When you’re a new grad entering the workforce, extracurricular activities on your resume can help you stand out to hiring managers. But what types of activities should you include?

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The best types of extracurricular activities to include in your resume writing
  • How activities can add value to your resume.
  • Where to add your extracurricular activities on your resume for maximum impact. 

The best extracurricular activities for a resume

Extracurriculars are any activities that aren’t required for your college credit. Depending on the jobs you’re applying for, certain activities will look more appealing to hiring managers.

Some of the most popular activities to add to your resume include:

  • Student council
  • Sports
  • Clubs or societies
  • Volunteering
  • Tutoring
  • Study abroad programs
  • Additional languages
  • Sororities or fraternities

Your role in extracurriculars can help you build transferable skills. These are skills you take with you from job to job. Transferable skills on your resume can make you a stronger candidate in your job search. 

Use Jobscan’s resume scanner to ensure your resume includes the transferable skills you need to secure the interview. Below is a screenshot of the match report generated by our tool. It illustrates exactly which keywords from the job description you need to integrate to be competitive.

screenshot of the resume match report by jobscan showing the soft skills section

Resume activities: student council or union

Members of a student council or students’ union are often elected by their peers. They collaborate on student-led initiatives, address school issues affecting students, and organize school activities or events. 

If you take part in student council, you develop some essential soft skills, including:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Organization
  • Decision making
  • Time management

Participation in student council builds practical skills you can relate to your post grad job hunt. 

Resume activities: team sports

Playing team sports isn’t just a fun hobby. Sports can help you grow valuable skills you need in any workplace, including:

  • Teamwork
  • Strategic thinking
  • Discipline
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Resilience
  • Problem solving

Even if you don’t play on a competitive team, recreational sports helps you establish key transferable skills to add to your resume.

Resume activities: clubs or societies

There’s a club for almost any interest. And if they help you cultivate transferable skills, they can enhance your resume. 

Examples of popular clubs include:

  • School newspaper
  • Choir or chorus
  • Orchestra, jazz band, or concert band
  • Theater
  • Girl or boy scouts
  • Chess club
  • Debate club
  • Mock trial club
  • Literature club
  • Photography club

Clubs are a great place to build a network and hone skills like:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Relationship building
  • Creative thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Time management

Resume activities: volunteering

Volunteering positions are like unpaid jobs. You gain practical experience you can add to your resume with desirable skills to back it up.

Helping out your community has the added benefit of boosting your resume. You can volunteer your time to organizations that match your interests and are relevant to your dream job.

Skills you show by volunteering include:

  • Initiative
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Creative thinking
  • Customer service

Don’t add every activity you’ve participated in. Instead, be strategic and choose the activities that can help in the role you’re applying for. 

Resume activities: tutoring

Helping a peer or younger student learn tough concepts can help you build desirable skills for your resume. Some skills include:

  • Communication
  • Positivity
  • Flexibility
  • Empathy
  • Time management
  • Problem solving
  • Active listening

A proven ability to mentor others is a valuable skill and can stand out to hiring managers. This is especially true if you’re looking for a teaching or management role. 

Resume activities: study abroad experience

If you have the opportunity to study abroad, it can be life changing. You make friends, see new places, and experience unique cultures. 

It also lets you develop unique skills that attract potential employers, including:

  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Adaptability
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience
  • Independence
  • Foreign languages
  • Interpersonal skills

Resume activities: additional languages

Bilingualism or multilingualism is becoming more common. But even if you’re not fluent, speaking a second language can improve your starting salary in some industries.

Some of the most common and valuable languages to learn include:

  • German
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Mandarin
  • Russian

Even less common languages, like American Sign Language, shows skills like:

  • Communication
  • Initiative
  • Adaptability
  • Work ethic
  • Cultural awareness
  • interpersonal skills

Resume activities: sorority or fraternity

Sororities and fraternities are social organizations that can broaden your network. Experiences in a sorority or fraternity vary, but members often participate in:

  • Regular meetings
  • Philanthropic activities
  • Special events
  • Committees

These organizations help you develop skills like:

  • Planning
  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Relationship building

Why should you add extracurricular activities to your resume?

Extracurricular activities on your resume, when added correctly, can make your resume stronger. The key is to use your activities to highlight important resume skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Skills are either hard or soft. Hard skills are specific skills you need to do a particular job. Soft skills are transferable skills that you can develop and use in any job. 

an infographic showing the difference between hard skills and soft skills

Extracurricular skills for your ATS resume

All job descriptions are full of skills that hiring managers want in a candidate. Those skills determine whether your resume will reach the hiring manager at all.

When you apply for a job, your resume goes into the applicant tracking system, or ATS. It acts as an internal search engine for the hiring manager.

They can search for specific keywords and the ATS will parse resumes for those terms. It then pulls out the strongest resumes for the hiring manager. It’s crucial to include the right keywords to get your resume in front of the hiring team.

Here’s a sample job description with keywords and soft skills underlined. These are among some of the critical skills you should add to your resume when applying for this job. Extracurriculars can help you hone them.

screenshot of a sample job description with soft skills underlined

Never forget to include keywords again with Jobscan’s resume scanner to support you. The match report will give you a resume score to measure the strength of your resume and show you which keywords are missing. It’ll also catch any formatting issues that will affect your resume’s readability by the ATS.

