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Whether you’re a recent graduate looking for your first job or a seasoned professional, adding extra activities to your curriculum vitae is a way to stand out to potential employers. Mentioning your extracurricular activities on your resume will also highlight your skills, experience and interests to help employers determine if you’re a good fit for the company.
Your list of extracurricular activities should appear near the bottom of your curriculum vitae, following your work experience and education sections. Consider dividing your activities into multiple subheadings such as athletics, languages, community or campus involvement, and volunteer work. Honors and awards and professional associations can also be included in this area of the resume.
The less work experience you have, the more weight your extra activities will carry. Pick which items to highlight carefully and think about how they support your fitness for the job. It is best to focus on activities demonstrating leadership, communication skills, technical know-how, and your ability to work collaboratively on a team. Never exaggerate or lie about your extra activities and always give a concise description of what you did. An interesting list of extracurricular activities and interests can be a good icebreaker in an interview, so you should be prepared to take about them in detail.
Volunteering is an extra activity that gives you marketable employment skills and lets you demonstrate areas of work you are passionate about. The volunteer work you list doesn’t have to be just for a charity group. It could be for a sports league, at a retirement home or hospital, or even a campus club. On your CV, list where you volunteered and what your duties were. Next, list the transferable skills you learned, such as customer service, community mobilization, project management or staff training.
Hobbies and Interests
Don’t be afraid to include a short list of three to four hobbies or interests under extra activities. This might be the only place on your resume a hiring manager gets a real glimpse of your personality and what motivates you. Be as specific as possible when listing your hobbies. For example, rather than saying one of your hobbies is reading, write something like, "Member of a community book club that focuses on 20th century American literature." Instead of listing "football," write, "Coached a local youth league for three years and led the team to the citywide playoffs."
Based in Toronto, J.A. Zander has worked as a full-time journalist since 2004. Zander's work has appeared in Canadian and American magazines, newspapers and websites.