CareerOwl Featured Career Article

Can We Get Personal?
copyright © by Kevin Donlin

How personal should you get in your resume? Should you include a list of hobbies, associations and other activities? Or skip that information

It depends!

Kevin Donlin
Kevin Donlin

Some career professionals advise that personal details are inappropriate for any resume. I disagree. I believe you should include or omit personal data on a case-by-case basis.

I agree with the reader who writes: "If you have room for an 'Interests' section, it can add some color to your resume. In over half my interviews, employers discussed my interests -- football, sports, etc. They can relate
to you and see you more as a person."

Now. Everyone is different.

Should your resume mention football and sports if you're applying for a job as a summer camp counselor or customer service rep at a department store? I'd say yes, IF you don't have to delete more-valuable information to make
it fit.

But what if you're applying for a job as an accountant, lawyer, or something equally conservative? Proceed with caution regarding hobbies and other personal data. When in doubt, leave it out.

Here's the question I've asked myself while writing/editing more than 2,000 resumes: "Does THIS personal data make THIS candidate more attractive for THIS job?" If so, I include relevant interests, associations, etc.

An obvious word of caution -- be 100% truthful when including personal interests in your resume.

Back when I used to work for other people, I wrote on my resume that I spoke intermediate Japanese. After one interview, a blonde woman walked up and said: "Konnichi wa!" We had a nice conversation in Japanese, because I
wasn't fibbing. Can you imagine my horror (and non-employment) if I had lied about that? DON'T!

Another point to remember -- it's never a good idea to mention activities related to politics or religion, unless you're applying to a political or religious institution. Otherwise, you run the risk of offending readers who don't share your views. Again, when in doubt, leave it out.

Best of luck to you!

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Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back. For more information, click here.

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