Building your profile – Extracurricular Activities

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Question of the week

At the end of last year, I met with a few panicking students who were looking to reevaluate their club commitments, so they could refocus on their school work. They all asked the same question, ‘which activities are better regarded by employers?’

Building your profile – Extracurricular Activities

Over the holidays I caught up with a few friends who are responsible for the campus recruitment function for global firms, and had a pretty open conversation on how resumes are being screened. Below are some questions they have when going through your resume, this is based on their own subjective opinions, but is definitely worth a share.

Interest clubs – Do the clubs demonstrate your career interest and allow you to build industry related or transferable skills related to your field? It is perfectly fine to participate in a social club based on your own interest, however be cautious of how much room you dedicate to this activity on your resume.

Sports – Are they competitive in nature and require a high level of performance? Do they demonstrate, leadership, teamwork and commitment? Your experience in the highest ranking league/ team should be elaborated, while the rest can be kept short. Any sports you do on a regular basis can be listed under interests if you can talk about them with great enthusiasm.

Case Competitions –  They demonstrate your open-mindedness and ability to work under pressure, it is always good to know the scale of the competition and where you stand. If you do not have any direct work experience in your chosen career field, you can elaborate on this to highlight any relevant skill-set eg ‘conducted DCF analysis on XXX’ or  ‘developed a business web application within 48 hours using XXX’.

Service Groups – What causes do you support and how do you contribute to the growth of the organizations?

Rule of Thumb

Your resume builds a profile of who you are and establishes your personal branding by showing the causes you stand for.  On average a recruiter can scan through your resume in less than 10 seconds, and build a mental profile of who you are. Use the space you dedicate to each activity on your resume wisely, they give weight to who you are.

When choosing extra-curricular activities, always ask yourself, what kind of personal or professional development you are hoping to get out of the experience. During the screening process, recruiters always look for the direct impact you have made, as well as progression in each organization you are part of. 

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