Hiring managers are looking to see if you have the key skills and knowledge for the role. Work experience isn’t the only way to show that – extracurricular activities work well too.
It’s easy to forget about extracurricular activities when you’re focused purely on trying to come up with work experience to write about.
Work experience is, without a doubt, one of the most important sections of a resume…
But extracurricular activities on a resume look good because they can highlight desirable job-related skills and qualities. Some of these include leadership, software proficiency, and more.
In this guide, here’s what we’ll go through:
- Top resume examples with extracurricular activities
- The best extracurricular activities to mention
- How to list extracurricular activities on a resume
- When and when not to include extracurricular activities
Top 3 Examples of Extracurricular Activities on a Resume
Extracurricular activities are tasks, projects, or associations outside the standard academic curriculum that you’re involved in. These are the activities you do in your spare time. The main reason you’re doing them is because you choose to, not because you have to. It’s completely voluntary.
And therefore, you’re choosing to pursue a passion or interest. The reason you’re pursuing the passion or interest? Most likely for personal growth reasons and to explore or develop new skills. This gives hiring managers a positive impression of your character.
See below some of our top resume examples with extracurricular activities.
The Best Extracurricular Activities to Put on a Resume
The best extracurricular activities to include on a resume are those that highlight relevant experiences, skills, or achievements. Here’s a few examples:
- Associations, clubs, and societies
- Academic or work projects
- Passion projects
- Study abroad programs
Aim to list things that show you’ve accomplished or participated more than the average graduate.
Associations, Clubs, and Societies
Associations, clubs, sports teams, societies… All of these are good to highlight because it shows that you’re the type of person to take initiative.
Here’s a few examples:
- Business society
- Chess club
- Science club
Each of these indicates a commitment to personal growth since you’ve actively pursued your interests. Plus, taking part in any of these types of organizations shows that you have a level of teamwork and interpersonal skills.
Skills to Highlight From Associations, Clubs, and Societies
- Leadership skills
- Communication skills
- Organization, planning, and management skills
- Initiative and self-motivation
- Presentation skills
Academic or Work Projects
Any side projects or work-study programs are great to list on a resume because it shows that you have a level of technical expertise. It implies that you know how to take the initiative to learn, gain, and use your skills or experience to solve real-world challenges.
Skills to Highlight From Academic and Corporate Projects
- Collaboration skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Project management skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Research and analysis skills
- Technical skills (e.g. programming languages and tools you’re proficient in)
Certifications on a resume are qualifications that highlight professional skills and knowledge. These are attractive to a prospective employer because it’s evidence of your expertise in a specific field. And the fact that you’ve completed this in your spare time shows that you’re committed and passionate when it comes to your professional growth.
Skills to Highlight from Certifications
- Data analysis and analytics
- Language skills
- Management skills
- Software proficiency
- Technical expertise
Here’s a few reasons why hiring managers value volunteer experience:
- You’ll have gained transferable abilities that prepare you for your new role
- You’ve committed to unpaid work, which gives a positive reflection of your attitude and work ethic
- It helps you stand out since volunteer work implies that you have a genuine interest in making a positive difference
Skills to Highlight From Volunteering
- Communication skills
- Customer service
- Organizational skills
- Work ethic
- Public speaking
Passion projects refer to hobbies and interests or side hustles. This includes business and creative pursuits such as starting a YouTube channel or writing a book. These are effective to put on a resume because it showcases your self-motivation and discipline to manage your time to pursue your interests.
Additionally, it makes you look more interesting as a professional. Not only are passion projects a good conversation starter for the interview, but they also help you stand out.
Skills to Highlight From Passion Projects
- Analytical skills
- Creative thinking skills
- Project management skills
- Research skills
- Technical skills (e.g. digital marketing skills and tools you’re proficient in)
- Time management skills
Study Abroad Programs
Not everyone gets accepted into a study abroad program. This is one reason why it’s impressive to hiring managers. Another reason is that it shows your willingness to step out of your comfort zone to pursue personal growth. It also shows that you’re able to navigate through different cultural norms.
