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Relevant extracurricular activities can strengthen your application for that first engineering job.

They also develop your skillset beyond your degree and give you solid technical examples to talk about in interviews.

Technical activities for creative problem solving

What gives a candidate an edge or ‘spark’ that sets them apart from other candidates is often how they spend their free time. We are a technically-driven company which constantly has to look for creative ways to solve problems in the design of our IP cores. Having an Electronics degree is not always enough.

If candidates have spent their free time working on engineering projects they are personally interested in (for example building a robot, an audio amplifier, or even building a car) this shows a genuine enthusiasm for electronics/hardware.

It also gives candidates the experience of solving problems independently, without the framework of the course module or support of their team mates on a team project. Relying on your own wits will deepen your ability to problem solve creatively.

This can make the difference between a decline and an offer.

One example of this that we had was a student who had spent his free time building a 3D printer. When he submitted his application to us he attached pictures of the printer and gave us some detailed information about what he had achieved.

This kind of proactive problem solving and natural interest in engineering caught our interest and we brought him in for summer internships with us, and are looking forward to him joining us full-time.

Soft skills and their importance

As a technical company, it is a commitment and enthusiasm for electronics that draws our attention to a candidate.

Activities which have enabled individuals to develop their soft skills of communicating ideas clearly, working in a team, and being able to meet deadlines, are also very important.

These soft skills are critical to being an engineer, and although graduates develop these skills further within their studies, it is always good to see that they have participated in such activities.

Taking the opportunity to develop your communication skills with presentations from your university modules, and using the team-based activities to hone your leadership, team and communication skills are all incredibly useful skills to practice before joining the job market.

Extracurricular activities at Imagination

At Imagination we like to work hard and play hard, so there are a number of ‘extracurricular’ activities here. These are important to maintain and develop work relationships and creating a work/life balance.

We have a very active Sports & Social club which has regular sports events such as football, basketball, climbing and squash on a weekly basis. Social events include theatre trips, meals out, go-karting, laserquest, pub and board games nights and much more.

Every Wednesday at 10.30 there is ‘Treat of the Week’ where there are free treats (cookies, muffins, doughnuts, etc.) and everyone is encouraged to interact and communicate with other parts of the company over a coffee and a treat for half an hour.

In relation to technical extracurricular activities, we hold monthly Lunch ‘n’ Learns where someone in the company offers to do a talk on a technical topic, either directly related to their work or a technical area they are interested in.

People register to attend this event and further their knowledge, as well as taking the opportunity to network within the company and interact with a range of people.

These Lunch ‘n’ learns can be run by anybody, meaning that it is the perfect opportunity for employees to hone their presentation skills for future external presentation requirements, or for the sake of personal development.

About Imagination Technologies

As a leading supplier of multimedia and communications semiconductor Intellectual Property (IP) cores which are at the heart of today’s most innovative and exciting consumer electronics products, we look for high-calibre graduates with relevant extracurricular activities.

Imagination Technologies is also the parent company of PURE, which is the market leader in digital radio. We do difficult things well – and constantly seek out graduates to join us in generating world-class IP for chips and engineering the leading digital radios for the consumer market.

Visit our graduate microsite to find out more and apply.

About the Author

  • About Raeeka Yassaie: Raeeka Yassaie is the Graduate Recruitment and Education Liaison Officer for Imagination Technologies.

Raeeka Yassaie

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