Getting a job isn’t like getting into college — hiring managers generally don’t care about your extracurricular activities. So why even bother including them on your resume?
Extracurricular activities can be a good way of showcasing your abilities when you don’t have a lot of work experience — in particular, if you’re still a student or have only just graduated. In that case, recruiters can look to your extracurriculars for evidence of transferable skills like leadership, teamwork, communication, and work ethic.
This doesn’t mean that extracurricular activities are a substitute for relevant experience — but they’re a good place to start.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience, you should aim to show enough transferable and soft skills that hiring managers and recruiters look for in your extracurricular activities. To find out if your bullet points in your extracurricular experiences are strong enough and have no mistakes, upload your resume to the tool below — it'll perform a quick scan and let you know if your extracurricular experiences can be improved.
Sample resume listing extracurricular experience
Here’s a good example of a resume for a student or recent graduate which showcases extracurricular activities to good effect:
How to list extracurricular activities
In an activities section
If you were heavily involved in extracurricular activities and want to showcase that, it’s okay to have a whole section of your resume dedicated to it. Title it ‘Activities’ or ‘Extracurriculars’ and include the name of the organization, the dates you were involved, your role or title, and 1-2 of your most relevant accomplishments.
In your education section
If your extracurricular activities were school clubs, they can go in the education section of your resume. For current students, your education section might be the most detailed section of your resume and can go at the top. You might also want to include other information like your major and relevant minor(s), awards, relevant coursework, study abroad, and GPA.
If you’re a mid-level hire who graduated less than 10 years ago, you can still include extracurricular activities on your resume if they’re relevant and particularly noteworthy. In that case, you should keep it brief by listing extracurriculars on a single line in a short education section at the end of your resume.
In a volunteering section
If your extracurricular activities doubled as volunteer work, you can create a separate ‘Volunteering’ section on your resume. List each project or activity separately, including the dates you worked on it, and include 1-2 bullet points outlining your main accomplishments.
In an additional section
If you want to include extracurricular activities on your resume without taking up a lot of space, consider including them in an additional section at the end of your resume. Include a subheading like ‘Activities’ and keep it to a single line.
Resume section titles for extracurriculars
Here are some appropriate resume section titles you can use:
- Additional Information
- Hobbies and Interests — this one should only be used by very junior job seekers, mostly high school students
Which extracurricular activities to include on your resume
Not sure if your extracurricular activities should make the cut? Here are some extracurricular activities that add value to your resume at every experience level.
Current students and recent graduates
- Foreign language activities — particularly study abroad
- Performing arts
- Student government
- Official clubs
- Anything you can use to demonstrate relevant or transferable skills
- Volunteer work
- Business venture and other projects — if these are significant enough, you might even want to consider including them in your regular work experience section
- Board memberships
- Speaking engagements
- Business ventures
- Anything that demonstrates a high level of leadership
Should you list extracurricular activities on your resume?
You should list extracurricular activities on your resume if:
- You’re a current student or recent graduate seeking an entry level position
- You don’t have a lot of work experience and want to highlight transferable skills
- It was through a prestigious or recognizable organization, like a law review or official charity
- You played a significant role (particularly a leadership role)
- You can use it to demonstrate relevant transferable skills or noteworthy accomplishments
- The activity was directly relevant to the job you’re applying for
If some (or all) of these are true, extracurricular activities are likely a good fit for your resume and should consider making space for them.
You should not list extracurricular activities on your resume if:
- You’re an experienced hire with significant work experience
- You’ve been out of school for 5+ years
- You’re applying for a senior or mid-level position
- It was a one-time activity rather than a regular, ongoing thing
In these cases, your resume should focus solely on your work experience and not include extracurricular activities.
You can consider listing extracurricular activities on your resume if:
- You’re changing careers and want to include extracurricular activities that are relevant to your new field
- You’re an experienced hire with extracurricular activities that are highly relevant or especially noteworthy
- Your extracurricular activity included a board membership or similar position of leadership
In these cases, use your best judgment. You should still prioritize relevant work experience and transferable skills but can include extracurricular activities if there’s space on your resume.
If you want to find skills relevant to the job you’re applying to, use our hard skills and keywords tool below to search for the job and it’ll give you a list of skills relevant to the position.
Not sure if extracurricular activities are helping or harming your resume? Upload it for free to Score My Resume, an online resume checker that will provide instant and detailed feedback on how to improve your resume.