We’ve all seen those LinkedIn profiles where people are part of dozens of societies, clubs and organisations during their time at university. During my three years (so far!) of studying, I have always been hesitant to join societies. Would I be able to balance my passion for a particular society with my university work? Would I be able to fully commit to the needs of the society? Will my work be to the standard I want it to be if I have other activities taking up my time?
When speaking to some other finalist students and reflecting on our time at Warwick, many regretted not being more involved in societies. I was fortunate to be part of the exec committee for The Boar student newspaper this year, and have felt that it has not only been a fun activity to be a part of, but also has helped me invaluably in my search for a career path.
Expanding your skillset
In the case of societies that focus on publications or media (such as The Boar, and Warwick’s RAW radio station), there are vast opportunities to develop skill-sets that you might not be able to get otherwise. In the case of The Boar, we were able to develop knowledge of InDesign publishing software through workshops and on-the-job training for print issues. This massively helped me when conducting a recent set of interviews, as I was able to show a portfolio of the different print issues I had helped create, providing evidence of the skills I had gained. At the same time, by being part of a society you are automatically demonstrating your ability to collaborate with others, balance your time efficiently and prove your passion for an idea or topic. Even writing an article or attending a few socials is enough to prove your ability to balance your external passions with your work!
Developing a network
As part of a society, you are able to expand your network to beyond those who you would typically meet at university. In some societies, this also allows you to meet with some society alumni (be it at a circle, in ‘Skool Dayz’ or at a networking event!). This is extremely insightful, as it allows you to learn more about different career options that could suit your interests. Often, people can provide you with careers advice, or even connections who could help you achieve your goals. In particular, when looking at expanding your network beyond university, it can be much easier to connect with people when you have something in common. When I added my experience at The Boar to my LinkedIn profile, I was soon approached by different people who were previously part of the society, or had incredible journalism connections. Simply gaining experience from these people can allow you to gain a unique insight into potential career paths, with support from people who have expertise in the fields that interest you.
Gaining recognition for your work
As part of different societies, you also have the opportunity to be recognised for the extensive extra-curricular work you are part of. Be it as a society or as an individual, you can gain recognition for your contributions! Not only is this incredibly rewarding, but it will allow you to showcase some of your extra skills that go beyond your academic work. This recognition can be extremely useful when describing your achievements at interviews, or when making new connections. With so many recruiters and employers directly approaching students through social networking sites and by chance, these achievements can be a fantastic way to gain recognition beyond your university community.
Overall, with so many interesting societies at Warwick, there are so many opportunities for you to find something that you enjoy – you can also use these to enhance your CV. Even though it can seem daunting at first, the connections you can make through the society could lead to lifelong friendships, and quite possibly even a career!