How Personal Interests Can Be Lethal To Your Resume

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resume writing tipsA lot of first time job seekers have this preoccupation with putting down their free time activities on their resumes. It’s a common mistake. After all, a resume if supposed to be a one or two page piece of paper that sums up what you have to offer. Why wouldn’t your interests and activities be included?

For starters, putting down your leisure activities and interests is a waste of time for employers. To be honest, they couldn’t really care if you like to go kayaking or play baseball. It doesn’t translate to a professional setting. It’s like being in class who bring all sorts of out of context tidbits and activities that have no bearing on the class. We just want to know your name and major, not that you like to crochet or listen to country music. That isn’t going to make the grade.

Furthermore, depending on what activities you put on a resume, you can be sending a bad message to a possible employer. For instance, if you like to skydive, bungee jump or white water raft, a potential boss is going to look at you as a liability. You’re risk of dying is way up there compared to people with more subdued activities like knitting or staying alive. You’ve heard that companies were cracking down on employee health care for workers who smoked or were obese? Saying you like dangerous hobbies is one more reason to not cover you underneath some workplace insurance program.

Having your activities, beyond making it seem that you get off on almost killing yourself, can also make it seem that you value your free time in excess. It’s a given that leisure time is fun time and that working can be a drag. However, employers don’t want to hear it. They want to know what you can bring professionally, not personally. You may be adventurous and energetic but an employer wants to know that you’ll bring that to the workplace instead of being a weekend warrior. Listing you personal interest and activities can send the signal that you might be taking a lot of days off to pursue your hobbies.

So, what do you put under the personal interests section of your resume? Nothing. Get rid of it. It’s filler, nothing more. Ditch it right away during the revision process of fining tuning your CV. It is tempting to include this section because it gives your resume some bulk that compensates for lacking work experience. This is especially a concern for college graduates who likely have only one or two prior jobs that can be billed as substantive.

Go more into depth about your work experience and college career. Provide more instances of academic experience and what functions you performed at your old jobs. This will allow employers to get a better sense of your professional side rather than your personal side. Save all of your gushing about the rush of base jumping until after you’re hired.

Sound good to you? Leave a comment below if you need some more help on what to include on your resume.

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