Extracurricular activities that will improve your CV
There are loads of things you can do in your spare time to stand out as a job applicant. Filling your CV with these brilliant extracurricular activities will make your applications too good to ignore.
It’s not enough to simply tell employers that you’re interested in their industry – you need to show it. And the best way to do this is by boosting your CV while still at university with impressive extracurricular activities.
Employers are always interested in a candidate’s experience. If you do lots of things in your spare time related to your chosen career, and you generally work hard to improve your hobbies and interests, it will show that you’re serious about your work and you’re keen to learn.
Top examples of extracurricular activities
Here are the best extracurricular activities to include on your CV:
1. Volunteering with the National Trust
Volunteering with the National Trust is basically a win-win situation. Not only are you boosting your CV, but you’re doing it by spending time in some of the most beautiful areas in the country. Plus, as a volunteer, you’ll also receive training, get your expenses covered, and have free entry to most National Trust properties. Sounds pretty perfect, right? Head over to the National Trust website to discover the opportunities near you.
2. Working on local farms
Volunteering or working at a farm isn’t just useful if you want to work with animals – it can also be a great addition to your CV if you’re interested in any kind of outdoorsy career. Farm work can vary a lot depending on the sort of farm it is but (spoiler!) it tends to involve getting your hands dirty. City dwellers will obviously have fewer options to choose from, but it’s worth looking online to see if there’s an urban farm in your area. Failing that, there may well be some stables nearby which are a bit more common in towns and cities than farms. As a bit of inspiration, one student took extracurricular farming a step further and began running her own alpaca farm.
3. Volunteering with animal shelters
If you hope to work with animals in your future career – whether as a vet, in zoos, as an animal conservationist, or even within an animal charity like the RSPCA – one of the best things you can do is offer your services as a volunteer at a local animal shelter. Most shelters manage work experience students and volunteer on a branch-by-branch basis, so the best way to get more information is to get in touch with the charity directly. Their contact details can be found by a quick Google search for ‘animal charities near me.
4. Working part-time at museums, galleries, and stately homes
Visiting art galleries, museums and stately homes in your spare time is fantastic. But to get a good graduate job in the art and culture industries, it will really help if you work or volunteer at them. Although a lot of cultural work opportunities for students are (annoyingly) voluntary roles, paid part-time jobs occasionally pop up. Keep your eyes peeled for job adverts on big institutions’ websites, and reach out to smaller places directly to ask about vacancies. If you work at a museum or gallery, you’ll likely get invited to fun events like exhibition openings and talks. These events are great opportunities to meet industry leaders and get your name out there. And events like this usually have free food and drinks, so it’d be rude not to go, really…
5. Organizing your own exhibitions
When looking for extracurricular activities in the art sector, you can also set up your own exhibition. Doing so will show loads of skills that employers look for, like teamwork, initiative, organization, self-motivation, and timekeeping. There are a lot of different factors you’d have to think about, like hiring an exhibition space and sourcing, transporting, and looking after the artworks/artifacts. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to not do it completely by yourself, especially as revision and exams are still a priority.
6. Starting your own business
Uni is the perfect time to start a business. You’re unlikely to ever have a working schedule as flexible as you do now, so you can make the most of it by setting up and running a new business. We have loads of business ideas to start at university in case you’re stuck.
By starting a business, you can prove that you’ve got what it takes to succeed in finance and consultancy. It will show that you’re innovative, business-savvy, and (a big one!) you can independently manage money.
7. Consulting and investment societies at the university
If your university has a consulting or investment society, join them!
Societies are great opportunities to learn more about your industry and develop relevant skills. It’s a massive bonus to also take on leadership roles within them, like club treasurer, social media manager, or even president.
Your work in these societies will show more to employers than you might realize – not least, how serious you are about your chosen industry.
8. Campaigning locally
If you’re a loyal member of a political party, why not volunteer to help out with campaigning near election periods?
Whether giving out leaflets, donning a garish rosette, or knocking on doors in rain or shine, campaigning is a great way to show your dedication. And, better yet, you can also make some great connections in the process.
9. Working as a freelance translator
Speaking another language is already a really impressive skill in most industries. If you’re hoping to use your language skills directly in your graduate job, working as a freelance translator while at uni will massively boost your CV.
It’s a good money earner, and managing your time and money as a freelancer would be a brilliant work experience.
You might already be acing a couple of languages, but the more you learn, the more money you can make as a translator.
Whether your ambition is to become a published author, the next editor of Cosmo, or a freelance copywriter, the key to making a living as a writer is to focus on developing your skills and portfolio as much as you can. It’s super important that you put your work out there for people to read.
Most universities will have their own newspaper or magazine which is a great place to start. Hunt down the contact details of your student editor, get in touch, and start submitting your ideas to them.