How to level up and add ‘award-winning’ to your resume

The best thing about the Student Engagement Awards isn’t getting glammed up for the night, or trying to eat all the tapas you can manage, or even snapping that perfect pic for your Instagram story (although these are some great perks). The best thing about your Student Engagement Award is what comes next. Not only do you get the shiny certificate, but you also get to note on your resume that you were a winner. Pretty impressive stuff!


These days, employers are always looking for more from their graduates: more experience, more recognition and more skills. This means that being an active part of the community, and being a Student Engagement Award or  Employability/ Work Integrated Learning Award recipient, couldn’t come at a more crucial time for our graduates-to-be.

“It allows a job applicant to stand out from the pack by sharing stories from their experiences that are in addition to their curriculum based learning.”

Melissa Moore, Senior Manager of the Careers Service, said that the Student Engagement and Employability Awards are, “an opportunity for the University to recognise and thank the students who work hard to enrich campus life and build our reputation within the wider community.”

She also noted that doing that bit extra is a way for students to up their employability game. “By being part of an extracurricular activity, students are able to prove that they are energetic, driven and able to work well as part of a team” she said.

“It allows a job applicant to stand out from the pack by sharing stories from their experiences that are in addition to their curriculum based learning.”

According to Melissa, research from the Foundation for Young Australians found that developing and demonstrating these skills can speed a graduate’s transition to full time employment by up to 17 months.

“Research shows that up to 75% of new positions are gained through networking,” she said. “It is well worth meeting new people and proving your worth as part of a club, community or volunteering opportunity!”

Layla Beech, who was recognised at the 2018 Student Engagement Awards for her 210 hours volunteered at Yak, said that seeing, “over 200 hours volunteered” on her resume definitely can’t hurt.

“Volunteering was the best decision I made at uni, if for nothing but pushing me to do new things and improving my confidence,” she said. “The hours on my resume might not have helped my employability yet, but it certainly gives me an edge and the skills I gained as a University volunteer drastically made me a better media practitioner, no doubt!”

student engagement

Melissa encourages students to take that first step and get involved, which may be greatly rewarded in the future. “We have over 90 clubs at the University of Newcastle and many of them are looking for new members to be part of or help organise their next event. If you are unable to make the time to be part of a club or volunteer with the University, think about the part-time work or activities that you do as part of the community.”

“Successful job applicants are clear about the skills they can bring to their next employer and have a range of evidence from their activities, study and workplace experiences to prove that these skills exist,” she said.

If you would like to talk about developing your employability, book an appointment with a Careers Counsellor at the Careers Service.

To join a club, visit the Clubs & Societies page. Or to get more involved in volunteering on campus, take a look at our Volunteering page.

Feature image and inset image via the University of Newcastle Students Facebook Page.

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