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Schoolshow

Often a first CV can look very sparse and this can be quite demoralising. It may seem to your son or daughter that they have very little to offer employers but this is not true. Even if they have not worked before they may have amassed valuable experience.

Many children and teenagers partake in hobbies and extracurricular activities. Even activities that they do when they are bored such as reading, drawing or going to the gym can feature on their CV. They help to show employers that they are interesting and passionate about something, no matter what it is.

Having said this, their CVs should not merely be filled up with a list of hobbies and interests. Instead parents can help their children to select a few well-chosen hobbies that have given them specific skills because, as well as making them well-rounded and interesting people, hobbies can impart many of the skills valued by employers. 

This article lists six of the most popular extra curricular activities among teenagers and the way these can be used to bulk up their CVs.

SchoolOrchestra

Image Credit: EaglebrookSchool/ Flickr.com

Music

  • This could be anything from playing the drums in a band with your friends to playing with the National Youth Orchestra.
  • Anyone that plays a musical instrument, to any level, can show potential employers that they have considerable self-motivation. Just having the drive to take up an instrument and to practice it, is evidence of this.
  • It is likely that you also play in a group, how ever informally. This will have taught you how to work in a team.
  • If this group is something you have set up yourself, with friends, this is even more impressive, it evidences organisational ability and ambition.

Example: ‘For the last two years I have been learning the bass guitar and have played in a band with my friends. This has taught me how to work well in a team and resolve any conflicts. I have also honed my organisational skills as setting up practice sessions around school and other commitments was not easy. We had some success though and played two gigs in local bars, which we set up and negotiated ourselves’.

Blogging

  • Blogging and using social media are really popular hobbies among teenagers these days. To some parents this may see like a bit of waste of time but to employers it is the opposite.
  • Having the intuition to set up your own blog and the ability to gain followers will be hugely impressive to many employers.
  • Many jobs require employers to write on a daily basis and blogs can evidence a person’s writing ability in a style that differs hugely from schoolwork and exams.
  • They can also show that you know how to create mass appeal, this is something many businesses crave.
  • Likewise, merely understanding and knowing how to harness the power of social media is hugely in demand from employers so don’t worry too much if your son or daughter spends all day everyday on Facebook!

Example: ‘I have always been interested in cooking and last year, after noticing that there were not many recipes that could be realistically made on a budget, I decided to write my own cookery blog of cheap, easy recipes. This has tested my creativity and taught me to write well in a relaxed manner, which differs greatly from the one I have had to use at school. I have also learnt how to best use social media to gain followers and readers. Through using online software programmes I have increased my Twitter followers from just 100 to over 500. I have also gained 50 followers on the blog itself. The ability to market myself online is a skill I could transfer to any business that employs me.’

Hockey

Image Credit: jbarcena/ Flickr.com

Sport

  • Most children will take part in sport all throughout their lives and many will enjoy it so much that they take it up as a hobby after school.
  • Being in a sports team is one of the best ways to show that you can work well in a team, are happy taking orders but also have good initiative.
  • Any sport, whether played in a team or individually also requires considerable motivation and commitment, to go to training and test your body to such an extent.
  • Because sport is so time consuming it also require a high level of organisational ability and often necessitates that participants sacrifice other areas of their social life.

Example: ‘For two years at school I was part of the school swimming team. This meant I had to train for two hours three times a week, even during my GCSEs. This has taught me to be very organised. Participating in an individual sport means I am also very motivated and am used to pushing myself. Having said this, working alongside a larger team has taught me how to get along well with people, even if I did not particularly like them. I understand the meaning of hard work and that sometimes sacrifices need to be made in other parts of your life’.

Volunteering

  • Volunteering is something many young people do through school or Duke of Edinburgh’s award programmes. It is impressive to employers because it shows that a person has a moral compass and a sense of social responsibility.
  • Volunteering is also an excellent way for young people to come into contact with those from other backgrounds and age groups.
  • Furthermore, volunteers working in any sector will have had to learn how to problem solve, something which many employers ask for in job advertisements.

Example: ‘Through my school I have, for the last year, taken part in a volunteering programme, helping local elderly people. I went once a week to visit two different men and help them with their shopping and cleaning, read to them and generally kept them company. This taught me how to interact with different sorts of people. I also learnt to keep a cool head in a crisis as one of the men fell quite badly while I was with him. I called an ambulance and went with him to hospital where he had minor surgery. I helped him contact the relevant authorities so he could be assisted over the next few weeks and he recovered very well.’

LearningALanguage

Image Credit: The LEAF Project/ Flickr.com

Languages

  • Knowing a foreign language may be a skill specifically required for a certain job.
  • Even if it is not, it evidences many of the skills employers may look for in candidates.
  • In order to learn a language of your own accord you must be driven, motivated and self-disciplined.
  • It also suggests an interest in other cultures and a broad mind.

Example: ‘I have learnt Spanish and French as part of my GCSEs but last year, after visiting the country, I also decided to learn Portuguese. I did this because I loved the culture and would also like to travel in South America one day and think an understanding of the language would help me. I have done this outside of school time, which has meant a considerable time commitment. It also means that I have had to teach myself to be more disciplined as no one is forcing me to practice. I am doing very well though and I hope to take my B1 DELF exam (an internationally recognised certificate) next year.’ 

Theatre and Dance

  • Many schools and local organisations offer opportunities to get involved with theatre or dancing.
  • These are both highly time consuming hobbies which necessitate excellent organisation.
  • They also require an ability to work well in a group and to get along with people.
  • Theatre and dance evidence creativity, the confidence to perform in front of a crowd and an interest in culture, all things that can make a candidate stand out for an employer.                                                                                          

Example: ‘I have long loved performing and in the last few years have become more and more involved in my local amateur dramatics society, finally landing the main part in the last play, the Wizard of Oz. Being involved in theatre has given me great confidence but has also taught me to listen to direction. I have had to be very organised as preparing for a show can completely take over your life. I have not, however, let it affect my grades. The thing I love most about acting is working in a team and making new friends, it has taught me to get on well with all types of people, from all age groups.’