Does binge-watching Netflix count as an extracurricular?
Peppering your CV with extracurricular activities is a smart way to get ahead. These are any activities that you do outside of the nine-to-five. Including them as part of your application could set you apart from the crowd, show recruiters that you're a well-rounded candidate, and bolster your skill set.
What's more, if you lack work experience, you may find that adding extracurriculars supports your application. For example, you might have some voluntary work that aligns well with the role you're applying for. Adding it to your CV gives potential employers a better insight into your experience.
Ready to spice up your application? Let's take a look at some of the different types of extracurricular activities that you may want to sneak in here.
Clubs and societies
Are you a member of a book club? Perhaps you're on the board of an art society? Taking an active role in clubs and societies will demonstrate that you have rich interests outside of the work environment. You may have joined interest-specific societies while you were at university, for instance. If you held a position within the society, make sure that you mention it. Showing that you have a knack for leadership could make all the difference when you're applying for senior roles within a company.
The truth of the matter is that being a member of clubs and societies helps to teach you a wide variety of skills. Your time within these groups may have helped you to improve your organisational skills, given you an appreciation for the specific interest, or allowed you to work as part of a team and take a lead on things.
Sports and fitness
Are you something of a fitness freak? Do you play as part of a sports team? Staying active in your free time means you have high levels of self-motivation and willpower. After all, those who look after their physical health may perform better within the workplace. You may regularly attend the gym, go to a fitness class or swim two to three times a week. If that's the case, pop them on your CV with pride.
Of course, you may play for a football, netball, cricket, rugby or basketball team. Any type of team sport shows that you know how to collaborate well with others. It also takes a level of dedication to training and reliability. For that reason, adding your membership to your CV may show recruiters that you're the real deal. Should you have any extra responsibilities (such as collecting membership fees), be sure to say so.
Volunteering can be at once fulfilling and rewarding. If you spend your spare time working for a charity or organisation, list this experience on your CV. You may collect money for a charitable cause that is close to your heart. On the other hand, you might work shifts at the local homeless shelter. There are plenty of skills that you will have picked up when taking part in this type of work. For instance, you may be used to working with vulnerable people, managing teams or managing conflict.
There are two main reasons that volunteer work will win you some extra brownie points. First of all, the fact that you're willing to work for free shows that you are not merely driven by money. You're passionate about projects and causes, which is a huge bonus. Moreover, volunteering within your chosen sector may mean that you already have experience in the field. In some cases, you may want to list your volunteer work as part of your work experience and break down the duties of the role.
Speaking a foreign language is a major bonus. As the working world becomes more globalised, this is a skill that is sure to be in high demand. So, if you happen to speak a second language, don't be afraid to shout about it. You can put this information in your skills section along with your proficiency level. You should also include any language-based qualifications you have acquired over the years. For example, if you have an A-level in French, pop it in your Education section. If you recently took a beginners course in Spanish online, you can list it as part of your Awards and Certificates section.
Arts and crafts
Do you have creative flair? You might be part of an amateur theatre company, dance troupe or even a band. If you're not a performer, you might find yourself taking part in a writing group, learning how to paint or sculpting at the weekend. However you unleash your inner creativity on the world, you should understand that it has some real value to potential employers. When you're writing your CV, take the time to list these extracurricular activities. Showing that you have creative interests outside work will give employers a well-rounded view of you as a candidate. Don't be afraid to include these on your application!
Of course, if you want to talk about the real next level of extracurricular activities, it has to be those that are related to your field. Let's say you're applying for a developer role and spend your free time coding your own apps for fun. You're going to want to put that on your CV. You might be applying for a position as a music teacher and be in a wedding band. Yes, you guessed it - that goes on your CV too. Consider the ways that your pastimes and hobbies support the career you're aiming to excel within.
Where to list extracurricular activities
Now that you know what extracurricular activities you may want to include on your CV, let's take a moment to talk about where you can include them. Should the activities be school or university based, e.g. clubs and societies, you can add them into your education section. You may want to list them under the institute that you attended as bullet points or even short sentences.
Alternatively, you may wish to pop these activities into your professional summary. If the extracurricular activities are directly relevant to the job position, this can work well. For example, you could write "experience managing finances for a society" when applying for an admin position. Consider what the extracurricular activity adds to your CV and what message it sends out to employers.
If you're applying for a university or entry level position, you may also want to include a specific extracurricular section on your CV. Think about what works for your personal application.
Listing extracurricular activities on your CV is a quick way to give yourself a competitive edge. Choose the right place to slot them into your CV and showcase your dazzling skills to employers and hiring managers. You never know - these bonuses could be the difference between landing a job and getting rejected.
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