How to Boost Your Resume with All of Those Extracurricular Activities. When and What to Include?

When you’re crafting your resume, anything that provides you an opportunity to showcase your skills and experience can be valuable. While seasoned professionals can typically rely on their past work experience, recent graduates or entry-level candidates may not have enough experience to cover what needs to be addressed.

Luckily, non-traditional experience can help those job seekers fill the gaps. By listing the right extracurricular activities on your resume, you can highlight relevant capabilities learned through those experiences, making you a stronger match. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here’s a look at when you should use extracurricular activities to boost your resume and what to include.

When to List Extracurricular Activities on a Resume

Generally speaking, recent graduates and entry-level candidates benefit most from the addition of extracurricular activities on their resumes. Those job seekers commonly have little, if any, relevant work experience, making it harder for them to demonstrate that they have the skills necessary to succeed in a role.

By including relevant extracurricular activities, you can showcase the capabilities you’ve earned through non-traditional means. However, the keyword in that equation is “relevant.” As with work history, listing details that don’t pertain to the job won’t help you position yourself as a stellar candidate. However, if an extracurricular activity allowed you to hone a transferrable skill that aligns with the position’s must-haves, it is potentially worth including.

Types of Extracurricular Activities Can Work on a Resume

The term “extracurricular activities” is a bit vague. It can encompass a range of experiences. However, in most cases, all of the activities were structured. For example, formal clubs and teams are better choices than casual gatherings.

If you aren’t sure whether your extracurricular activities have a place on your resume, here is a list of common ones that might be worth including:

  • Academic Clubs
  • Arts Organizations
  • Community Volunteering
  • Fraternity or Sorority Leadership
  • Student Publications or Broadcast
  • Multicultural Organizations
  • Industry/Professional Groups
  • Sports Teams
  • Student Government
  • Tutoring Programs

Other extracurricular activities beyond those above may also be worthwhile additions to your application. If the experience resembles any of those on the list, you may be able to use it to boost your resume.

What Extracurricular Activity Skills to Include

When you’re choosing extracurricular activities to include in your resume, use the job description as a guide. Examine the must-have skills list as a starting point. If you have a skill on that list because of your participation in an extracurricular activity, you may want to discuss that activity on your resume.

However, that doesn’t mean you only need to address skills on the list. Soft skills aren’t always in job descriptions, but they are incredibly valuable and highly transferable. If an extracurricular activity can showcase your teamwork, leadership, communication, collaboration, or other skills, it can be worth mentioning. Just make sure that those transferable skills are the focus when you do, ensuring overall relevance.

Ultimately, when used properly, extracurricular activities can take your resume to new heights. If you’d like to learn more, the staff at The Squires Group can help. Contact us today.


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