Whether you are just starting university or an apprenticeship, or you have just finished, you may be trying to think of extra ways you can boost your CV. Taking part in extracurricular activities can be a good way to boost key skills that employers may be looking for and it can strengthen your CV in more ways than you think. They can demonstrate not only your personal interests, but they can show the employer that you have a wide range of transferable skills that you can apply to their job vacancy.
It’s important that you don’t just put anything on your CV. You may have an interest in baking, but how is that going to link to your new engineering career? Make sure you are writing a CV with interests that are relevant to your field of work. Make the most of your extra activities and learn from them. The skills you learn from these activities can help you a lot in your early engineering career. Here are some popular additional activities that can add something extra to your CV:
- Sports – Most universities have their own sports teams and there are often far too many to choose from. Joining a sports team or society can show employers that you are dedicated. Sports can take up a lot of your time and energy and require regular training. To say that you have kept up with this throughout your studies or apprenticeship can show your reliability. It also shows team work and competitiveness; some qualities businesses are often looking for in employees.
- Volunteering or fundraising – Volunteering is not just about giving up your time for someone else. Where that is a wonderful gesture, there is always something that you can take from this time. You can use volunteering to develop skills that you can transfer to your working life. Your willingness to help others and use your time shows that you are proactive and looking to help the community. Maybe you were in charge of a fundraising event? This can show leadership. If possible, you can even spend time volunteering somewhere that links to your chosen field, this can help you learn and can also count as work experience.
- Languages – Learning a new language can be extremely difficult and time consuming. This can show the employer your problem-solving skills and patience. Having an employee that is willing to learn and dedicated to their progress is something engineering companies’ value.
- The Arts – Creativity can be a very important part of an engineering career. Being a part of artistic activities like performing, writing, or other artistic projects can present your attention to detail. It can also show employers that you are a confident person, as well as creative. Depending on the type of engineering you would like to get into, creativity can be highly valued.
- Job specific activities – You may want to think about career specific volunteering. Universities often have student run initiatives. Like the university newspaper or additional classes in coding. So, try to get involved with the university as much as possible, it’s likely that they would be more than happy to help you with this kind of work experience. Again, this can show employers the dedication that you have towards your career development. If you are unable to get traditional work experience, work with your university and see what they can offer. There is always something you can be doing.
Once you have a range of out of work activities that are relevant, you may be wondering where to put this on your CV? You may want to have a separate section all together. You could put the extra activities in a ‘hobbies and interest section’. You don’t want to have this at the top of your CV as your personal statement is more important, but there is always space for this.
Some of the activities listed can even count towards your work experience. So, if it is suitable, you can put some of your volunteering or job specific volunteering in your ‘work experience’ section. This may give you the opportunity to write a little bit more about it and share your development.
Another option is to include some of your extra-curriculars in your personal statement. You can discuss how they helped you develop key skills; such as team work, determination and creativity. All of which are very useful in an engineering career. Make sure you are taking the time to think about this part of your CV and make it the best it can possibly be. You want to keep the interests relevant to the rest of your CV, otherwise it can look like useless clutter.
If you are still in university or your apprenticeship, you may want to think about starting an extracurricular activity. You can use them to your advantage and boost your skills along the way.