Should your resume include a hobbies and interest section good to show the employer that you are well-rounded? Or is it irrelevant to the job requirements and a dated practice?
Recently Jane, a new graduate of the elementary education program came to me for some help with her resume writing. She had just graduated and was looking for teaching jobs in a tough job market. In her city, schools were consolidating (due to yuppies having less kids, if any at all). In speaking with Jan, she asked me, if she should include a hobbies and interests section in my resume? Apparently, Jane had learned from a government employment site that advised as a rule not to include such a sectionSome resume writers believe that including a hobbies and interests section is a dated practice. The thought is, “Why would an employer care if you like to collect stamps in your spare time?” (That is unless you are applying to a stamp shop.)
Generally, you can omit the hobbies and interests section unless it adds value to your resume. When it comes to resume writing, I believe there are no hard and fast rules. Instead, flexible guidelines should be applied based on individual’s unique situation and the employers’ specific requirement. In Jane’s case, we did a number of things to improve her resume including deliberately breaking the rule. We included a hobbies and interests section that stated her hobby is, “to teach her nephews dance.”
So the purpose of including this information was to create an impression and deliver a message to the hiring manager. The message: Jane is passionate about teaching children. We wanted to show the employer that not only did she have all the requisite education but that she had passion for her work. The passion and genuine interest to teach children is a core competency for this job. And any HR professional or hiring manager with experience should recognize that this competency is one that you should hire for (as opposed to develop). Since it is a lot easier to hire people with this trait than to hire and develop this competency.
The result of breaking this resume writing rule? Let me preface this again by saying that Jane is a very talented teacher (but you would never know it from her original resume). According to Jane, from her fellow graduates who were fortunate enough to get an interview, it took on average between two to three months of applying before getting an interview. Jane was called for a job interview within one week.