During your time at university, getting involved in a society or two is almost a rite of passage. Whether it's a netball team or a zombie society, from day one of freshers all the way through to final year, you'll be encouraged to join a society as a way of making friends, developing new interests and generally making the most of student life.
If you are, or were, a member of a society at university, the chances are you'll want to talk about your participation in it on your CV.
But is this really something you should include on your CV? Are employers interested in whether you've been involved in a society?
If you're a president or committee member of a society, then it's definitely worth mentioning this on your CV. Playing such an active role in the running of, maybe even founding of, a society will have allowed you to develop skills and gain experiences that, if highlighted correctly, will appeal to employers.
From teamwork and time management to communication and organisation, these are just some the sorts of soft skills employers will want to see you providing evidence for on your CV.
Did you plan a ski trip for your society? Are you in charge of sourcing sponsorship? Perhaps you're the person who organises all the meet-ups or sorts out buying the merchandise? Whatever your role is, take some time to identify the key skills expected of you within the job description for the job you want to apply for, and provide examples of how being in a society has helped you to develop those skills.
If you're not a president or committee member of a society, but you would consider yourself an active member, then it could still be worth mentioning it if the society is in some way relevant to the job or company you're applying to.
For example, if you're a member of a university sports team and a job description indicates that the role is suitable for someone who is confident or competitive, then here is your ideal opportunity to demonstrate this. Alternatively, if you're a member of a business society and you're applying for a business-related job, then showing how you committed some of your time at university to participating in a business society can only help your application.
However, if you're one of those people who signed up to a society during freshers' week, turned up to one or two meet-ups and then never showed your face again, it's probably not worth sticking it on your CV just for the sake of it. At the end of the day, employers only really want to hear about why you're the right candidate for their job, so if you can't provide any relevant examples of what key skills you gained from being a part of the society, then mentioning it won't really help you out.
If you're ever unsure whether your time in a society at university is worth a place on your CV, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is the society or the role you played within it relevant to the job you're applying for?
Remember to engage with the job description. It doesn't necessarily matter if your society was one of the more niche ones ("Come Dine With Me Society", we're looking at you) as long as what you're saying about it shows why you're the right person for the job at hand (ie. you organised all the dinners, or you sent out all the communications).
2. Are you proud of the impact you had on the society and can you provide clear examples of what you did?
Don't just mention the fact that you were in a society for the sake of it. Mention it because you think your experience was valuable and you want the employer to know about it. Bear in mind that you might be asked to expand on anything you mention on your CV during your interview, so if you don't really have that much to say about it, leave it out.
3. Do you have room on your CV to mention it, or could you talk about something more relevant instead?
Your CV should be no longer than two pages, even better if you can keep it to one neat and tidy page filled with only the most relevant information. If yours is getting a bit crowded or it's spilling onto more than two pages, consider whether mentioning your society is the best use of the space.
Are you in a university society? Would you like to access more sponsorship from top graduate employers? Make sure your society is signed up to Kaampus.
Kaampus is a society sponsorship platform that connects societies with employers who provide sponsorship in exchange for sending emails out to your members. It's totally free for societies to use, and you're always in control of which employers you work with and what emails are sent out.