Truthfully, graduating is only the first step in securing your dream graduate job. In 2017–18, 2.34 million students were studying at higher education institutions in the UK. To get that job, you will need to stand out from every other student who is also graduating at the same time.
There is a lot more to your life than your degree title. You need to show off your personality through your interests and hobbies; this is how to do just that.
What are Extracurricular Activities?
Extracurricular activities are things that you take part in that are outside of your studies. It is typically something that you are passionate about (not just drinking!) and they could be a lot more relevant to your job application than you think.
Joining a club or society, whether this is a sport, language club or anything else, you will be showing that you are a reliable team player. Maybe you could even set up a society at your university if there isn’t one that takes your fancy? This would boost your skills and job applications. Volunteering is also the perfect way to show your initiative to help others and that you have good use of your time off.
Even if you are not part of a club, being able to talk about your hobbies is a way of showing off your interests. Do you have a passion for photography or enjoy gaming? Maybe you are a wiz at photoshop? Show this off! It is an extra skill which is well-respected by potential employers.
Taking part in extracurricular activities allows you to develop soft skills which are highly employable and vital in the competitive grad industry.
If you know what job you want to go into, then you can take part in activities that are relevant to the role, to get you ahead of others. If not, it helps you realise what role you may like and what activities you enjoy.
Other than the range of skills, extracurricular activities can also help you focus when you are studying. It gives you time to take a break so you can think about different things. There is a positive correlation between people that do an activity outside of their studies, and people who are more likely to spend time studying – creating a healthy balance between socialising and working. Joining clubs also means you meet new people and make new friends; it is networking in disguise!
Who knew that doing something fun can keep you busy in your spare time and improve your future applications. There are especially important when you have limited work experience as they boost your CV with transferable skills.
Add to Your CV
So how do you add them to your CV to get your dream job? You need to mention your interests by tailoring it to the role you are applying to. Try not to make a list. Mention your main interests to allow your personality to shine through and show there is more to you than just your education level.
Try to avoid clichés and show how your passion for an activity can benefit you in the job. Maybe being part of a sports team shows you are a reliable team member and highlights your leadership through running training sessions. Or being part of a volunteering society shows that you are passionate about a cause.
If you get to the interview stage for any job, you are likely to be asked classic questions of, “when have you overcome a problem?” or “when have you worked well as part of a team?”.
Although these are seemingly straightforward questions, sometimes coming up with real-life examples can be the hardest part of an interview. Being able to speak about extracurricular activities can help you answer these questions and gives you an instant response.
1 out of 3 employees leaves a company within their first year of working there. Whether it is because of the type of work or company values, companies are now more aware than ever about picking the right candidates for their company. Extracurricular activities and interests help a company work out which candidates will fit in with the company culture and values. Your interests could be the critical link between you and the job you are applying for.
Not only does it give you something to talk about on your CV and during the interview stage, but it also lets the employer understand who you are as an individual. Highlighting your dedication and passion for an activity shows a lot about your personality.
Companies want to employ people who have more than good grades. They are looking for well-rounded individuals, so make sure you give extracurricular activities a go!
Written by Rebecca Hart, an Online Marketer at StudentJob UK. If you are looking for a job but not sure where to start then check out StudentJob. Studentjob’s application tips will help you create an effective CV, cover letter and help you smash interviews!