The soft skills developed are especially transferable in a corporate environment.
Side note: something similar you could talk about is online coursework that you completed in your spare time!
Skills to Highlight from Study Abroad Programs
- Adaptability skills
- Communication skills
- Cultural awareness
How to List Extracurricular Activities on a Resume
Write the resume section title followed by a few more details:
- Your role
- Organization name
- Start and end dates
- Bullet points describing what you did or learned
We’ll go through each of these in more detail below.
1. Make the Resume Section Header Clear
The first step is to make the title of your resume section clear. In most of our own ATS resume examples, we do this by making the section header in bold and all-caps text.
There are other ways to phrase extracurricular activities for your resume section header:
If you want this to be more general so that you can write about more things in the same section, we’d recommend using the header “involvement.” The benefit of this is that it saves space so that you can maintain a one-page resume. Plus, these headers are less generic phrases compared to just saying “extracurricular activities.”
2. Enter Your Role
Enter the title of your role. If you’re unsure, you can just say that you were an active member of the organization or association.
Here’s a few more common examples of job titles for extracurricular activities:
- Class representative
- Social secretary
- Team member
3. Include the Name of the Organization
After entering your role, write the name of the organization you were a part of. Include this as a subheader so that it’s clear to the reader.
4. Mention the Start and End Dates
Include the dates you started and stopped doing the extracurricular activities. Use the month and year when mentioning dates. If it’s ongoing, write “present” for the end date to let the hiring manager know it’s something you’re still doing.
5. Include the Location
Enter the location where you did the extracurricular activity. Write the name of the university followed by the city. However, if the extracurricular activity isn’t based in a university, just mention the city when including the location.
6. Write About the Skills You Applied or Developed
Write resume bullet points describing your role by highlighting the skills you applied or developed. And if possible, highlight the impact of your efforts. Focus on the results that you achieved and how your contributions helped make a difference.
Start the bullet point with an action verb to highlight how you carried out your responsibilities. Then, highlight the outcome that was achieved as a result of your efforts.
Another approach is to write a bullet point describing the purpose of the program you completed.
Here’s a few different examples:
- Learned fundamentals of real estate markets and property valuations by discussing government policy decisions, valuation equations including net present value and internal rate of return
- An intensive leadership program to help students develop and refine professional qualities through collaboration and participation in community impact projects.
- Facilitated weekly training modules to educate new members on various careers at an investment bank
Use Rezi’s AI Resume Writer to Generate Bullet Points
Still struggling to come up with bullet points for describing your extracurricular activities? You’re not the only one.
That’s why our users love Rezi’s AI resume writer feature.
Here’s how it works:
- Enter your role or job title
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Watch the short clip below to see our AI resume writer in action!
How to Write About Extracurricular Activities in Other Resume Sections
There are 4 other sections where you could write about extracurricular activities on a resume:
- Work experience section
- Education section
- Skills section
- Additional section
The other option is to write about extracurricular activities in an individual section as discussed above. However, it’s worth embedding into other sections when you’re running out of space and not wanting to go over to a two-page resume.
Work Knowledge Section
Only write about extracurricular activities in the work experience section when it’s something you carried out in a previous role.
But, this must be relevant to the job you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying for a management position, mention activities where you had leadership experience such as being one of the student councils or the president of a school club.
Keep the description concise. Only mention the extracurricular activity briefly. Put emphasis on what was achieved from the skills you applied in your role.
Here’s a few examples:
- Developed strong leadership and teamwork skills through active participation in a local community service organization, organizing and leading a team of volunteers for various projects and events, including fundraising campaigns and social initiatives.
- Actively participated in the XYZ University Marketing Club, collaborating with a team of students to plan and execute marketing campaigns that increased event attendance by 20% and generated a 15% boost in sales.
Under the qualification you’ve listed in the education section, add bullet points describing extracurricular activities.
