Topic: External articles

6 Skills You Learn as a Committee Member in a Student Society

Posted on August 23, 2017 by - External articles

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Article courtesy of Aspiring Interns

6 Skills You Learn As A Committee Member In A Student Society by Catriona Dennis

The concept of work-life balance applies to university as much as to the world of work.

Going to university is a life-changing experience. It’s also an intense period of growth. Some are unblinkingly aiming for that 1st, while others are seeking a taste of freedom. Whatever you’re after, every student needs to switch off and have fun occasionally. Attending a university society or joining a sports team can be the major thing that motivates a student to get through their essays and exams.

Don’t underestimate what can be gained through these sorts of extra-curricular activities. Increasingly, employers are looking for soft skills and experience as much as a degree. Through a social activity such as being a team captain or a society president, you can grow examples for the CV that you might not have realised you were nurturing.

Consider whether you might have inadvertently learned these six skills while taking part in societies at university.


Teamwork is a no-brainer. An employer wants to know that you can work effectively with other people, communicate your ideas and meet a group goal. Any member of a committee can say with certainty that they have ticked this box. They will have attended meetings, shared their thoughts and gained a sense of shared responsibility.

You know that one guy in the team who didn’t pull his weight and was always late to meetings? Explain how you dealt with that difficult team-member and learnt to compromise. This is a crucial workplace skill. An employer will want to hear about it.


Networking is one of those popular buzzwords. What it really means is that you can form relationships with others and build those relationships into further projects or career prospects.

It isn’t as simple as it sounds and requires practice. Committee members can reference the relationships they formed with fellow students and staff during their tenure, and how this led to collaboration further down the line.

Not everyone is comfortable socialising with strangers and committee members are often the ones to go out of their way to include everyone in a conversation or activity. If you ever practised striking up conversations with the strangers in a group then you gained networking experience.

Event organising

Event organising can be one of the most stressful parts of running a society. If you have ever had to plan a large event, you know that it is an intricately choreographed dance to make sure that everyone is where they should be, when they should be, doing what they should be.

An event can be anything from a simple weekly bar social to a complicated trip abroad. As a committee member, you almost certainly organised some form of activity for your group.

Through this, you will have proved you possess a series of useful skills: organisation, negotiation and thinking on your feet.

Admin and emails

You would be surprised how many graduates leave university without knowledge of proper email etiquette.

A lot of societies will have a mailbox or send regular emails about their activities. If you ran your society’s inbox or were the one who always had to fill in the paperwork, you will have gained useful workplace skills. It may have seemed mundane and repetitive at the time. Remember to get the credit for it now!

Social media

To you, social media will seem completely commonplace but an employer will be looking to make sure you are capable of using it effectively.

Nearly everyone uses social media in their private lives. It’s another thing for a prospective employee to say they use social media for a group or cause. If you ever advertised a society event over social media, or used it as a platform to gain members, then make sure it is on your CV.


As society president or team captain, you will have been the figurehead of your group. Often, you will have been the one to make the final decision and take ultimate responsibility if anything goes wrong. The one to delegate tasks but also the one to motivate the team into action! This kind of knowledge of leadership can only be gained through real experiences and an employer will respect the commitment.

University is challenging. The journey can be quite intense and many of the friendships forged while achieving your degree remain strong long after graduation. Equally, the lessons you learn are learned for life.

Getting involved in a society proves you can think for yourself. It might feel like a struggle juggling academic deadlines, social obligations and perhaps a part-time job, but it is definitely worth it. It might even raise you above the competition and win you that graduate job you are seeking.


Top Tips for Success at Careers Fairs

Posted on August 23, 2017 by - External articles, Uncategorized

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Article courtesy of The Job Crowd.

Jobs & Career fairs can be overwhelming, so take note of these top tips to get you through the day.


To prepare for the day, you should;


Decide what to wear –

Your attire should be pleasing to the eye, professional and stand out.

A smart business casual layout can set you apart from the rest of the suits.

Dress for the job you want, don’t be cliche.


Check out the venue –

 Scope out the venue before the day, so you know how to get there, if there is parking etc.

You should also ensure you know where your preferred employers will be so you can be at the front of the line.


Research the Employers –

Interested in the employers but don’t exactly know what they do?

Spend some time researching the ones you are particularly interested in and the industry they represent, that way you’ll know what they are looking for and how you can approach them.
The Job Crowd has a great overview of the Top Companies for graduates to work for.


Update your CV –

Is it out of date? Will you stand out from the crowd?

