QUESTION: Is it a good idea to include information about personal interests and hobbies on my resume?
I’ve usually omitted personal interests and hobbies unless they directly relate to the candidate’s career. Then I became aware of research showing that inclusion of elite hobbies like polo and sailing increased the likelihood of men getting interviews. However, if a candidate has a long list of accomplishments, I wouldn’t omit one to make room for hobbies; I might include them on LinkedIn.
Your resume should contain information that provides value. There are 2 common scenarios where I find interests and hobbies can benefit a client: 1) if the personal interests and hobbies demonstrate a target role-desired attribute (e.g. dedication, creativity, community-focus) or 2) they help humanize a client who needs to show more personality in their resume.
Add personal interests and/or hobbies to your resume only if it lends to your unique value proposition. If the target position requires persistence and competitiveness, for example, adding that you are an award-winning triathlete makes sense. Unconnected interests to fill a page is a no-go. Be selective with each piece of information to craft an intentional narrative toward your job target.
There are limited times when adding interests makes sense because most fall in the “why do they care?” category. Applying for a Sales Manager role with a manufacturing company and listing “kayaking” on your resume is irrelevant and takes up valuable real estate. There are times when your interests could make a difference – for example, if the aforementioned company manufactures kayaks!
When a job seeker’s interests can be tied back to the brand articulated at the top of the resume or align directly to their job target, I will work to include! As an example, if my client wants to position themselves as someone that can lead winning teams, and they are involved in youth sports as a coach that won a championship — I’ll be sure to work it in.
In some instances it is useful to include interests,. i.e., if you love golf and are in sales or business management, deals are made on golf courses; involved in competitive sports or running marathons will demonstrate fitness and team work. Rule of thumb: if the activity can directly relate to a quality needed in the role you are seeking the answer is yes. Hobbies are generally not included.
It’s a good idea to include things you’re passionate about on your resume, particularly interests or hobbies that connect to your value proposition. Don’t create a separate heading—that often confuses applicant tracking systems. Best bet placements? Under Community Activities with bulleted accomplishments or as a 1 or 2 sentence blurb in the Professional Summary. Remember, tie it to your value!
My experience is that if the personal interests and hobbies are in any way related to your pursuit, include them especially if you have assumed a leadership role. A comprehensive list is not necessary but a list that reflects variety shows balance in you too- some leadership, social, philanthropy/volunteer, active/sports are a great array and nice way to connect to your interviewers too!
As you generally don’t know the personal interests, hobbies, and inclinations of a reader, it’s generally best to exclude them and include only the facts that pertain to the role you want. However, if the interests align with the mission of a specific company or you know the reader enjoys the same interests, then consider customizing the resume to include them.
A simple list of weekend hobbies like running, art and volunteering, won’t land you a job. But demonstrating your personal achievements might! Did you place first in your age category at a major half marathon? Were you commissioned to paint a mural on the side of a nearby school? Raise $12,000 for a nonprofit? These can differentiate you from other candidates and help show your personal brand.
It depends. If it is a conservative industry, probably not. Unless it is a role that depends on networking and you have a golf hobby. If you are applying to an outdoor activity-focused company, it could help to show your outdoor activity interests. Be careful of displaying interests that can disclose health conditions or religious affiliations to avoid unconscious bias in hiring decisions.
If your hobby is related to your career goal, even an indirect correlation, it could be worth including. Hobbies can also strengthen your resumes by demonstrating community involvement. Focus on your leadership and volunteer experience and your hobby is secondary. Hobbies that are polarizing–such as religion and politics–should generally be avoided.
Resume real estate is normally too valuable for hobbies and interests to own any space there. Such information is rarely relevant, and even if it is, it would be the first thing edited off a crowded document. If, however, you have an unusual hobby or an interest that highlights characteristics important to your profession, it could differentiate you and become an interview conversation starter.
Hobbies/interests add little value to your resume, especially if you’re an experienced candidate. Don’t include this information unless an employer asks for it. Any hobbies/interests you list should reflect positively on you and reveal in-demand skills and qualities. Researching the company will give you an idea of its culture and whether or not it values or de-emphasizes hobbies/interests.
A good practice to follow when deciding what to include on your resume is to ask yourself the following questions: 1) Is the information relevant?; 2) Does it add value? If your personal interests and hobbies support your job target and the overall theme of your resume (and you have the room to include them), feel free to do so.
Hobbies or interests that are unimpressive, like walking on the beach, reading mystery novels, or exercising do not belong on your resume. On the other hand, creating an Activities & Interests section on your resume that includes impressive entries like Amateur Aviation, Blog Writing, Video Production, Running Marathons, or Teaching Yoga will create a favorable impression to prospective employers.
It may be a good idea to include personal interests and hobbies if they are directly related to the role at hand. They could demonstrate your passion for the industry, highlight a key differentiating factor, or spark an interesting conversation. Be selective and careful not to include anything that may disqualify you based on bias, or distract from your ability to perform the job well.
Only if it is relevant to your job goal. If you volunteer as a golf teacher and you want to work full time as a golf instructor, that is directly related and should be on your resume. If you are a heavy metal music enthusiast and you job goal is to be a banker, I would not include that on my resume.
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