Exploring Careers Through Extracurricular Activities
The myOptions Team
When thinking about possible careers, it’s natural to first turn to your academic interests. After all, we tend to link jobs with education. However, the classroom is not the only place that can lead to career ideas and ambitions! If you’re having trouble zeroing in on your options, try taking a closer look at your extracurricular activities!
Extracurricular participation can confirm and/or enhance your academic interests.
For example, perhaps you join the French club because you enjoy your French class. As a result, you have additional opportunities to interact with French culture – be it through eating French delicacies, watching French films, and so on. This can all serve to strengthen your language skills and cement your passion for all things related to France. In turn, it might spark a desire to become a translator or explore topics in international business.
School clubs also allow you to participate in new activities which can ignite new interests.
Maybe on a whim, you decide to sign up for the debate team, awakening a latent love for current events and argument. Well, now you can use this personal discovery to brainstorm types of jobs that benefit from these talents.
Through club participation, you can acquire and hone a number of soft skills that are valuable to many employers.
This will make you a more attractive candidate when it comes time to apply for jobs and internships. Since many activities take place within a group setting, you automatically experience a collaborative environment. Additionally, extracurriculars call for strong time management skills, so you will learn to balance your involvement with homework and family obligations.
You can spin the work you do within these organizations into concrete examples of your experience.
Many of these clubs offer presidential positions for students to take charge and run things themselves. By assuming a leadership role, you will have strong evidence of management capabilities. Joining the school newspaper can also be advantageous for aspiring writers as they collect writing samples to further their goals. Even assisting with events at the school provides substantial experience with organization and event planning! The world needs all sorts of different talents; it’s all just a matter of identifying the skills that you bring to the table.
Extracurricular participation may also help you expand your network.
Certainly, you are likely to make new friends through the clubs you join. Further, your activities will put you in touch with possible mentors and/or established professionals. Here’s another example: let’s say, through your school’s community service club, you begin tutoring kids at a nearby shelter. That rewarding experience drives your growing interest in social work, homeless advocacy, urban planning, etc. Fortunately, you now have direct contact with the shelter employees, and you can ask about educational backgrounds and advice for moving into that field. Even better, you may even be able to land part-time, entry-level openings to further your exploration.
By looking at your extracurriculars for career inspiration, you will be focusing on activities that you actually enjoy doing! Choosing a career is all about pursuing your dreams and finding a suitable, fulfilling path; it should be an uplifting process. With that being said, finding your passion takes patience. Use this precious time to enjoy yourself and evaluate your likes and dislikes. You have your whole life to figure out what you want to do. These are merely a few starting points to get you thinking about your future.