Well, inasmuch as I revere and espouse academic achievement, it is important to the make the most of opportunities to chase after extra-curricular activities. This further enriches your CV and makes you come across as an all-round individual. Getting involved in societies (not secret), part time work and clubs enables you to meet new persons, and ensures a balanced life in school.
In addition, it will groom you to be a better candidate for entry level positions. This is by offering you real life examples you can use in job applications where you can exhibit the skills learnt in psychometric analysis, assessment centres, case studies and interviews. There are three ways to go about extra-curricular activities.
This cuts across social clubs, religious groups and sports’ teams. Everything from arts, general interest, specialised groups, politics, cultural and religious clubs are covered and generally offered in tertiary institutions around. Everyone has a hobby or two they binge on during their spare time, and it is certain you will find an association or club that aligns with your desires. Attend freshers’ nights, check notice boards and ask around, there are clubs that can offer what you desire.
For instance, I play scrabble while at home but it wasn’t until my final months in school that I discovered that there has been a scrabble union. Where tyros and experienced fellows converge to play the game causally or competitively. Fortunately, I was able to hone my skills the more, but I had known earlier, I would have gone far beyond my current ability – intermediate.
At first you might be discouraged by the costs – some societies charge annual fees on registrations and renewal, while others charge fees on their paraphernalia. But the benefits are immense. By associating in such groups, you build lifelong connections and meet diverse people, thereby gaining skills that will play an important role in the work place – where teamwork, problem solving, time and organisational management are required. This will also build your public speaking skills thereby improving your confidence when asserting your points wherever you find yourself.
Furthermore, you can take it to a higher level by aspiring for positions where leadership, negotiation, money management, idea generation are decided. Holding positions of relevance and achieving milestones while there impresses recruiters as someone who is a go-getter. On the other hand, if there are no groups that piques your interest, you could start yours. When I discovered that there was no union for students of Delta State origin in my school, I partnered with others to form one – where our interest can be guarded and propagated.
Another way of connecting and showing off your skills with future employers is by investing your time in noble causes on pro bono basis. This can increase your knowledge of a specific type of work and industry, helps you decide what you want to do when the time comes. You can benefit tremendously from volunteering by boosting your self-worth. Confidence aka packaging during interview makes it easier to sell oneself to recruiters. Additionally, volunteering expands your network and invariably net-worth, and offers you a free way of honing the vital skills every graduate employer requires.
By further supplementing an academic-focused CV, employers and even graduate studies’ admission officers will admire your disposition to taking part with groups of people and different situations, thereby showcasing that you will be able to blend in more adequately into the workplace or graduate class.
3. PART-TIME WORK
Certainly, working while at the university will provide income as well as ensuring your search for a job after graduation easier. However, don’t neglect your studies, as it is the more important thing to do. With recruiters asking for work experience on CVs and application forms, part-time work has become necessary as it comes with lots of invaluable skills that are exchangeable in the workplace.
Do not think working in the bar or assisting your parent(s) in the shop in the market is unimportant. It is necessary to make the most out of every work opportunity you have and exhibit the skills gained when required. Let employers know about your responsibilities – handling cash transactions in a bar/petrol station, inventory assignments or leadership roles manned.
In summary, which ever extra-curricular activity you seek after, remember to include the nitty-gritties of the knowledge acquired when filling job applications or admission forms as anything could make the difference – no matter how infinitesimal.
A list of notable organisations you can join or volunteer:
Youth for Tech Foundation (Youth for Technology)
WeCyclers and lots more