Build your CV in your spare time

Undertaking an undergraduate course with very few weekly contact hours, I soon found myself wondering what else I could do with all the spare time I had. Of course, I would be expected to complete a number of hours of independent study each week. Yet in order to better motivate myself, and to make the most of my University experience here in Sheffield, I soon realised that I would need to get more involved in the University community and would need to find various other ways in which to develop my skills. 

In first year I went about finding myself a part-time job in order to help fund my living costs, but to also further enhance my skills and to also develop some new ones. Having a part-time job has consequently helped improve my communication skills, my IT skills and my overall confidence, as well as enabling me to help others and to feel great in doing so. 

In addition to gaining work experience, in my second year I went on to get more involved within both the Students’ Union and my course departments. I became a member of the Sheffield Volunteering working committee, helping to create campaigns to further promote the fantastic work of Sheffield Volunteering across the University campus. Once again I was enhancing my skills whilst also working alongside others as a team, with regular commitment to meetings, stalls, events and more. I was also a student representative for the Student Staff Committee for one of my departments, allowing me to speak on the behalf of students, whilst also enabling me to contribute to discussions and questions posed. 

Although I admit that at times I found it difficult to juggle my commitments, especially around the time of deadlines, I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in second year and loved being as proactive as I was. I could increasingly recognise the skills I was developing through my wide engagement across the University and could also see myself evolving as a person. 

In the run up to my third and final year, I decided to run for positions on two committees; the Sheffield Volunteering committee (again) and the Politics Society committee. Having always enjoyed holding roles of responsibility, I put myself forward for a more challenging position within the Sheffield Volunteering committee, one that would involve sending regular emails, devising rotas, leading training sessions and so much more. Throughout the role I have had to find ways to adapt the way I do things, whilst also prioritising and organising myself as effectively as possible. 

Having now completed half of my final year, I have increasingly come to recognise that when it comes to job applications, it really helps to have a wide range of real life examples whereby you have demonstrated various skills and qualities. I would therefore strongly advise you to get involved in a range of activities alongside your degree, to help provide you with a diversity of experience and skills development.
Ellie (Third year BA Politics and Sociology)
Careers Service

Careers Service

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