Many people view their resume as a stiff, professional document. While it is a reflection of your professional career and accomplishments, you also want to infuse some personality into it. You don’t want to look flat and one-sided. Including sections for volunteer experience and extracurricular achievements can help to round you out as a person and attract more interest. Employers value employees who are involved in activities beyond the workplace and who give back to their community.

However, this does not mean that just anything is appropriate for your resume. After all, space is a still at a premium. Focus on those achievements that make you stand out from the crowd. For instance, have you:

  • Qualified for and run the Boston Marathon?
  • Climbed Mt. Rainier, Mt. Kilimanjaro, or reached the top of some other summit?
  • Completed an Iron Man Triathlon?
  • Helped build wells or an orphanage in a third-world country?
  • Made and collected 25,000 blankets for charity?

These personal accomplishments are meaningful, not just to you, but to a potential employer as well. For one, they show a sense of work-life balance – that you don’t spend every waking hour at the office. You are able to achieve measurable goals at work while also dedicating yourself to activities that are important to you. In other words, time management.

They also show commitment. Running a marathon or climbing a mountain requires training – and lots of it. Not everyone has the self-drive to push themselves day after day and achieve these types of goals. You have to be serious and focused to get yourself into the physical and mental shape necessary to complete these tasks.

Spearheading a project for charity shows leadership and organization. It’s not all about you; it’s a team approach and there are many moving parts to coordinate. It also gives an employer a glimpse into causes that are meaningful to you and shows what you value.

Not every achievement has a place on your resume, but certain ones that stand out and bring you alive certainly should. After all, not just anyone is able to qualify for a major marathon or has the stamina and skill to climb more than 16,000 feet to the top of massive mountain. Show employers a bit of your personality by listing these accomplishments in a separate section for Extracurricular Achievements. You may want to list a bullet point or two as well highlighting key points of the event as they relate to you.

Remember that your resume isn’t a life history. It shouldn’t detail every single thing you’ve ever done at every job you’ve ever held. If you’re clear and concise, you can find room to include notable achievements and awards that set you apart from the competition. Not to mention, it will give you something interesting to discuss at an interview.