When you're at the early stages of your career or still pursuing your education, incorporating extracurricular activities into your student resume can significantly enhance your prospects.

“When I was a teenager, I began to settle into school because I'd discovered the extracurricular activities that interested me: music and theater.”

Morgan Freeman

These extracurricular pursuits offer a valuable opportunity to showcase your skills and qualifications beyond what's typically found in your academic record. They serve as tangible proof of your diverse capabilities, providing a refreshing contrast to the more conventional academic achievements listed in your educational background.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll take a deep dive into the art of integrating extracurricular activities into your resume.

Together, we'll explore:

  • What extracurricular activities are;
  • What types of involvement can be beneficial to include in a resume;
  • How to present this information effectively;
  • Which activities to prioritize depending on the situation;
  • When it's most appropriate to have them on the resume.

Our aim is to help you understand the significance of these activities in the professional realm. This article will shed light on the real-world value they bring to your candidacy.

What are extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities examples

Extracurricular activities are things you do outside of regular school or work. They're not the required classes or job duties. Instead, these are involvements that can help you learn practical skills that are useful in your life.

When you get involved in extracurriculars, you can learn and grow in different ways. You can join clubs, volunteer, or do community service, which helps you develop yourself.

  • Clubs let you meet people who like the same things as you, and you can work together on projects.
  • Volunteering is about helping others and improving how you communicate, understand other people, and handle different situations.
  • Community service makes you feel like you're making a difference in the world and shows how powerful it can be when people work together for a common goal.

The top 5 college organizations that will make your resume stand out are social justice clubs, student government, debate teams, academic major associations, and honor societies. (The College Post)

In simple words, extracurricular activities are like a bag full of opportunities. They're not just about school or work. They're about becoming a better, more skilled person in different parts of your life. They help you learn and improve, now and in the future.

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How to list extracurricular activities on a resume

Including extracurricular activities in your resume requires a strategic approach. Here are five essential steps to effectively integrate these activities into your resume.

1. Reflect on your involvement

Begin by creating a list of all the extracurriculars you are engaged in or have actively contributed to during your academic journey. Consider how each activity benefited you and the skills you acquired.

For instance, if you are part of a foreign language club, highlight your language skills, which can be valuable to potential employers. Focus on listing clubs or organizations where you were actively involved and developed transferable skills.

Moreover, consider mentioning activities where you held leadership roles, as these demonstrate your ability to take on responsibilities and make significant contributions. These can be being a part of student government or holding an executive role in an organization.

Benefits of listing activities for resume

2. Prioritize relevant experiences

If you have participated in diverse extracurricular activities, prioritize those most relevant to your desired industry or position. Specify your level of involvement and interest in each activity.

List your clubs and organizations on your resume in the same way how you organize work experience. Include a job title, a brief description of your responsibilities, and the start and end dates of the position. (Ripple Match)

Tailor your list to align with the industry or role you are pursuing. Highlight the skills and experiences that will resonate with potential employers more easily. For example, if you are applying for a banking position, emphasize your membership in a student finance association over unrelated affiliations like knitting clubs.

3. Evaluate your qualifications

If you choose extracurricular activities for your resume, assess how your participation has enhanced your qualifications. For example, if you were on the student council, you likely developed excellent communication and teamwork skills.

Consider the following skills that extracurricular activities can help you acquire and emphasize on your resume:

  • Technical expertise. Academic and extracurricular activities can nurture specific technical skills relevant to your industry.
  • Initiative. Involvement in extracurricular pursuits demonstrates ambition and the willingness to take initiative.
  • Work ethic and dedication. Consistent effort and commitment in extracurricular activities highlight your dedication.
  • Collaboration and communication. Working within clubs or organizations improves your soft skills, which are essential in various professions.
  • Organization. Managing academics and extracurriculars showcases strong organizational skills.
  • Leadership. Many activities allow you to lead and organize events, a trait highly regarded by employers.
  • Problem-solving. Extracurriculars often involve real-world challenges, fostering critical thinking and creativity skills.

