In today’s world, most employers are looking for employees with a wide range of transferable skills. If you’re applying for a job and you want to stand out among all other applicants, you should consider talking about your skills in your resume. And this is where extracurricular activities come into play.
Extracurricular activities often provide proof to the employer that you have what it takes to succeed in your job role. If you’re wondering about extracurricular activities for a resume, we have a few tips and suggestions for you.
In this blog post, we’ll try to answer the following commonly-asked questions:
What extracurricular activities do employers look for?
How to put extracurricular activities on your resume
10 Examples of extracurricular activities for resume
Including extracurricular activities in your resume can help you express your personality type to your potential employer. Showcasing certain aspects of your personality helps the employer determine whether your interests and ambitions align with the company’s objectives.
Mentioning extracurricular activities is also important if you do not have sufficient job experience. For instance, if you’re a fresh graduate looking to enter the job market, you may need to bank on your key skills, capabilities, and personalities to secure a job in your field of interest.
Here are a few extracurricular activities you should consider adding to your resume.
1. Volunteer work
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve volunteered once in your life or you dedicate every weekend to some volunteer work, make sure to put it on your resume. Previous volunteer work shows your potential employer that you’re willing to go above and beyond to help your colleagues and that you value people and the community at large. It also shows a more empathetic side to you, which could prove useful if you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of interactions with people (for example, a customer success specialist).
Volunteering contributes to your personal development. By mentioning volunteer work, you can showcase your motivation, work ethic, leadership, compassion, and teamwork skills to the prospective employer. These skills are essential for several types of jobs out there.
If you’ve been active in sports throughout your life, you probably know more about determination and perseverance than the other job applicants. Team and group sports also allow you to work with different individuals to achieve a shared goal, which is what the crux of teamwork is all about in a corporate setting.
Sports require you to constantly adapt to challenging situations and motivate others to succeed. Most organizations are on the lookout for people who are open to feedback, willing to adapt, and eager to make a difference. This is why mentioning your previous on-track record goes a long way in helping you secure a job.
3. Student council
Typically, members of a student council or government body have exuberant personalities. They often bridge the gap between students and school/college administrators, which is why they must possess excellent communication and leadership skills.
Being a part of student government allows you to hone a number of skills that are crucial for your professional life, such as collaboration, public speaking, and conflict resolution. Mentioning this extracurricular activity gives your employer an indication that you probably have what it takes to succeed in a fast-paced environment that thrives on team spirit.
4. Peer tutoring
Whether you’ve tutored students on your own or as part of a college activity, it’s worth mentioning in your resume. Peer tutoring shows recruiters that you’re knowledgeable in a certain area, and you’re willing to share this knowledge with other individuals, especially those who need help in this subject. This showcases your leadership, mentorship, and team-building skills. It also highlights your communication skills.
5. Sorority or fraternity membership
Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot more to being a member of a sorority or fraternity than partying and socializing. Many sorority/fraternity members participate in a number of initiatives, such as fundraising, social work, and community engagement. The skills you’ve acquired from your time at a sorority/fraternity, such as teamwork, delegation, diplomacy, and leadership capabilities, are crucial to whichever job you’re applying to.
Most sororities and fraternities have an extensive alumni network. You can leverage this network to look for jobs in your field of interest. If your hiring manager or potential supervisor also belongs to the same sorority or fraternity as you, chances are that they’ll be interested in learning more about you and your experiences.
6. Resident advisor
Resident advisors are often responsible for keeping students safe and maintaining order across dormitories and other places of residence. They also communicate students’ concerns to the college/university administration and help new students feel comfortable and at ease.
If you’re a former resident advisor, make sure to put this experience on your resume. This extracurricular activity allows you to showcase your communication, time management, conflict resolution, leadership, organization, and multi-tasking skills to the potential employer.
Being involved in theater, music, dance, drawing, painting, or any creative activity allows you to think outside the box, become flexible, develop empathy, and improve your observation skills. Performing arts also goes a long way in improving your communication and public speaking skills.
There are plenty of recruiters looking for creative people who are good at brainstorming solutions and who exhibit strong attention to detail. Mentioning your previous experience in arts and craft in your resume is a good way to stand out among other job applicants.
8. Work study
A work-study program provides part-time job opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students who need financial assistance to pay for their education. These programs include both on-campus and off-campus jobs, and they typically involve community service.
