Monday, October 20, 2014

Defining Interests - Work-Related or a Hobby?

Resume advice!

An interests section on a Resume, or your LinkedIn profile, can be a great way to help you stand out from the rest of the professionals in your field. Although some may believe that stuffing your resume with just work experience is the best way to go, employers do look for unique traits that help candidates to stand out. Whether those unique traits are Volunteer Experience, Professional Development workshops or training sessions, or Work-Related Interests and Hobbies, they can certainly give you that extra push that many candidates are otherwise lacking. Employers are always looking for personality, and asking themselves "what makes you special?" and having something to make you stand out, along with some relevant experience, can make you a prime candidate for a position.

There is a difference between a hobby and a work-related interest, and knowing the difference between the two can make or break the professional constitution of your resume or LinkedIn profile. The key factor to consider in this section is to think about what you are revealing about yourself. For example, writing "Varsity Basketball Player" in an interests and hobbies section does not tell the employer much, except for the fact that you might need significant time off, immediately putting you at a disadvantage to other candidates...It looks more like a hobby or a pastime. However, writing something more thorough and skill-revealing such as "Varsity Basketball Player, balancing a competitive mindset with proven teamwork skills" is much stronger as it identifies key skills that an employer may be looking for, making it a work-related interest. You can also put a date on these hobbies as well. Say if you have been playing Varsity Basketball for 4 years straight now, that indicates that you are dedicated and committed to your team and your role, and may indicate to the employer that you are less likely to quit if you are hired.


Say you are applying to be an Editor for your local newspaper. Stating in an Interests section that you are an avid reader and enjoy critiquing various forms of media (ex. Literature, film or music) lets the employer know that you truly enjoy activities related to what you are applying for, which will in-turn help you to enjoy and excel at your new role as an Editor. If you have a blog or a website where you post all of this information, directing the employer to that place will show evidence of your passion. Again, putting a timeline of how long you have been doing this can also be a benefit.

A hobbies and interests section can also be a great place to put other skills that are not required for the position, demonstrating diversity, something that many employers desire. For example, if you have computer-related skills such as HTML, C++, Java, etc., and do not have a Skills section on your resume, you can put them in the interests section.

To summarize, a Hobby and Work-Related Interests section on a resume can be a great tool if used correctly. Some important things to consider are:

- Always consider the significance of the interest/hobby. If it is not relevant and does not demonstrate anything to an employer, it may not be worth putting on your resume (e.g., Video Game enthusiast since 2001).
- Always consider what you are revealing about yourself in this section. Some hobbies and interests may give off the wrong impression and put you at a disadvantage.
- Do not be afraid to elaborate on these interests/hobbies! Let the employer know what skills you have developed/demonstrated in that interest or hobby, and if you have been doing it for a long time a date-to-date (2005-Present) may be useful!
- Interests and Hobbies demonstrate diversity. Diversity does not fully make up for a severe lack of related experience, but it will help differentiate you from the crowd!

Remember if you ever need any help on your resume, cover letter, CV, or anything career-related, feel free to drop by the Career Resource Centre between 9-4:30 Monday-Friday for FREE career advice!



Anthony Mancuso
Honours Bachelor of Sport Management - Year 3
Senior Career Assistant

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