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Hobbies on your Resume? Yes, or No?

Dec 14, 2021

Tetyana Khramova, the Centre for Career and Calling’s Work Integrated Learning Coordinator, explains why it’s a good idea to include your leisure activities in your job application. She outlines her reasons first through the broad lens of spirituality and then specifically, from an applicant and employer perspective.

The Spiritual Lens

We tend to compartmentalize our lives. There’s work we get paid for here and then hobbies over there. In reality, we are holistic beings. In the Christian scriptures, the Psalmist tells us that we have been “amazingly and miraculously made,” and that the “soul is fully aware of this.” [1] Then in 1 Thessalonians 5, we find reference to our “spirit, soul and body.” [2]. Thinking of ourselves as unique integrated people helps us recognize that what we do in our leisure time tells the world something about who we are.

Applicant’s Perspective

We all know that highlighting our technical skills and knowledge is important on a resume  but baking pies & playing soccer? Really? Yes, and here are some reasons:

  • Employers are not hiring robots but human beings. I already mentioned that your activities reveal something about you. Therefore, let them know the full breadth of who you are.
  • Your hobbies can highlight transferable and soft skills [3] that are useful to the specific role to which you are applying.
  • You never know, the hiring manager maybe into the exact same hobbies as you – now you have a point of connection!

Employer’s Perspective

Let’s turn to how hiring managers and recruiters may value knowing about your leisure pursuits.

  • It can help them with the short-listing process. When resumes all display the same technical skills, a thoughtful inclusion of relevant skills evidenced through your hobbies can set you apart.
  • We assume that recruiters are all experienced and know how to conduct an interview well. Not always the case! Your interests can help an interviewer get a conversation started.

Tips on including your hobbies on a resume.

  1. Ask yourself, what transferable skills have I developed through my leisure activities and make a list. A few to get you started are:- communication, athletic, self-management, numerical, creative, artistic, social skills. You can find a link to a useful and comprehensive list at the end of this post to get you started. [4]
  2. Next, highlight those skills on your list that are relevant to the job posting.
  3. Finally, decide on a heading on your resume to include your skills. There is not one rule for this as everyone’s experiences are different and the format may even be dictated by the employer. Having said that, here are some real examples:
  • Under Education in an Extracurricular Activities section:
    • Member of Senior Men’s Basketball Team 2020-21
  • Under Highlights of Qualifications:
    • Excellent time management skills; balanced a 40+ hour practice, training, competition, and travel schedule, in addition to academics.
  • Under Interests:
    • Beauty Blogger; run my own YouTube channel for 1.5 years; proven ability to start and develop a social-media channel; use search-engine optimization and social-media management tools.
  • Under Work Experience:
    • Photography; covered three major student union events last year; Battle of the Bands, 24 Hour Talent Show, and Fall Carnival. Demonstrated ability to work under pressure.
  • Under Volunteer Experience:
    • Volunteered with Cross-Cultural Solutions in New Delhi, India, teaching computers and conversational English – Summer 2019.
  • Under Hobbies and Abilities: (This example is best placed in a cover letter but a shorter version could go on a resume under this heading.)
    • A big part of the reason why I found a calling for computing science is that I ended up spending so much time on the computer as a child. I think what first got me so into programming was my desire to learn how to create and host my own game servers, and especially how to customize and modify the games I played with my friends. The smiles on people’s faces using what I made, built, and shared are some of the fondest memories.

I hope I have convinced you of the value of including your extra-curricular activities on your resume. Now go and show employers  and the world the uniqueness of you as a professional with many dimensions to your life.

 

[1] Psalm 139:13-14

[2] 1 Thessalonians 5:23

[3] See the last blog post on Soft Skills.

[4] Transferable skill list

 

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