It is a tough time to be seeking work. Daunting estimates of 85-250 applications per job alarm even the most pro-active applicant. Yet, joining the tiddly winks club down the corridor might just be your unlikely saviour.
Joining a society can be hugely beneficial to your career prospects. Here are some reasons why:
1) You are doing something you love. Not only will you have a great time being involved but interviewers love a candidate who can show they are genuinely interested in what they do. According to recent surveys, ‘passion’ is one of the top listed characteristics looked for in a candidate.
2) Transferable skills. When you join a society you learn skills that can apply to any job. Whether it be time management, dedication or working with others, these transferable skills will make you a more attractive applicant in whichever field you set your heart on.
3) “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” By joining a society filled with like-minded people you are opening up a world of opportunity. The more connections you make, the more likely you are to find someone who can help you with your first steps into the world of work. A friend who graduates before might be able to offer you a summer internship at the company where they work. If they can’t help directly, they are more than likely to know someone who can.
4) Specific skills. Often a society is a great place to learn sector-specific skills and techniques that will really shape up your CV. For instance, if you are interested in the publishing industry and have already learned how to use the correct software your CV will stand out against the rest. Learning specific skills is especially useful if you are planning to apply for work in a competitive market such as media.
5) Discuss your society in your interview. Many interviewees are asked about their extracurricular activities. This presents an ideal opportunity to convince your potential employee that you are the perfect applicant. You might be asked about a time that you overcame a problem, or if you can demonstrate when in the past you have had to use certain skills. If, for example, you are seeking work in the charity sector and can discuss how you fund-raised for your society, you give your interviewer every reason to hire you.
6) Work your way up. Demonstrating personal development is very important. Perhaps you started by dropping in to society events a couple of times a month and are now in charge of social events. It is really impressive to be able to show an interviewer how your society has helped you grow and learn.
7) Get a committee position. There are few things more impressive than a society committee position in a society. By taking on a committee role you will have more input into how the society is run. You will learn important leadership skills and are likely to be in charge of a budget. Successfully commanding a committee role illustrates your responsibility, organisation and dedication to a potential employer.