Should You Include Personal Interests In Your Resume?

February 22, 2009 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

An article with IXL provides feedback from some of Australia’s top career professionals, and demonstrates that, as with many areas of compiling a résumé, the final result can still be influenced by personal preference.

Quote from executive search firm, Russell Reynolds:

“Be careful of what is put there as it is just as easy to give the wrong impression as to have something that stands out from the crowd. Including a single-figure golf handicap on a CV could show you’re too focused on yourself, whereas participation in endurance sports sends a message about the commitment an individual is capable of.”

Quote from specialist recruitment firm, Ambition:

“Letting recruiters know about general interests is important for finding the right cultural match. CFOs are usually trying to sell themselves just on their track records. I’d also like to know about extra interest because this builds a picture and shows they’re aiming for a work-life balance. Yet I see a ‘major interest’ in only about one out of 10 résumés at the top level.”

Recruitment consultancy, Carmichael Fisher:

“Including hobbies or interests is a conversation-opener for a job interview at any level of seniority. There are no hard and fast rules on what should be included, or what it might imply about a job candidate.”

The representative from Carmichael Fisher points out that examples such as “playing for the Wallabies” suggests a leader with drive but nevertheless a team person, “a golf handicap of two, or a black belt in karate, suggests more of an individual-type person”, “theatre, opera and reading as interests implies a more analytical and contemplative type of person”.

When compiling a résumé, and even in the cover letter, I look carefully at the individual and the industry / role they are targeting. While the representative from Russell Reynolds views reference to golf handicaps as a possible sign of introspection, it can be a key point in compiling a sales résumé where subjects such as golf are frequent ice breakers, and golfing events are used as sales and marketing tools.

Certainly interests such as marathon running show endurance, commitment, motivation and forward planning and are an asset in any position. If you are targeting a steady, at home position, a passion for overseas travel – whether you indulge or not – could be seen as lacking focus and stability, whereas if you are targeting a position with a global organisation where you need to be comfortable relating to many different individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, international traveller would be seen as a boon.

Here’s to writing powerful resumes

Beverley Neil

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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