So you think just because you are an A* student that this will set you apart from the competition and land you the first job? You might think that employers are focused on grades and won’t care if you were the president of the prom committee or whether you have voluntarily taught English in Zambia, but you would be wrong. Involvement in student, community, family or even leisure activities could be the differentiating factor that will set you apart from competition when applying for jobs. Whatever job you are applying for, there are several skills and experiences that employers want you to have and these are developed through extracurricular activities.
A study has revealed that extracurricular activities is the fifth top heavily weighted attribute considered by employers, after internships, employment during college, having a college major and volunteer experience.
So what kind of activities and what sort of qualities do employers want you to have? Here are a few clues…
Leadership experience: Employers want to see that you can handle responsibility and that you are capable of stepping up to the plate to take on responsibilities as well as deal with commitments from a management level position. Show the employer how being the leader of an organizational group or club helped you take control of things and manage your time effectively.
Being part of the community: Employers love to know that you have made yourself part of a certain community and have actively contributed to it. Employers are nowadays concerned more with who you know, rather than what you know. Show the employer how your involvement in an NGO or other voluntary organization helped you build social and interpersonal skills and enhanced your ability to function as part of a team.
Volunteer Experience: Employers like people who help others, are socially responsible and show empathy towards people. Show how your involvement in voluntary initiatives helped make a positive change in the community. Also, demonstrate how this experience helped you shape a well-rounded personality. Employers want you to have emotional intelligence and make sure you are a fit within the company’s culture.
Lifelong Learning: Employers recognise lifelong learners’ effort to develop their existing skills by taking advantage of learning opportunities and resources that exist around them. Show the employer that you are the kind of person who loves learning new things on your own initiative and not through law or need. This way, you will brand yourself as a person who constantly works his way into upgrading and honing his skills in order to stay up-to-date with relevant industry trends.
Athletics: If you are a sport’s person and you are actively involved in sports, you will earn yourself extra points when being considered by an employer. This is because employers appreciate team players, people who enjoy collaborating with people to achieve goals and have a positive work ethic to achieve these goals. Involvement in sports also displays your competitive side and your appetite to win and shows that you always stay on top of the game. Show how your involvement in various sports helped you build resilience and persistence.
Watch this video featuring top talent acquisition experts to find out what other extracurricular activities can catch the eye of employers.