For instance, after listing your bachelor’s degree, write a bullet point or two about the societies you were part of. Highlight the skills you learned or developed as well as your biggest accomplishments during your time in the societies you were part of.
A common category to add in the skills section for listing extracurricular activities is “fields of interest.” Compared to other sections, however, you can’t go into detail about the responsibilities you held.
See the example below.
Here’s a few examples of different additional sections where you can write about extracurricular activities:
In this instance, use the same approach as discussed earlier. Enter your role, the organization name, start and end dates, and location. Then, write bullet points describing what you did as well as the skills you learned.
Should You Put Extracurricular Activities on a Resume?
You should include extracurricular activities when you lack work experience. Although your work history and academic qualifications are the main focus of a resume, extracurricular activities can still help demonstrate valuable skills. They can also help you stand out from other candidates by highlighting unique experiences related to personal growth.
When to Include Extracurricular Activities on a Resume
Extracurricular activities work best on a resume for students and graduates applying for an entry-level position. However, it also works well for those making a significant career change.
On that note, we’ll go through a few instances when you should include extracurricular activities on a resume.
You Have Limited Work Experience
You might have limited professional experience when you’re applying for your first job or when you’re making a career change. In either case, an extracurricular activities resume section would be helpful for showcasing transferable skills and knowledge.
It Highlights Specific Skills That Are Relevant to the Job
Include extracurricular activities when you’re able to write about specific job skills that are directly related to the industry and job responsibilities. For example, mention how you held a leadership position in a student organization.
Here’s a few examples of notable achievements:
- Winning competitions
- Receiving awards
- Taking on management roles and applying leadership skills
- Joining reputable research projects
These types of achievements showcase your dedication and ability to excel, all of which help you stand out from other job seekers.
Volunteer work is impressive to hiring managers because it demonstrates a strong work ethic and commitment to making a positive difference. That’s because you’re doing unpaid work to give back to the community. Moreover, it shows that you’re familiar with working with different people and taking responsibility.
It Shows Creativity
Here’s a few examples of creative pursuits:
- Learning a new instrument
These can be good to mention because they imply that you have the discipline and time management skills to pursue the craft.
Moreover, listing creative extracurricular activities adds personality to your resume. This shows hiring managers that you can contribute to a positive company culture and foster collaboration with colleagues that share similar interests.
When Not to Include Extracurricular Activities on a Resume
Don’t include extracurricular activities when it doesn’t imply that you can make an impact. You also want to keep away from extracurricular activities that don’t contribute positively to your professional image.
Irrelevant Hobbies and Interests
Unless your personal hobby demonstrates relevant skills, it’s best to leave it out. Only include hobbies and interests when it’s related to the job responsibilities.
For instance, writing on a student resume that you enjoy binge-watching Netflix and playing video games doesn’t exactly give the best impression. Going on a night out every Friday doesn’t form the best impression either when you want to show that you’re an outgoing and sociable person that’s easy to work with.
You Have Extensive Work Experience
Work experience is usually more important than extracurricular activities.
Most times, if you had to choose one, you would write about a previous job on your resume instead of an extracurricular activity.
The only exception is when the extracurricular activity highlights a bigger impact or achievement. It’s more directly relevant to the role compared to your previous job. An example could be research projects and publications from reputable organizations.
Lack of Achievements
Leave out vague activities that lack substance. Forcing this on your resume and trying to make them look good by using random buzzwords does more harm than good. For instance, hanging out with friends or listening to pop music and being a fan of Taylor Swift. None of these provide insight to potential employers on your personal development.
Use Extracurricular Activities to Prove You’re Ready
Securing an interview is about highlighting the fact that you have the ability to do the job well and that you’re a good fit for the company culture. There are other resume sections, like extracurricular activities, that help you do this.
To summarize, here’s what extracurricular activities on a resume can highlight:
- Attitude and mindset
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Personality traits
- Software proficiency
- Technical knowledge
Aside from your work history and formal education, extracurricular activities are also proof of your ability to succeed in the role.