Your resume is the first impression you make on a potential employer. It’s important to showcase your skills and experiences that demonstrate your ability to excel in a given role. While work experience is undoubtedly valuable, it’s not the only thing that employers are looking for when reviewing resumes. Extracurricular activities can be a great way to demonstrate your leadership, teamwork, and other soft skills that can make you stand out from other job applicants.
Enhancing Your Resume with Extracurricular Activities
One of the most common questions that job seekers ask is whether or not they should include extracurricular activities on their resumes. The answer is: It depends. If you have relevant experience that’s directly related to the job you’re applying for, you might want to prioritize that. However, if you’re lacking in work experience or have a lot of competition for the role, extracurricular activities can be an effective way to showcase your skills and stand out.
The Pros and Cons of Including Extracurricular Activities on Your Resume
There are some benefits and drawbacks to including extracurricular activities on your resume. On the plus side, these activities can demonstrate your leadership skills, communication abilities, and other essential soft skills that employers are looking for. They also demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded individual who’s passionate about personal growth.
For example, if you were the captain of your university’s debate team, this could showcase your leadership skills, critical thinking abilities, and public speaking prowess. If you volunteered at a local charity, this could demonstrate your commitment to giving back to the community and your ability to work in a team environment.
On the downside, some employers might view extracurricular activities as irrelevant, particularly if they’re not closely related to the job you’re applying for. Additionally, if you have too many activities or if they’re not presented cohesively, it can make your resume look cluttered and unfocused.
How to Choose Which Extracurricular Activities to Include on Your Resume
When deciding which extracurricular activities to include on your resume, it’s important to consider the relevance of each activity to the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a job in marketing, for example, you might want to highlight your experience as the social media manager for your university’s marketing club.
You should also consider the level of involvement you had in each activity. If you were a passive member of a club, it might not be as impressive as if you were an active participant or leader.
Finally, think about the skills that each activity has helped you develop. If you’re applying for a job that requires strong communication skills, for example, you might want to highlight your experience as a mentor or tutor.
Overall, including extracurricular activities on your resume can be a great way to showcase your skills and stand out from the competition. However, it’s important to choose your activities wisely and present them in a cohesive and relevant way.
10 Examples of Impressive Extracurricular Activities for Your Resume
If you’re convinced that extracurricular activities belong on your resume, the next step is to figure out which ones to include. While it’s important to tailor your resume to the specific job you’re applying for, here are ten examples of activities that can help set you apart:
1. Leadership Roles in Student Organizations
If you’ve held a leadership position in a student organization, it demonstrates that you have excellent decision-making skills and can effectively lead a team. Some examples of student organizations that you could get involved in include student government, debate club, or a business club.
2. Professional Association Memberships
If you’re a member of a professional association, this demonstrates that you have a commitment to your industry and are passionate about learning and growing professionally. Some examples of professional associations that you could join include the American Marketing Association, the Society for Human Resource Management, or the National Society of Engineers.
3. Language Clubs and Cultural Organizations
If you’re bilingual or have experience with other cultures, this can be an excellent way to demonstrate your ability to work well in diverse environments. Some examples of language clubs and cultural organizations that you could get involved in include the Spanish Club, the Chinese Student Association, or the African Students Association.
4. Creative Pursuits, such as Music or Writing
Creative pursuits demonstrate that you have a unique perspective and can think outside the box. Additionally, they demonstrate that you’re dedicated and passionate about your interests. Some examples of creative pursuits that you could get involved in include a capella groups, writing clubs, or theater productions.
5. Athletic Achievements and Team Sports
Athletic achievements demonstrate that you have discipline, perseverance, and can work well under pressure. Team sports demonstrate that you’re a team player and can effectively collaborate with others. Some examples of team sports that you could get involved in include soccer, basketball, or volleyball.
6. Greek Life Involvement
If you’re involved in Greek life, this can demonstrate that you have strong networking skills, are dedicated to your community, and can effectively manage your time. Some examples of Greek life organizations that you could join include fraternities or sororities.
7. Residential Life Positions
If you’ve held a position in residential life, such as a resident assistant, this demonstrates that you have excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. Some examples of residential life positions that you could apply for include resident assistant, community advisor, or hall director.
8. Relevant Work Experience, such as Internships or Part-Time Jobs
If you have relevant work experience, it’s undoubtedly the most important thing to include on your resume. Make sure to emphasize the skills you developed in these roles. Some examples of relevant work experience that you could pursue include internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work.
9. Volunteer Work and Community Service
Volunteer work and community service demonstrate that you’re passionate about making a positive impact in the world and have excellent time management skills. Some examples of volunteer work and community service that you could get involved in include working at a food bank, volunteering at a hospital, or participating in a charity walk or run.
10. Study Abroad or Travel Experience
If you’ve studied abroad or traveled extensively, this demonstrates that you’re adaptable and can effectively communicate with people from different cultures. Some examples of study abroad or travel experiences that you could pursue include studying abroad for a semester or year, participating in a service trip, or backpacking through Europe.
Tips for Effectively Showcasing Extracurricular Activities on Your Resume
Extracurricular activities are a great way to showcase your skills and interests outside of your academic and professional experience. They can demonstrate your leadership abilities, teamwork skills, and commitment to personal growth. However, it can be challenging to effectively present your extracurricular activities on your resume. Here are a few tips to help you:
1. Incorporating Them into Your Work Experience Section
If your extracurricular activity involved work experience, such as an internship or part-time job, you might want to incorporate it into that section of your resume. For example, if you worked as a marketing intern for a non-profit organization, you could include this experience in your work experience section and highlight the skills you developed, such as social media management, event planning, and fundraising. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you have practical experience in your field of interest and that you have developed valuable skills that can be applied in a professional setting.
2. Highlighting Them in Your Education Section
If your extracurricular activity didn’t involve work experience, you can highlight it in the education section of your resume. For example, if you were a member of a debate team or a volunteer at a local community center, you could include this information in your education section and provide brief descriptions of what you did and what skills you developed. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a well-rounded candidate who has diverse interests and has developed a range of skills outside of your academic studies.
3. Providing Specific Examples
When describing your extracurricular activities on your resume, it’s important to provide specific examples of what you did and how you contributed to the organization or team. For example, if you were a member of a student government association, you could describe how you organized events, managed budgets, and collaborated with other members to achieve common goals. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you have concrete experience and achievements that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
4. Emphasizing Transferable Skills
Extracurricular activities can provide you with a range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. When presenting your extracurricular activities on your resume, make sure to emphasize these skills and provide specific examples of how you developed them. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you have the skills and abilities necessary to succeed in a professional setting.
In conclusion, extracurricular activities can be an effective way to boost your resume and demonstrate your soft skills to potential employers. However, it’s important to choose your activities wisely and present them in a clear, organized manner. By doing so, you can set yourself apart from the competition and land your dream job.