Reported by Charlotte Drewett
James Mornin is one of many students under the impression that joining a school club or volunteering will look good on a resume.
While that is true, employers say it’s not enough to simply pad a resume with extracurricular experience; they want to know how volunteering or joining a club has improved the applicants skills and furthered them as a person.
Clubs are good ways to develop planning skills
Mornin, a first-year bachelor of business administration student and member of the Langara Business Association, said he joined the club to have fun, make friends, and learn from other members. He also stressed the importance of volunteering for professional development.
“It’s more or less the equivalent of volunteering, because we plan events and that takes a lot of effort,” he said. “It’ll look good on a resume to say I was involved in planning this, or planning that.”
Mornin has the right idea according to Tanya Sieffert, human resources manager at Great Little Box Company Ltd., one of B.C.’s top employers in 2014.
More than volunteering on your resume
Sieffert said including empty information on a resume isn’t impressive but an applicant may want to include experience to “showcase some of the skills that they have
received or improved on or developed while being part of that club.”
Denise Baker is the executive director of Vantage Point, a not-for-profit organization that pairs volunteers, or as Vantage Point calls them “knowledge philanthropists,” with other not-for-profit organizations. She said that simply volunteering to add it to your resume is not enough.
“If you can’t articulate why you wanted to engage with that not-for-profit… that will show and that won’t be very impressive,” Baker said.
Volunteer off campus
She added that while joining a club could be educational, students should get off campus to volunteer.
“Volunteering with an external organization you’re going to be… getting exposed to all kinds of different people and different types of jobs,” Baker said. “Exposing yourself to a wide range of experiences it just good.”
Sieffert said extracurricular experiences help students become more rounded, regardless of whether it’s volunteering or joining a club.