We all know how boring and annoying extracurricular activities can be. You’re in high school or college, you’re studying a lot of different things, you’re torn between homework and going out, yet you have to be a part of all these clubs and participate in all these projects.
Is it worth it? Isn’t just attending school and doing your school work more than enough?
Yes, it’s worth it and no – it’s not enough. Your parents might require from you only to go to school and get your A’s but that won’t get you the job you really want. That is because most students would have been doing exactly that, so the ones that have been doing more extracurricular activities would be the ones that are ahead of you!
Life in high school can be overwhelming. It’s that period of one’s life when people are trying to find and create themselves, while exploring all kinds of things and learning to cope with reality. But the truth is, your future employer doesn’t really care about that. They want to see that you have been as active, creative and entrepreneurial as possible.
Obviously you won’t have much (or even any) experience right after you graduate, so you need to somehow show them that you are capable of doing the job and have been building some kind of a base by yourself throughout the years. Here are 5 extracurricular activities that can help you do that:
1. Be in the right clubs and electives
Most schools have a lot of extracurricular activities to offer, so it is up to you to find the right ones. There’s no point in wasting your time while being in a club that doesn’t give you anything except for evidence on a piece of paper that you have been a part of it. Try joining numerous clubs which interest you until you find the one or two where you truly belong.
Ex.: If you are planning to pursue a degree and/or career in Economics & Finance, join the Economics/Maths/Finance/Business club. If you are looking forward to a career in Journalism/Media, then join the school newspaper. Extracurricular activities should be both fun and beneficial, and don’t have to be a drag.
2. Have your own blog
In today’s world everyone is expected to have their own blog. It is the perfect tool for showing your potential employer that you are truly interested and prepared for the job. There are so many platforms with which you can easily and quickly set up a blog and start posting. Here‘s a very cool educational website with all kinds of resources that web beginners need. Moreover, on your blog you can share and post various articles and content, they don’t have to be all created by you.
Another thing – no one expects that you have thousands of followers and views. That’s a hard accomplishment that takes time and marketing knowledge. However, your blog will show your passion for this job/company/industry/subject and your months or even years of doing research and some serious thinking.
Ex.: If you would like to be an artist of any kind, a blog is your way of showing your art to the world by creating a beautiful online gallery, but even if you’d like to be a doctor or a lawyer, you could use this opportunity to put intriguing case studies and reflections in one place. In fact, blogging is one of the extra curricular activities that has a chance of turning into a full-time job.
3. Join an inspiring community of people
Today there are communities or organizations for everything. And most communities are pretty open to newcomers. By joining a group of people that exists because of their common enthusiasm for something, you get to learn a lot and meet people that might think like you. And what’s better than that? Moreover, people in such a society are usually of different ages and backgrounds, so you get to learn about their experience first hand and that is something of great value.
Ex.: If you are passionate about Entrepreneurship, you might want to join an entrepreneurial NGO or if your passion is animals and are considering a career as a vet or a degree in Zoology, you might want to join the local zoo community or something like WWF.
4. Create a project
People will always ask about your projects. Next time you hear about an engaging project, get involved right away! But you know what? You can just as well create a project by yourself. It’s not that hard – all it takes is an idea or a cause and a couple of people that have been moved by this idea. No one is expecting anything enormous. But having your own project not only demonstrates your desire to work in this field, it also emphasizes your skills as a leader. You have thought of something and you have done what it takes to bring it to life.
Ex.: If you are preparing yourself for the world of Marketing & PR, you might set up a campaign, form a small team and try reaching and engaging as many people as possible. If you are preparing yourself for the world of Design, on the other hand, your project might be to organize an exhibition, get a lot of people to come and even sell your art donating the money to a good cause.
5. Do an internship
More companies than you would expect offer internships. It is up to you to learn about them, apply and go smash it. Most of the times they are unpaid, but they’re still are a real work experience in a real environment, which makes them extremely useful. If you’ve been doing the 4 extracurricular activities mentioned above, scoring an internship will be a cakewalk. Moreover, another benefit of doing an internship is that if you perform well, you can ask for a written reference from your boss or the person that deals with internships and this recommendation will go a long way when you are trying to land your first real job after graduation.
Ex.: If you are someone who dreams of working in a big magazine like Vogue or Vice, you better do an internship at their issue in your country or even in a smaller magazine. If you are dreaming of becoming the next Minister of Foreign Affairs or Culture, you better do an internship in the Parliament or the respective Ministry.
Being 19 and fresh out of high school or college is not an excuse to have an empty resume. Some people just go to school and do what it takes to pass, while others exceed expectations and can therefore provide a 2 page resume with all of the things they have been doing the last couple of years.
When the first type starts looking for a summer or a gap year job, all their offers are in services and promotions – they get to choose between being a waiter, a nanny or a sales clerk. The second type, on the contrary, has a lot more options, maybe even getting a job in an exceptional company, doing something unexpected, which would then on completely change their plans for the future.
In addition to that, extracurricular activities not only help you pick up new skills and make your resume longer. They help you meet new people, travel to new places, and have unforgettable experiences. And that’s something that can change your life.
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