I was wondering if extracurricular activities really mattered when attempting to get a job in the corporate sector.

My motivation for asking the question simply stems from the reality that I see around me at university, where even leaders of extra curricular clubs/teams don't seem to do very much, but at the same time, many feel that recruits want to see leadership roles on a resume.

Does this in fact matter in the corporate sector, assuming my GPA and course of study are compatible with the position I am applying for?

  • it may be more likely to get into an ivy league uni with extra curricular activities but beyond that people only care about work experience and actual diploma – ratchet freak Nov 7 '13 at 10:40
  • @JoeStrazzere first job – soandos Nov 7 '13 at 14:28

It's up to you to show that your interests outside of work and school make you a better hire. A single line on the resume:

Other interests: hiking, canoeing, chess

doesn't tell me very much. A sentence in the cover letter that expresses how attractive you find the company's location because you hike or canoe every weekend might get someone's attention.

A student I know spent a year working as a musician and continues to perform while he is an undergrad. His resume lists that year as experience (self managed solo musical performer) and lists tasks like negotiating and booking tours, marketing etc as well as performing. That makes it clear why that interest might make him a better hire. (Anecdotal evidence: he is the only person in his program he knows that even got any interviews: he got three and was hired.) If you rose to president of the chess club and organized the annual tournaments, that might make you a better hire in a way that just liking to play chess will not.

The old advice for interests was that they made you human and opened the possibility for a hiring person to see themselves in you and form a connection. The new advice is to leave them off unless you can show that they make you more attractive to the company, or make the company more attractive to you (which are really the same thing in the end.)


Sometimes. I work in the audio field: spending a lot time listening to music, going to concert or, even better, being a proficient musician yourself actually gives you a leg up. It can also be an indicator whether you are active and in charge of you life or a couch potato, or what your personal value systems are.

Depending on job or hiring manager these things may or may not matter. However, there is nothing wrong with have one well crafted sentence around your non-work life. If you are a recent college grad with no work experience, than it may warrant a full paragraph, if it's good. "Good" means showing active interests, passion, measurable results, and commitment and engagement. If the activity is potentially controversial (political, religious, etc.) some tailoring may be required.


It depends on what they are.

MIT has a model railroad club. If you were seeking work with companies in the transportation business, this would be interesting. If you were trying to get a job in a consumer products company, they would look at you with a fish-eyed stare.

Banks have a big issue with 'community perception', so they like people that go out and mix on charitable and community services projects. This means that if some 'nobody' shows up to borrow money, you might be able to figure out that stonemasons actually make good money and their credit is good, even though the individual in question is filthy, sweaty, driving an old pickup truck, and dressed in rags.

If you were in a Latin club, book publishers and media people could see some follow-on utility. Property management firms might wonder what it is exactly that you do.

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