3 things you can do outside of work to boost your résumé
[Photo: Christina Morillo/Pexels]

[Photo: Christina Morillo/Pexels]

3 things you can do outside of work to boost your résumé

Former recruiter Andrew Fennell shares some ideas on what you can do to improve your résumé when you’re not at work.

secrets of the most productive people

Andrew Fennell

You might be a new graduate looking for that first step on the career ladder, a skilled professional with years of experience, or an eager job seeker looking for a foot in the door after an extended career break. If you’re looking for a job, you need to make your résumé stand out. Recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds looking at our résumé, so it needs to grab their attention immediately.

What’s the secret? Having a well-rounded and compelling résumé is the absolute key to achieving both your immediate and long-term career goals. No matter what stage of your career you’re at, developing this résumé should always be a priority. When you build your transferable skills and take the time to focus on personal and professional development, your résumé will be full to the brim with skills, qualities, and attributes. After all, who knows when your dream role or promotion could pop up?

Here are three ways to boost your résumé outside of the office.

Public speaking

Ask a room full of people what their fears are, and public speaking will be up there with the likes of heights and spiders. But that’s precisely why it’s a highly valuable skill to master.

Yes, you might start with sweaty palms and what feels like an endless stream of anxiety. But after a few nerve-wracking experiences, you’ll likely improve your self-confidence and have excellent communication skills. In fact, being able to list public speaking experiences on your résumé says the following to the hiring manager: “I’m able to confidently put myself out of my comfort zone, articulate myself professionally, and show authority within the industry.” Let’s face it. No employer could resist those priceless qualities.

Keep a lookout for events and conferences within your industry and sign up. Better yet, inquire about the possibility of speaking at them. If you’re nervous, start at small, local get-togethers. iI you want to challenge yourself, work your way up to a national level. Not only will you gain endless skills and boost your résumé, but you’ll also probably find all sorts of new opportunities in the process.


Whether you’re still studying or feel you’ve hit the peak of your career, there are absolutely no downsides to volunteering. Not only can you make a positive contribution to a cause you believe in, but you’ll also strengthen your résumé with both skills and strength of character.

Volunteering will arm you with transferable skills, no matter where or how you choose to volunteer. You’ll have the perfect opportunity to hone and show off your communication, decision making, project management, leadership, and teamwork skills within a completely new environment. This in itself is alone to strengthen that résumé of yours.

But did you know that you could even use a volunteering opportunity to hone your job-specific skills? For example, if you’re a website developer, why not offer to build a compelling new website for a not-for-profit organization? If you’re a marketer, have you considered helping a local charity refine their marketing strategy?

So grab a coffee, sit down on your laptop, and start listing the charities or causes you care about and what skills or help you can offer them. From there, all it takes is a quick email or phone call, most not-for-profits will be thrilled to have you on board in any capacity.

Sporting/club pursuits

Whether or not to include hobbies and interests on your résumé is a forever-debated topic.

But, ultimately, no matter how many essential qualifications and skills and years of experience you have, companies aren’t just looking for a job-fulfilling robot. They’re looking for a well-rounded person who fits the company culture, someone with the desired skills and attributes, and also has an exciting story to tell.

That said, getting involved in extracurricular sports and clubs will benefit you on both a personal and professional level. It demonstrates your motivation, passion, and enthusiasm for life, and it shows recruiters that you have a range of transferable skills and qualities, such as teamwork, reliability, and creativity.

And if you want to take it even further, joining clubs or teams related to your chosen career path could benefit you to a higher degree. For example, an aspiring graphic designer could develop relevant, valuable skills by joining the local photography club, while a junior copywriter could boost their capabilities by getting involved in a creative writing meet-up. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to research the organization you’re applying for, and figure out whether your hobbies and interests will be a good fit before you include them in your résumé.

A compelling and well-rounded résumé is key to proving to a company that you’re a good fit for their organization. No matter how settled you are, investing time into résumé-boosting initiatives will enable you to paint the perfect picture of your personality, talents, and abilities, should your dream position come along. You never know when the right opportunity will present itself.

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes career advice to websites like Business Insider, the Guardian, and Fast Company.