9 Extracurricular activities to do at university that can give your CV a boost

Talya Honebeek
Talya Honebeek
Published on: 4 May 2021 • 6 min read

Getting your dream job after university isn’t an easy task. 

Graduating with a university qualification is a great start, but if you want to get ahead of the competition and give your CV a boost then it’s a good idea to try out some extracurricular activities.

But exactly what are extracurricular activities, and how can they prove to recruiters that you’re the right person for the job?

Anything from joining university societies and sports teams, to learning a language or becoming a peer mentor can help you demonstrate desirable skills and qualities to potential employers.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.

Without further ado, here is our list of extracurricular activities that will help you gain useful skills and wow recruiters.

9 Extracurricular activities to do at university that can give your CV a boost

  1. Learn a langauge
  2. Volunteer
  3. Become an active member of your university
  4. Play for a sports team
  5. Join societies
  6. Get involved in student media
  7. Become a peer mentor
  8. Intern or find a part-time job
  9. Study abroad

1. Learn a language

In an increasingly globalised world, understanding other languages and cultures is becoming increasingly more important to employers. Speaking another language will immediately set you apart from other candidates. 

From Spanish and German to Chinese and Arabic, a working knowledge of any of the world’s most-used business languages can unlock more opportunities and higher salaries.

Recruiters value the time and dedication taken to learn a foreign language. It demonstrates self-motivation, good communication skills and cultural awareness.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering is not only a rewarding way to give something back to your local community, but it is also one of the best extracurricular activities for your resume.

Volunteering alongside university work shows employers you have a great work ethic as well as good organisational skills when juggling various commitments.

Look in your local area for volunteering and fundraising opportunities or try searching for volunteering abroad schemes if you want to travel at the same time.

3. Become an active member of your university

Good extracurricular activities to put on a resume include anything that shows recruiters your initiative. Getting involved with university life and taking an active interest in how it’s run is a great example of this.

There are so many options: you could volunteer with the student union, become a student rep or help out on university open days and events.

Active involvement in your university can prove good leadership, teamwork and time management, which are all desirable skills recruiters are looking for.

4. Play for a sports team

Whether you’re a keen footballer or just a casual hockey player, consider signing up to play for a team, either on campus or in the general local area. 

Putting a sporting activity on your CV demonstrates a wide range of skills and helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time.

It also helps employers see you as a more well-rounded person who is able to balance studies with other commitments.

5. Join societies

If you’re looking for extracurricular activities ideas that will allow you to boost your CV and have lots of fun at the same time, then try joining a society or two.

You can either choose to join a society that is in some way related to your degree or future professional aspirations, or you can try something completely new. 

If you join a particularly quirky or niche society, it can help make your CV more memorable. It will also give you an easy icebreaker to use in interviews!

6. Get involved in student media

Any budding journalists should definitely try and contribute to the student newspaper during their time at university. It will help you hone your professional skills and gain valuable experience you can discuss in job interviews.

Even if you don’t want to be a writer, getting involved in student media is a great addition to any CV as it involves lots of transferable skills. If writing isn’t your thing then why not try your hand at video production, editing or social media marketing?

There is also the added benefit of improving your essay writing skills which will definitely come in handy when it comes to writing your dissertation!

7. Become a peer mentor

Many universities run peer mentoring and tutoring schemes, in which second and third year students help first years adjust to university life.

It may involve showing your mentees around the university, answering any of their queries by email and generally just being a friendly face on campus.

You may also be able to become a subject-specific mentor, helping any fellow students who are struggling with assignments or set reading for certain modules.

Taking part in a scheme like this shows recruiters that you are a reliable team player, willing to share your knowledge to help others.

8. Intern or find a part-time job

Your priority should always be completing your university work to a high standard, but if you find you have some spare time, taking on a part-time job or internship will help boost your CV in a big way.

By having a few internships or part-time jobs listed on your CV, you can demonstrate to recruiters that you have industry-specific skills as well as good time-management and initiative.

It is also worth asking your careers service for help, as many universities offer on-campus paid work opportunities designed to fit around your studies.

9. Study abroad

Studying abroad is one of the best extracurricular activities in college or university. Not only is it a life changing experience, but it will also instantly upgrade any CV.

During your time abroad you will meet lots of new people, learn about different cultures and overall become more confident dealing with unfamiliar situations. 

All of this will mean you can prove to potential employers that you are adaptable and independent with great interpersonal skills and cultural awareness to boot.

You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of extracurricular activities on your CV. With so much competition for graduate jobs, anything you can do in your free time to develop new skills will help make your CV stand out from the pile. 

Whether you need some pointers to help you craft the perfect CV or you want to find out more about your study abroad options, we’re here to help! Find your perfect course and university today.

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Talya Honebeek
Written By
Talya Honebeek

Talya is a part-time journalism master's student living in North Yorkshire.


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