I’m often asked if you should include hobbies and interests in your resume. There really is no right or wrong answer, but I don’t recommend it.
The reason I always advise my clients not to include them is that I don’t believe they add any weight to your resume and quite frankly, are a waste of valuable resume space.
Remember, employers review resumes because they are looking for a person who can meet their needs.
How do your leisure interests and hobbies demonstrate your ability to do a job?
Some employers look at hobbies as mere ‘padding’, something to include to make the resume look weightier than it actually is … not a good look.
Another reason I don’t recommend including hobbies is because of the judgements potential employers can make. For example, you might include physical activities like abseiling or hiking, thinking you are making a good impression because you are obviously fit and healthy. Sure, some employers might look at it that way; others, however, will look it as a risky activity: ‘Ok, so he/she takes a tumble on the weekend, what is going to happen come Monday morning?’
Similarly employers can scratch their heads at the things you include. What would they think about a person applying for work in a remote location who lists attending the theatre as a hobby? Not too many ‘theatre’ productions make it to regional areas and some employers might question your ability to stay long term.
An example that always sticks in my mind is an underground miner who had said in his hobbies section ‘anything involving the sunshine – I can’t bear not to be in the outdoors breathing fresh air’ … he worked underground! Most employers would immediately scratch their heads!
Another problem can be if you list a hobby that has bad associations for an employer. I recruited for a company many years ago and I’ll never forget the manager pushing a perfectly good candidate’s resume back at me because ‘he is into body-building’. When I asked why this was a problem his response was that they had another guy work for them who pursued body building and took huge amounts of time off for his training. Who says this candidate would do the same? Too late though, he’d made his mind up. A bit like considering a name for your child and you know someone else with the name – you have an impression already.
Some people feel that hobbies and interests are important because they inject a bit of your personality into the resume. They can – if the person reading has something in common with you perhaps.
For me the risks outweigh the possible benefits. My advice is not to include hobbies and interests.
However if you do, be very careful about what you include. Obviously a mechanic with a love of restoring vintage cars and rebuilding engines would be a good fit. Others say marathon running is a great display of fitness and endurance, a great quality for a physically demanding job, but you are relying on assumptions. What one person views positively, can easily been seen negatively by another.
I prefer to learn more about a person at interview. Many interviewers use these questions as a warm up to the interview, a bit of a ‘get to know you’ session.
At least when you are in front of someone and describing your interests you have some hope of reading their reaction and controlling the situation.
Include them in a resume and you have no way of doing that at all.
© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant | One2One Resumes
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | W: www.one2oneresumes.com.au
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