Can Including Extracurricular Activities
Make a Resume More Persuasive?
If you are a recent college graduate you may not have much information you can include on a resume. You may not have any full-time work experience. Nonetheless, there may be a way to make the resume more persuasive. An entry level resume or college student resume may be made more persuasive by including information concerning extracurricular activities.
Nemanick and Clark (2002) investigated the influence of the number of extracurricular activities on a resume (2 vs. 5), the type of activities (social, business, or both) and whether the person held leadership positions in the organizations. The participants evaluated fictitious resumes on nine questions. One of the nine questions concerned the likelihood of recommending the person for an interview. Half of the people evaluated accounting major resumes for an accounting position that was entry level. The other people evaluating marketing major resumes for a sales position that was entry level.
On the average, a resume with more extracurricular activities was rated higher with respect to the likelihood of recommending for an interview. Moreover, on the average, holding leadership positions resulted in higher ratings of likelihood of recommending for an interview. Also, on the average, having only business-related activities resulted in higher ratings of likelihood of recommending for an interview than having only social-related activities. (1)
Implications for How to Write a Resume
The above findings suggest that for entry level resumes it may be good to list extracurricular activities and leadership positions. This may increase the likelihood of an interview for a job. However, one limitation of the study is that it did not involve actual interview decisions. Thus, it is unclear whether the findings would generalize to actual interview decisions.
See their article for information on other findings.
Nemanick, R. C. Jr., & Clark, E. M. (2002). The differential effects of extracurricular
activities on attributions in resume evaluation. International Journal of Selection
and Assessment, 10, 206-217.