I am so glad you asked! A handful of things make a resume stand out from the rest of the pile. I’m not talking about frilly colors or two pages of work experience, both big red flags, by the way. Skills, unique lessons, and extracurriculars set you apart from the rest of the applications. 

There are many reasons why extracurriculars specifically are a big plus to recruiters on a resume. What counts as extracurriculars? Why are they important? Where do I put them on my resume? All excellent questions that I would be happy to answer, follow me. 

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What is an Extracurricular?

Defining a thing is always a great place to start. Extracurriculars can be everything from school clubs, to sports, to tutoring, as long as it’s not an academic requirement. It is important to note that while your school can require you to have an elective or join a school club, it will count as an extracurricular because you aren’t getting actual graduation credit for it. Most recruiters aren’t going to be picky enough to check that every single time, honestly, but your AP Bio class wouldn’t count. 

Other examples of extracurriculars:

  • Swim Team
  • Debate
  • Chess Club
  • Glee Club (but not choir)
  • Marching Band (but not band class)
  • DND Group 
  • Babysitting
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Why is it essential to have on my resume?

As a student, you will not have a ton of work experience. To show the recruiter that you are responsible, dedicated, and have a great set of skills, you must add extracurriculars. Remember that the recruiter doesn’t know anything about you, and it’s your job to make sure you have listed all the things that make you unique. 

Say you have been on the swim team for five years, list it on your resume! Include three bullet points that summarize different skills you have gained by being a part of the team. Like: “Committed to practice every morning at five is” and “Voted Swim Captain and led a team of 10 Varsity to championships.” Each of those points speaks about your character and why you would be an asset to the company. Even if you might not understand it yourself, recruiters know their company well and will pinpoint skills that they value and that they know will benefit the candidate picked for the role. 

Where do I put this on my resume?

If you are a student, you can add it right under your Work History in its labeled section: Extracurriculars. This way, you will have enough space to get into the details of what you learned from each activity. 

I recommend listing a handful of them, especially if you don’t have any work history; list anywhere from 3-5. Make sure that it doesn’t take too much space because your resume should only be a single page.

Make sure to label them just like you would a job:

Swim Team Captain, Maryland Swimmers High School, Cityville, State- 2011-2014

  • Committed to practice every morning at 5 am
  • Voted Swim Captain and led the team to Varsity to Championships.
  • Taught first-year students and toddler swimming lessons. 

Upkey and Extracurriculars

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It is always a good idea to choose to do what you can to update your resume and stand out to recruiters. Having internship experience is another way to boost your career and help you get noticed when you are applying for your first job. 

A great place to start with your career goals sign up for our Career Creation Course. It is a great library filled with advice and answers about entering the job market. Suppose you have a career in mind and are looking for an internship, head over to our Job portal and get customized option results. Before you apply, please stop by our Resume Scorer and ensure recruiters see your application. As always, if you are looking for more advice, answers, and assistance, head to Career In Progress, where I try to address all the burning topics.