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Asked by Clark on March 3, 2017

I don't have much on my resume, but I did a lot of extracurricular activities. How exactly do I talk about that in an interview? What should I emphasize when discussing my volunteer work. How can I show that I'm good with time management and working with at team? What exactly should I say?

Answered by Jennifer, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on March 7, 2017

You should focus on the tasks that you were given and the role that you played to execute those tasks. Did you take on more of a lead role or more of a support role. Explain what you did and the outcome of the project as a result. Some employers might ask questions regarding leading a team or being part of a team. Be sure to use your volunteer examples for those types of questions.

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Answered by Allegra, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on March 10, 2017

The advice I give many candidates is to always take your experiences, no matter what they are, and look for ways that those experiences align with the job you want. Recruiters and hiring managers need to understand how your experience applies to the position and how they will benefit the organization, and your own development within the company.

Focus on how you collaborated with your teams, but also share situations where you had to take the lead. Be specific about what you learned from your extracurricular activities and how you will apply those learning's in the new job. Volunteer work is also a great way to share what you are passionate about. Find out if the company supports any of the organizations that you volunteer with and talk about those connections during the interview.

I've found that every experience is a learning one, so you should be very proud of what you've accomplished through your extracurricular activities and your volunteer work!

Good luck to you! 

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Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on March 10, 2017

Your extracurricular/volunteer activities are work experience.  What you learned and accomplished through them is just as relevant as anything you might learn "on the job."  For example, when I ask a candidate for examples of their time management skills or teamworking skills and so on, an example from your volunteer work is just as good, may even be better, depending on the example, than from "true" work experience.  Don't worry so much about a sparse job history, play up the "totality" of your experiences in the interview and on your resume.

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Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at Grace, on March 13, 2017

This is an excellent question. I would suggest that you list your extracurricular activities and include details such as the leadership, communication, organization, and time management skills you acquired. Extracurricular activities can tell you a lot about a person. They aren’t irrelevant, especially when you are just entering the work force. We look for individuals who have been members of organizations, led projects, managed communications projects, and so on. Before an interview, research the company, review how they describe themselves. Think about how you can tie these to your experiences. Most companies are looking for a good cultural fit and they will look for the qualities that match with their mission, values and behaviors. If you are good with time management and working on a team, you should say so in your interview and be prepared to offer examples. For instance: “I have excellent time management skills. Once, when I volunteered, I had a deadline to meet and this is what I did….” Good luck and you will be fine. It sounds like you are ready, but just did not know it.

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