Do Extracurriculars Matter?

The answer is YES! As a Phd with limited professional experience, you should not underestimate the value of non-academic activities. The Phd transferable skills you have heard about don’t only relate to the work you did in grad school. In fact, hobbies, sports, charity work, and the like might be your saving grace when time comes to put the finishing touches to your resume. Not only can they make you stand out in the eyes of employers, but they can also enhance your otherwise one-dimensional scholarly profile.

Here are a few reasons why bulking up on extracurricular activities can also help substantiate the transferable skills you possess as a Phd student or graduate:

1. Non-academic and non-professional activities add life and depth to your job-seeker profile. Academic resumes can often appear flat and narrowly focused. Adding a hobby, your involvement in a political cause, an unpredictable interest, and the fact that you started a neighborhood food drive can turn a dull profile into exciting one.

2. Your involvement with non-mandatory activities highlight your sense of commitment. Whether you’ve been tutoring underprivileged kids or volunteering at an animal shelter, you can demonstrate to employers that you are a dependable, dedicated person with a sense of purpose. Employers love that. In fact, everybody does!

3. Extracurricular activities demonstrate that you are passionate and that you possess innovative skills. Extracurricular activities don’t need to be boring. You don’t have to become a Big Brother/Sister or work in a soup kitchen to be active. Extracurriculars can include the summers you spent conducting impact-oriented research abroad or the time you spend weekly with an elderly family member. You don’t have to save the world to demonstrate leadership, initiative, heart, and creativity. The goal is to follow your passions and inspire others!

4. Extracurricular activities give you an opportunity to show off your leadership and organizational skills. Opportunities to show leadership can often be limited in graduate school. On the other hand, there is a plethora of leadership opportunities in community service or volunteering context. Join in and seize the opportunity to demonstrate that you possess the attributes that are sought after by employers!

You’re about to graduate and are wondering if it is worth it to start an activity or revisit a hobby? The answer is YES! A little volunteering is better than none. You can have a high impact on others in a short amount of time, while bulking up on your transferable skills. Go for it! What are you waiting for?

Do you need help highlighting your skills while preparing for non-academic jobs? We’re here to help! Sign up for a free consultation, and learn how we can provide the one-on-one counseling you need to find a job that is the best fit for you.

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