Customising your CV
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CV tips: how to use extracurricular activities on your CV
Playing for your local football team, working part time for a local charity or speaking another language may not seem particularly important activities when it comes to writing a CV, but you’d be surprised at how important and interesting these extracurricular activities can be to an employer.
Your hobbies can often cover a lot of soft skills that an employer would see as a benefit to the role and the company, and can add a lot of value to your CV. Job specific skills are vital to any role, but other skills like team working and communication are not always easy to prove by simply stating that you have them.
Here are a few extracurricular activities that you may already be taking part in or could consider for the future, and how they could be used within your CV…
Playing sports – team working
If team working is an important aspect of the job description, there is nothing better than playing in your local sports team. This can demonstrate team working skills and your passion and dedication – all of which are transferable to a role and fantastic personal attributes.
Playing for your local football or netball team is also a great way to show that you are not afraid of hard work. Depending on what level you play at and how often you train, consider how this activity is transferred over to a working environment and explain this on your CV.
Talk about how your competitive nature has a positive effect on your drive to achieve your sales targets, or how your role as captain of the team helps to develop your already high team working and communication skills. Do you take part in writing a monthly newsletter for the team, friends and family? Are you in charge of organising the travel arrangements for each game?
All of these additional activities you take part in as a member of a sports team demonstrates a huge array of skills that can and will be applied to your job. You just need to concisely get that message across to the employer via your CV.
Music – creativity
Playing in a band may seem a world away from your usual day job, and as different as they are it doesn’t mean to say you can’t focus in on the transferable skills between the two. Creativity plays a huge part in music, and whether you’re playing in a band, recording for YouTube, or just playing for your own entertainment; your creativity can clearly shine through your music.
If creativity plays a large part for the job you are applying for, then don’t be afraid to go into more detail on your fantastic hobby. Playing an instrument or being the lead singer of a band is not only fun and interesting, but it also shows that you’re a creative person and in some cases, are able to perform under pressure.
Performing in front of an audience is not easy – it takes guts, confidence and real determination to your chosen craft. Spending years and years playing scales up and down the piano was not just to help you play Mozart or Chopin, it was also to help you learn how to be disciplined and dedicated. All fantastic attributes to have in a working environment.
Volunteer work – work experience
Volunteer work can sometimes be dismissed as free labour, but given the chance there are a surprising number of skills to be learned. Volunteering for a local charity or country park is not only a great way to give back to the community; it’s also a way to gain valuable work experience. This is especially important if you don’t have a lot of experience in a working environment, and is a great way to bolster your CV.
Most of the basic skills you’d be required to have for any role can be learned and developed through voluntary work, from communicating with customers and colleagues, to learning how to operate the till and deal with complaints. If an employer can see that you have already begun to develop these soft skills, you are at an advantage over other school leavers who have little to no work experience.
If your CV is lacking in valuable work experience, you should focus heavily on your voluntary work or fundraising activities. Try to find what’s relevant and transferable when it comes to the skills the employer is advertising, and highlight how your charity work ticks the boxes and make the hiring manager’s job much easier.