How to write extracurricular activities on your CV.

With hundreds of CVs to review, recruiters will only spend a few moments scanning each one for the first time. They are most likely to focus on your experience and possibly your education sections before evaluating your worth as a candidate. 

In this article, we will look at whether you should include extracurricular activities on your CV and, if so, what you should focus on.

What are extracurricular activities?

We’re taking extracurricular activities to mean any activities you have taken part in, outside work or academic life, for purposes other than personal enjoyment or development.

Examples include regular volunteering in the community, specific volunteer projects, coaching, supporting non-profit organisations.

Why you should include them on your CV.

It can be useful to include extracurricular activities for several reasons:

  • They give a snapshot of how you choose to spend time outside work. 
  • They humanise you, showing what you value and focus on.
  • They often demonstrate your care for the wider community.
  • They may involve valuable hard or soft skills that can be of interest to a recruiter.

Relating extracurricular activities to the role you are applying for.

Recruiters typically value evidence of volunteer activities, so if you have some to list, here’s how to select the ones that will make a difference.

First, carry out a quick review of all the extra-curricular activities you’ve been involved in, in the last 5-7 years, and make a list. Now consider all the skills you used or developed in each one. 

Some examples include:

  • Charity runs, beach litter cleanups, sponsored events: All these activities require a team spirit, planning skills, support for others, determination, and working for results. The built-in element of fun implies energy and enthusiasm while helping others. 
  • Volunteering at a shelter for the homeless: giving time to work at shelters and aid centres displays a connection with the broader community. It requires empathy and often practical problem-solving skills.
  • Serving on a school governing body: communication skills, teamwork, and strategic thinking are all needed to serve on committees and panels.
  • Sports coaching: whether for children or adults, sports coaching not only demonstrates your commitment to your community, it will also show leadership, communication skills, ability to motivate others.

Volunteer projects abroad.

If you’ve taken part in a specific project outside your own country, maybe during a gap year, you’ll have had a chance to increase your cross-cultural awareness and a sensibility as a ‘global citizen.’ You’ll most likely have to show that you are adaptable to changing circumstances, a team-player, a problem-solver, etc.

Next, go back to the job posting. Which soft skills are highlighted? Look for the keywords.

Consider how your extra-curricular activities can add to the evidence that you possess the skills the recruiter is looking for.

How and where to list extracurricular activities.

Typically, you will place them at the end of your CV. However, if you do not have much work experience yet, you could include them in your ‘Work Experience’ section.

Be brief, for instance:

  • ‘Volunteer on a house construction project in Namibia, 09/2017- 04/2018’
  •  ‘ Member of School Governing Body, Reigate, Surrey, 10/2012-present.’

When you’re invited for an interview, you may have the opportunity to discuss it in more detail.

Activities you should not include.

It is probably not a good idea to include:

Any strongly political activities, such as volunteering for a particular party.
Lobbying for a particular group.
Work you do as a sideline paid, or unpaid.

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