Extra-Curricular Activities and the Resume

Resume adviceTaking part in campus activities can be a wonderful part of the college experience. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and become involved with your community. However, should these activities be listed on your resume?

It depends!

If you have full-time experience, extra-curricular activities should not be listed on your resume. Focus on your professional accomplishments instead. However, if you are applying for internships or your first job out of college, you have a little more leeway. Should you wish to include campus activities, here are a few questions to think about beforehand:

Is this professional?

The Alpha Beta Phi ‘Beermaster’ may have provided a good time for everyone at the party, but he’s unlikely to receive a callback from a hiring manager.

Does this show what I can do?

Attending the Film Society’s screenings may have been fun, but it doesn’t say anything about your capabilities and should therefore not be included on your resume. Your listed activities should focus on your abilities, not your interests.

Is this relevant?

If any of your activities has a direct relationship to your chosen profession, you should definitely include it in your resume. For example, writing for the student newspaper shows communication skills that could be useful for anything from journalism to marketing.

However, it is also important to think about the more indirect skills learnt from campus activities. Did you direct a school play? Congratulations! Even if you aren’t applying for a position in the film industry, that still shows leadership and project management abilities that many jobs require.

Am I prepared to talk about this?

A general resume rule is not to include anything that you are not prepared to talk about. This is doubly truly when listing campus activities. Going off the example above, there is no point mentioning your work as a director unless you can tell the interviewer how the skills you developed from that can be put to use in his organization.

For new college grads, extra-curricular activities are a great way to flesh out a resume. Are there any other considerations you think they should keep in mind beforehand? Let us know in the comments!