Society membership is a great way to gain experience and improve your employability whilst doing something fun and meeting like minded people. There are societies for pretty much anything. The University of Essex’s Mario Kart Society and The University of Warwick’s Jailbreak Society are two notably curious and wonderful examples.
A few weeks ago, our COO Michele and I attended the UCL Entrepreneurs VC Fund. The quarterly event is put together by the entrepreneurs society to give students a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges made up of entrepreneurs and start-up specialists (and me for some reason!) that can decide to award them up to £1,000 to take their idea further.
This is the second time we have been invited to judge at the event and every time I have been I have been seriously impressed with every student who stood up and explained their business idea, not only because it takes a great deal of bravery but also because the ideas and pitches are of a very high standard. The skills these individual students have built within their involvement in the society are very evident.
So why do employers care? Beyond the qualifications you gain at university, employers love to see that you are passionate about an interest to the extent to which you will drag yourself away from Netflix for a few hours a week to engage with real humans about that passion – ironically this even works for the Netflix Society. But it isn’t just a show of passion that employers want, societies provide great opportunities for experience. Whether organising events, managing the social media community or engaging in the activities themselves, there are skills developed in societies that are transferable to working environments.
Talent Acquisition Manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ashley Hever said “Societies or clubs are a great way to enhance your employability. Different societies will allow you to develop different skills but they will all require an element of negotiation and organisation. Leadership skills, crucial in many roles, can be first built and discovered through society involvement”.
So your challenge is set. Halt the House of Cards binge and find a society that you can contribute to and grow within.
And for those of you who can’t find one that interests you – make your own. As Frank Underwoood would tell you; “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table”.