Job Hunting? Think Twice about Revealing your Hobbies
If you are sending out resumes, or keeping one around just in case, think twice about having a personal section at the end that includes your hobbies. I read a friend’s resume who is job hunting and told her to remove her hobbies because it was easy to see how what she wrote could be misinterpreted and held against her by an employer. It was nothing exotic, just serious artistic accomplishments.
Listing hobbies on a resume is often promoted as a way to catch the eye of someone with a shared interest or stand out from other applicants. Since hobbies showcase your personality, they can add a personal touch or highlight some additional skills you have.
That all sounds good, but employers can read anything the wrong way:
If you list athletic activities, such as marathon runner, it makes you sound healthy and active but employers are concerned that your training schedule is more important than their needs.
If you list artistic pursuits, such as sculptor, they worry that you work only to support your artistic passion.
If you list volunteer activities, such as working in a homeless shelter, you sound like a wonderful person but scheduling conflicts may arise and your choice of organization might be different from those supported by the employer.
If you list activities revolving around children, such as soccer coach, you raise concerns about your priorities.
If your hobbies involve books, movies, music, or gardening, the reaction might be “So what, doesn’t everyone?” Unless you list karaoke asyour hobby, inducing fear of what will happen at the next company party.
I knew someone in school whose hobby was reading the dictionary. “Weird,” you might reasonably say. I saw his name years later as an award-winning crossword puzzle maker – but it’s a hobby that would raise eyebrows when applying for most jobs. What benefit is there to include these activities – and there may be a cost. Besides which, there may already be too much information about you online, according to the warnings about what current or potential employers learn from your Facebook profile or your tweets.
Redacting the hobbies from your resume may not be enough – think twice about revealing too much in your internet profiles. And then wait until the interview – or better yet the first day on the job – to reveal your non-professional inclinations.