Should Your CV Contain An Interests/Extracurricular Section?
In a word: Yes! But there is a little more to it than that. There is certainly a way to do this section justice and have it add something important to your CV, rather than it simply existing as a random area that states that you (like many people in the world) like to read, watch movies, cook, etc, etc. In this blog, we would like to break this important area of CV real estate down to help you work out what to include and what to omit.
Whether you are a student who is new to the workforce or you've been working for years, the best way to title this section is by calling it 'Extracurricular', rather than 'Interests'. This is because you want to be using this area to list your community involvement in a way that will help add weight/credibility to your listed expertise.
What do we mean by community involvement?
Anything business/community related that you do outside office hours that is appropriate to list in a professional document. Some examples include:
Running a small hobby business (creating and selling art/crafts, party planning, cake making, dog walking, animal rescue, upcycling clothes/furniture, managing the account of your Insta famous pet - the list is endless!)
Coaching/actively participating in a sports team/club
Sitting on a school board/committee
It is always a good idea to give a little context to your extracurricular activities, so they are best listed in the following format:
0000 - 0000 (Year to and from)
Name of Business/Sports Team/Group
You don't need to go into any more detail than this unless you're short on information/content in your CV or the extracurricular role is highly relevant to a role for which you wish to apply. In which case we might suggest detailing more about what your extracurricular activities entail.
If you don't have any extracurricular activities to mention, and you want to give potential employers some insight into who you are as a person, you can still give a brief overview of your extracurricular interests. We suggest writing your interests in sentences, rather than listing them as bullet points, as this gives helpful context as well as making this section a little more human-voiced and relatable.
For example, if your interests include:
You are best to write these interests into a sentence like:
Outside work, I enjoy getting back to nature to camp, hike, and fish. One of my favourite spots at the moment is Opape on the East Coast. When not using the great outdoors as my gym, I enjoy keeping in shape by attending early morning cross-fit sessions with friends.
Passionate about healthy living, I love getting creative in the kitchen; coming up with innovative ways to make vegetables tasty (for both kids and adults alike!) and entertaining guests as an attentive host.
Note: Your listed activities will ideally help bolster your personal attributes and enhance your listed expertise. If you are applying for a leadership role, for example, and the potential employer can see that outside work, you are the leader of several clubs/sports teams; they will get some added insight of your skills in a real-world application.
We hope this blog has helped you get a better feel for what an extracurricular section can be, and how, when used correctly, it can help add to your application, rather than simply being a strange little thing that is tacked on the end! If you need some assistance creating an impactful extracurricular section for your CV, please reach out as we would be happy to assist.