In an effort to stand out and add a personal spin to your resume, you may be tempted to include interests, hobbies, and other tidbits of information that aren't directly related to your career.
You'll often hear that that doing so is a great way of breaking the ice, setting up a conversation starter, or establishing common ground with the recruiter. While these are all valid points, they're far outweighed by several issues that I'm going to detail below.
#1 Space is limited
Your resume is like a piece of prime property. You only have one to two pages to convince the hiring manager that you're the right applicant for the job. Listing interests on your resume isn't going to be a very productive use of that limited space - in my 15 years of experience in the industry, I've never seen interests have any tangible impact on a hiring decision!
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#2 They're not all that interesting (sorry!)
When the person on the other end has read through dozens (sometimes hundreds) of applications, they're simply not going to care whether you like reading, cooking, or watching movies. Listing those on your resume is going to show your audience you don't respect their time.
#3 It's just extra unnecessary material for the recruiter to read through
Don't give recruiters more content to read through more than they already have to. Keep it relevant, simple, and concise. There's plenty of time to talk about your hobbies once you land that shiny new job.
As with any rule, there are always certain exceptions. If you have interests that tie in directly to your career and demonstrate value you can bring to the employer, go ahead and include them - just don't devote too much space as they're ultimately going to be less valuable than professional experience.
For example, if you're interested in landing a job in the non-profit sector and you spend some extra time volunteering for a local charity organization, go ahead and devote a couple lines to that.
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About the Author
James Cooper is a Professional Resume Writer, member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for almost 14 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.
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