How Should I Include Clubs and Activities?

Posted in Career Blog

If you have just graduated from high school or college, and you are piecing together a resume for the first time; you may be wondering a lot about the structure of an effective and winning resume. Since you probably do not have much work experience to offer-at least in the professional arena-you’ll need to focus on the areas in which you do have experience and value to a potential employer. This is your education, skills, and the extracurricular activities that you have participated in. While both education and skills have their own predefined sections on any kind of resume format that you may choose-the activities section is not often clearly addressed or even mentioned in relation to your resume presentation. So, how should you include them? This section deals with why your extracurricular activities are important to include and where to put them.

Why They are Important
Perhaps, you were a part of the high school math team or maybe were student council president-whatever your affiliations were-are very important to an employer for two main reasons. First, having any extracurricular activities or clubs during high school or college-shows that you took it upon yourself to join-as they are optional groups and clubs. This shows you as enthusiastic and a go-getter-two things any company could want in their potential employers. Secondly, having been a part of a team or club, shows that you have some general and/or specific transferable skills that can attest to your value to a company-when a lack of career experience cannot. So, if you were on the math team, you have some serious analytical skills and you are good with numbers. Moreover, if you were student body president, you have some fantastic communication and leadership skills-which apply again, to any company looking for a stellar employee. When you have only part time job experience, education, and these activities to speak for your candidacy; you have to use them to promote yourself as the best entry level candidate for their position or company.

How to Include Them
Chances are if you are an entry level candidate, fresh out of school; you will be using a skills-oriented resume. These types of resumes downplay the fact that you have little or scattered career employment; and focus, instead on the skills you have-such as communication skills, team playing skills, etc. This said, you have a couple options. You can either include a section after education, for activities and extracurricular affiliations; whereby listing all teams or clubs you were a part of and the responsibilities you gained from each-or you can use these activities under the skills sections of your resume; such as under communications skills, you could list having exemplary communication skills as gained by being student body president-or something to that effect. Some people choose to do both, to reiterate what they have to sell of their qualifications and skills. It certainly would not hurt. In this kind of entry level resume creation, it is almost always advised to list anything and everything that points to valuable skills and qualifications; to downplay the minimal existence of real world career experience.

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