There’s nothing I love talking about more than ways to get involved on campus. Well, actually, I love talking about blogging and planning just a teeny bit more, but joining clubs is such an important part of the college experience that I’m super excited to give you the deets on all things extracurricular. Let me start off by dropping some crazy news on you: When I was a first semester freshman, I didn’t join any clubs on campus. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Bupkis. My second semester freshman year, I signed up for like five clubs of interest that I knew I’d love, but only remained committed to one…which I quit two semesters later.
So, why should you listen to what I have to say about joining clubs that kick ass on any resume?? Well, because eventually, I realized a few important things, and I got my extracurriculars in order by joining one amazing organization on my campus that brings together a ton of great girls who love to write, and not only did I stay committed to this club, but I also received the opportunity to become part of the E-board last semester! But it doesn’t stop there; I used my experiences with this club to apply for a much bigger position on the national team and actually got picked!!!! That club, in case you were wondering, is my school’s chapter of Her Campus (you might’ve heard of it) and I’m now a News Blogger on their national team. Yay! Yay! Yay!
But I promise, I didn’t tell you that to toot my own horn; I included that story because it’s an example of how I used a club that I joined to elevate my resume and become a more competitive applicant for a position I wanted. As a college freshman, you may not have much experience listed on your resume. Hell, you may not even have a resume! But joining clubs is one of the best ways you can start building one. So, without making this intro any longer than it needs to be, here are tips for joining clubs to actually make your resume look good.
1. Don’t join a bunch of clubs.
No, seriously! I know everyone in college will tell you to fill your weeknights with as many clubs as you can so you can make friends and explore more interests, but you actually don’t need to join that many. I think it’s way more effective to just join one or even two clubs that you can eventually move up to E-board positions in. Keeping track of a ton of clubs can be so exhausting, but if you pour your time into just one club you really love, you’ll make friends, have a bunch of new experiences, and dedicate more time to playing a bigger role in the organization. Being able to show that you’re an organized team leader always looks impressive. And, if you can relate the position to what you want to do, that’s even better. You might be studying public relations or marketing, so saying that you’ve gained knowledge of promoting social media accounts and analyzing an audience as the social media director of the culinary club is really important experience.
2. Join professional sororities and pre-professional clubs and orgs.
If you’re like my high school self and think that Greek Life is all about partying and drinking, think again! There are some professional fraternities and sororities on college campuses all over the country, so joining one is a great way to get involved with Greek Life while also adding to your resume. They’re often co-ed and referred to as “frats” so guys and girls can share skill-enhancing experiences. I’m not part of one because, unfortunately, there is no journalism co-ed frat on my campus *sad face* but I know lots of people who are part of Business frats, Engineering sororities, and more, and they love all the opportunities and career advice they’re given.
Pre-professional, non-Greek clubs are also a great way to connect with other students who want to do the same thing as you. If you’re pre-law, join the pre-law society; if you’re on the pre-dental track, see if your campus has a pre-dental society. These orgs are great resources if you’re just starting out and need guidance and tips, and you’ll get so many different opportunities to participate in exclusive programs offered in partnership between your university and outside groups, which you’ll definitely be able to brag about in your cover letter or during an interview.
3. Join campus media.
I know what you’re thinking: “Ummm, but I’m not going to be a Journalism major…” Well, you don’t have to be to join your school newspaper or magazine. There are roles other than news writing that are essential in campus media. If you want to build a photography career, volunteer to be the newspaper’s photographer. You’ll get excellent experience photographing campus events for stories. If you’re interested in computer science or design, join the media crew as a site director or designer so you can get hands on experience maintaining and designing a website. No task is too small.
4. Become a campus ambassador.
Nowadays, there are campus ambassadors for so many companies—PINK, Yik Yak (remember this fun app?), and more. Being a campus ambassador is a great way to build experience in marketing and PR for a company you already love, or a new company you’ll start loving. It shows initiative and helps you build connections with brands outside of your campus. Campus ambassador isn’t exactly a club, but it’s an active presence on campus, and you usually have to recruit and organize other students from your school to join your team. So it’s kind of like a club in a way. Whatever you want to call it, it really looks great on your resume when you’re just starting out.
5. Start a club yourself.
If your campus doesn’t offer anything you’re in love with, create something! The club doesn’t even have to be related to your major, it can be something you really enjoy doing. Maybe you love dessert and watching those food videos on Facebook. Create a club centered around baking and sweet treats. It shows initiative and self-discipline since you’ll be in charge of growing everything from the ground up. Not to mention the leadership, organizational, and communication skills you’ll build from it. I was the founding editor in chief of my school’s chapter of the Odyssey when I had no journalism or writing experience whatsoever because I had just changed my major. The Odyssey was at the top of my resume for every internship I applied to, and I always had so much to say about it during interviews. It was a ton of work, but I grew so much from it and turned it into something I could be really proud of.
What are your tips for joining resume-boosting clubs?
Check out my post on Cover Letter Mistakes That WON’T Get You An Interview!