P: Should Extracurricular Activities be included in JobMine Application Package?

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

There has been recent talk about CECS adding an additional required document to your JobMine application package, which will outline all of the extracurricular activities that you have participated in during your time at UW.  If you ask any student within engineering they will usually tell you that there are two types of students, those who get involved in university clubs and activities and those who go home after class.  This might be an overgeneralization and not everyone may agree with this statement but these thoughts have been shared by a large number of engineering students. That being said, extracurricular activities take time which could otherwise be allocated to homework or sleep.  The problem which heavily involved students face is that the only thing the employers see from the University is marks which heavily favours the type of students who use the majority of their time to study or focus on school work.

The reality of this matter is that in most situations, the extracurricular activities which students partake in will provide skills that employers are looking for over having high marks.  Extracurricular activities, through student teams and technical clubs, can provide real world engineering knowledge, and various students groups develop strong leadership skills and soft skills or a more artistic thought process.  Many people will say that an individual’s resume is where you can showcase all of your extra curricular activities but in many cases employers either throw out any applicant below a certain average or the activities get lost in the many impressive things an individual may include in their resume.  There are some heavily involved people who volunteer for any event that is occurring on campus which is very impressive and develops soft skills.  These skills would be well used in the work place but in many cases these opportunities are not showcased on a resume because there are too many other things to be included.  One concise list of activities detailing all of the extracurricular and volunteer opportunities a person partakes in would showcase to an employer what a resume cannot display.

If the University were to include a concise list of activities and roles an individual has held, it will be easy to first see an impressive list of activities and also understand why a certain term wasn’t quite as good academically as terms where a student has less responsibilities.  From an employer’s standpoint, information coming from the University will look much more impressive than something on a resume because they know that piece of information is verified and official.  Most companies will not ask for references in a co-op interview because the period that a student will be employed fir is not substantial enough to waste the time.  This will potentially create a problem as students will fluff their resumes or add untrue extracurricular activities which make them look better than they actually are.  Therefore, if this information is coming from the University as an official document, it provides a much more credible source of information on a student’s extracurricular activities.

This article has gone over a few things that will really help out the heavily involved students who let their marks slip a little bit in order to volunteer.  Some people might argue that the people who are not involved will not benefit from this addition or will actually be hurt, but they have their marks to support them, whereas the involved people don’t necessarily have that.  I would like to close by saying that this is a generalization and that there are always exceptions to the rules.

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