Personal Interests & Hobbies: We don’t have time for them, but we can’t live without them either! In our everyday life, it is very difficult to find the time to pursue personal interests and hobbies while we try to balance our everyday life responsibilities like work, family, children, activities, appointments, exercise, cooking, cleaning—and the list goes on. In the midst of all this, who has time to take up a hobby! But you might want to find time to pursue a hobby because it just might pay off on your resume and help you stand out at interviews.
Over the years, resume trends have gone back and forth over whether or not it was “professional” to include hobbies or personal interests on a resume. In this type of competitive job market, anything that you can include during the resume writing process that will help distinguish you from someone else is a great idea. Recently, I had a conversation with a client about a very unique personal interest and hobby that she has: making sock monkeys. For those of you that don’t know what a sock monkey is, it is a toy made from socks that looks like a monkey (pretty self-explanatory right!). She did not want to make reference of this hobby in her resume because she felt uncomfortable including a hobby on her resume and felt like it clearly did not relate to her career objectives in insurance. I advised her that she might want to rethink this strategy because including sock monkeys would be something unique that would be a great conversation starter during an interview. This client took my advice and let me add sock monkeys as a hobby to her resume. After her interview, she called to tell me that she landed the job. The inclusion of sock monkeys as a hobby on her resume helped to spark conversation with her interviewer. It turns out that her interviewer was left with such a great feeling about her after the interview because sock monkeys conjured up feelings of happiness from her childhood when the interviewer made sock monkeys with her own grandmother. This simple hobby helped to cast a positive light over this client and made her more memorable to the interviewer when it came time to make the final decision about who was a good fit for the job opening.
So the moral of the story is to look at how you spend your free time and find a unique way to add your personal interests or hobbies to your resume. Your resume has to convey your personal brand and all of your achievements in such a way that you stand out from someone else in the pile of candidates. Coupling your professional qualifications with your unique personal interests and hobbies will differentiate you from the competition. So for the rest of the day, spend some time looking for your own personal sock monkeys because it will make you uniquely memorable in your resume and during your interviews.