STUDENT LIFE / AUG. 28, 2016
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How Joining Societies During Fresher’s Week Can Help You Gain Transferable Skills

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Preparing to get drunk during fresher’s week is fun, but shouldn’t you be thinking about joining societies as well? It could be a serious career move.

If you are currently in the midst of preparing your things for university, it's doubtful that you are even thinking about life after university yet! In fact, the only thing on your mind is probably the parties you’ll be attending in a few days’ time. Although you should go to as many parties as you can, you should also know that fresher’s week is about more than getting drunk.

Fresher’s week is your first foray into the adult world, and you need to be mindful of this opportunity as you will never be able to repeat it. You can gain a lot by finding the right societies to join during fresher’s week. It helps you make new friends and makes your adjustment to university life easier. But apart from that, joining the right societies could also help you gain employability skills that will prove to be essential when you are trying to get a job in a few years’ time.

Many people believe that all they need to do in university to become employable is to get a good grade, but that is not enough. Competition is fierce in the job market and a jobseeker should be equipped with a lot more than just a good grade. A jobseeker should also be able to boast some essential employability skills as this is what is going to get you noticed.

Joining the Right Societies Can Improve Your Employability Skills

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Lots of young people think that the university and the job market are two completely separate worlds, but they are not. A university campus is a microcosm of the real world, any skills you acquire at university could just as easily be applied to the real world. For example, if you join a society and you manage to run it successfully it can say a lot about your self-motivation; a skill that hiring managers believe to be essential.

What’s great about university though is that it allows you to acquire those skills without even realising it. Joining a society that you enjoy could mean that you are having fun while at the same time learning things that matter in the real world. So if you join a society and before long you are in charge of its finances you should include this on your CV, it will attract hiring managers like honey attracts bees.

And it’s not just running societies that could get you notice. Each skill you acquire through university societies is valuable. This includes what is perhaps the most essential skill in the job market at the moment: teamwork. Teamwork is the king of all skills because hiring managers have always looked and will always look for people that can be integrated into their organisations smoothly. They want people who have proof that they can successfully collaborate with other people to complete a project as a team.

Being part of a society proves that you have managed to cooperate with people on a particular project before. If you manage to stick with the same societies throughout your years at university, it could be even more valuable as it will prove your commitment and your ability to work through conflicts.

Transferable skills is a term that refers to skills that are acquired in one professional framework and transferred in another; they are what’s behind most successful career changes and much like it can help someone transfer from one discipline to the next, it can also help you go from being a student to being a professional. So by participating in a university society, you can acquire a specific set-skill which can help you get a job later on.

Hiring Managers Actively Look for People Who Were in Societies

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Just like when you were back in school and you were told by basically every adult that participating in extracurricular activities would look great on your university application, being involved in a university society could make the hiring manager decide to give you a shot.

Keep in mind that with competition being so fierce, hiring managers look for much more than just excellent hard skills. They want to employ someone who is fully developed professionally, and this means that someone should also be in possession of skills that will make them a valuable asset to the company. Essentially this means that the more holistically you present yourself in your CV, the better your chances of getting the job you want.

Hiring managers know all too well that being involved in societies could help you develop transferable skills, and that is why they’ll be actively looking for a jobseeker who made the most of their university experience.

Transferable Skills Could Be Your Key to Getting the Job You Want

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Many people decide to join societies with activities they are already good at and although there’s nothing wrong with horse riding for example, can it really help you move ahead professionally? No, right? Which is why you should try to challenge yourself and do things that you have never done before.

For example, if you are an individual who’s more factual than creative, see university as an opportunity to embrace your creativity and join an art society. It could help you discover new things about yourself, and it could also help you get in the mindset for creative thinking.

Another important factor to take into consideration during your fresher’s week is that you could use university societies as a way to gain work experience. If there’s a society that’s relevant to the career you’d like to pursue, why not take up that activity and learn as much as you can about it. Remember that it could also help you become acquainted with other people in the industry which won’t only help you improve your networking skills, but it will also help you get great referrals.

There’s a lot to take into consideration concerning what to do during fresher’s week. But the key is to decide what you want to do. Joining a society with few members could mean that you’ll be running it in a year’s time, and nothing says excellent leadership skills like having managed a university society.

Determining what your career path should be at eighteen is hard and ridiculous for most people. Your university experience should be all about growing into the person that you are and not about turning into the perfect job candidate, but if you can learn a few employability skills along the way, why not do it? You can still have fun, and go out and get drunk with your new friends while laying the groundwork for your professional career.

What societies are you thinking of joining? Do you think they will help you with any employability skills? Let us know in the comments section below...

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