Extracurricular activities that boost your CV

Last updated: 21 Dec 2023, 11:27

Volunteering at a foodbank.

As a graduate, your extracurricular activities can make you stand out when applying for jobs and graduate programmes.

Extracurricular activities, interests and hobbies will demonstrate soft skills such as leadership and determination. Here are some ways to make the best of your free time at college.

Be active in a student society

Student societies, whether focused on an academic subject, sport, art or interest are a great way to develop your skills and show initiative while at college. Playing a role in running the society, especially if you are elected or appointed to the committee, will enhance your CV. Be sure to include specific examples of when you made something happen such as putting up an event or increasing membership if you can. If you have successfully set up a new student organisation, recruiters will definitely take notice.

Regardless of how you were involved, if you were actively involved or participated often in events, take time to reflect on the skills your experience helped you develop. This may include some of the following:

  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Time management
  • Being proactive
  • Problem solving and creative thinking

Take on a student ambassador role

Acting as a voice for others and liaising between students and the college will teach you how to understand and manage differing perspectives and priorities. So, take up the chance to volunteer as a student representative if you get it!

The skills you could gain for your CV or future job include:

  • Communication and listening skills
  • Negotiation
  • Increased confidence
  • Time management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Influencing skills

Join an entrepreneurship group

Many colleges run entrepreneurship programmes for students. These typically include practical workshops during which you come up with and implement a business idea, solve a business-related problem or work on a case study. You might also get the opportunity to attend talks and networking events with business professionals.

These group can provide you with skills and knowledge that can be beneficial for both business and non-business graduates such as:

  • Project management skills
  • Teamworking skills
  • Communication skills
  • An innovative mindset
  • Experience of working on a business project
  • Decision making skills

Volunteer for a good cause or partake in fundraising

Regular volunteer work is great for your personal development. This is especially true if it gets you dealing with lots of different people. Approach charities and voluntary organisations that interest you and see how you can help out. You can also arrange to do voluntary work oversees.

You can also organise a fund-raising event such as a bake sale or run a marathon for charity.

Voluntary work will help boost your CV, especially if you’re interested in working in the NGO sector. Depending on the nature of your work you may gain the following skills:

  • Communication skills
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Customer service skills
  • Time management
  • Entrepreneurial, creative and innovative thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Evidence that you’re goal oriented

Tutor or teach

There are plenty of opportunities for college students to teach, such as offering private tuition or teaching English to speakers of other languages. The experience of preparing lessons and teaching helps you to develop skills that transfer well into the work environment. These include:

  • Planning and organising
  • Creative thinking
  • Taking on responsibility
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • The ability to adapt your communication style to your audience
  • Better understanding of people

These ideas above are suggestions not prescriptions. Recruiters will be more interested in what your skills are rather than how you gained them. Don’t stretch yourself out too thinly trying to get the ideal experience. Focus on one or two activities that you are passionate about and can dedicate your time to. Make sure to stress the skills and experience you have gained.

Here's a video from the University of California, Davis in the US about usingextracurricular activities to boost your CV.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.