Whether you just graduated from college or you are trying to bolster a seasoned resume, adding involvement in clubs and organizations can give you a competitive advantage in a job search.
Learning to incorporate your extracurricular activities into a resume will complement and highlight skills you may not be able to show due to lack of experience.
How clubs show employers relevant skills
Being involved in clubs and organizations can show potential employers that you are more than just a kind-hearted or outgoing person.
Clubs help develop real skills and a well-crafted resume can highlights these skills gained.
Being the captain of your high school or college sports team show employers that you have leadership qualities and a strong work ethic.
Organizing a food drive show you have organizational and project management skills.
Don’t sell your experience in clubs short on your resume. Think of how you were involved with the club and what skills could transfer to your resume. It may take a little thinking outside the box, but membership in just about any club can be beneficial.
Here are a few examples of skills gained from clubs:
- Time management
- Project management
- Employee management
- Book-keeping / budget
- People skills
- Writing and reporting skills
- Communication skills
- Experience in an office-simulated environment
Clubs and organizations produce a wide variety of skills. Use them to your advantage on a resume.
Types of clubs
If you have the idea of joining a club to help fill voids in your resume, there are many different types that can help you.
Sports clubs can be found for colleges and universities that do not sponsor a particular sport. For example, not all colleges are large enough to field a hockey team, but have a group of students that form a club team so they can play the game.
Sports clubs help develop great leadership skills, especially if you are determined to be a captain of the team. These types of clubs also prove you can work in a team environment and work together with different types of people to accomplish a unified goal.
Recreation clubs are another popular type of club. Recreation clubs can range from video games to chess to equestrian. These types of clubs offer a group of individuals to share similar interests.
Clubs that feature recreational activities help develop communication and people skills. Most of them also have leadership roles and will need someone to manage budgets and schedules — both vital skills for business success.
Volunteer clubs and organizations are help bolster your resume and speak directly about your character.
These clubs and organizations include Kiwanis, Habitat for Humanity and the Boys and Girls Club. Not only can you develop multiple types of skills from such organizations, but you are also showing potential employers that you are a person willing to dedicate themselves to a job.
The final type of club includes professional clubs. These clubs may be some of the most beneficial clubs to join for the purpose of resume experience.
Most of these clubs can be found through college and university chapters of governing organizations. For example, the Society of Professional Journalist may have a local chapter and works with students to help publish their material and get them real-world experience in public relations.
There are many of these organizations out there, especially at the college level. These organizations help develop real skills needed for their field.
How to add a club to your resume
You can add your involvement in a club or organization in two different ways. If most of your activities are through your college or university, it may be wise to add activities under the “education” section of your resume.
Here is an example:
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY – Columbus, Ohio
Bachelor of Arts in English
June 2002 – May 2006
Member of Student Leader Board Presidential Search Committee
Editor-in-Chief of student newspaper
Alpha Tau Omega – Public Relations Chair and Secretary
If you have a variety of extracurricular activities ranging from volunteer organizations to school clubs, then your best course would be to create a new “activities” section. In this section, you may list all of the activities that you have participated in.
Be sure to include any leadership titles you may have held in those positions. If you have the room available on your resume, you may want to include the skills that you used or gained during your time with the club.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
June 2006 – April – 2012
Skills acquired: Project management, budgeting, training, organization
As a guide, your resume should only be one page long for less experienced individuals. Do not include the above-mentioned details if you resume does not have room.
Enjoy the built-in networking
Not only does networking help develop and showcase skills that employers can relate to, but it also adds a lifetime opportunity for networking.
Not only will you network with the people within your club, but you may also build connections with people in similar clubs across the world.
Membership in clubs and organizations allow for the “coincidental” connections to be made.
The hiring manager for the job that you really want may have been a member of the same sorority you were when she was in college.
The national conference you traveled to for your club may lead you to a CEO looking to hire someone with similar skills and interests.
The bottom line is that the more people you know and can associate a common bond with, the better opportunity there will be for one of those random networking sessions.
Get involved and stay aggressive and your resume will rise to the top of the pile almost every time.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
JLBender (author) from Greensburg, PA on November 09, 2012:
Thanks for the feedback. I myself learned a lot from being part of clubs and organizations while in college.
RTalloni on November 09, 2012:
This should be helpful to many who are currently job hunting. You make some great points about using membership to clubs/organizations to improve resumes.