Have a look at what you can improve on and print as many copies as you can.

Don’t be afraid to take loads of CV’s as you will more than likely go through them all.

Check out common cover letter mistakes to avoid here.


Practise your pitch –

Whats your USP (Unique Selling Point)?

Who are you and why do you want to work for that company?

Be prepared for “Tell me more about yourself” and above all listen for clues in the conversation.

If a recruiter seems interested in a particular subject, jump on their enthusiasm and work your magic!


On the Day


Go Solo –

You don’t need a group of friends putting you off your “A” game, neither should you take your children along.

Treat this as a job interview.


Get there early –

Head in early to make sure you’re the one that is meeting the fresh faced employers.

It’s a long day for everyone involved and you don’t want to be pitching to a fatigued recruiter.


Network –

Standing in line? Waiting for a coffee?

This is your opportunity to network.

You never know who you might strike up a conversation with.


Pitch –

Be courteous. Speak clearly and respectfully.

Complete your simple pitch and ask questions.

If you’re nervous about your pitch, practise on a few employers that you’re not necessarily interested in, that way you are more comfortable heading into conversations with the ones you want to approach.

While you’re there, grab some brochures etc but don’t be greedy or aggressive on the marketing material or samples.


Follow up –

After the event, employers can be overwhelmed with resumes and pitches.

Ensure you follow up with a phone call or email reminding the recruiter of your stand out points in the conversation. Apply for the positions that are available online and don’t be disheartened if you don’t find your dream job this time round.

Although an employer may not have picked you today, the one that got the position may not work out and you will be at the top of the list.


What is Commercial Awareness (and how do you show you’ve got it?)

Posted on July 29, 2016 by - Blog, External articles

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What is Commercial Awareness (and how do you show you’ve got it)? 

by Matt Arnerich 

Creative or analytical, public or private, big company or small, almost any graduate role seems to mention the importance of commercial awareness these days.

But what on earth is it? And how do you even show your commercial awareness? Essentially, commercial awareness is all about how well you know both the business, and the marketplace that it exists in. Understandably, many employers are worried that inexperienced graduates might lack the sort of business acumen needed to succeed in their first role.

The truth is, it’s relatively simple to develop commercial awareness, and the steps to develop it are much easier than many other soft skills employers might expect you to have.

We take a look at the main things you need to focus on, and how to make sure you walk into your next interview ready to impress.

  • Understand the product or service

The number one priority for any application process is making sure you know exactly what the company does. This is the most basic part of commercial awareness; any company worth their salt will value someone displaying a deep understanding of the way they operate.

It demonstrates not only your ability to fit into the new culture, but that you care enough to have taken the time to do your research. They’ll know that they’re hiring an engaged member of staff.

The How: Make sure that you can explain what the company does in a couple of sentences, as often this can actually be harder than explaining it in five minutes. From here, make sure you understand all of the different areas of their business and how they work together. To do this you’re going to need to move away from the job spec or careers page and delve into their whole website, blog or social media.

  • Who are the customers?

All businesses have customers of some sort, whether they’re selling to the mass market, or making bespoke B2B products. Even within the public sector, you’ve still got people that you are trying to reach and effectively engage with.

Whatever area of the business you’re going into, understanding who these people are is essential to understanding the wider company goals and direction. Businesses that don’t understand the people they’re trying to appeal to don’t tend to last for very long.

The How: Go through the process of buying their product, or at least start to enter into the process by taking a look at any sales materials. Look at their clients and testimonials, and think about how they’re marketing their product. The way in which they’re marketing across different mediums will tell you an awful lot about exactly the type of person they’re trying to reach.

  • Understand the marketplace

Now that you understand the company that you’re applying for back-to-front, it’s time to broaden your search.

Start with identifying and assessing their closest competitors. This should be fairly simple, and you can start by simply searching key industry terms and taking a look at the other companies that surround them in the rankings. Take a look at their websites, and try to work out how their offering differs from the company that you’re applying for.

From here, take a look at Google News and industry-specific sites so that you’re up on the latest developments within the sector. Together, this should give you a good enough grounding to answer any questions they throw at you.

The How: Can you name three competitors? Can you answer a question on what each one does? Would you be able to give an opinion on a number of industry related news items? If it’s a yes to all three, then you’re good to go. For extra credit, make sure you learn a glossary of acronyms and key terms. You don’t want to be tripped up by something that simple!

  • Get role-specific

Now that you’re caught up with everything that’s going on in your sector, it’s time to get more specific with your research.

