Being at university is not just about getting a degree. It’s also about the opportunities alongside your degree to explore interests and develop yourself.
It can be about pushing outside your comfort zone or proving to yourself that you can do something. You may want to make a difference in a community or make your mark. Or you may want to dedicate time to an interest or a cause that intrigues or inspires you.
Many find these fulfilling experiences through Bristol Students’ Union (SU), by:
- participating in, running or starting a new or existing club, society, network or volunteering project
- volunteering for student voice roles.
As well as making university memorable, SU experiences can enhance your employability.
Employers frequently state the value they place on extracurricular experiences.
The SU celebrates students’ achievements each year in the SU Awards.
Being nominated and achieving one of these coveted awards can help you stand out to employers.
So how can you make the most of this?
1. Evidence for your applications and interviews
You can include your achievement on your CV, LinkedIn profile, in applications or interviews. Think about top 10 skills that graduate recruiters look for that you used in the role, or use the University’s Skills Framework to help you to reflect.
Make sure you talk about your achievement in a relevant way to what you are applying for. Understand the entry requirements for roles by looking at Prospects job profiles and live job adverts. The STAR model is an ideal structure for articulating this impactfully. See the illustrative examples at the end of this blog to see how your nomination can help to evidence your abilities.
2. Tell your story
You don’t have to wait to apply for something to tell your nomination story. Think about how your nomination can contribute to your personal brand.
In other words, what do you want people to think about you and your career goals? How do you want to market yourself? You can shape how people think about your professional goals and abilities by the way you talk about yourself and your experiences.
You can do this by being active on professional social media sites such as LinkedIn. You can share posts with your connections to celebrate your nomination and what it says about you. As well as promoting your achievement and abilities, this can be a great way to demonstrate your values, which are also important for your career.
You can also talk about your nomination when you meet people, perhaps through your SU role or another networking encounter.
If you invest in your personal brand over time, it can really pay off. For example, someone you met last year at an event and connected with on LinkedIn may think of you when they hear about an exciting opportunity that you would be great for and may send it your way. It all helps!
So what does this actually look like? Here are some examples:
June 2021 – May 2022, President, 180 Degrees Consulting
- Led a strategy developed with other committee members for expanding activity by recruiting 232 student consultants. Successfully doubled activity from the previous year, working with 34 charities providing 24,000 hours of consulting support. Impact recognised by winning the Group Community Impact Award at Bristol SU Awards 2022.
Application/interview example (using the STAR model)
During my final year at university, I was nominated President of the 180 Degrees Consulting society, where University of Bristol students provide consultancy services to charities. I was keen for the society to expand and support charities in their recovery from the pandemic. To do this. I led the committee in developing a plan to support this expansion, whilst still providing a quality service. Firstly, I presented feedback from last year’s charity clients about what went well and suggestions for improvements to the committee to help inform our discussion. I arranged a meeting the Raising and Giving society about any partner charities they felt could benefit from consulting support post-pandemic. I also prompted the committee to discuss a plan for recruiting more members than the previous year. I delegated each of these areas to committee members and set goals for tasks to be completed. As a result, the society successfully recruited 232 student consultants and set up projects with 34 charities in 2021/22, which is double the amount of the previous year. Our society’s efforts were awarded the Group Community Impact Award in the Bristol SU Awards.
LinkedIn post example
I am delighted to share that my society has been nominated for the Group Community Impact Award at the Bristol SU Awards this year.
I put myself forward as President of 180 Degrees Consulting as I wanted to play a leading role in growing the society’s impact, particularly to support charities that have struggled in the challenging recovery from lockdown.
This year, 180 Degrees Consulting has achieved so much including:
- Hiring 232 student consultants.
- Completing projects with 34 charities, bringing several new charities on board.
- Provided 24,000 hours of consulting support, which was double the previous year.
- Excellent feedback from charity partners about the professionalism and valued input from our student consultants.
As 180 Degrees Consulting President, I am very proud to have played my part in achieving this goal, whilst developing my own leadership, strategic thinking and teamwork skills. A huge thank you to my fellow committee members and our fantastic team of student consultants – it is great to see all of our efforts recognised with this nomination.
Further reading and links
- Learn more about the SU Awards.
- Get your extracurricular experiences recognised with the Bristol PLUS Award.
- Read more about the importance of extracurricular activities.
- Come to one of our regular sessions on CVs, cover letters, application forms, LinkedIn or networking sessions.
- Explore the importance of values to your career.