Generally speaking, your personal interests do not belong on a resume. During an interview, a prospective employer may ask you about what you like to do in your free time, but he or she does not need to know these details ahead of time. Some job descriptions or application instructions may request that you include interests on your resume. If this is the case, assess the nature of the position and make sure the interests you include work for you rather than against you.
The following tips will help you determine which interests to put on a resume. This guide includes general instructions for approaching this requirement as well as five factors to keep in mind if an employer asks you to address your interests. Find out which interests may help to set you apart from the competition or otherwise benefit your chances of getting hired.
How To Write Interests To Put on a Resume
There are several factors to consider before adding an interests section to your resume. Start by making sure the employer has specifically requested that you include interests. If so, consider the nature of the position you are seeking and try to choose interests to put on a resume that relate to this position. Be prepared to field questions about these interests during an interview.
Certain interests can evidence skills that are necessary to succeed in your line of work. Playing team sports indicates that you are willing to cooperate with others to achieve shared goals. Training for and running marathons requires a great degree of self-discipline and evidences an ability to rise to any challenge. Travel implies that you are adventurous. Designing and flying model aircraft demands attention to detail. Reading draws attention to your interest in learning and language.
Avoid listing interests that you know little or nothing about, as misrepresenting your interests can introduce unnecessary difficulties into the hiring process. Employers who want to know about your interests are curious about your personality.
You do not want to come across as being dishonest about something as casual as your personal pursuits. If asked, you would have to either misrepresent your experience to an interviewer who may be an expert or explain that you hope to have the time to pursue these interests someday.
Even if your interests seem to be completely different than your career path, they can add depth and complexity to an employer’s sense of your personality. For example, if you are seeking an accounting position and love reading poetry, this can make you stand out among applicants who are likely to have similar levels of experience and education.
Here are a few sample interests that include a sufficient level of detail to demonstrate character traits that could correspond to your qualifications:
• Training for my third triathlon
• Participating in trivia
• Writing poems and stories
• Volunteering at an animal shelter
• Reading biographies and histories
5 Interests To Put on a Resume Must-Haves
1. Make sure the employer wants you to include interests on your resume
As pointed out above, an interests section is not a standard part of most professional resumes. Many employers often deem these details extraneous because they’re interested in directly applicable skills, work experience, formal education, and specialized training. If an employer does request that you include interests, however, you should not omit this section.
2. Align your interests with the requirements for a position
Don’t take a prompt to include your interests as license to bring up every single activity you enjoy doing. Think about the character traits or skills your fascinations and pastimes reveal. If the job you are seeking requires strategic thinking, you might refer to your chess skills. Even if the connections between your interests and the requirements of a position are not immediately obvious, listing a unique interest can help your resume stand out.
3. Use your interests to suggest relevant skills
If the description of the job you are seeking mentions that you need to be strongly motivated and capable of working independently, an interest such as running or training for long-distance races can reinforce your possession of these abilities. An interest in art or crafting can suggest your aesthetic sense, attention to detail, or creativity.
4. Provide a little detail
Rather than simply listing activities, you might want to include a bullet-pointed list in the interests section of your resume. This can allow you to say a few words about each interest while keeping the section organized. For example, simply stating that you love to read just suggests that you are literate and enjoy learning. Mentioning that you like to read cookbooks can indicate an interest in following instructions and making things, whereas reading history novels can suggest other personality traits.
5. Avoid alienating employers
When considering which interests to include, it is a good idea to avoid controversial topics that should have little bearing on your qualifications for a given position. An interests section may not be the best place to bring up politics, religion, or other intimate interests unless you know that a given workplace expects or happens to align with your position on these issues. Even then, other interests are likely to provide more relevant clues about your character and skills.
Top Interests To Put on a Resume Takeaways
Most resumes should not include an interests section. When you encounter a job description or set of application instructions requesting that you include this section, consider this a unique opportunity to present your personality to a prospective employer. Think of interests to put on a resume that offer insight into your character, inclinations, and talents.
Employers that inquire about applicants’ interests tend to be trying to attract well-rounded candidates or build work environments that are more attuned to their employees. The best way to show you belong is to be honest about your interests and be able to indicate how the interests you list reflect or influence your professional performance.