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A common mistake some candidates seem to make is adding the wrong extracurricular activities to their CV or none at all.

Some interests can be left outside of the business resume, but other activities outside of the day-to-day job are not only a great way to demonstrate your individuality, but they also prove to hiring manager that you have a range of valuable skills that you could apply to their vacancy. However, the key is to always keep it on topic and relevant to the job that you are applying to.

Here are a few tips on how to get you started:

1)  Sport

Sport can be a great way to demonstrate everything from teamwork to dedication. Whether you are/ were a member of your university’s football team, you regularly play in a hockey team on evenings and weekends, or you coach the local netball squad – there are a number of transferable skills you could use to make your abilities stand out.

Just make sure you link them back to the role you’re applying for, for example, competition helping to thrive in sales or a team captain which demonstrating leadership. Although if you don’t show how it’s relevant, adding your favourite sport to your CV could actually be hindering your application and seem out of place. Have a regular football season ticket? That’s not really something the recruiter needs to know.

Skills it demonstrates: teamwork, dedication, fitness, competitiveness, reliability.

2)  Music, drama & theatre

It takes a lot to stand up in front of a crowd and perform, and it’s this kind of confidence that can work in your favour; especially in jobs where speaking assertively is key (e.g. leadership, sales or consulting).

Skills it demonstrates: confidence, self-presentation, collaboration, attention to detail, creativity.

3)  Foreign Languages

Not only does learning another language make yourself available for roles in teaching, translating, tourism, and more; it can also strengthen your CV in a range of other ways. For example, the dedication and enthusiasm involved with learning outside of your general education will undoubtedly stand out to recruiters. And, with many organisations operating internationally – an ability to understand and translate communications from another country is extremely valuable.

Skills it demonstrates: lateral thinking, dedication, willingness to learn, problem-solving, patience.

4)  Volunteering & fundraising

Volunteering, fundraising or mentoring are all great ways to show how you contribute to society. Whether it’s by mentoring another student at your school/college/university, raising sponsorship to take part in a charitable event (e.g. The London Marathon), or volunteering at your local charity shop – you’ll be demonstrating your communication skills, resourcefulness, and willingness to help others. And, if the event you take part in is particularly challenging – you’ll be displaying a whole host of other skills, from strength to bravery.

Skills it demonstrates: leadership, ingenuity, commitment, entrepreneurship, proactivity. 

5)  Job-specific activities

Although you might not realise it now, many extracurricular activities could be the first steps you take towards your dream career. This is because hobbies that relate to a certain industry (e.g. media, IT, copywriting) often teach you the practical skills and experience you need to be considered for a job. So whether you write for your university newspaper, you do classes in coding or you’re the student life photographer, you’re showing future employers that you already have the basic abilities and dedication to get started.

Skills it demonstrates: writing, creativity, ability to take criticism, IT & other technical skills.

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