Extra-Curricular Activities - Does Anyone Really Care?
A question that often arises when I am speaking to students and alumni about their resumes is "is it important to include my non-classroom experience?" I always answer with a resounding "yes!" Often, people play down the activities and experiences they are involved in outside of their "professional" life, thinking that the resume should focus solely on the classroom. While you definitely should lead your resume with your most important and relevant information (i.e. degree, certifications, classroom experience), it is also important to include information on some of the other activities you are involved in. For example:
- Volunteer experiences
- Professional organizations you are involved in/Professional development activities you have attended
- Clubs you actively take part in or have leadership roles in
Why is this important?
First off, it shows the school that you have interests outside the classroom that you can assist with in their school. For example, if you are a member of the drama club and have acted in a few plays while in school, you may be able to assist with their school's spring musical. If you are a collegiate athlete, you may be able to coach a sport.
Second, it shows that you are able to manage multiple commitments while teaching. This skill will come in handy when you enter the professional world and are expected to manage not only what is happening in your classroom, but what is also happening in the school and in your own life. If you can do this successfully while in school, it shows that you will be able to do this successfully while out of school and employed full-time.
Finally, the involvement that you are involved in outside the classroom gives the employer a glimpse into your personality and interest in a professional and organized way. It shows them your interests, but also the skills you have achieved because of participating in activities that facilitate those interests.
Do not sell yourself short! Include information around these experiences on your resume. Be sure to do so in a professional way, and have someone read over your document before submitting your applications!
Christine Falcone, MS, NCC
Saint Joseph's University (Pennsylvania)