6 Uni Societies That Enhance Your Career Prospects
If you are like most people, then when you first joined university, you probably signed up for two dozen societies at the freshers’ fair, and now all you have to show for that early excitement is an inbox full of spam emails.
But worry not! Whichever year you are in, there is still time to join those societies that will help you to achieve your future career goals. Here are a few hints to help you whittle it down.
Most universities will have a RAG society, or similar groups dedicated to fundraising. RAG societies usually run some great events, from fashion shows to charity hitchhikes across Europe and jailbreak events. Whether you are helping to organise events, or just participating, they are a great way to show how organised and passionate you are.
2) Student media
Of course, writing for the student newspaper, or presenting your own radio show, are great for those who want to work in the media. But you don’t have to harbour dreams of working for the Guardian to benefit from an experience in student media. Most graduate employers will look for candidates who can write well, and student journalism can indicate other important skills, such as working to a deadline.
3) Learn a new skill
This type of society can appear intimidating as it demands a commitment, but you will definitely reap the rewards if you stick with it. For example, digital skills such as coding will help you stand out from the crowd regardless of the kind of job you are applying for.
Learning a foreign language is another way to boost your job prospects. Many universities – for example Edinburgh, or Plymouth – run “language café” events where you can chat to native speakers in a relaxed environment. Otherwise, most universities will have a Spanish Society, a German Society, and a whole host of others from countries around the world where you can practice your language skills.
University really is the best time to learn a new skill, as it is when you are most likely to have the time, and access to low-cost groups relating to that skill.
4) Something out of your comfort zone
If you’re feeling adventurous, push yourself to the limits by trying out student theatre, or participating in a poetry slam, or joining a dance class. Anything that you would not normally think of doing will only help to make you a more outgoing and more adaptable person. You could also become less nervous when approaching interviews or presentations, as they will seem like a walk in the park in comparison.
5) Become a buddy
Lots of universities offer a buddy scheme, whereby visiting international students are matched up with UK students who volunteer to help them to find their way around and to settle into university life in the UK. Many different jobs will require you to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and becoming a buddy will allow you to do that without having to speak a foreign language. Plus, it’s always great knowing you have friends from all around the world.
6) Anything you’re passionate about
One of the best things university societies can offer you is the experience of holding a position of responsibility. So find any society that interests you, and if you stick with it, you could eventually find yourself running for a position on the committee. Such positions of responsibility prove you are outgoing, committed, and able to organise your time. And if there is nothing that interests you to that point, why not start your own society?
Martin Greenacre is a final-year history student at the University of Edinburgh, having just returned from a year at the Université de Bourgogne, in France. Find him on LinkedIn.
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.