Does binge-watching Netflix count as an extracurricular?

If you want to get ahead of the competition, including extracurricular activities on your CV could be the answer. These additions have the power to level up your application and showcase your value to potential employers. However, you need to make sure that you are strategic in which activities you include. In the following guide, we'll show you how to get this right from the start.

What are extracurricular activities, and why do they matter?

Extracurricular activities are anything you do outside work or school. They include any hobbies or interests that you engage in on a regular basis. Some of the best extracurricular activities include sports, clubs, and interest groups that you have joined. 

Benefits of having extracurricular activities on your CV

  • Bolster your skill set.You don't learn all of your skills on the job. Chances are, you've picked up some prime talents through your extracurriculars. Showcase them now. Ensure that each skill you choose is appropriate for the job you want to gain.
  • Show that you are well-rounded. You don't want to appear one-dimensional. Having extracurricular activities on your CV shows that you have interests outside of work. 

Before we go any further, you need a word of caution. You shouldn't simply include any interest you have on your CV. Whenever you add something to your application, make sure that it adds value and is appropriate for a professional setting. With that in mind, here are some of the best extracurricular activities to list on your CV:

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. For new graduates, these extracurriculars are among the popular examples of activities to include in your CV if you're on the lookout for your first job.

If you hold 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. 

Additionally, 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 on 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, put these extracurricular activities on your CV.

Any type of team sport shows that you know how to collaborate well with others. Additionally, participating in sports not only showcases your level of dedication to training, but also suggests your reliability in fulfilling work commitments. 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. 

Volunteer work 

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. 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 resolving 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're not merely driven by money. You're passionate about projects and causes, which is a huge bonus. 

Moreover, volunteering within your chosen sector suggests that you may already have relevant experience in the field – if that's the case, it could be advantageous to list your volunteer work in your CV's work experience section and detail the duties of the role. 

Foreign languages 

Speaking a foreign language is a major bonus. As the working world becomes more globalised, this is a skill that's sure to be in high demand. So, if you happen to speak a second language, you should include this within your next application. 

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. 

Arts and crafts 

If you're part of an amateur theatre company, dance troupe or even a band, include these extracurricular activities on your CV. Not a performer? Taking part in a writing group, learning how to paint, and sculpting at the weekend are also extracurriculars worth mentioning.

However you unleash your inner creativity, you should understand that it has some real value to potential employers. Showing that you have creative interests outside work will give employers a well-rounded view of you as a candidate, so don't be afraid to include these on your application! 

Job-related activities 

As mentioned, one of the main reasons to include extracurricular activities on your CV is to expand your skill set. If that's your strategy, you'll need to focus on activities that are directly related to your field or chosen career path. For example, if you want to work for a historical society, you might want to talk about how you run LARPing events at the weekend. 

How to list extracurricular activities on your CV 

Now that you know about the best extracurricular activities, how do you list them on your CV? 

1. Identify your applicable skills

Review your current skills against the requirements of your target role: write down all the relevant skills that you have, then, across each skill, determine which activities outside school or work have helped you develop those. This simple exercise should help you compile a list of potential extracurriculars to include in your CV.

2. Select the appropriate CV section to use

Depending on your level of experience and type of extracurricular activities that you want to highlight, there are different CV sections that you can optimise:

  • Education section. Should the activities be school or university-based, such as clubs and societies, you can add them in your education section. Consider listing them under the respective institution with bullet points or a short sentence describing each.

  • Professional summary. You can weave your extracurricular activities into your professional summary. For example, you could write "experience managing finances for a society" when applying for an admin position.

  • Hobbies and interests section. You may also want to use a dedicated extracurricular section on your CV. If you lack work experience and need to boost your application, adding a “Hobbies & Interests” section could be a smart idea. Be sure to highlight the specific skills you learned when engaging in each of the activities that you include here.

3. Review for relevance

It's easy to get carried away when sharing the things you're passionate about, but your CV needs to be concise. So when finalising the extracurricular activities listed on your CV, make sure that they truly bring value to your potential employer.

Not sure whether the extracurricular activities on your CV are giving you the competitive edge that you need? Submit it for a free CV review and let our experts guide you further.

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