Listing your extracurricular activities on a CV

Extracurricular activities can be an important part of a CV. How can you list these activities effectively in your own CV?

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Table of Contents

  1. Extracurricular activities on CV
  2. Why should I list extracurricular activities on my CV?
  3. Potential extracurricular activities to list on your CV
  4. When to list extracurricular activities on your CV
  5. Where to list extracurricular activities on a CV
  6. FAQ: Extracurricular activities on a CV

Extracurricular activities on CV

When you want to show off your skills and experience in a CV, there are many options available, and one interesting option is to include extracurricular activities. Whether you did them in high school, college or outside of school altogether, extracurricular activities can help you fill out your CV work experience section and showcase the type of person you are on your job application. Here’s everything you need to know about listing extracurricular activities on your CV.


Why should I list extracurricular activities on my CV?

Extracurricular activities are too often overlooked when it comes to writing your CV. In fact, these can be an amazing way to showcase job and leadership skills, including soft and hard skills, when you have a limited amount of work experience.
 
Extracurricular activities can showcase these transferable skills:
 
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership 
  • Communication 
  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership experience
  • Time management 
 
These skills are in demand, and if you don’t have a wide-reaching work history section, extracurricular activities are the best way for you to showcase these skills. It’s especially helpful if you’ve held leadership positions in these extracurricular activities; you’ve shown that you can lead people in other management situations, so why not in a full-time job?

Potential extracurricular activities to list on your CV

Anything that you did outside of school is by definition an extracurricular activity. However, some school-related activities are also beneficial to list on your CV, such as these:
 
  • Student council and student government experience
  • Internships
  • Community service
  • Fundraising
  • Sports teams
  • Clubs and teams (e.g., foreign language club, chess club)
  • Peer mentoring
  • Volunteer experience
 
It’s important to tie these extracurricular activities back to the skills you’re being asked to demonstrate for the job posting. It looks great to say that you did volunteer work at Habitat for Humanity, but what does that actually show the hiring manager? Give yourself an advantage over other job seekers by giving examples of responsibilities and achievements from your extracurricular work that helped you build a strong work ethic and great communication skills.


When to list extracurricular activities on your CV

It can be difficult to decide when to add activities to a CV. If any of these are true, you should probably add extracurricular activities to your CV:
 
  • It’s directly relevant to the job
  • You’re a student and don’t have existing work experience
  • You’ve done a lot of high-level extracurricular work
  • You’re trying to prove your soft skills
 
Most people default to extracurricular activities when their work history section could use some extra padding. However, remember that volunteer activities showcase all sorts of skills. Being the vice president of your student council shows that you might be a natural in leadership roles, for example. Highlight extracurricular activities like these to show off your skills.

Where to list extracurricular activities on a CV

Extracurricular activities can go in several different places on your CV. In most CVs, you should put these activities in your work history section. Even unpaid jobs can still be used in your work history section if they feature their relevant experiences or skills. Volunteer work also counts as work history, and many of these other extracurricular activities do as well. You may also want to put some of them as key achievements in your education section. If you’re using a skills-based CV, or looking to draw special attention to your extracurricular experiences, you might want to create an “Other Activities” section for extracurricular activities.


FAQ: Extracurricular activities on a CV

Q: Which extracurricular activities are the most in-demand?

It depends on the job that you’re applying for. A recruiter will be looking for extracurricular activities that showcase abilities and experiences that best match what the new job needs. get familiar with what each employer needs, look through your extracurricular activities and choose ones that show skills you’ll use at the job you’re applying for.

Q: When should I stop listing extracurricular activities?

If you haven’t been involved in something within the last few years, it’s typically best to leave it off your CV. If you’re still listing a Student Council position 10 years later leaving school, this can actually weaken your CV, as recruiters wonder why you’re still listing these outdated experiences. However, staying involved in a specific activity, like a volunteer position, opens the door to continue including this experience on your CV.

Q: Can my teammates for extracurricular activities be references?

Think of your teammates in extracurricular activities as coworkers. If you think they’ll give a good review of your experience and skill set, you can definitely list them as references. Don’t list only extracurricular teammates for references if you can also find professional references. It’s a good idea to find a variety of people in many different relationships so you can showcase your ability to relate to and benefit many different people in your life.

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