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Marketing Assignment: A Literature Review On Extracurricular Activities Upon Employability


Task: The aim of this marketing assignment is to provide a Literature Review on:
1. the impact of extracurricular activities upon employability by integrating signaling theory and market positioning approach.
2. Impact of extracurricular activities on university students' outcomes, skills, career readiness, and experiences
3. Identify the different extracurricular activities undertaken by universities or students. In addition, that are the essential extracurricular activities in the resumes of fresh graduates
4. the soft and hard skills developed through participation in extracurricular activities and if these skills are required in the marketplace
5. marketplace attractiveness towards fresh graduates who participated in extracurricular activities during their university stage
6. current employability skills and qualities that employers are looking for in fresh graduates
7. Signaling theory
8. Market positioning
Please make sure to also identify research gap on extracurricular activities impact upon employability and the relevant theory underpinning study (Signaling & MArket positioning theories)


1. Discuss the impact of extracurricular activities upon employability by integrating signalling theory and market positioning approach within this marketing assignment.
Market Position strategy

The market positioning strategy mainly focuses on the ways to allure the customers in buying the product. It will be conducive to outperforming the competitors in the market (Fayvishenko, 2018, pp. 245-248). This market positioning strategy has been recently used in the education system (Maringe, 2006, pp. 466-479). However, this can be integrated into the workplace selection too. How the concept “value for money” has impacted the decision-making process on higher education, similarly “value for skills” has been largely prevailing over both employees as well as the HR. Most jobs have become saturated with education, so the company in recent times is in great need of skills and knowledge than just their studies (Teng, Ma, Pahlevansharif and Turner, 2019, pp. 590-604). Being so, incorporating some extracurricular skills to yourself would be helpful in waxing the chances of employability opportunities in the present demanding business markets. The activities you get proficient in will help to define your personality, and this will put you ahead of your competitors fighting for the same position. Also, the market positioning strategy by Al Ries and Jack Trout has stated that outside-in thinking which lets the person see from different perspectives of the employers would help in developing the skills according to the requirement, as branching out is vital but too much diversification is also inimical for the employability (Clark, 2014). For instance, if the position is for sales manager or the job that is related to sales, then volunteering for the non-profit organization to raise the funds will be an extensive aspect in determining your efficacy when compared to other person applying for this position, who lacks such extra-curricular activities. In front of this, doing a part-time job in a hotel would be less fruitful. So, not just any extra-curricular activities will be helping in proliferating the employability opportunities but also the right one.

Signaling Theory
Similarly, the signaling theory equally plays a pivotal role in enhancing employability opportunities with the help of extracurricular activities (Bae, Masud, and Kim, 2018). The signaling theory could be conducive in defining the behavior when two or more individuals or organizations have acquired different information (Connelly, Certo, Ireland, and Reutzal, 2011). Employability is greatly affected by extracurricular activities when the signaling theory is incorporated since the employers expect candidness from the employees of their skills and expertise. So, when the signaling theory is implemented then the recruiter could get clear and exact details that are to be needed for the recruitment process and could evaluate whether the information provided by the person applying for the job is authentic. For instance, many people in the interviews can deceive the employer with false data about their activities other than the studies. Since these activities do not provide any certification to the participants, it would be hard for the recruiter to conclude whether the person who applied for the position is telling the truth or not. In such cases, the signaling theory could be helpful in effectively communicating the reality of the resume the person has handed over. So, now the extracurricular activities will be more valuable for the person with evidence that he or she participated in such activities.

