Whether it is ski-ing, tramping, setting up a social enterprise/ cultural group or creating a more professional network like the AUT Accounting Association, clubs offer the opportunities to not only have fun, but also develop those employability skills we keep banging on about.
Clubs require you to collectively discuss, suggest and generally get on with things. Employers always want team players and where best to practise those skills than with a group of people doing something you like to do or something that feels useful?
It can be hard to meet people outside your family and friends. Clubs can open up new friendship opportunities as well as networking. Meeting people from different backgrounds and working alongside them will help you learn how to react and respond to people differently and see that one size doesn’t fit all.
Every time you talk to a new student you’re opening the possibility of building a relationship that may lead to a friendship or a future contact in an organisation. - and that is the basis of networking!
Soft skills, people skills, transferable skills – all mean the same. You really practise these in a club because you’ll hopefully be developing new relationships which means you’re having to communicate, interact and open up to others.
Some people never see themselves as leaders until they’re pushed into a situation where they surprise themselves. Taking on a leadership role in your favourite club gives you a safe place to build leadership skills, improve your public speaking and your ability to facilitate discussions etc.
Employers love seeing applicants that have participated in an event or group outside of study. But it also shows that you can take on responsibility and commit to things. And look more interesting on paper.
Here is what two AUT Edge Award students, now in the workplace, say about the impact of joining or setting up a club at university.
Through the AUT Edge Award, Brice Valentin Shun volunteered at Code Club Aotearoa where he learned how to engage and communicate with younger people. That in turn helped him interact better with people he worked with.
“My experience at the Code Club proved to be really useful because I found that having a meaningful conversation really helped me connect. So I started to engage in deeper conversations with my co-workers after the small-talk phase was over; I asked them about their aspirations, their hobbies, etc… In turn, they started asking me questions too.”
Yves Guo set up AUT Streetstyle and Fashion club while doing the Edge Award. He says he found it very hard initially to talk to people about supporting the club but persevered because he wanted to use fashion to raise money for the homeless.
“It was really hard in the beginning as I always took a deep breath before I opened my mouth. I was really nervous and sometimes I forgot what to say but club members waited for me to finish my sentences and none of them interrupted me.”
Yves says his ability to communicate and his self confidence improved hugely over the months.
“This overall improvement made me more confident with employer interviews. The network that I built from this experience would also benefit future opportunities to work in events.”
Find out more about AUTSA Clubs.. The range is exhaustive, from entrepreneurial opportunities, to sport, science, business, IT clubs. If there is nothing you can find that interests you, then apply to set up your own. One Edge Award student set up a K-Pop club last year.
Find out more about AUT Edge Award which is open to all AUT students, and the new Beyond AUT award, designed specfically for postgraduate students.
Written by AUT career writer, Angela McCarthy
Imagery - Nightclub image by Mauricio Mascaro.
AUTSA Club images from AUTSA Club Facebook page