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by Andrew Fennell | April 19, 2024


If you’re a student and lack work experience, one way to impress recruiters is by including extracurriculars on your resume. Highlighting activities like student government, sports clubs, professional societies, creative hobbies, and volunteer work can go a long way to making you stand out. It can also be a valuable way to showcase the skills, achievements, and qualities that make you a strong job candidate. But you can’t just drop these activities into your resume randomly; you need to be strategic about how you choose to include them. With that in mind, here are some tips for making the most of your extracurricular activities on your student resume.

1. Choose relevant extracurricular activities

It’s important that you only outline extracurricular activities that are relevant to the job, company, or industry you're applying for. This gives you a better opportunity to showcase the relevant skills and achievements that come off the back of these activities. So, while you might love your after-school hip-hop class, potential employers might not see the relevance. On the other hand, including drama club can be valuable if you’re writing an acting resume, or taking part in Model UN can be beneficial if you're hoping to get into politics. Always customize your list of extracurricular activities based on the job requirements and company. That way, you can emphasize activities that align with the skills the employer is looking for.

2. Highlight your achievements

Instead of simply listing activities and what you do there, you should also focus on your achievements and accomplishments within those clubs or communities. This could be sharing that you were captain of your school's soccer team or that you won awards for your musical capabilities. And whenever possible, quantify your achievements. This can provide hiring managers with concrete evidence of your impact on the team, club, or people involved. For example, you could mention how many members you recruited to the school chess club, how much money you raised for charity, or how many awards you won in sporting competitions. Again, make these achievements as relevant as possible to your target role, company, and industry you're applying for.

3. Demonstrate your skills

Your extracurricular activities give you a great chance to demonstrate transferable skills that are desirable in the workplace. So, when outlining the clubs or activities you take part in, make sure to highlight the soft skills that you’ve shown as a result. For example, participation in a debate club can showcase communication and critical thinking skills, volunteering at a local charity event shows teamwork and empathy, and attending a club for several years shows consistency, commitment, and passion—and employers highly value candidates who are dedicated.

4. Understand how to format your extracurricular activities

It’s all well and good knowing why you should include your extracurricular activities on your resume, but how should you do this? In most cases, you’ll want to add a dedicate “Hobbies and Interests” or “Additional Information” section at the bottom of your resume. When doing so, use a concise bullet-point format to list each activity, along with relevant details and achievements. However, if there is an activity that is particularly relevant to the role or company you’re applying for and you have limited experience behind you, you might want to include a sentence about it in your resume summary. Lastly, if you've completed some volunteer work, you could include this under your work experience section—but only if you have limited other experience to talk about.

Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading CV builder and careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.