2. Impact of extracurricular activities on university students' outcomes, skills, career readiness, and experiences.
Extracurricular activities have been proven to be healthy and propitious for the development of the student’s life (Ansari et al., 2016, pp. 36-43). There are various aspects where the extracurricular activities have manifested their efficacy in enhancing the skills and outcomes of the students which will be assisting in their future goals and careers. Sometimes these activities will spotlight the goals for which they must aim (Freeman, 2017). For instance, if a student does not know what to pursue after graduation, and he has been found exceptional in his writing skills in intercollege competitions then the student will be provided with a path to approach or at least as a backup plan as a writer in news journal or the scriptwriting or even a novelist. I addition to these, another benefit would be the activities not in the curriculum would help in relaxing the students after a taxing lecture. This way the students would be provided with chances to think and formulate the decision much clearly (Garrecht, Bruckermann, and Harms, 2018, p. 3876). The extracurricular activities would help in refreshing the minds of the students and would help in underscoring their productivity and the effectiveness with which they can attend the classes or the reading the notes. According to Howard Gardner in his book Five Minds for The Future, the author delineates the mental abilities into five and concluded these are the aspects that would be conducive in accomplishing a successful educational career – the disciplinary mind (or getting oneself accustomed to various subjects), synthesizing mind (or the expertise in integrating the concepts from various disciplines for solving the problem), the respectful mind (or valuing the differences in the individuals), and finally the ethical mind (or being the responsible citizen of the country). And these minds could attain only through the holistic development approach. And this could be constructive only when the education system lends some help to extracurricular activities.

These activities help develop the logical and analytical thinking in the students, their critical and creative thinking, problem-solving skills, leadership skills, their social and emotional skills, and finally their social and ethical values. These are some of the crucial aspects that could determine the skills of the student in the workplace he or she is going to get employed. For instance, if the student is trying to start a company, then the student would be faced with numerous problems that could crush the emotional and social values they hold. In such situations, they require effective problem-solving skills, and for this, the students must be strong in emotional and social aspects. So, every skill is interlinked here and together will be helpful for students in accomplishing the successful company. How could these strong and effective skills be achieved? By volunteering for non-profit organizations, the students could learn the social value and the emotional requirements. When being a part of the sporting team, the students could learn team coordination and leadership skills. Also, the pitch-up sessions provided by the coaches while practicing would help in developing creative thinking and analytical skills. Also, many universities provide teaching assistance sponsorship for the students to avail to truncate the education fee in such cases, communication and social skills are required to evaluate whether the students are suitable for the scholarship. These could be easily achieved with the help of non-curriculum activities such as participating in seminars and speech competitions. So, extracurricular activities have a greater impact on the university students’ outcomes, experiences, skills, and career preparations.

3. Identify the different extracurricular activities undertaken by universities or students. In addition that are the essential extracurricular activities in the resumes of fresh graduates.
There is a prevailing dilemma among many prospective graduate students before starting their higher education career that is whether they must be get enrolled in any extracurricular activities offered by the university by placing the studying in a loose hanger. The majority of the students have this mindset (Capuno et al., 2019, pp. 547-561). However, this is a faulty assumption. The extracurricular activities offered in the universities are like long-term bonds whose value gets added every time you participate in them. Some of the activities offered by the universities which are preferred better by the students since it helps in developing their personal skills are discussed below.

The essential extracurricular activities
• Student Government Association – Here students could be developed with the leadership skills in managing the student community in the colleges, alongside the critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These will be useful for the students to outperform his or her colleagues in the workplace.
• Academic clubs and teams – The clubs and team involvement will manifest your interest in social skills and will help in developing them (Zhand and Liu, 2013).
• Debate teams – Being a part of the college’s debate team helps the students in developing their communication skills. These skills would be effective in including in the resumes when the student applies for sales related job or the workplace where communication is vital. Speaking out the issues presented will also help the students to improve the critical thinking while solving the issue produce to debate and alongside will improve the problem-solving skills for the students which would be very helpful for the students to overcome the issues faced by the organization and provide an unambiguous path for its achievement of the long-term goals.
• The Creativity clubs – Clubs such as singing club, or drama club, or the writer’s club will help the students to relax and redeem their minds by having some fun by doing what they love. The writing skills especially could be useful for the organization to get some aid in formulating the reports and other essential documents.
• Internships – This would be the most pivotal activity a student could do to attract the attention of the employer. This will help the students in developing the skills related to their professional requirements as well as the personal ones, which depends on the internship the student takes part in.
• Volunteer work and Community Services – Being involved in such services will improve your esteem among employers. Since people involved in such communities will display a good level of social skills which would be useful to maintain the working community together on a single path to the company’s goals.

