Extracurricular activities on my résumé?
September 16, 2007 12:26 AM   Subscribe

RésuméFilter: What's the expiration date on extracurricular activities?

In my senior year of college (2002), I was the director of concerts at my alma mater, managing a 250-volunteer committee and negotiating contracts and budgets ranging from $15k to $50k. It was an unpaid, appointed position rather than a "job" in the strictest sense, but I have it on my résumé because I think it reflects well on my leadership and responsibility, and it's been a great conversation piece in interviews.

The problem is, it's not related to my career as a computer programmer. So as time goes on I'm increasingly concerned that it appears to be a lame way to fill empty space on the page, as if I was listing a summer job flipping burgers as "previous work experience."

I'm in the middle of a new job search and I'm wondering if the time has come to evict it from the CV. Any thoughts from those on the employer side of the street?
posted by Riki tiki to Work & Money (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I keep my résumé to one page and evict parts of it based on space. Do you have something better to put in instead?
posted by Count Ziggurat at 12:38 AM on September 16, 2007

You could cut all the description and just have the job title, the dates, and that it was a voluntary position— that way it will take up very little space but is still a good way to start conversations.

It sounds like a pretty big achievement so unless you have a lot of better options, try and keep it in.
posted by indienial at 1:36 AM on September 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

(I do this with any job on my resume older than a few years— if they're interested, they will ask. Or if asked to give examples of times when you exhibited xyz attribute, you can elaborate on it in relation to your voluntary work if necessary.)
posted by indienial at 1:38 AM on September 16, 2007

I'd leave it in. Who cares that it was unpaid or extracurricular -- the numbers show that it is significant.

It may not seem to relate to your job now, but having seen a few AskMe questions like "I was a programmer and now I am managing a project and six people," I'm guessing that management, interpersonal, and business skills will not seem totally irrelevant.
posted by salvia at 2:01 AM on September 16, 2007

managing a 250-volunteer committee and negotiating contracts and budgets ranging from $15k to $50k

This one line is a valuable addition to any resume. It says something concrete about what you know how to do. It doesn't matter that it was an unpaid, volunteer position. I often wished I could find more programmers who had some clue about budgets, management, and negotiating.
posted by fuzz at 4:08 AM on September 16, 2007

Absolutely should have it in there. I'd even put it under "Work Experience" -- doesn't matter that you didn't get paid.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:44 AM on September 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

I only put things on resumes that I wouldn't mind doing again. For example, I've published a good few creative writing efforts, but I don't want to write as my job so it's not on my resume anymore (learned this the hard way when an interviewer glanced over my resume and, despite all the programming experience, said "So, looks like you'd be a good fit as a technical writer!" Uh, no, I don't think I would).

It sounds like this was an experience you enjoyed and having that kind of responsibility is not something you'd shy away from, so there's no reason not to keep in on there. A resume is more about what you want to be than what you have been.
posted by crinklebat at 8:49 AM on September 16, 2007

It's a good conversation starter with a potential employer, I would leave it on until you start having too much on your resume or you have something better to replace it with.
posted by toaster at 9:28 AM on September 16, 2007

Leave it in, I've left far less impressive and older info on my resume simply because it always gets the interviewer talking and asking questions. Very few people have managed 250 people, let alone as only a senior in college, it says a lot about your abilities and is definitely relevant to just about any job.
posted by whoaali at 11:21 AM on September 16, 2007

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