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Get some extra credit for those extracurriculars.
College students spend countless hours each week devoting their energy to extracurricular activities. These organizations can provide students with valuable skills they will use in the workplace for years to come – and shouldn’t you be recognized for all your hard, out-of-class work? By listing these groups on your resume or LinkedIn profile, you will show employers that you are a dedicated individual with different interests who can bring relevant skills and experiences to the position.
Even if your club or organization isn’t directly related to your major, you can still include it on your resume or LinkedIn profile. Showing that you can take on responsibility in many aspects of your college career proves that you can do it in the workplace, too. Some common college clubs to consider listing on your resume include Greek life, professional societies, student government, sports, drama clubs, speech or debate clubs, and campus media, such as college newspapers, radio stations, or TV stations.
If you are a part of multiple on-campus organizations, then it’s a good idea to list them in their own separate section of your resume. A good title to use is Activities, which applies no matter what kind of groups you’re involved in. If you are a part of one or two clubs and you think they provided experience that is relevant to your major, you can list them in your Experience section instead. On your LinkedIn page, you can list a few relevant positions in “Work Experience,” or you can add them to your “Accomplishments” section if you don’t quite consider it work experience. Once you have an idea of what you want to include, follow these tips to talk about your experiences effectively:
Clubs and organizations should be listed on your resume or LinkedIn the same way any other type of experience is: Include a job title, a brief description of your responsibilities, and the start date and end date of the position.
Be as specific as possible. Employers are particularly attracted to numbers because they make it easier to quantify exactly how much work you did.
- How much money did your fundraiser raise?
- How many new people followed your club’s Instagram page after you took over their social media?
- How many people came to the event you organized? (This can include a panel, a lecture, a networking event, or other similar programs.)
- How many articles a week did you write for the newspaper?
- Did your radio or TV program air weekly or daily?
Including these tiny details can make a big difference.
In addition, make sure you’re selling yourself and your talents in the best way possible by using the right vocabulary for your industry. For example, saying that you “made a website” for an organization is not nearly as descriptive as saying that you “built a website using WordPress.” Use better adjectives and verbs to get your point across clearly and concisely.
All Experience is Good Experience
A common myth is that you can only list an organization on your resume or LinkedIn if you held a leadership position in it. Even if you weren’t the president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer of your organization, your experience is still valuable! Instead, write that you were a “member” of the club and then list your responsibilities the same way you would for any other position. Your responsibilities can include fundraisers, service projects, or any other large group efforts you were a part of. These show an ability to work in a team and cooperate with others – both very valuable skills in the workplace.
Progression signals to employers that you’re a dedicated individual who can put in the time and the work necessary to rise within the ranks of an organization. If you went from being a general member to being an Assistant Director to being the president of the drama club, then tell them that! Showing progression is an easy way to impress an employer who’s looking for someone who will stay with the company for years to come.
To get full recognition for your efforts, make sure to list each change in position as its own separate entry. Treat each new position as an entirely new job: List your official title, change the start and end dates accordingly, and upgrade your responsibilities to accurately reflect the new role you’ve taken on within the organization.
Remember Your References
On-campus activities can also provide you with great references! Did your faculty advisor witness your leadership skills first hand? Maybe your recently-graduated editor-in-chief would be willing to defend your superior writing skills firsthand? Whatever the case, don’t forget that many people you meet through your clubs can become valuable references later. Don’t be afraid to contact them when you need them, and also remember to reach out to alumni whenever possible.
Whether you’re president of your campus’ Society of Women Engineers chapter or a general member of a fraternity or sorority, your experience is valuable to employers in all fields. Adding these organizations to your resume and LinkedIn profile is an easy way to give yourself a boost during the hiring process that other students might not take advantage of. So get involved and get hired!