4. The soft and hard skills developed through participation in extracurricular activities and if these skills are required in the marketplace.
The outcome of most extracurricular activities can be categorized between soft and hard skills. Soft skills could be defined as the abilities that are curbed to do any particular job. It can be good communication skills, or management skills, or even language learning skills (Siddiky, 2020, pp. 511-528). Yes, learning a new language has been one of the most vital soft skills to get expert at. Many companies recently have tried to expand their markets to international markets, to surge the cash flow for the company (Mason, Chakrabarti, and Singh, 2017, pp. 261-270). For instance, if an American company needs to open its new branch in Sweden, then the company would be looking for a person who is good at both languages in communicating. In such cases, learning English for the Sweden citizen or learning Swedish for the American citizen would improve the employability opportunity. It is apparent from the example that the extracurricular activities are very necessary and helpful in acquiring the soft skills which then would be a catalyst to place the person in the job. Similarly, leadership and collaboration have been vital in any organization to run effectively to reach its goals. If the student is good at his leadership skills while playing for his college team, or when he or she have portrayed exceptional leadership in taking the team in drafting and completing a difficult project in the midst of many difficulties will attract the recruiter to opt for the student compared to his competitors.

On the other hand, hard skills are equally important for increasing the probability of getting employed. Hard skills are abilities that could be teachable sets of skills. This would comprise from marketing skills to programming skills. The world has recently shifted from being mechanical and traditional to digital (Sorensen, 2018, pp. 349-350). Being so, learning to code is another soft skill that would be helpful in getting a good job position in high-esteemed companies.

5. marketplace attractiveness towards fresh graduates who participated in extracurricular activities during their university stage.
The extracurricular activities are aiding the university students to improve their expertise in various fields. For instance, teaching assistance will help university graduate to improve their communication skills, and similarly, the research assistant will help the student to acquire some professional knowledge beyond his or her current education. These are the primary aspects the company requires. The company must work effectively to meet the requirements of the market and the customers. So, the company must choose its employees effectively to be capable of such criteria. Participating in the hackathons which would concentrate primarily on developing the programming and design skills of the students will help affirm the job position in the tech companies. The students who have participated in learning online software such as AutoCAD or any simulation software will be in great demand for the designers’ jobs (Marjanovic et al. 2018, pp. 2045-2054). Since many top-tier companies have turned their traditional design techniques into computerized ones, this extracurricular learning could be helpful for the students.

Similarly, as discussed before, globalization has become a crucial aspect for every company to improve their business and cash flow learning multiple languages would be very conducive. There is a great market need for such extra skills.

6. Current employability skills and qualities that employers are looking for in fresh graduates.
In recent times, employers are looking for skills more than just qualifications and experience (Chua et al. 2017, pp. 163-170). The education and the experience might make the candidate eligible for applying for the job, however, the choosing process solely depends on the skills the candidate has acquired in their lifetime, whether it might be in schools or universities or the workplaces. Employers are keen on evaluating the candidates based on their perseverance in acquiring any skills that the situation demands. The perfect example could be internet banking. With the recent boom on the internet, the banking process has now been majorly transformed to digital platforms (Rahi, Ghani, Alnaser and Ngah, 2018, pp. 173-186). So, many employees and the working process has to be altered to get accustomed to the change and the demand. But many failed and showed their dissent. This surged the turnover rates of the bank employees and made the banks to be in a difficult situation. So, the banking employers would be careful in looking for the candidate who is ready to accept the change and learn new skills whenever needed. Skill development will not stop once the graduation period is over. The skills must be developed when the situation demands them. This is one of the vital aspects the employers would be looking for in the candidates (McGunagle and Zizka, 2020).

