Extracurricular activities on your resume can reveal key skills that employers look for in a professional environment.
Certain extracurricular activities are clearly useful for specific jobs. If you’re applying to work as a reporter, for example, you certainly should mention in your resume that you served as editor-in-chief at your school newspaper.
But often these connections will be less clear, and in some cases you may want to leave an extracurricular activity off of your resume altogether.
But how do you know what to include? Keep extracurricular activities on your resume if they demonstrate your commitment to these responsibilities, skills or activities:
Have you led a sports team or organized the freshman orchestra concert series? Put it on your resume.
Extracurricular and student activities that show your ability to manage groups or plan large-scale events add weight to your experience. Being the conductor of a band doesn’t just prove your musicality – on your resume, it demonstrates your ability to work with a team and plan ahead.
If your extracurricular activities include published writing experience or tech training, add it to your resume.
Even if you’re applying for a job that seems unrelated to these extracurricular activities, almost any job requires these key abilities. Being able to express yourself, in English or HTML, is a skill that companies greatly value, so let your resume tell them how experienced you are!
Languages have many uses in the workplace, but listing your extracurricular experience with foreign languages on your resume reveals much more than how fast you can translate.
Participating in study abroad programs indicates an acceptance of other cultures and a desire to connect with different people – both qualities of a good team player. That’s an extracurricular activity that the readers of your resume love.
Your resume’s extracurricular activities shine when they show you’re a self-starter.
Volunteering not only highlights your selflessness, but also reveals that you take initiative, looking for opportunities to help your community instead of waiting for them to come to you. That sort of motivation is a great asset to the work environment, and employers will look at your resume and take note.
The ability to effectively communicate information to others is an essential part of any workplace. Buddying up with college students or younger people in the area (such as high school or grade school students) who need tutoring or advising suggests not only a willingness to help others, but also proficiency in a particular field of study.
If there’s a particular extracurricular activity you’ve worked at for many years, but it doesn’t seem to fit the job description or any of the above characteristics, briefly mention it anyway. A commitment to one extracurricular activity over a long time shows a focus and dedication that is very impressive on a resume and can lead to a job interview, especially if you have received honors or awards for your efforts.
So what should you leave off of your resume?
Padding resumes with dozens of extracurricular activities – a passing interest in baking, or two years of piano lessons – says little about you. Plus, too many resume extracurricular activities can appear unfocused or dispassionate. But listing some extracurricular activities on your resume not only gives companies a good idea of what kind of student you are, but also shows them the kind of employee you would be.