At the tail-end of high-school, many of my peers decided grade 12 was the time to make extracurricular commitments.

University and college admissions would be looking for community involvement…

Scholarship judges and committees would be be looking for leaders…

Award councils would be looking for well-rounded candidates…

But joining clubs in senior year meant that my classmates would not have the opportunity to “move up” the club ladder. In other words, joining this late in the game meant that they were sitting in the back of club meetings or running minor tasks at club-organized events.

For club involvement to add value to your resume, it is important that you add value to the club in some sort of official position, be it Secretary, or Treasurer, or President. That way, you have some responsibility to the club. The way to do that is to begin exploring clubs at the infancy of your secondary / post-secondary career, deciding on select opportunities, and committing to a club.

Moreover, many of my peers’ clubs choices were random. In typical senior-year panic, a smattering of Cooking Club, Announcements, and Homeroom Representative seemed to promise a more impressive resume-viewing than a perhaps a four-year commitment to Debate Club.

To reiterate, a commitment over time and with value added from you is worth more than the common lot’s resume padding.

Volunteering for hours was another cause for anxiety.

Were my hours enough?

How did I compare to other applicants’ volunteership?

Again, more than hours, to extract as much value as possible from the time and effort you have committed to a volunteering cause, you must add your unique value to the organization.

Ideally (that is, if you are at the beginning of your secondary or post-secondary career):

  1. Attend club fairs, explore, talk to booths, join a handful of clubs that pique your interest
  2. Go to club meetings and events, get to know the kinds of skills you can build with the club and where those skills could take you, find out the kinds of opportunities the club presents to you
  3. Trim your club membership, so that you have time and energy to really commit to the few that you connected with
  4. Add your own unique value to that organization

You will gain value from your involvement once you add value.

Leave your mark. Now.

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