You just graduated from university, and now you are looking for your first job.
How do you show a recruiter that you have the skills it takes to do the job if you have virtually no work experience?
Of course, you can use your education section to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, but what about all of those skills you learned from being on a rowing team or being president of the anime club?
How could you translate hours spent working on theater sets into related work experience?
One way to achieve this is to put a hobbies and interests section on your resume.
Whoa, wait! Isn’t that unprofessional?
1. No One Adds Hobbies to a Resume, But It Works So Well
While the truth remains that your resume needs to be short, concise, and relevant, work culture is changing.
There are many companies that are beginning to place an emphasis on finding candidates that will be a good fit for their work culture, and are hiring based on personality.
Personality-based hiring is good news for recent graduates because it takes the pressure off of you to pull work experience out of thin air.
And adding a hobbies and interests section to your resume is an easy way to show a little personality before the interview.
2. Here’s How to Put Hobbies on a Resume Effectively
Let’s say you want to work for Google.
You do some research and find out that Google continues to maintain its startup culture, and looks for fun and playful employees who will bring fresh perspectives to the company.
You go to their recruitment page and see that Google lists employees’ hobbies, including activities ranging from beekeeping to foxtrot.
You want to show Google that you will be a good fit. How do you do it?
Add a hobbies and interests section that lists activities you like that show you are just as fun and playful as the beekeeping and foxtrotting Googlers.
3. Here’s How to Research a Company’s Work Culture
Okay, Google was easy. They listed their employees’ hobbies directly on their recruitment page.
But what about companies that aren’t so obvious? Where do you find information about their work culture?
Some companies, like Netflix for example, have begun to put together cultural “manifestos.”
Do a general search online to see if your company has such a document.
If not, have a look in the following places:
- Start with their website and pay special attention to employee profiles to see if there are any hobbies listed there.
- Go to their social media profiles (LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook) and check employees’ LinkedIn profiles for hobbies.
- End with reading any general press you can find on the company or check out a site like Glassdoor to get a feel for how current and past employees perceive the company’s work culture.
4. What Hobbies Should You Put on Your Resume?
Okay, so what hobbies do you put on your resume?
There are a couple of ways to approach adding a hobbies and interests section.
First, choose hobbies that require the use of a skill set that compliments the position you are seeking.
If you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, put a hobby on your resume that shows you have an eye for visuals outside of work.
For example, design, photography, or art. Try to match the activity to the company’s work culture.
If the company is looking for active employees, choose an active hobby like photography. It usually takes more effort to take a picture than to look at one in a gallery.
Show how you use photography to interact with others. Maybe you take pictures at weddings. Put: “Wedding Photography” in your hobbies section. Just be honest.
The next approach I’m going to show you is also good for recent grads who have found work after graduating, but find that most of the work is lower skilled and lower paid than they were expecting.
If this sounds like you, it’s likely that you’ve fallen into the skill gap. The good news is that putting hobbies on your resume could help in this situation as well.
I’ll repeat this point:
Whether you are a new grad or a victim of the skill gap, hobbies are one of the ways you can show that you have skills beyond those reflected in your work history.
So, the second approach is all about adding hobbies that require the use of skills that are lacking on the market or in a particular industry, like communication and leadership.
Currently, employers desire both communication and leadership skills, and hiring managers specifically look for them in new college graduate hires.
If you can show that you’ve developed them through an interest or hobby, it will put you one step ahead of other candidates.
Just don’t put these hobbies on your resume:
Any religious, political, or sexual hobbies.
Also, try to steer clear of being “too weird.” If you have to think twice about whether or not your hobby is weird – it probably is.
Remember that sharing your hobbies and interests on your resume is a way for an employer to get a fuller image of you, to connect with you, and to see that you have skill sets separate from those developed through work experience.
As a recent graduate, it may seem daunting to write an entire resume if you have almost no work experience.
But, with a little creativity, you can flesh out gaps in your resume by refocusing on things such as skills and personality.
Adding a hobbies and interests section to your resume is one way to show a recruiter that you’ve got the personality and the skill set that go above and beyond work experience.
Article contributed by Natalie Severt
Natalie is a writer at Uptowork – Your Resume Builder. Her love for creating successful resumes for others has led her to a career in sharing that knowledge with her readers. She spends her free time eating tacos, reading complicated novels, and binge-watching TV series.