Two men with travel packs talking with White redhead woman with laptop in hostel

The Best College Extracurriculars to Stand Out to Future Employers

Extracurriculars are great for showing future employers what you're passionate about. Here are the best activities to boost your résumé and impress people.

Applying to jobs is already stressful enough, and making a professional résumé that will stand out to your future employer is just another added thing to worry about. In fact, due to the ease of mass applying to jobs online, nowadays many résumés are not even first looked at by a human, but rather by computer software that scans for certain keywords. And even if a real person does look at it, recruiters from large companies who receive hundreds of résumés are unlikely to scan it for very long before making a decision. Therefore, creating a résumé is no doubt a challenge—but this article hopes to present you with a few tips on making it stronger. 

While everyone knows to list paid jobs and positions on their résumé, not everyone realizes that they can list other extracurricular activities. Depending on how you format the document, these activities can be listed in another section titled something else like, “Other Experience.” Below are examples of top extracurricular activities employers wish to see on your résumé. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it is a great starting point for those needing some ideas. 

Clubs and leadership positions

Being a member of a few clubs is not only great for meeting new friends but also for giving you the chance to rise up as a leader. Better yet, holding a leadership position in a club that’s relevant to your career interests is a major plus. No matter the career, though, basic leadership skills are a must. Be sure to list how long you were elected to your position(s), what your overall tasks were, and any accomplishments the club(s) achieved under your leadership. 

Related: 6 Important Ways to Get Involved on Campus 


Research experience is particularly valuable for STEM fields as well as for those who plan to pursue a graduate or doctoral degree. Research can consist of joint research with a professor or faculty member, or an individual project. If your research gets published or wins an award for your outstanding work, be sure to list that on your résumé too.

Part-time and work-study jobs

Whether or not your part-time job is relevant to your future career, having solid work experience is better than having none. Examples of part-time and work-study jobs include helping at the school library, working at a local café, or being an assistant in the admission office. Many employers understand that students need to work in order to provide for themselves, even if the job itself isn’t that “prestigious.” Don’t be afraid to list jobs that you hold even for just a couple of months; there’s always something valuable you can learn from work experience. 

Related: Your First Part-Time Job: A Guide for High Schoolers


Volunteer work for your résumé can consist of any position or activity that you consistently participate in for at least a couple of months. Some examples include being a tour guide at a local museum, volunteering at an animal shelter, or helping out in a classroom. Like part-time jobs, volunteer work doesn’t necessarily need to be related to your major or future career, but bonus points if it is.

Relevant internships

Students should aim to have at least one relevant internship during their undergraduate career. A strong internship should last a couple of months (or more) and be in the industry you plan on entering, if not somewhat related. Internships show future employers that you not only have work experience but that you’ve also “tried and tested” out what your future career may be. You’ll most likely develop the majority of your practical, hard skills before entering the workforce in these positions. And you don’t have to wait until senior year to get an internship; you should visit the career services office as soon as you settle in on campus to learn about all the internship opportunities available to you. 

Related: The Best Summertime Opportunities: Jobs, Internships, and Volunteering

Study abroad

Many schools offer semester, year-long, or summer study abroad programs for credit. Students may also choose to study abroad privately with an outside program. Either way, studying abroad is great for showing your future employer that you have multicultural experience and can work well with people from different backgrounds. Did you learn a foreign language while you were there? Take any interesting classes? Participate in an internship? Make your study abroad experience stand out on your résumé!

Writing publications

While the degree of writing skill needed will vary depending on the job, no matter what position you are in, having the ability to write concisely and clearly is an asset. You’d be surprised how many people in the workforce today don’t have solid writing skills! Whether you write for a publication on campus, have your own personal blog, or have published academically, you should highlight your writing skills through your experience.

Related: 5 Helpful Ways to Improve Your Writing in College


Being a tutor or a peer advisor shows employers a couple things: 1) that you were so strong in an academic area that you were able to help other students, and 2) that other professors and faculty members could trust you. Being a tutor at an institution for younger children is also a good position to list on your résumé. Remember to list exactly what subject(s) you tutored for and if you consistently helped increase students’ learning outcomes or grades.

Resident advisor

Those who enjoy the college dorm experience and have a passion for community organization may excel as a resident advisor (RA). RAs live with students and directly address their concerns, plan community events, and offer advice and support when needed. This is no easy task, and it often requires students to forgo their spare time in order to be “on call” for their residents. But this position shows leadership and people skills, which are both valuable to list on your résumé.

Related: 7 Things You’ll Definitely Do as an RA

There are plenty of extracurricular options out there that will impress any future employer—so you don’t have to worry about limiting your possibilities or participating in something you’re not passionate about. Good luck in pursuing worthwhile and résumé-boosting extracurriculars for the rest of your college journey.

For more advice and suggestions on extracurricular activities, check out our Student Life–Student Activities section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2022

My mother signed me up for a couple of scholarship contests through CollegeXpress. I was also able to do some research and compare the different schools on my list. I was able to see the graduation rates and different programs that helped me decide on Adelphi University. I will continue looking for some scholarships for my start in September.

Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin


I love this website and have been using it for years with my students. I originally bought products through Wintergreen Orchard House and appreciated having key facts at my fingertips when advising students. Your site is easy to access and offers a wide array of topics I need as a busy college counselor.

Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

Keydi Banegas

Keydi Banegas

Scholarship for Students of Color Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress is a great application that helped me search for many different scholarships, and it narrows the scholarships depending on how you set your profile. Not only that, but it helps you choose different colleges to apply to by finding matches through the description of your profile. It was the best experience for me.

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2020

CollegeXpress has been an instrumental resource for my scholarship search and has given me the opportunity to try my best so I can graduate from college debt-free.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA