Extra-Curricular Activities that Merits a Spot in Your CV

CVs are a crucial part of any job application whether for a part time, full time position or internship. Employers and job recruiters are constantly on the lookout for people who go far beyond the criteria to just ‘get a job’. Besides just getting good grades in university, extra-curricular activities show employers that you have a versatile skillset which is applicable outside school and can benefit their organisation. This article will discuss four suggested extra-curricular activities that will give you valuable experience, develop unique skills and broaden your connections and networks with other people. 

Activity One: Volunteering
This is arguably the most beneficial extra-curricular activity that a person can have on their CV. Volunteering is a way to give back to the community, help others and collaborate with other people towards a common goal. Employers looking at your CV will take notice instantly and it shows that this person is not self-centred and displays a desire to want to help others. If you are looking for a place to volunteer there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with different organisations. Universities usually have a student volunteer force which organises events across campus, and larger organisations like UNICEF, Green Peace and WWF are always looking for people to get donations, raise awareness for their causes and recruit other volunteers to bolster their numbers. I personally have an extensive volunteer history, with my time spent volunteering with groups including UN Youth Force, YMCA and AUT Student Volunteer Force. My time in these organisations taught me valuable skills including project management, interpersonal communication and teamwork which I have gone on to use in other aspects of my life. Employers have commented on my volunteer background, and so I encourage you to seek out organisations which accept volunteers and see the benefits for both yourself and the people you will be helping.

Activity Two: Sports
Now this may seem laughable and more so what an overbearing father, or your washed-up P.E. teacher may say but joining a sports team brings many benefits that aren’t often recognised. Besides the physical aspects of helping to keep fit and healthy, joining a sports team helps to foster a sense of belonging in a team environment, teaches you to work for others and not for yourself, also it helps to improve hand-eye coordination and time management which are valuable skills in the workplace. I’ve personally never been the sporty type and shyed away from physical activity for years in favour of academic/artistic activities instead but more recently I have embraced sports as a great way to keep healthy and make new friends. Employers and job recruiters will ask you how you display skills included in your CV (teamwork, communication, leadership etc) and this is a good example to wow potential employers into recruiting you for the job!
Activity Three: Language/Cultural Activities
I’m lumping these two activities together because they are similar to one another and have relevant benefits to add onto your CV. Learning a language or being involved in cultural activities (kapa haka, martial arts or cooking etc) show cultural awareness and a knowledge of communities outside of the mainstream that employers are consistently attempting to engage with. The value that comes with cultural awareness is a unique asset that very few have and employers will take notice on people who are multi-linguistic, have connections/ties to different communities and bring their unique experiences to their organisations. For me as Māori I have a deep cultural understanding of Pasifika cultures and can speak several languages which has enabled me to access opportunities that others may not get access to. This has benefitted me significantly and I encourage the pursuit of broadening your horizons not only to strengthen your CV but also to expand your knowledge of other communities and learning to be inclusive of others different from yourself. 

Activity Four: Join/contribute to a publication (magazine, newspaper, podcast etc)
This extra-curricular activity is rather niche and may not immediately come to mind when thinking of ways to add to your CV but the value of literacy and inter/intrapersonal communication cannot be understated. As a journalism graduate I was involved in several different publications throughout my time at university and even writing this article I continue to contribute content to a publication (in this regard the website you are on now). 
Creating content for these publications often require research and analysis, interviewing and writing processes that can be tedious but extremely worthwhile in the long run. I have expanded my vocabulary tenfold since my first news article written and gained more confidence thanks to my time interviewing strangers for news stories. See if there is any way to join a publication as a content writer, part time reporter or similar job positions which will help add to your CV.

And that is just some ways you can look to improve your CV. Continue to look for opportunities where you can, talk to career experts on campus and otherwise never underestimate the value of an extra-curricular activity as just a way to ‘kill time’. Being productive and having fun can go side by side and it only takes a little bit of practice to turn that random Thursday afternoon basketball game to a gold medal displayed proudly on your CV. Good luck and go wow those job recruiters!!
- Taylor Tutawa, NxtStep Content Writer