4. Organize your activities

The space you allocate to listing extracurricular activities should depend on your overall experience. If you had several internships or have substantial work experience, you may prioritize those experiences and include only your most noteworthy extracurricular activities.

However, if you lack work or internship experience, emphasize how your extracurriculars have equipped you for the position you seek. Start with your most recent or current activities and conclude with earlier involvements.

5. Use bullet points for detail

Under the name of each extracurricular activity, provide the dates of your involvement and your position or role. Follow this with a concise list of bullet points that elucidate the skills you gained and highlight your accomplishments. This format is similar to the work experience section of your resume.

It's essential to provide a comprehensive picture of your involvement. To do this effectively, you should include specific details under each activity.

Here's how to expand on the process of using bullet points for greater clarity:

  • Dates of involvement. Begin by noting the period you were actively engaged in each of the extracurriculars. This shows recruiters the duration of your commitment and your ability to manage multiple responsibilities simultaneously.
  • Position or role. Next, specify your role or position within each activity. Make it clear whether you were the club president, team captain, treasurer, or another significant role. This highlights your level of responsibility and leadership within the group.
  • Skills gained. Under each activity, elaborate on the skills you developed or enhanced. For example, if you were part of a debate club, you might mention that you improved your public speaking, critical thinking, and research skills. Be specific about how these skills were cultivated during your involvement.
  • Highlight accomplishments. Use bullet points to showcase your accomplishments within each activity. Did you organize an event, win a competition, or lead a successful project? Mention these achievements. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible. For instance, if you raised funds for a charity event, specify the amount you gained.
  • Awards and certifications. If you received any awards or certifications that are relevant to the job you're applying for, be sure to include them. Awards like "Club Member of the Year" or certifications in first aid can demonstrate your commitment and skills.
  • Action verbs. To make your accomplishments more impactful, use power words when describing your role and achievements. For example, words like "led," "initiated," "organized," and "achieved" convey a sense of proactivity and accomplishment.

By providing these additional details for each extracurricular activity, you create a more precise and comprehensive picture of your experiences and skills. This helps potential employers understand the depth of your involvement and the value you can bring to their organization.

Examples of effective extracurricular activities

Sharing your involvement can be beneficial even if you are unsure which particular skills you acquired there. Recruiters will spot the activity that they know helped develop skills that are beneficial to the candidate picked for the role. (UpKey)

To offer a clearer picture, here are some examples of extracurricular activities that can be particularly impactful on your resume:

ActivityDescription
Student governmentInvolvement in student government can be multifaceted. Highlight any roles you held within it, such as President, Vice President, or Treasurer. Mention specific initiatives you spearheaded or events you organized,. This will showcase your ability to manage groups, communicate effectively with diverse audiences, lead, and contribute to improving your school community.
School clubsIf you're part of a club related to your field of study, don't just mention membership; elaborate on your contributions. Did you organize club meetings or events? Were you part of a team that achieved specific goals or projects? Share how your involvement went beyond mere participation, emphasizing your enthusiasm for your chosen industry.
Sports teams and creative ensemblesBeing part of a sports team or creative club like drama, choir, or band signifies more than just talent. Describe your commitment by detailing your regular practice and performance schedule. Mention any leadership roles, such as team captain or section leader. Sharing this will highlight your dedication, creativity, and ability to work closely with others toward a common goal.
Volunteer activitiesWhile mentioning humility and community commitment is essential, go deeper by discussing the impact of your volunteer work. Talk about the specific tasks or projects you undertook, the organizations you supported, and the number of hours you dedicated. Explain how your communication, time management, and leadership skills came into play to make a difference in your community.
Professional societies or programsWhen including your membership in industry organizations, explain how it aligns with your career aspirations. Did you attend industry-specific conferences or workshops? Were you part of any committees or projects within these societies? Showcase your ambition, networking efforts, and eagerness to learn more about your chosen field.
Hobbies and interestsWhile hobbies can provide insights into your personality, connect them to your candidacy. For example, if you're applying for a marketing position, mentioning your interest in photography could highlight your creative eye and attention to visual details. Offer brief examples or even anecdotes to demonstrate how your hobbies relate to the skills and qualities desired for the job.