Social Skills
In addition to that, the employer will also look at the socializing of the employees with the working community. Because synchronization is very important for the company to share the order or the decision made. Under this, the employer will look for better communication skills (whether it be verbal or non-verbal communication), also the listening and grasping capabilities of the candidate. The employers will also evaluate your emotional intelligence or the skill to comprehend and manage the emotions of yours with respect to the others in the working community (Gregorio, Maggioni, Mauri and Mazzucchelli, 2019, pp. 251-258). The evaluation also includes how well the candidate could work well in teams, then his or her negotiation, influencing, and persuasion skills along with the conflict resolution skills. These are important to build a strong rapport in the working community.

The employer also looks for how well the candidate could be dependable in his previous workplace or on his university clubs and teams. Holding the responsibility of one’s actions is very vital in alluring the employers to choose you compared to the one who lacks this specification (Scott, Connell, Thomson and Willison, 2017, pp. 692-707). This also includes how trustworthy can the candidate be. And how acceptable the candidate be in terms of following the company’s rules and regulations? (Goodwin, Goh, Verkoeyen, Lithgow, 2019).

Willingness to learn
And finally, the candidate’s willingness to learn new skills or subjects that would be useful in achieving the goals of the company. The employers would be very keen on noticing this trait since the market is always unpredictable and when the company forces the person to learn new things to satisfy the demands of the market. As seen in the internet banking example.

7. Signaling Theory
Signaling theories could be very vital in both the cases, from the perspective of the employers as well as the candidates. First, let us discuss the employers. For instance, if the candidate has included that he or she has volunteered in a campaign to raise the funds for the nonprofit organizations, then only with that the recruiters could not evaluate the communication skills of the candidate. In such cases, the employers need the assistance of signaling theory in determining the authenticity of the data provided by the candidate to effectively handle the employability procedure. On the other hand, from the perspective of the candidate, he or she could be deceived with less information about the company in their applicants' form or more than what is there in the company. In curtailing any such situations, it would be recommended for the employees to get the assistance of the signaling theory. In general, signaling theory means a communicative path used for defining or stating the traits and characteristics of one person to another, it might be an employee to the company as seen in the example or from individual to another individual. However, the researches related to the signaling theory has touched more in the sectors of education than employability. Yet there are many other theories that clarifies the concerns over the integration of employability with extracurricular activities. Perry’s Intellectual Scheme and Kitchener and King’s Reflective Judgement Model are few among them. Firstly, Perry’s Intellectual Scheme is related to the development of the undergraduate’s cognitive and ethical skills for their life time to meet the employability criteria. They usually are four, dualism, multiplicity, relativism and commitment which are to be learned according to the scheme for better employment opportunities. Similarly, a study on the Kitchener and King’s Reflective Judgement Model (Perkowska-Klejman, Odrowaz-Coates, 2021, pp. 23-39) clearly drafts the importance of this model in enhancing the employment opportunities by interlinking the extracurricular activity. And according to Steininger, the research on signaling theory’s impacts on the employability and how crucial it would be in making them approachable by blending the extracurricular activities is scarce.

8. Market Positioning
As discussed before, the market positioning strategy primarily focuses on how well the brand or the product could be placed with the customers such that they would never forget the product. This strategy has even been prevailing in the education sectors however, in the employability sectors it is still in scanty amount. But one could comprehend that “value for skills” would be the easy way of concluding the whole value of the market positioning in the employment. This market positioning in employment could be stated as just like the products or the brands in the market that would never leave the heart of the customers with its exceptional quality and better efficiency, employees or the candidates must also manifest their potential to be exceptional in front of their employers to improve the possibilities of getting employed. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of this approach could not be evaluated empirically due to the lack of researches on market positioning and employability (Al-Surmi, Cao and Duan, 2020, pp. 39-49). This scantiness in research is also manifested in another study (Vancea and Utzet, 2016, pp. 73-84). The study has shown that there is a lack of research in identifying the potential impacts on the extracurricular activities and the work experience with the employability chances (Silva et al., 2016).

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