Should I List My Hobbies on my Resume?
You have many talents! You can pull off a triple axel during your weekend figure skating meets. At last month's lunker competition, you used your well-honed fishing strategies to snag an 18-pound bass. And your mixology skills are to die for – just wait until people try your latest invention, the Double Cranberry Tom Collins!
No question, your mother's proud of you. And she should be, bubbeleh! You're amazing!
But would a potential employer be equally impressed if they saw your hobbies on your resume?
Hobbies and resumes can be a tricky combination. The purpose of a resume is to sell to a hiring manager and recruiter your ability to do a job in such a way as to set yourself apart from the crowd. So, before including your championship tiddlywinks credentials on your resume, ask yourself a few questions:
1. Will My Hobbies Help Me Highlight My Skills and Abilities to a Potential Employer?
I have a friend who has competed in Scrabble tournaments. He was nationally ranked and traveled the country to play the game against the best players. Think about the skills involved in Scrabble. It's highly analytical, requires both verbal and mathematical skills, and makes you think on your feet to solve problems. For these reasons, I'd consider including it on a resume.
Likewise, an engineer who competes in robotics tournaments shows that they are inventive, analytical, and driven.
2. Did I Attain Substantial Achievements in My Hobby?
It can improve an employer's perception of you if you have achieved the pinnacle of your pastime.
Let's say you were selected for your country's Olympic curling team. Even if you chose not to participate due to other life obligations, you can demonstrate that you exercised the discipline to be ranked world-class in something. This isn't limited to athletics, either. Perhaps you won a creative writing contest. It can count.
3. Did I Hold Any Nonprofit Leadership Roles?
Maybe you sit on the board of a local charity or you're a Boy Scout troop leader helping youths develop themselves. Perhaps you give seminars to unemployed professionals on dressing for success. These all demonstrate a commitment to the community at large, but also show that you have seized opportunities to hold leadership and management positions.
4. Could My Hobby Be Potentially Applicable to My Line of Work?
I've heard of situations wherein people's hobbies weren't officially related to a job but helped them get that job anyway. Salespeople who indicated that they play golf or tennis come to mind – many deals get done on the course or court. Likewise, I know of an individual who listed photography on their resume and received an offer for an engineering role because the company had a very niche position available that involved photographic equipment. Experience as a mixologist (i.e., bartender) might be of help if you're applying for any position in the food, hospitality, or alcoholic beverage industry.
5. Is the Hobby Held in High Esteem?
Remember, an employer reading a resume can be judgmental – fairly or unfairly – and including a hobby which a hiring manager or recruiter might find objectionable (or just plain silly) can be a risk. Try to be conscious of potentially controversial hobbies.
For example, some individuals might find bartending objectionable if they're teetotalers. Similarly, it may be impressive to some that you own the largest collection of Pez dispensers in the world, but an employer might view that as a frivolous pursuit and a waste of space on your resume.
The bottom line is, if there's a chance that somebody could object to the hobby, leave it out. But if there is serious merit to your hobby that could truly add value to your candidacy for a job, then by all means find space for it!
Scott Singer is the president and founder of Insider Career Strategies LLC, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. You can email Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or via his website, www.insidercs.com.