Sometimes a hobby is more than a hobby
Do you like long walks on the beach and kittens? Yes, of course, you do. But what does that have to do with getting a job?
Sharing your interests on a resume is a way to build a connection and show off your personality. The tricky part is knowing what hobbies to put on your resume to give off a good impression and let the hiring manager know that you will be a good fit for their company.
When to list hobbies on your resume?
Listing hobbies on your resume is a much-contested matter. To some, a Hobbies and Interests section is a relic of the nineties — something generation X started doing to prove they aren’t just corporate drones, but actual people.
Nowadays, many hiring managers hate it when employees waste valuable space on their resumes to talk about their love of books and socializing.
But work culture is increasingly changing. Many companies are refocusing on personality-based hiring and finding employees that would be a good fit for their work culture.
Adding a hobbies section might just do the trick!Work culture is changing. Many companies are refocusing on personality-based hiring Click To Tweet
How to match the company’s work culture?
Trying to figure out whether you should put a Hobbies and Interests section on your resume?
First off, you need to understand the company’s work culture:
- Go to their website and have a look around. Read up on the company values and what perks they provide their employees with. What events they organize.
- Then, have a look at employee profiles to see if they mention hobbies.
- Next, check employee profiles on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. Employees are more likely to put some hobbies on a LinkedIn profile than elsewhere.
- Finish up with any general press to get a feel for how others perceive the company’s work culture.
- If you know who is responsible for hiring new talent, look them up, too. Interests are great way to break the ice and create rapport with the interviewer.
What hobbies should you put on your resume?
Let’s say you want to work for a professional wedding planner. You did your online research. You checked out the company site and browsed employee LinkedIn profiles.
Perhaps you found out the company is looking for outgoing, playful, yet business-savvy employees with a basic understanding of social media.
You noticed the recruitment page even points to some specific hobbies that their employees engage in, such as, say, dance, cooking, and mixology (all these evidence from their Instagram profiles!)
How are you going to show those dream wedding planners that you’re playful yet business-savvy?
That’s right. You add your hobbies that mirror the general vibe you’re getting from that company.
Pro Tip: Don’t lie about your hobbies and interests. Assuming that adding them does the trick and you get a face-to-face with the recruiter, you’ll want to be able to leverage your hobbies and not stutter and stammer once you get asked about them.
Don’t lie about your hobbies and interests Click To Tweet
How to fit in hobbies on your Resume
Once you’ve pinpointed a company’s work culture, there are a couple of ways you can flesh out your hobbies section.
Leverage your hobbies to signal cultural fit:
According to research on what employers look for on a resume, cultural fit comes in a close second right after work experience. And that makes perfect sense. According to this comprehensive study, good cultural fit makes for happier, more motivated employees who stay longer on the team.
If you think using hobbies as evidence of your value as an employee this is what you should do:
- Choose a hobby that requires you to use a skill set that would compliment the skills you need for the position you are seeking.
- For example, if you’re applying for a creative job, go for a couple of creative hobbies. Want to become a journalist? Photography might come in handy.
- Another approach is to add hobbies that require the use of a skill set that the hiring manager may have a hard time finding in other candidates because of a skill gap in the market. Want to work for a travel agency and you happen to run a travel blog? Mention this hobby as proof of your interest as well as niche grasp of skills such as wordpress and basic HTML.
Pro Tip: The hobbies section might be better for recent graduates rather than professionals with years of experience.
Now, coming back to signaling cultural fit.
Say you want to work for a travel agent specializing in crazy adventure vacations. Your love of whitewater rafting might just come in handy! Want to be a server at a restaurant and you have a knack for cooking?
Go ahead and list that on your resume. It’s relevant, plus, who knows, the employer might need a competent backup for the kitchen, too!
What hobbies should you avoid on your resume?
Are there any hobbies you should not mention on your resume?
Those include any hobbies that are of a religious, political, or sexual persuasion. You also might want to avoid hobbies that others might consider strange or awkward (taxidermy anyone?)
Or, if they are too general to make sense — like reading books and watching movies. C’mon, it’s like saying you are special because you breathe air!
Remember that the whole point of sharing your interests is a way for a hiring manager to get a fuller image of you, to connect with you. And, perhaps, to see what skill sets you have apart from those you developed in a work environment.
Sometimes a Hobby Is More Than a Hobby
If you’ve taken part in conferences, expos, and industry events, you might want to create a separate section like Conferences. Especially, if you were a speaker. Did you volunteer at an NGO? You might want to move that to a Volunteer Work section.
Although it’s not typical work experience, it does imply you can navigate the work environment.
And finally, command of foreign languages warrants a mention in the skills section. Don’t hide it among semi-relevant hobbies. You’re a superstar, show that off!
Will adding hobbies to your CV help you beat the applicant tracking system? Not really, but... Click To Tweet
Adding a hobbies and interests section is the fun part of resume writing. You get to write about things that interest you. Plus, you can show off your sparkling personality.
Just remember to research the prospective employer. You want to match their expectations and make sure they are a good fit for you, too.
Will adding hobbies help you beat the applicant tracking system? Not really. But that isn’t the goal here. You want to show your human side and prove to the employer that you get them.
P.S. There are many more ways to come up with the perfect resume for the job. You can read up on everything you need to know online.
Then again, if you want to save time, you might as well just use a resume builder. Here’s a handy list of the best online resume builders. Just make sure the creator you choose will provide you with expert guidance and tips!
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