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Positions of Responsibility

15 September 2015 |

Firms need to know that their employees can effectively take on responsibility and subsequently manage their time effectively to ensure tasks are completed to the standard required and within the deadlines set. Undertaking positions of responsibility at university whilst maintaining a strong academic performance is a fantastic way to demonstrate that you can do this.

Try to join the executive committee of the university societies and clubs in which you are most interested. It does not matter whether it is the Finance Society, Music Theatre Society, Ice Hockey Society or a charitable society. It doesn't matter whether you are a 1st year representative, President, Club Captain or Head of Marketing. The premise is the same: these experiences give you scope to prove to firms that you have the ability to handle responsibility and to demonstrate what you are capable of achieving if given the chance.

Find out when elections are taking place, as these are usually open to anyone wishing to apply. Getting to know the current executive committee and members of a society and demonstrating your interest in getting involved (by attending events, offering to help and asking the current executive committee about their particular roles) could help to give you a better chance of getting elected or appointed.

If at school you were selected as a Prefect, Ambassador or Head Boy/Girl or you were elected/appointed onto some sort of student liaison or event committee, these count as positions of responsibility. If you have ever taught or mentored (be it Maths, Music, English or Dance) this can similarly evidence how you have developed certain skills. The same applies if you are/were a firm's campus ambassador (and it is perfectly fine to state this on applications to rival firms; if anything, it validates you as a worthy candidate as you passed the recruitment process implemented by another firm!). I listed: drum kit teacher, founder of a (casual) 5-a-side team, my role as campus ambassador for a City firm and my role as President of the Commercial Law Society (and later, Warwick Finance Societies) among my positions of responsibility.

These are just a few examples. All of your experiences may be relevant and go to show that you are the sort of person who gets involved. With a little creativity and open-mindedness, you can draw a surprising number of skills out of each experience. For instance, I was once asked to demonstrate a time during which I had demonstrated commercial awareness. You could approach such a question simply by giving an example of how work experience provided an insight into the fundamental business processes that help to create value, customer service, branding, marketing, pricing products, effective management, efficient operations etc. You do not need to have been the CEO to make such observations!