Including your interests and hobbies might not be the first thing you’d think about when drafting up your resume. In fact, experts may even advise against doing so.
Considering that the recommended length of a resume shouldn’t exceed more than a couple of pages, it might seem reasonable for you to omit them out and better use that space for something else. After all, your job and hobbies are two separate things, never to be mentioned in the same breath, right?
But in some cases, it just might be the thing that gets an employer’s attention and lands you an interview with them.
Making up for work experience
Chances are that as a fresh graduate, you’re not going to have a ton of professional work experience to leverage with. But what you can do is show hiring managers a more well-rounded idea of who you are as a potential candidate. Plus, it can also shine some personality on your resume and set you apart from other applicants.
And even if you lack the proper work experience, you can still include relevant hobbies and interests to show hiring managers that you still have the passion and skills needed for the job role. An employer looking for a copywriter may be more interested in you if you mention doing freelance writing or if you run a published blog – you can even talk about your experiences as an anecdote during interviews as well!
A source of skill and character-building
Delving closer, you’ll come to find that there’s actually a lot of marketable skills you can get from your hobbies. And if an employer expresses interest in knowing what you’re passionate about, chances are they also want to know how well you’d fit in as an employee in their company’s culture.
Think about the experiences you have gone through, and what they have taught you. If you’re an artist experienced in doing commissions, that not only means that you’ve worked as a freelancer, but you’re also used to juggling multiple deadlines and dealing with client correspondence, skills that are highly valued in many different job roles.
But what about your interests? They could also serve as a driving force to learn new skills, which you can later offer to potential employers. Maybe you were motivated to learn Korean seriously from your love of K-dramas, or you took up video-editing to make clips of your favourite streamer’s broadcast. Either way, this not only shows employers that you have the initiative to learn new skills, but you can even consider using what you’ve created to boost your portfolio – as long as it’s appropriate, of course.
Listing them down
Although they can be helpful, avoid making your hobbies and interests the centrepiece of your resume! Your education, professional experience and skills should still remain the most prominent parts of your resume. Instead, you should leave them at the last section of your resume, if you have the space for it.
Don’t just list them down and leave it at that though; add in a brief description for each item. Because your resume shouldn’t exceed any more than two pages, there’s also no need for you to list every single one - be strategic and pick out the ones that are the most relevant to the job you’re aiming for.
A word of caution
Adding your hobbies and interests at the end is a good way to end your resume on a high note and form a lasting impression. But before you get carried away, do some research on your chosen employers to see if it’s even appropriate for you to do so. Some might prefer that you stick more to your professional or academic qualifications while others may be all for it.
Also, think about what each point will say about you to prospective employers. The same hobby can be interpreted differently depending on the job you’re applying for – a passion for video games might sit well with a tech company, but not so much for others, who might view this as you being self-absorbed and anti-social. You want to show yourself in the best possible light, so be strategic about it.
Of course, your interests and hobbies should generally be done for fun first. But there’s no denying that sometimes, not only can they play a hand in shaping who you are today, but they can also become a valuable asset in job-hunting. So, if you’re interested in taking up a sport or on the fence about that drama club, take the plunge and go for it! You’ll not only have an outlet for you that benefits your well-being, but it could also become a fun way for you to upskill yourself, too.