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As the traditional career advice goes, you usually shouldn’t include your hobbies on your résumé because they take up valuable space and waste the precious few seconds a recruiter spends skimming through your history.
But in some situations, they can actually add value to your résumé and help you stand out in a good way.
If you’re looking for an internship at a company like Google, for example, one previous intern says hiring managers want to see interesting personal details on your résumé. “This is your time to shine and share some of the quirkier aspects of your personality that other, more traditional companies may not appreciate,” she writes. The key, as with all résumés you send out, is to know and target your audience.
Companies may also appreciate seeing a hobby on your résumé if it’s related to the job you’re pursuing, Ana Recio, senior vice president of Global Recruiting at Salesforce, tells Business Insider.
And if there’s a chance your hobby makes you stand out as the more attractive candidate, you’d be wise to include it, Alyssa Gelbard, the founder and president of the career consulting and personal-branding firm Résumé Strategists, tells Business Insider.
“When a potential employer sees a candidate’s hobbies, it provides insight into personality traits, industry knowledge, and can make you more attractive for a role,” she says.
“But remember: Anything you include on your résumé is fair game during an interview, so make sure you can really talk about your passion for the hobby and why you included it on résumé,” Gelbard says.
Here are 13 hobbies you should consider including on your résumé, as well as one you definitely shouldn’t:
Yoga demonstrates your ability to stay calm and in control, Gelbard says: “If you’re seeking a role in very busy, high-energy environment, like an advertising or PR agency, it can make you more attractive because you can better handle pressure.”
Extreme adventure sports
Extreme sports like ultramarathons, racing mountain bikes, or skydiving can show potential employers that you’re comfortable pushing boundaries, you’re disciplined, you don’t fear the unknown, and you are a calculated risk-taker, Gelbard says. “These traits are desirable for any leadership role, especially in younger, growing organizations,” she says.
Video production as a hobby can make you an appealing candidate for a role in production or event planning. Broadcasting and live streaming are often components of events or conferences, so your knowledge or interest in video production can be helpful in the job. It also shows that you are precise, highly detailed, and focused – all key to events positions.
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Competing in endurance sports like marathons, triathlons, or cycling shows drive, tenacity, and dedication, Gelbard says. These qualities are desirable for business development, account management, and sales roles, among other jobs, and may boost your candidacy in the hiring manager’s eye.
Captain of a team sport
Not only does playing a team sport like water polo, soccer, or volleyball help you look like a team player, but Vicky Oliver, the author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” tells Business Insider that being a captain adds leadership ability to your list of skills.
“Studies show that those who played competitive sports usually do very well in corporate environments,” she says.
If you’re on the hunt for communications or marketing jobs, showing off your blogging skills can enhance your candidacy, Gelbard says. She notes a few caveats, though: Make sure your blog is current, your entries are well-written and mistake-free, and the topic is a positive reflection of your personal brand.
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Gelbard says including your passion for mountain climbing and, for example, that you’ve hiked major peaks in 10 countries, not only shows strong personality traits to potential employers, but it can also be helpful if you’re interested in roles in related industries.
“If you want to work in the travel industry but don’t have direct professional industry experience, this hobby shows your interest and experience with travel,” she says. “And if you’ve organized hiking trips, then that’s a major bonus!”
Playing an instrument
“Aside from music-related careers, showing that you play classical guitar or violin can increase your attractiveness to potential employers when seeking roles that require laser focus, dedication, and discipline, like civil engineering,” Gelbard says.
“Giving back is one of our core values at Salesforce, so if someone lists volunteering as a hobby, we know that they’re more likely to be a good culture fit,” Recio says. “My team looks looks for both passionate and compassionate candidates, and the way someone spends their free time is an easy indicator to identify those traits that we value.”
- Benjamin Lawless/flickr
Gelbard says photography can be a valuable hobby to list if you’re looking for an account or creative director position at a digital marketing agency because it communicates creativity, positioning, and patience, “all of which can be helpful in your target roles.” If you have a current, well-curated website, be sure to direct potential employers there with a link to your site, she says.
“Passion for gardening can be good for potential employers to know when you’re seeking roles in sustainability and clean energy,” Gelbard says. “You clearly care about nature and the environment, which can give you a leg up over other candidates.”
In certain fields, like venture capital and banking, Oliver says it might be good to show that you’re a bit of a gambler.
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Anything unusual (in a good way)
Whether you create your own perfume or practice jujitsu, hobbies that might lead to an interesting conversation may be worth including, Oliver says. Just be sure the conversation isn’t interesting for all the wrong reasons – exotic-animal hunters need not apply.
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What you shouldn’t list as a hobby: reading
For one thing, most people in the world know how to read, so it’s not a unique hobby. And while you may think noting that you are well-read shows you to be more thoughtful and knowledgeable than the next person, Oliver cautions that saying you spend a lot of time reading could make you look like a loner.