Should you include interests in your resume?

When it comes to best practices for creating a resume that impresses executive search firms, experts are divided on the subject of including a section for hobbies and interests. Executive Career Brand posited that C-suite managers should never include their interests, and Business Insider concurred, writing that a resume “isn’t Facebook.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, including hobbies on a resume can be helpful at times, though doing so is something of a double-edged sword. The news source reported that in some instances, a candidate’s passions can be a jumping-off point for discussion and connection. However, including bland interests such as traveling or reading is a bad idea. These hobbies won’t catch an executive recruiter’s eye, and are a waste of valuable resume real estate.

Occasionally, candidates may find that including hobbies actually works against them. The newspaper noted that Beth Brown, who co-authored the “Damn Good Resume Guide,” once heard from a candidate who put sailing on his resume because he thought it would make him appear more elite to interviewers. However, he lost out on the position he wanted because the interviewer was worried that he would take long weekends for sailing trips. Brown recommended that candidates let their personalities come through in their cover letters and leave interests off their resumes altogether.

The Wall Street Journal stated that ultimately, including one or two unique interests can be helpful for candidates. However, this should only be done if those hobbies are quirky and thought-provoking, or if they show dedication in a field related to the position for which a candidate is applying.

Additionally, candidates should avoid browsing Facebook and Twitter to research a hiring manager’s interests, as this looks contrived. Instead, they can consider researching the corporate culture for shared interests, such as volunteering.

About Caldwell Partners

Caldwell Partners is a leading international provider of executive search and has been for more than 40 years. As one of the world’s most trusted advisors in executive search, the firm has a sterling reputation built on successful searches for boards, chief and senior executives, and selected functional experts. With offices and partners across North America and in London, the firm takes pride in delivering an unmatched level of service and expertise to its clients.

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