Extra-curricular involvement is often overlooked thanks to all the stress of classes, homework and part-time jobs. However, involvement has the potential to be the best thing that could happen to a anyone in university and even later on in life.
At the end of my first year of university, I decided it was time to become more involved in life on campus. I was a general member of the Laurier Marketing Association during my first year, but I wanted a larger role in the organization to gain new experience and capitalize on my strengths.
The application process included submitting a resumé and cover letter. It was basically like applying for a real job.
I had a lot of competition because many general members, like me, wanted to become more involved. I knew I needed to differentiate myself from the others – I really wanted the position.
I decided to make a portfolio of some of my past work to stand out from the rest of the applicants.
I used a variety of different experiences, such as my past volunteering and work experience, and also school achievements or assignments on which I had received a good mark. The assortment of items used in my portfolio revealed my personality as well as my conscientiousness and creativity.
Luckily, my efforts paid off and I was given the Director of Marketing position.
This position was all about communication. My job entailed direct contact with all of our general members: Emails about upcoming events or possible involvement with the association’s activities had to be sent out. I had to consult our graphic designer to co-ordinate poster designs with him. A lot of creative thinking was required to promote events in fun and appealing ways that would attract students.
My vision for the year was to have a more personal connection with all of our members to help increase attendance at events and memberships. This proved successful — the number of general members rose almost 80% and became the highest number of members the Laurier Marketing Association has ever seen.
The position allowed me to network not only within the school, but also with contacts in various industries.
Last October we held the first annual Laurier Marketing Conference which included speakers, a networking luncheon and a Q&A session. It allowed me and other members to connect with potential employers and I ended up exchanging business cards with the president of a prominent publishing company.
My networking even turned into a possible summer job within the publishing industry — the exact industry I see myself working one day.
Since becoming the Director of Marketing last year, I have learned so many things and met some amazing people. Everyone should become involved in something while they’re in school to take advantage of the whole university experience.
There are hundreds of niche organizations and extra-curricular opportunities at every school — you just have to do a bit of digging to find the ones that are right for you.
Consider your program, future career, religious and political affiliations, charitable groups and even student politics when looking to get involved in something. Recent graduates should check out their school’s alumni association for continuing mentoring, leadership and volunteer opportunities.