Top Extracurricular Activities for a Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 4 September 2022

Published 20 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many schools and colleges encourage their students to participate in extracurricular activities. These activities are not only enjoyable but they help you develop valuable skills and qualities like leadership skills. In fact, listing these activities on your resume can benefit you during your job search. In this article, we outline some good examples of extracurricular activities for a resume and discuss when and how to include them on a resume.

Should You Include Extracurricular Activities On Resume?

There are many situations in which you should consider including extra-curricular activities on your professional resume. These include:

When you need to show leadership skills

Most employers value employees with leadership skills and will look for evidence of these when reviewing resumes from job applicants. Leadership skills are versatile and transferrable and professionals who have them are likely to do well in any job position for which they are qualified. So, if you list on your resume that you were in charge of a team or responsible for managing a project while you were a student, the employer will assume that you can put the skills and knowledge you gained to good use in the workplace.

Related: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)

When you need to demonstrate technical skills

If a job requires specific technical skills, it will help to list any practical training and industry experience you got by being a member of a related club, association or organisation. For instance, being a member of the National Association of Students of Architecture will be useful if you are pursuing a career in architecture. It will demonstrate to potential employers that you are serious about gaining professional knowledge and opportunities in your field, and they will be more likely to consider your job application.

When you are short on experience

If you have never held a job or have limited work experience, you can show prospective employers your professional potential by listing numerous extracurricular activities on your resume. It will help to briefly explain the skills and knowledge you gained from these activities. You can also mention any acknowledgements and awards you received. Try to highlight how these extracurricular activities are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you can demonstrate your communication skills, people skills, leadership skills, enthusiasm and willingness to learn, many employers will give you a chance despite your lack of extensive work experience.

Related: Writing a Resume With No Experience

What Are Some Good Extracurricular Activities For A Resume?

There are many different types of extracurricular activities you can participate in while in school. Here are some examples of good extracurricular activities for a resume:

Volunteering

Many employers are willing to make a positive difference in their local communities and prefer to hire socially conscious and responsible employees who can aid them in various social endeavours. If you have participated in environmental cleanup efforts, serving food at homeless shelters, providing work training to economically backward people or teaching underprivileged children, make sure you mention that on your resume. Including your volunteer work on your resume shows your commitment to helping your community and your willingness to serve others.

Tutoring/mentoring

If you conducted tuition classes in one or more academic subjects for younger students or peers, list that on your resume. It will convey to prospective employers that you are intelligent, capable and responsible. You not only have a good grasp of the subjects you teach, but you also care about helping other people to learn.

Professional societies

Many high-performing students are invited to join professional societies. These are typically national associations that seek out members who are skilled in a particular field. Professional associations exist for fields of study like English, mathematics, engineering and computer science. Joining one of these societies shows your commitment to your chosen industry and your level of professional competency.

Related: 10 Resume Writing Tips To Help You Land a Job

Sports

Participating in school, college or community sporting programmes and events can be a fulfilling and enriching experience. It can also look good on your resume and is likely to impress your potential employers. Membership of your school's sports team, for instance, indicates that you understand the importance of leadership and teamwork. It probably means you worked hard to get into the team and know the value of goal-setting.

Additionally, being a sportsperson could mean that you have a competitive spirit to handle setbacks. You probably also understand how to persevere to reach your goals. People with a sports background are capable of collaborating and communicating well with others.

Student leadership

If you were a member of any student association in your school or college, list that on your resume. Members of student associations are usually voted for by their peers. They often act as liaisons between the students and the faculty, making decisions that affect their entire class. Your involvement with any student body indicates that you have strong communication and collaboration skills. You might be experienced in resolving conflicts among students. You may also have handled various issues related to school governance. These accomplishments and accolades may help you win brownie points with your recruiter.

Students who actively participate in a student body association are generally intelligent, articulate, capable and reliable. They have a strong sense of responsibility and are good at managing any tasks they undertake. Including this extracurricular activity on your resume will highlight your leadership potential to employers.

Arts

Many employers seek employees with creative and critical thinking skills, as these can help resolve many workplace issues. They will appreciate resumes showing school-level, college-level or community-level participation in music ensembles, theatre troupes, art groups, literary clubs or film clubs. These memberships demonstrate that you are serious about pursuing and improving your artistic talents and you have the necessary social skills to interact and get along with your peers. If you have also participated in public performances and shows, it could mean that you understand planning, organising, communicating and marketing. These skills will transfer well to the workplace.

Studying abroad

As a growing number of companies now have global connections, they look for job applicants with exposure to foreign cultures. They are more likely to select your resume if you mention that you have studied overseas in accredited educational programmes for a few weeks, months or years.

The overseas study experience is likely to have broadened your knowledge of international customs and provided you with solid cultural communication skills. These can make you a workplace asset. It will be further to your benefit if you have also mastered one or more foreign languages.

How To Write Extracurricular Activities On A Resume

You can write extracurricular activities on a resume using the following steps:

1. Focus on quality over quantity

Create a separate section in your resume for your extracurricular activities and include the ones in which you actively participate. A few extracurricular activities that you are passionate about will make a better impression than a lengthy list with activities that you do not engage in as often. For example, an interest in travel, with well-researched videos, articles and blogs, will be more impressive to recruiters than interests that are not as well-defined.

2. Include only relevant activities

Customise the extracurricular activities section on your resume for every job application you send. Include only those activities that are specifically relevant to the position for which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for a teaching role, mention your experience with tutoring children or peers.

3. Organise the information well

Divide your activities into subsections. For instance, you can create a separate subsection for music, dance, drama, sports, volunteer work, professional societies and fundraising. Use bullet points to list your accomplishments in each subsection. That way, you can make it easy for busy recruiters to scan through your resume quickly. In each section, include what classes you took, what events you participated in, what experience you gained and what certifications or awards you received.

4. Evaluate the benefits of your participation

Indicate how the experiences you acquired with these extracurricular activities can translate into marketable skills. Give specific examples to explain how they helped you to perform better in your job. For instance, if you organised a project, you might mention on your resume that it helped you to become more technologically proficient and develop leadership, organisation, collaboration and communication skills.

5. Review the section

Reread the extracurricular activities section to make sure you have included everything essential. Check for writing clarity and also for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Run it through a grammar app too to catch issues you might have missed.


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