You'll create a more compelling narrative on your resume by delving deeper into these extracurricular activities. Specific experiences and achievements within each category will allow potential employers to get a better understanding of your persona.

When to include extracurriculars on a resume

In case you lack professional experience or you are still in college, adding extracurricular activities can strengthen your resume. They help showcase to potential employers that you do have the needed skills and qualifications. (Indeed)

Knowing when to incorporate your extracurricular activities in your resume is essential to presenting yourself effectively to potential employers. Here's a more detailed breakdown of when and why to include them:

OccasionDescription
Current student or recent graduateIf you are currently enrolled in a school or have recently graduated, highlighting your extracurricular activities is especially valuable. This is crucial when you have limited or no professional experience in your chosen field. Extracurricular activities demonstrate your skills, work ethic, and commitment. They offer a way to compensate for the absence of internships or relevant jobs on your resume.
Leadership rolesHolding leadership positions within these extracurricular activities strengthens your case for inclusion. Leadership roles, such as club president or the sports team captain, showcase your ability to take charge. They also indicate that you can make decisions and guide a group toward common goals. These experiences can be particularly relevant if you're applying for a role that requires leadership qualities.
Direct relevance to career pathIf your extracurricular activities align directly with your desired career path, they become even more crucial to include. For instance, you're pursuing a career in marketing and were involved in a marketing club or managed social media for a nonprofit organization. These experiences demonstrate your practical knowledge and dedication to the field.
Time since graduationAs you gain more work experience and your career progresses, the relevance of your extracurricular activities may diminish. Removing them from your resume after about five years since graduation is generally recommended. However, there are exceptions to this guideline.
Relevance to industryIf your extracurricular activities remain highly relevant to your industry or profession, they can remain assets on your resume. Even beyond the five-year mark. This is especially true if your involvement in these activities demonstrates ongoing commitment, continuous learning, or expertise that aligns with your career goals.
Career changeIf you're attempting a career change and your past extracurricular activities provide relevant skills or knowledge to your new path, it's wise to keep them on your resume. They can bridge your prior experiences and your aspirations in the new field, demonstrating transferable skills and a genuine interest in the industry.

In essence, the decision to include or remove extracurricular activities from your resume hinges on their relevance to your current career stage and goals. While there are general guidelines, remember that each person's journey is unique. It's essential to tailor your resume to showcase the experiences that best reflect your qualifications and aspirations.

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Eamples of extracurricular activities for resume

Teacher resume:

Teachers often have a broad range of extracurricular activities they can include on their resume. Examples of activities outside the classroom that may be listed in a teacher's resume:

Examples:

  • Mentoring. Teachers can mentor students, either through organized programs or independently. This shows a dedication to aiding students reach their full potential.
  • Coaching. Coaching sports teams is a great avenue for teachers to showcase their leadership and organizational abilities. It also shows an ability to motivate and inspire students.
  • Tutoring. Tutoring students in-person or online is another way for teachers to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a particular subject area.
  • Community Involvement. Participating in community events or working with local nonprofits can showcase a teacher's commitment to the community while displaying leadership and communication skills.
  • Professional development. Taking classes and participating in workshops show an ongoing commitment to learning and self-improvement, which is always impressive to potential employers.
  • Public Speaking. Giving presentations at conferences or other events can demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, which is an important skill for any teacher.

Engaging in these activities can emphasize the various capabilities that teachers possess outside of the classroom, enhancing their eligibility for job openings.

Accountant resume

Accountants have a wide range of skills that are beneficial to employers. However, including extracurriculars on your resume can help you gain a competitive edge over other applicants.

Here are some examples of activities that demonstrate professional traits relevant to the accounting field:

Examples:

  • Professional societies. Participating in professional organizations, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), shows dedication to your profession.
  • Volunteering. If you volunteer with a charity or non-profit organization, it demonstrates commitment and compassion.
  • Networking. Networking events are a great way to meet new contacts and build relationships within the industry.
  • Conferences. Attending finance-related conferences enables you to remain abreast of the most recent developments and cultivate your abilities.
  • Continuing education. Taking courses related to accounting can show that you are eager to learn and stay current in the field.

