Should you include your cat photography hobby on your resume?

Should You Include Hobbies & Interests On Your Resume?

You’ve climbed Mount Everest, volunteer at the dog shelter on the weekends and have a mint condition comic book collection,the question is: do you let an employer know? Or more importantly, does the employer care?

With the debate on resume length on-going, and space on your resume being of high value, should you include hobbies and interests on your resume?

Like most things in life – it depends.

Many employers are for including a hobby or two on your resume, reasons being to show the personal side of a candidate and to use it as a conversation topic in an interview. Hobbies and interests can give your resume a personality the employer can relate to, a feeling on who you may be.

Prabhjot Singh Bedi  (President & Founder of Eclat Hospitality) tackles this with further depth: “It’s a window into your personality, that is beyond the standard work stuff. These are things you are supposed to be passionate about. You should be using this extensively to not just market yourself, but also to steer the direction the interview takes.”  

Your hobbies and interests can say alot about you and depending on the the perspective of the employer, they could be saying good or bad things. Here are a few things to consider before including them on your resume:

HOBBIES & INTERESTS TO HELP YOU

This is where the ‘it depends’ part comes into play. Everything in your resume should be tailored to the job you are applying for, including your hobbies and interests.

Listing participation in sports and fitness can show the employer you’re a good team-player, you’re self-motivated and you value your health. While things like camping and hiking can show that you’re resourceful and independent.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS TO HURT YOU

You don’t want to hide who you are, but omission may be the best option if you’re hobbies are a bit edgy or unconventional.  Being a wingsuit flyer could read ‘interesting risk-taker’ to one employee and ‘crazy, over-the-top’ to another.

If you’re questioning whether or not something is appropriate for your resume, it’s best to steer clear.

“Hobbies are kind of controversial. On the positive side, hobbies can be a conversation starter that you can use to bond with the interviewer. But if it’s something that isn’t considered mainstream my advice is ‘When in doubt, leave it out. Don’t include pastimes with affiliations that are religious, political or anything considered culturally radical.” says Katy Keogh, a Principal at WinterWyman recruiting firm.

DISPLAYING HOBBIES & INTERESTS

There is no universal format for listing hobbies and interests, however using bullets or listing them in a small section is how they are normally displayed. They are meant to be a highlight to your resume, they do not need a prominent spot on it.

They must be real
Like anything on your resume, you must be able to back information up. In other words – don’t lie. Stick to the hobbies and interests you actually have, that way if they come in in an interview you are able to speak to them. If you feel like you need to embellish, then just don’t include hobbies and interests on your resume at all.  

Spice it up
There’s no such thing as a boring hobby – that’s why it’s a hobby right? Because you enjoy doing it in your spare time.  The more specific you are with your interests, the spicier they become! For example, instead of saying ‘painting’ say ‘abstract and impressionism artist’. Instead of ‘running’ you could put ‘training for half-marathons’.

As Verena Lemberger (Recruiting Manager for Academy Cube) puts it, “Generally speaking, honesty is the best policy and try to be as precise and accurate regarding your own interests (e.g. indicate a genre of music not just music in general) and showcase those aspects of your personality that only your hobbies can project.”

Keep it short
Again, your hobbies and interests are an added bonus to a resume, not nearly as important as professional experience and skills. Do not list every single thing you like to do on the weekends. Do not list hobbies and interests at the start of your resume either as they are not the most applicable thing to a job. Keep it brief so the employer can focus on what really matters.

Want to see how hobbies and interests can fit into your resume? 

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