March 18, 2016, by Alice Gould
Five Transferable Skills You’ll Gain as a Student Representative
By Alice Gould, student blogger
It’s impossible to avoid elections at this time of year. Be it people blocking the entrance to Hallward with their campaigns for Student Union office or societies constantly asking for applications for next year’s committee. While these are both great opportunities, if campaigning isn’t for you, they are not the only option.
I was the Publicity Officer for The Bar Society – barristers, not drinking – during my second year of university and I really wanted to be involved in a project again in my final year. I studied abroad in my third year, so I thought it would be difficult to campaign for an elected position.
When I saw an advert for student representatives for Amicus, I jumped at the chance. Amicus is a legal charity that provides representation for people on death row, which is something I’m very passionate about.
Most student representative jobs are selected by applying directly to the company, eliminating the stress of campaigning. The deadlines are also usually after elections, meaning that if you missed out on a committee position, there’s still time to apply.
And it’s not just charities that look for student representatives. Do some research; a huge variety of companies want students to promote them on campus. You might even get to work for a company you want to apply for a job with after graduating.
There are many benefits to being a student representative. My experience has definitely given my CV a boost and helped me to navigate through some tricky job interview questions. I picked up a host of transferable skills, but here are five that really stand out.
In almost every interview I have been to so far, I have been asked for an example of leadership. Being a student representative is a perfect example, as you’ll usually be the only one at your university.
2. Meeting targets
Most student representatives are assigned targets by the company they work or volunteer for. For example, Amicus gave me fundraising and student participation targets which, not to brag, but I surpassed by over three times – okay, that was definitely bragging. Being able to show potential employers that you’re target-driven and successful is really useful.
As student representatives usually work by themselves, it’s easier to show you how used your initiative to engage students and put on events. I tried to be resourceful during my time with Amicus, looking for creative ways to engage people and fundraise. I even went skydiving this semester.
Working by yourself and planning events not only requires a high level of independence and initiative, but also means you need to be really organised – a transferable skill that every job needs. Hosting a charity pub quiz is an example I’ve used in my graduate job applications.
Finally, being a student representative is a great way of showing enthusiasm and determination to future employers. Taking on a role of responsibility during your studies shows you’re prepared to go the extra mile.
What’s more, if you do the best job you can and keep in contact, it’s possible the company you’ve been representing might employ you in the future.
Are you looking for ways to stand out from the crowd? Are you wondering what transferable skills you could add to your CV? For careers advice tailored to you, book an appointment with one of our Career Advisers now.