Mentioning your out-of-class activities in your resume will help employers recognize you as someone devoted to their profession and eager to exceed what's expected.

News reporter resume

News reporters need to be well-rounded individuals. In addition to their journalism degree, they should have experience and knowledge in other areas.

These are a few examples of extracurricular activities and experiences that could help any news reporter make a stand-out resume:

Examples:

  • Volunteering. If you helped at local media outlets, this shows initiative and a willingness to learn. It also gives reporters valuable connections in the industry.
  • Public speaking. Having experience with public speaking adds an important skill to any journalist's toolkit.
  • Writing or blogging. This allows a reporter to hone their writing skills and gain visibility in the industry.
  • Working with nonprofits or charities. This demonstrates a commitment to helping others, something that news organizations value highly.
  • Professional development. Participating in career advancement opportunities, such as seminars or workshops is a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in journalism and network with peers in the field.
  • Conferences. Attending conferences and conventions related to journalism and media topics. This helps keep reporters informed about new advances in the industry, as well as providing valuable networking opportunities with fellow professionals.

By having a broad selection of non-academic activities and experiences on their resume, news reporters can indicate to those considering them for employment that they are well-rounded individuals who are committed to staying up-to-date and interested in the domain of journalism.

Logistician resume

Logisticians are often required to have various skills to perform their job duties. Besides having a good understanding of the logistics process, they should also possess strong communication, analytical, and problem-solving capabilities.

To enhance a logistician's resume, consider the following extracurricular activities: beneficial for a logistician's resume:

Examples:

  • Toastmasters International. Toastmasters is an organization that helps individuals improve their public speaking skills. Through this demonstration, employers can notice that the individual is ready to take initiative and improve their communication abilities.
  • Volunteering at a local food bank. Volunteering at a food bank shows employers that the person possesses strong organizational and problem-solving capabilities.
  • Professional associations. Professional associations offer members networking opportunities and access to industry news. Participating in one can help to demonstrate the individual's dedication to the logistics sector.
  • Online course. Online courses provide an opportunity for individuals to learn new skills or brush up on existing ones. This activity can demonstrate to employers that the individual has a desire to keep apprised of industry trends.

By participating in extracurricular resume activities such as these, logisticians can demonstrate their commitment and dedication to the field of logistics. These endeavors can assist them to stand out from other applicants and get hired for positions they are qualified for.

Police officer's resume

Police officers are expected to possess extensive knowledge, a diverse set of abilities, and a wide array of skills. When crafting a resume, extracurricular activities can show potential employers that you have the experience and qualities necessary to be successful in law enforcement.

Examples of valuable extracurriculars to include on a law enforcement professional's resume are:

Examples:

  • Sports teams. Participating in physical activities such as running, weightlifting, and martial arts is a terrific demonstration of your dedication to health and fitness.
  • First Aid/CPR Training. Being certified in first aid and CPR shows that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to respond quickly and appropriately in emergency situations.
  • Self-defense classes. Taking self-defense classes can help you develop the skills needed to protect yourself and others in dangerous situations.
  • Community service. Participating in community service can show employers that you are dedicated to serving your community.
  • Volunteer work. Volunteering at local shelters or other organizations can illustrate your resolve to assist others.
  • Leadership roles. Serving as a leader in a club or organization shows that you have strong communication and organizational skills.

These are just a few examples of extracurricular activities that can help make your resume stand out as a police officer. Highlighting to employers the experience and capabilities you have for the job could be a major factor in being employed.

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Conclusion

Sharing extracurricular activities in your resume can significantly boost your employability, especially when starting your career or transitioning from academics to the professional world. These activities provide evidence of your skills, dedication, and interests outside the classroom.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be able to build your resume that highlights your extracurricular experiences effectively. You will surely impress potential employers and increase your chances of securing your desired job.