What do Your Hobbies Say About You?

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Should you include your hobbies on your resume?  There are strong arguments on both sides of this debate.  While some people feel that a hobbies section is distracting and may be held against you, others see is as a way to present yourself as the best fit for the organization.    Job seekers sometimes make the mistake of including hobbies that reveal too much about their political or religious beliefs, or that may cause the employer to have concerns about their lifestyle or character.  However, if you never lose sight of the fact that you are trying to make the employer want to hire you, then it shouldn’t be difficult to stay on track.  Here are some ways that your hobbies can make you stand out above your competition:

They provide a glimpse into your personality.  Prior to the interview, there are not a lot of opportunities for the employer to see your personality.  If you believe that your personality is an asset, then you have to get creative.  Your hobbies allow you to paint a picture of yourself.  The key is to try to imagine what type of personality traits they are seeking.  For example, if you are looking for a job in human resources, team sports or any other hobby where you are interacting with people would be ideal.

They reveal your passions.  It is often said that you can tell a lot about a person by what they do in their spare time.  Employers may look to your hobbies to try to get a sense of your values.  Are you passionate about a particular cause?  Do you use your downtime to network, or do you just take the opportunity to relax?  Beware of coming across as a ‘weekend warrior’ who’s true passions are outside of their career.

They demonstrate your skills.  You acquire skills from everything you do.  If you think back, you may find that you gained some of your most important skills through your hobbies.  Review your target job and try to identify the key skills and personality traits.  If some of these skills relate to your hobbies, then it may be worth putting them on your resume.

They show a sense of community-mindedness.  Employers like to hire candidates who are involved in their community.  Employees who are singularly focused on their jobs may not be as healthy and may not have a strong network.  If you demonstrate through your hobbies that you are well-rounded, you may find that it makes your resume even stronger.

Never forget that people are at the heart of the hiring process.  In addition to the required skills and experience, the employer is trying to find the right person for the job.  There is a lot more to you than your professional skills.  If you allow the employer to get to know you, they may connect with you and decide that it’s you (and only you) that they want on their team.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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