Working a part-time job while finishing your education shows that you have remarkable time management skills and resilience. It also allows you to learn certain technical skills that your employer might be looking for. Make sure to add any work-study programs you’ve undertaken to your resume to let your employer know you have what it takes to succeed at the job.
9. Study abroad
As the saying goes, “traveling broadens your horizons.” If you’ve lived outside of your home country as part of a student exchange program, you must’ve learned a lot about the other country’s culture, customs, and people. This knowledge is likely to make you more tolerant and accepting of others and capable of communicating with a diverse team of individuals.
There’s also the likelihood that you’ve learned another language during your time abroad or even volunteered at a local organization in your country of temporary residence. All of the skills you’ve acquired are extremely valuable not just for your potential employer, but also for your own professional growth and personal development.
10. Club executive
Just like student government members, club executives spend a considerable amount of their time planning logistics for groups of students. Since these clubs consist of several team members, one of the most crucial things you’ll learn is how to delegate effectively.
As a club member, you’ll get to hone your leadership, fundraising, organizational, and communication skills. Some club activities may require you to learn Microsoft Office suite and other technical skills employers are looking for.
How do you put extracurricular activities on your resume?
If you’ve decided to include extracurricular activities on your resume, here’s what you need to do next.
Figure out the relevant activities
The first step towards including extracurricular activities in your resume is to determine the activities that are most relevant to the job you’re applying to. Do your research on the company’s culture and what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate, and then think about the extracurricular activities that are worth mentioning. For example, if the organization is looking for a creative individual with strong attention to detail, you may want to talk about any art project you were a part of.
Focus on transferable skills
When writing your extracurricular activities, make sure to add a line underneath each activity to highlight the key skills you acquired. These skills should be relevant to the job you’re applying to. For example, if you were the captain of your college football team or got promoted to a senior position at a volunteer organization, you can mention that you learned valuable leadership and team management skills that you can apply to any professional environment.
Be very specific
Write all of your extracurricular activities in chronological order. With each activity, mention the name of the organization, your title at that activity, and the duration of the activity. You can also include any accomplishments you achieved in those extracurricular activities. Be specific and use power verbs to mention your achievements so that your employer has a better idea about your personality and qualifications.
Where should you put extracurricular activities on your resume?
After figuring out which extracurricular activities are worth mentioning, you might be wondering where you should include these activities in your resume. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
If extracurricular activities are extremely crucial for the job you’re applying to or you don’t have prior work experience, you can consider adding these activities in your work experience section. For example, if you spent a lot of time writing in your college, you can add this as the first job in your work experience section.
UCLA, Department of Fine Arts, 2019 - 2020
- Wrote several short stories that were published in UCLA Chronicles.
- Conducted 5 workshops for new students on the art of storytelling.
- Won the prestigious Storyteller of the Year Award 2019.
If your extracurricular activities are closely tied to your degree, you can consider adding them to the education section in your resume. Even if you don’t delve into the details, the hiring manager might be intrigued by these activities, and they would want to find out more about you.
Bachelor of Science in Applied Accounting
University of Wisconsin, 2018 (GPA: 3.9)
Vice President - Accounting Club
- Designed banners and brochures for KP Associates, a local tax consulting firm.
- Arranged the university’s annual Financial Planning Seminar, 2017
If you’ve been part of multiple extracurricular activities and each activity has a number of awards associated with it, you can think about creating a separate section for these activities titled “Accomplishments.” Consider placing this section at the bottom of your resume so that it acts as a final selling point that immediately grabs the reader’s attention.
President, University of Alabama Students Association, 2018
Alpha Chi Omega Honors Society, 2017
Head of Committee, University of Alabama Student Funds, 2016
If you have participated in several extracurricular activities but they’re not relevant to your job, you can easily place them in a separate section in your resume titled “Interests.” This could be a unique addition to your resume that is likely to pique the reader’s attention.
Member of the Rotaract Club of Orange County, 2020
Volunteer, St. Jude’s Hospital, 2019
Avid biker, runner, and swimmer
Adding extracurricular activities to your resume is a good way to focus on your transferable skills and soft skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying to.
When hiring employees, most organizations look for individuals who are willing to go above and beyond on the job. This is where your extracurricular activities can come in handy.
There are several ways you can add extracurricular activities to your resume. You can add them to your work experience, education, key accomplishments, or hobbies and interests section.