Fresh graduate guide: Can you include extracurricular activities as work experience?

By Paula Delos Reyes, Contributor

#FreshGraduate #WorkExperience #CandidateGuide

The short answer is yes, you can!

Truth be told, applying for your first job may need a lot of your patience. Coming fresh out of university, you’re now out in the “real world.” Instead of school papers and your thesis, what you need to submit is your CV to companies you want to work with.

Some companies require work experience. Something that, understandably, fresh graduates do not have yet. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s okay! You just have to work with what you have, and be wise about it. As a workaround, you can highlight your extracurricular activities at school in your CV.

How does it work?

When you spend time in your orgs and actively participate in school activities, you’re also developing your talent. You get to hone your skills, making you better at your passions and interests.

For instance, if you were part of your school paper, the hours you’ve devoted hours writing and editing counts as experience. If you were part of a leadership development org, you can list down your responsibilities or the events that you’ve organized. Include your position and role in the org and highlight your responsibilities. Enumerate the tasks you’ve completed, and the skills you’ve developed. Bonus points if you can align the skills you’ve learned in school to the skills required in the job you’re applying for.

Still unclear? No worries! Here are examples of extracurricular activities you may have, plus skills that are developed because of them:

1. Working in the student council

Developed Skills:

  • Leadership
  • Accountability
  • Organization

Being part of a student-governing body, you’re often sought to lead with a level head. You know you’re responsible for other students who look up to you, and you can’t do your job effectively without proper delegation and collaboration. That’s a tall order, and you should be proud!

2. Writing for the school paper

Developed Skills:

  • Writing Skills
  • Time Management
  • Storytelling

The first few sentences is a make-or-break for writers, as you could either hook readers or you just lulled them to sleep! That’s a valuable skill. Moreover, those who have written for school papers know you have to juggle editorial deadlines and academics. Tough, but you did it!

3. Learning or teaching foreign languages

Developed Skills:

  • Teaching/ Instruction
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking

Learning a foreign language is tricky, but we as Filipinos are great with it. The challenge here is how you’ll be teaching it to someone else, how to communicate using it, and how best to translate or use in a sentence. That takes great talent.

4. Organizing fashion shows

Developed Skills:

  • Planning
  • Collaboration
  • Problem Solving

Most people only see the glitz and glamor of events, but only you know how much blood, sweat, and tears have been poured to make it a success! You plan accordingly, coordinate with suppliers, and solve problems even before they happen.

5. Participating in entrepreneurship events

Developed Skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Accountability

Most of us are accustomed to thinking about where to work after graduation. But there are those who see things differently by creating a new path through entrepreneurship. It’s a high-risk, high-reward endeavor where you must know how to communicate well, think clearly, and be responsible for your own success or failures. That says a lot about you!

These are just a few examples, but for sure you can find lots more. On your Workbank profile, you can include it in your professional summary or education description (under Accomplishments or Scholastic Highlights).

Highlight your extracurricular achievements and increase your chances of getting the job you want. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Update your Workbank profile now