This section of the resume can add valuable information for an employer to consider if used correctly. The rule of thumb for information in this section is to include only that information that is in some way relevant to the objective stated on your resume. If you can draw a valid connection between your activities and your objective, include them; if not, leave them out.
Granted, this is hard to do. Playing center on the championship basketball team or serving as coordinator of the biggest homecoming parade ever held are roles that have meaning for you and represent personal accomplishments you’d like to share. However, the resume is a brief document and the information you provide on it should help the employer make a decision about your job eligibility. Including personal details can be confusing and could hurt your candidacy. Limiting your activity list to a few very significant experiences can be more effective.
If you are applying for a position as a safety officer, your certificate in Red Cross lifesaving skills or CPR would be related and valuable. You would want to include it. If, however, you are applying for a job as a junior account executive in an advertising agency, that information would be unrelated and superfluous. Leave it out.
Professional affiliations and honors should all be listed. Especially important are those related to your job objective. Social clubs and activities need not be a part of your resume unless you held a significant office or you are looking for a career position related to that activity. Be aware that most prospective employers’ principal concerns are related to your employability, not your social life. If you have any publications, they can be included as an addendum to your resume.
The focus of the resume is your experience and education. However, if your resume needs to be lengthened, this section provides the freedom either to expand on or mention the contributions you have made. It is not always necessary to include the dates of your memberships with your activities the way you would include employment dates.
There are a number of different ways to present additional information. You may give this section a number of different titles. Assess what you want to list, and then use an appropriate title. Do not use “extracurricular activities.” This terminology is scholastic, not professional, and therefore not appropriate. The following are two examples:
ACTIVITIES: Society for Technical Communication, Student Senate, Student Admissions Representative, Senior Class Officer
- Society for Technical Communication Member
- Student Senator
- Student Admissions Representative
- Senior Class Officer
The position you are looking for will determine what you should or should not include. Always look for a correlation between the activity and the prospective job.