Image of graduate, Saejin Lee, infront of Trent building

December 15, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

How Taking Part in Extra-Curricular Activities Can Help You Explore Career Options

By Saejin, a graduate from South Korea, now working in the UK as a Communications Coordinator

Before I started university, my career goal was to become a TV/film/performance producer. I chose my degree course so I could learn more about the influence and importance of ‘media’ and selected a wide range of modules which enabled me to broaden my thinking, and start to explore more job sectors in creative industries.

My career goal has now slightly changed, and communications, social media marketing, education and organising events are options that I could keep working on after graduation.

During my time at university, I found workshops relating to creative industries, and attended networking events to get connected with creative professionals. I found a Channel 4 pop-up conference in Nottingham where I got to know some Channel 4 staff members and hear all about their work experience opportunities. The conference included an exciting group task about making our own TV show and we brainstormed ideas and pitched a presentation. This was a really valuable experience, because I gained communication and creative skills, as well as learning the process of making a media programme with experts’ advice and feedback.

With my new skills, I also created a UoN K-pop society in 2019. I realised that Korean mainstream media and music industries were growing rapidly, and I wanted to make a hub for people who found this culture interesting. I became the president of the society and led about 200 members in the first year. This was perfect for developing transferable skills such as organising events, communicating with members and working closely with other societies/universities. I also worked as an International Ambassador for the university, for three years, which was also really useful for developing key skills employers are looking for.

When I reflected on the different activities, they had some things in common, so I realised that I enjoyed the specific activities such as being a staff member of a team, organising and directing.

I understand that getting a job and entering the real world is very tough, especially if you don’t know what to do in your career so I would strongly recommend students and graduates keep networking with the people in the industry they are interested in. If you are worried about networking with people, then try to participate in lots of activities at university. I was afraid of approaching new people, but everyone would welcome you and would like to have a chat with you if you show your enthusiasm to them.

Last but not least, I would like to suggest that focusing on job responsibilities can be better than looking for a specific industry. For example, if you are interested in communications, you don’t just have to work in the media industry, because communications roles exist in lots of sectors from music to fashion, to engineering! I realised that your job responsibilities – what you can do – is very important, and there’ll be many more opportunities open up after your first job.

Explore the Careers website for advice on finding work experience and take a look at our Making applications webpages for advice on making the most of the skills you’ve gained through extra-curricular activities. 

Posted in International Students