Decided to stay on at university for another year, but not to study? Do you want a job representing the sort of people you will have socialised with for the last three years? Maybe standing for election to the Student Union is for you. This can be a great addition to a CV and could set you on a path to a great career in advocacy should you find your passion there.
Take The Role Seriously
Putting yourself up for Guild / Student Union Representative Election is not something to take lightly. It is a serious job that will see you act as a liaison between students and the university. It is effectively an executive job, so it’s important that you understand the gravity of the work you would be expected to do if you are employed to do so in acting as a student voice to university faculty and senior staff.
So you have made your way onto the ballot paper; this is where the hard work begins. Your manifesto should address the following:
- Who you are and what you studied while a student (once again, you will no longer be a student). This adds a human element. Don’t spend too much time on it because there are more important things than your media front.
- The work you did while a student. This is vital. Were you a regular organise for RAG events? Did you successfully petition the university? Did you organise protests, engage with the public or raise awareness of an issue?
- Make the summary relevant to the role. Few will be fooled by a horribly generic manifesto or plan. You need to sell yourself, sure, but people also want to know why they should choose you for this role above anybody else. Address the tasks and why you are suitable for the role. Think about the benefit to the “customer” for electing you, just as you would in sales.
You will need to put a voice and a face to the words; that is why you should make sure your face is seen and your voice heard around and across the campus. In a General Election, politicians visit people in an attempt to get in touch with the voters. Not getting out there, not putting your face about the place makes you seem remote, remote means invisible and invisible means forgettable.
Minimise the Gimmicks
It has become increasingly common for students to create gimmicks such as funny videos, slogans or daft outfits so people remember them. This has been a long tradition of British elections, and what is an election without a little silliness? There is nothing wrong with gimmicks, but if you want to be taken seriously, it must be handled correctly and kept to a minimum. Otherwise, the gimmick is all people will remember of you.