Mediocre application form answers aren’t going to grab the attention you deserve.
So how to you spice up your experience without jacking everything in to go off volunteering in Botswana? When you have a life packed to the rafters already, what can you do to make it seem more interesting?
Of course it’s important to make sure the examples you are asked for are relevant to the question. It might be that you did do a charity trek across the Himalayas, but shoe-horning that into a question about your administrative capabilities isn’t going to cut it. You’d probably have a much more suitable example from work.
But there are times that a more novel example will make you stand out from the crowd, especially on questions related to team building or problem solving- your assessors probably won’t want to hear again about how you lead a work team building day.
Part of it is looking at what you have got and seeing it for what it is. It might not be much to you that you run an under 11s football club on a Sunday, but within that is a lot of scope for you to describe the challenges and rewards. You might take for granted that you’ve had caring responsibilities for a long time, but that experience can show your compassion, patience and kindness far better than something which may, on the face of it, seem more ‘sexy’.
Keep your eye out for new possibilities as well. There may be opportunities for you to step up and get involved in something going on in the community, or a charity event which has some personal meaning to you. You don’t have to commit a load of time or money, but just doing something to expand your horizons might make you more attractive to a new employer. Stick to what you are good at and know you like, or try something new because it grabs you, not because you feel you should. It’s hard to find time for the things we do want to do, let alone the things we don’t!
Extra activities will look good on an application, if you can write about them with relevance, passion and commitment. But these activities will also help you to develop into someone who is very employable- what company isn’t looking for someone with a proactive attitude, a willingness to get involved, commitment to making things work and passion for excelling?