which can be done for free with online courses by Google and other providers.
3. Show off your writing skills
Even if you’re not looking to enter a career in journalism or copywriting, the fact is that many roles require strong writing skills, for example for communicating ideas in presentations, writing reports, or creating specifications for products or campaigns.
One of the best ways to show off your written communication skills is to write for the Wessex Scene, the Tab, or other publications such as a blog on a topic you’re passionate about. Bringing a portfolio of articles authored by you can really help set you apart from other candidates who may simply rely on their CV to demonstrate their writing skills.
To gain even more credit with the interviewer, consider writing on a topic relevant to the industry you’re looking to enter, demonstrating not just your writing skills, but also your passion for the career you’re aiming to begin.
4. Taking part in relevant societies and student groups
Employers love to see candidates who have actively tried to expand their knowledge about the industry they’re looking to enter, and a great way to show this is by joining a club or society relevant to your career plans. For example, if you’re looking to become a web developer, then why not join the Electronics and Computer Science Society? Or if you’re looking to become an engineer, then taking part in the Engineering Society can help show your passion. With over 300 societies to choose from, it’s well worth taking a look for one relevant to the career you’re looking to enter.
Your level of involvement in these groups is also of significance in your interview. It’s always best to join just one or two societies and take on a leading role, such as becoming a member of the committee, than joining 5 or 6 and not attending regularly. A deeper involvement in a club means you’ll learn more transferrable skills such as financial skills or time management, which you can put on your CV and discuss in your interview.
About the author
Seb Atkinson graduated in 2011 and is a first aider writing for the Safety First Aid blog, which provides helpful advice to first aiders and first aid volunteers.
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