University Skills- Reap the rewards of socialising!
When you arrive at uni one of the first things you’ll do is go to your Fresher’s fair. Here you’ll be thrown into the deep end and discover everything that your uni has to offer. You will be flooded with leaflets and vouchers plus will sign up to numerous societies, some of which will be for activities that you may never have dreamed of taking part in.
After a week or so, you will start to receive emails about these societies and will most likely ignore them! STOP! This is your chance to get out of your comfort zone. Instead of ignoring these emails, why not pick two or three societies to actually try out? You may find yourself enjoying them and before you know it, find yourself taking part every week, making new friends and really getting into the spirit of uni life. After all, that is what societies are for!
In the midst of all this fun you may not notice, but you will pick up some very valuable skills that will make you more employable.
Joining a society is fun and great for making friends, but it also cuts into your study time, especially if you remain a part of the society throughout university. This means you will need to learn to juggle different commitments and prioritise activities. If you become a part of a society’s committee you will also learn a lot about being responsible and organised. This is all part of time management.
Time management involves being able to prioritise and make judgements about which commitments are urgent and important. It shows you can work to several deadlines and accommodate work you receive, whilst it is also a really valuable skill to be able to demonstrate to employers.
Employers such as Logica look for a proven track record of delivering work within agreed periods and for someone who can overcome setbacks whilst still achieving their goals. By being a part of a society and joining the committee, the responsibilities you have will help you to demonstrate this. For example, if you need to organise an event for the society, you will undoubtedly have setbacks to overcome, tight deadlines to work to and may have to balance this with study commitments. Therefore, you will definitely be tested on your ability to overcome problems. Being able to use your involvement in a society as your example of time management will put you in a favourable position over other candidates.
Another important skill you will be able to demonstrate is teamwork.
Being part of a team, such as a society, shows employers that you can work efficiently within a group, you can encourage others, compromise, ignore others’ egos, communicate and negotiate.
Teamwork is a high priority for most graduate recruiters. However, don’t think that dominating the group will get you far. Graduate recruitment manager Hannah Harrison from the Financial Services Authority advises, ‘When I see people doing group exercises it’s not necessarily the person that’s shouting the loudest who impresses me, it’s whoever is listening and ensuring that everyone has a say – because that’s reflective of the way we work.’
So before you go all out to bend others to your will, make sure you really know what it means to work in a team. It’s about listening to others, making sure everyone has a fair say and taking into consideration everyone’s needs and commitments.
Next month we will be back with our last instalment in the series discussing how part time work can give you convincing real-world evidence of your employability skills and put them into practise in a more formal environment.