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How necessary are school extracurricular activities in the journey of pursuing a career?

#career #extracurricular

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Ishita’s Answer

I want to piggy back over what both Matthew and Michael had said. Aside from getting into college, extra curriculars are great for learning and developing soft skills which you don't learn in school. Your extra curricular activities should be ones that you love (i.e. When I was in high school I loved dance, soccer, reading, and volunteering. Based on the activities I did anyway for myself for fun, they also ended up being my extra curricular activities for my resume as well for college and post grad). None of these things had to do with my long term career, but it allowed me to learn soft skills and develop who I am as a person.

When companies hire, or a university accepts a student, they want to see extra curriculars to get to know who YOU are. The best piece of advice I have ever received is that companies/ managers/ etc. don't hire just for the role, they are hiring for a future peer and leader. So as a person, being multidimensional allows you to have conversation starters and allows you have a way to connect with folks outside of the job itself.

If there are specific careers you definitely want to do (Doctor, engineer, lawyer, electrician, etc) see what clubs or groups you can get involved in to further learn and enhance your network and mind, but also use it as a way to develop your personal skills. Easiest way to handle extra curricular is to not treat it as a resume builder. The more you love something, the more likely you are to get further involved and invest time and energy, which will help in the long run!
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Matthew’s Answer

Very necessary.

Your schoolwork is a minimum qualification that your employer looks for. For all intents and purposes, everyone will have the same education as you.

Employers want a full person who does more to improve themselves and their communities than the bare minimum.

Just join a club or two and volunteer a little. Meet people. Learn about yourself. Find fulfillment in doing more than the minimum, get a decent GPA, and an employer will (hopefully) recognize you for it.
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Caryn’s Answer

Great question. In my opinion, it greatly depends on the type of career you are pursuing (and possibly the company you are interviewing with) regarding the level that extra-curricular activities may play in getting a job. Industries really vary in what they look for in employees, but one thing is for sure: Personality and the ability to interview well counts for a lot. In addition to your education, employers will likely want to know that you are a well-rounded individual and your personality will need to shine in your interview (especially when you interview for your first job out of school). There is definitely no harm in pursuing extra-curricular activities, and I would say volunteering should be first on your list. Working with a volunteer organization that is related to the career you are pursuing, or even just something you really care about, will not only show you are a caring person who is passionate about something, but also give you great context for interview questions. Try and find an activity that has a team-work or leadership aspect so that you can work on those interpersonal skills. Activities like this will provide you with 'real world' skills you will not learn in a classroom and give you great stories to share with interviewers. Good luck!
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Matthew,

You have gotten some great feedback already. I wanted to make sure that you consider extra curricular activities as a way of gaining experience or connections that you might not get in school. Extra curricular activities require you to apply knowledge and thereby gain experience that you can then use in college and in the workplace. What I would recommend to anyone to do this is volunteering. Volunteering is a choice based system. You choose where to spend your time and what work you do. So invest in volunteering activities that you think will hone or improve a skill that you have. (If you want to be a teacher, volunteer to teach people something, like reading or dancing or some ob skill that you have.) Volunteering can also be great networking opportunities. You will meet people that you may not meet in any other way. And sometimes you will meet someone who is hiring in a job role that you are interested in pursuing. Or maybe they even do the job that you want to do. This connection can be an important resource in the future.

Gloria
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Valerie’s Answer

Companies like to know that you are a well rounded person as opposed to being strictly academically inclined! For example, if you worked on your school newspaper, that might suggest a future inclination for a career in journalism. Or if you played sports such as soccer, basketball, football or tennis you might show an inclination for sports marketing or broadcast journalism in the sports arena. Additionally, companies look to see if you held a leadership role in your extra-curricular activities. This might suggest a penchant for leadership in your career.
Like working with kids as a volunteer or a tutor? Perhaps you might excel in the field of education!
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