Perhaps there’s an emerging marketing tool or new channel that could change the way digital marketers communicate with their customers. Equally, there might be a serious skills gap that top companies are looking to address in IT. Whatever your role is, you should know about what’s going on.

The How: Set up Google Alerts to deliver specific news to your inbox every day based on certain keywords. Take a look at some professional publications too. Yes, some of them can be a bit dry but they are a vital source of knowledge for any interview.

  • Get forward thinking

Hopefully at this point, you should have a complete understanding of the company that you’re applying for, as well as the state of the market within both your role and sector.

How to go the extra mile? Try to pull some of this information together and form an idea of what the future might hold. Consider whether past cycles are likely to come back around again and influence the way that companies operate, or how an impending world event might affect the marketplace. Maybe you can think of a way in which a new piece of technology might be utilised by your sector, for example.

The How: Work this into your answer about your opinion on the state of play within the industry. Being forward thinking and giving some insight into the future unprompted will be particularly impressive.

  • Think backwards

Some companies will focus specifically on whether you’ve engaged commercially with companies you’ve worked for in the past. Why? They want to know that you haven’t just prepared especially for the interview, but that you have a natural inclination towards taking a genuine interest in your role.

Whether you’ve got some work experience or even just held a part time job in the past, they may try to blindside you by asking about the sector, what you thought of the company or how you would improve the way they operate.

The How: To really shine in an interview, go back through your CV and make sure you’ve thought about each company as a whole, and not just your role within it. Think about potential obstacles to growth, or things happening in the wider marketplace that may affect them going forwards.

  • Not just for business and finance

Commercial awareness isn’t just important if you want to get into a highly business orientated role, marketing or finance.

Within the arts sector, you need to know all about the importance of funding, and of changes in government initiatives. Health sector workers should understand how changes in technology are influencing the area, and how the budgets are changing. People going into education need to know about the latest surveys and reports on effectiveness and methods.

No matter what you’re doing, understanding the space that you’re entering into is essential to impressing.

The How: Don’t make the mistake of thinking commercial awareness isn’t relevant. You don’t want to be taken by surprise with a question about some news that everyone is talking about that you hadn’t bothered to research. Even if they’re not, it can show that you’ve been thinking about the wider environment around the business, and it’s a way to stand out from the crowd.

Matt Arnerich works as a content writer for the UK’s leading graduate recruitment agency, Inspiring Interns. For internships or graduate jobs London, take a look at their current vacancies!

Networking: the secret to finding your new job

Posted on June 7, 2016 by - Blog, External articles

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Networking: the secret to finding your new job
Networking can be one of the most valuable job hunting tools but also one of the most intimidating. Here, we give a step by step guide to make networking work for you. 

Choose wisely 

Regardless of your location, your nearest city will be filled with a very busy calendar of networking events so focus your efforts. Choose events that will be attended by industry professionals in the area you aspire to work in. These don’t have to be paid events but if you do decide to spend money to attend a larger event such as a conference make sure it’s the right investment for you. You can find a large selection of events on sites such as Meetup and Eventbrite.

Arrive on time 
It may seem silly, but make sure you arrive promptly. By being one of the first people there it endears you to the event organisers who might be willing to make some introductions for you as it is likely they will know some of the attendees.

Know what you’re looking for
Are you looking for an internship next summer or something more full time? Make sure you know what you’re looking for and what type of roles and be prepared to talk about it. A standard networking opener is who are you and what are you here for, you never know who you might be talking to.

Be confident 
Potential employers will be very impressed by candidates who are able to walk over, introduce themselves and ask for a role. If a speaker has your dream job ask them how they did it and whether they would offer some mentorship. Always be polite but make the most of the opportunity.

Make connections

If you’re having a great time talking to someone and building a rapport, don’t be afraid to ask to connect. Even if they don’t have a role for you now they might think of something for you in the future. If you have LinkedIn great, this is an excellent way of staying in touch with people you have met at events.

Touch base 
If someone says they might be able to put you in touch with the right recruiter or better still might have a role for you make sure you send a follow up email, reintroducing yourself. This ensures your conversation isn’t forgotten.

Have fun!
Networking doesn’t guarantee an immediate job but can be a great way of building contacts, getting to know your industry and making friends. If an event doesn’t have the audience you expected then make sure you enjoy it anyway as you might find someone to go networking with at future events. Knowing a friendly face in a room filled with people can be a real confidence boost!


Article courtesy of The Job Crowd. jobcrowd