Extracurricular activities vs. hobbies
The first thing you need to do is clearly distinguish extracurricular activities and hobbies from each other.
In a very generic way, the first one refers to activities that do not fall into your school curricula, but that you still pursue regularly with some degree of professionalism and commitment - for example, if you are into writing and choose to contribute to a blog or website. Hobbies, on the contrary, are those activities that you choose to do them in your leisure time such as dancing or cooking classes.
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Why are extracurricular activities important?
During a recruiting process, the quest of finding the perfect candidate is neither as simple nor as fun as we would imagine. Before the final interview, employers have the difficult task of choosing between candidates whose profiles often look stunningly alike: excellent communication skills and strong leadership abilities.
So when asking yourself why are extracurricular activities important, remember that they are a good way to back-up all those skills you state you’re having. Plus, an interesting activity may make it easier for you to stand out to an employer.
If you already dealt with rejection and followed all the healing steps, shake your head and take advantage of your extracurricular activities in a way that resonates with the mindset of your potential employer by following three easy steps.
Step 1 - Decide on the structure of your CV
In order to integrate the extracurricular activities into your CV, first you have to decide on the structure. Depending on your work experience you can choose to create either a traditional or a functional type of CV.
In the case of traditional CVs, the focus is on your work experience. So if you have some work experience to show off, include the extracurricular activities in a section following the chronological order of your previous jobs.
A functional resume puts more emphasis on the skills that a candidate claims to have acquired. This structure may be something you want to try out as a fresh graduate who lacks work experience. Here you can put your extracurricular activities in the spotlight to emphasise how, when and where you have acquired those excellent skills every candidate claims to have.
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Step 2 - Read the job description thoroughly
Another big mistake candidates make is throwing a bunch of activities into a list that, in fact, say nothing about your capability of performing on the job. To an employer, this may look like you're bluffing or even worse, like you didn't pay attention to the job description.
Consequently, when building the list of extracurricular activities you want to include in your CV you should pay great attention to the job description. Look for keywords that will help determine which aspects of your extracurricular activities relate to the job. Usually, you can find them in the "We are looking for..." section following the main job responsibilities.
Once you highlight the keywords, build the list of activities relevant for the application without worrying about length - quality counts for more than quantity here.
Step 3 - Create the section
After you have chosen what you want to include, you can go to the next phase of creating the section in the CV. First of all, there are the formalities:
- the name of the team or organization
- your role
- the period of time
Second of all, add a touch of colour by describing your role and achievements:
- offer variety
- add specific details
- give examples
By the way, you can add your extracurricular activities in minutes using the Graduateland CV Builder.
Some final tips
DOs - be straightforward; know the line between good info and too much info; be honest; show enthusiasm
DON’Ts - don’t pump the words up; don’t exaggerate; don’t do it just for the sake of your CV
Need an example? Here we go:
Supposing you had the chance to coach the junior football team of a local school during college it would be a great opportunity to prove your leadership skills and teamwork. After stating the formalities, write a short description including some details: “As coach of the junior football club, I had the chance to coordinate a team of 11 students. Together we participated in the local championship where we finished on the first or [insert number here] place. To me, it was an exciting experience as I learned how to work under pressure while still having fun”.
One last note, you cannot go wrong unless you are not authentic. If we are to refer to the same example, don’t lie if you didn’t finish in first place only to make a big impression. The outcome doesn’t matter - as long as you show some genuine enthusiasm to your employer, especially face to face during the interview, you will be appreciated.
For more information on how to write your CV or improve your skills check out these articles from Graduateland’s library: “How to write the perfect CV”, “How to make your CV stand out”, “Communication skills: what you need to know”, “How to improve your listening skills”, “How to improve your writing skills” or “How to improve your speaking skills”. And of course, you can build your perfect CV in minutes using the Graduateland CV Builder.