Wondering how you can add a little extra to your CV?
Extracurricular activities are not only a great way to demonstrate your interests and individuality, they also prove to recruiters that you have a range of valuable skills that you could apply to their vacancy.
Not sure how they relate to your job search? We’ve already covered whether you should include your hobbies, but here are five extracurricular activities you might want to add to your CV:
Playing sport is a great way to demonstrate everything from team work to dedication, so why not mention it in your CV?
Whether you’re a member of your school’s football team, you play hockey at college, or university netball is your thing – there are a number of sports you could use to make your skills, interests, and abilities stand out.
Just make sure you link them back to the role you’re applying for. If you don’t show how it’s relevant (e.g. how your competitive nature could help you thrive in sales), adding your favourite sport to your CV could actually be hindering your application.
Skills it demonstrates: team work, dedication, fitness, competitiveness, reliability.
How to get involved: Most schools, colleges, and universities have their own sports teams and/or after school clubs dedicated to a certain activity – so all you have to do is join in. You won’t usually need any previous experience or skills (although you might need some practice to become a team member), so providing you put the work in, it offers a great opportunity to learn and develop.
Music, drama & theatre
It takes a lot to stand up in front of a crowd and perform, and it’s this kind of confidence that recruiters want to see; especially in jobs where speaking assertively is key (e.g. leadership, sales, or customer service roles).
And with a range of activities available in music, drama & theatre, there’s bound to be something to suit you and your personality. For example, you might be part of a band, music group, or even be a solo artist – playing anything from rock to classical.
Or, you could be an avid dancer or drama enthusiast – whether it’s through taking part in an afterschool club, or even teaching the basics to those younger than you.
Skills it demonstrates: confidence, self-presentation, collaboration, attention to detail, creativity.
How to get involved: This will depend on the activity you want to do. For example, if you want to be part of a your school’s (or your local) band, orchestra, or music group, you’ll need to be able to play a musical instrument – so choosing one and asking your school about how to get lessons is the best place to start. There may also be lessons available for activities like drama, singing, or dance – but natural talent and enthusiasm alone are also key traits to have.
Not only does learning another language make yourself available for roles in teaching, translating, tourism, and more; it can also strengthen your CV in a range of other ways.
For example, the dedication and enthusiasm involved with learning outside of your general education will undoubtedly stand out to recruiters.
And, with many organisations operating internationally – an ability to understand and translate communications from another country is extremely valuable.
Skills it demonstrates: lateral thinking, dedication, willingness to learn, problem solving, patience.
How to get involved: Although many school curriculums will require students to learn at least one language, the options aren’t always particularly vast. So if you’re looking to learn a language that’s not available at your school or college, look locally for classes or private tutors. Free language apps, audiobooks, courses, and travel are also great ways to boost your learning.
Volunteering & fundraising
Volunteering, fundraising, or mentoring are all great ways to show how you contribute to society.
Whether it’s by mentoring another student at your school/college/university, raising sponsorship to take part in a charitable event (e.g. The London Marathon), or volunteering at your local charity shop – you’ll be demonstrating your communication skills, resourcefulness, and willingness to help others.
And, if the event you take part in is particularly challenging – you’ll be displaying a whole host of other skills, from strength to bravery.
Skills it demonstrates: leadership, ingenuity, commitment, entrepreneurship, proactivity.
How to get involved: Research charitable organisations that you’re most passionate about, and get in touch with them directly to offer your services. Fundraising for charities can often be as easy as registering online to allow others to sponsor you for whatever activity you’re carrying out. And, if you want to be a mentor, tutor, or student rep, ask your school, college, or uni about what kind of programmes they have in place.
Although you might not realise it now, many extracurricular activities could be the first steps you take towards your dream career.
This is because hobbies that relate to a certain industry (e.g. media, IT, copywriting) often teach you the practical skills and experience you need to be considered for a job.
So whether you write for your university newspaper, you do classes in coding, or you’re the student life photographer, you’re showing future employers that you already have the basic abilities and dedication to get started.
Skills it demonstrates: writing, creativity, ability to take criticism, IT & other technical skills.
How to get involved: If you’re interested in getting involved in blogging, web design, media, or anything else – see if you can apply your skills to your school/college/uni’s website or newsletter; or ask about afterschool classes and clubs. However, opportunities like this are often fairly competitive, so it’s worth being proactive – whether it’s by writing your own blog or building a website.
How do I add extracurricular activities to my CV?
OK, so you what extracurricular activities to include, how to get involved, and how they make you stand out from the crowd – but how do you add them to your CV?
Essentially, it’s up to you. Whether you want to state them in your hobbies and interests section, or you’d rather they accompanied your academic experience (e.g. alongside your grades), it’ll be a great way to demonstrate your suitability.
Alternatively, adding an ‘achievements’ section provides the perfect opportunity to outline exactly what you gained from taking part in extracurricular activities. For example, it could be that you won an award for your contributions to the school newspaper, or your passion for sports allowed you to excel as a team player and consequently win a number of tournaments.