Take it further and make your resume optimization easier with Jobscan’s premium Power Edit. It will show you which skills you’re missing and also provide suggestions on how to integrate them into your resume.

Below is an image of the match report generated for transferable skills or soft skills. The highlighted skills need to be added to the resume to increase your chances of the hiring manager finding your resume.

Jobscan's Match Report shows missing soft skills.

Extracurricular activities can be a great way to integrate skills and keywords into your resume.

How to put extracurricular activities on resume

You can incorporate your extracurricular activities in your resume in a few different ways.

  • In your work experience section.
  • In your volunteer section.
  • In your education section.
  • In an achievements or awards section.
  • In your interests or extracurriculars section.

How to add activities to your work experience

For new grads, work experience can be a short section. But you can add volunteer positions in your work experience section if they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for. Highlight the skills you used in your volunteer role to draw connections to the proficiencies the hiring manager will be searching for. 

Sample resume extracurricular activities: work experience section

Below is an example of how to add volunteer extracurricular activities to your resume. Achievements are quantified and skills are integrated into the summary.

extracurricular activities resume work experience section

How to add activities to your volunteer section

Your volunteer section can show off your skills while keeping it separate from paid work experience. Format the dates and position descriptions in the same layout and emphasize the skills that helped you excel in your position. 

Sample resume extracurricular activities: volunteer section

This volunteer experience section highlights the soft skills gained in the role, from collaboration to creative thinking.

extracurricular activities resume volunteer section

How to add activities to your education section

When your extracurricular activities are related to school, adding them to your education section makes sense. Add details to include clubs and organizations, and the skills you developed while there. 

Sample resume extracurricular activities: education section

Below is an example of extracurricular activities in the resume under the education section. The sorority is affiliated with the school, so keeping it with your education maintains organization. The summary demonstrates transferable skills like organization and planning.

extracurricular activities resume education section

Another example of extracurriculars in the education section includes a student-run news organization on campus. Including the role and the skills developed can help illustrate experience when work history is limited.

extracurricular activities resume education section

How to add activities to your achievements and awards

If your extracurricular activities earned you recognition, an achievements section can highlight it. When you excel at your activities, you’re demonstrating to the hiring manager that your skill set is exceptional. 

Sample resume extracurricular activities: achievements or awards section

Below is an example of adding an extracurricular to an awards section of your resume. Not only does this example have the achievement listed, but it includes a summary of the skills they used to win the award.

extracurricular activities resume awards section

How to add activities to their own section

Another option is to include your extracurriculars in their own section of interests and activities. This can be the place to include activities that don’t quite fit into other resume sections. A a separate heading can organize the resume layout

Sample resume extracurricular activities: interests or activities section

In this example, the extracurricular activity has its own resume subheading. While it’s not affiliated to education, volunteering, or awards, it can still demonstrate valuable soft skills employers seek, like teamwork.

extracurricular activities resume activities section

Tips for including activities on your resume

Here are some quick tips to including activities on your resume.

The activities on your resume should be relevant to the job

You may have varied interests and pastimes you enjoy, but they don’t all have a place on your resume. Keep the activities hyper relevant to the job description you’re applying for. Otherwise, the overflow of information can distract from the valuable information you include. 

Include details about the activity in your resume for credibility

Try to be as specific as possible about your volunteer roles, participation in official organizations, and achievements. Details can provide credibility to your experience and skills.

Take advantage of soft skills gained from activities

Soft skills are not less valuable than hard skills. Many hiring managers see the value of soft skills. They’re increasingly seeking candidates who prove those skills.

Wherever you’re putting your soft skills in your resume, leverage the ones that align with the job description. 

To ensure your resume is as strong as possible, use Jobscan’s resume scanner tool to generate a match report. This report can tell you what key skills you’re missing from your resume and your overall resume match score. It will also detect any parts of your resume that aren’t ATS-friendly.


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FAQs

Do employers look at extracurricular activities?

When your extracurricular activities highlight relevant skills to the job, hiring managers take notice. If you include irrelevant activities, your resume can look overcrowded and take attention away from critical skills.

Why should you list extracurriculars on your resume?

Extracurriculars can help develop skills you need to make your resume stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. If you lack practical work experience or your activities developed critical skills you’d need for your new role, adding resume activities can benefit your job application.

What types of extracurriculars can go on your resume?

Activities for your resume come in a range of types to suit every interest and ability. Some of the most common include:
• Student council
• Sports
• Clubs or societies
• Volunteering
• Tutoring
• Study abroad programs
• Additional languages
• Sororities or fraternities

Do hobbies count as resume extracurricular activities?

Hobbies can count as extracurricular activities as long as you can demonstrate valuable skills relevant to your the job description you’re applying for.

Is it okay to have no extracurriculars?

You won’t be punished for not including extracurricular activities on your resume. It’s an extra way to incorporate skills and keywords to your resume, but it’s not essential. You can also develop skills from other jobs, your education, and certifications.

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Kelsey Purcell

Kelsey is a Content Writer with a background in content creation, bouncing between industries to educate readers everywhere.

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