One optional section that you may consider for your resume is an Interests Section. The purpose of including interests on your resume is to help differentiate yourself from other job applicants and show a bit of your personality to the reader.
However, you may decide to omit an interests section if you have other information that you feel is more important for the reader, and you don’t have the space on your resume to do so.
If you decide to include an interests section, here are some tips to consider:
- Be Selective. You probably have many interests and hobbies, so it’s best to choose and include the ones that relate most directly to the position that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for an editorial internship and you write a blog, it’s great to put that related interest on your resume.
- Be Specific. While many of us have common interests like playing sports, cooking and/or travel, think of including these if they show something about your personality, connection to your major, etc. and be specific about that interest.
- Show Relevant Detail. If you are a history major and like to read, instead of putting “avid reader,” you might say “reader of historical 18th-19th century novels.” Similarly, if you like to play sports, and one of those is a team sport like soccer, it’s better to list ‘soccer goalie’ as an interest rather than ‘sports’. This will show an employer that you are a team player who can work under pressure which is a valuable trait.
Look at your interests from the hiring manager’s perspective. What do you think s/he would value in an employee? Remember to stay away from listing controversial interests like political affiliations unless you are applying to an organization that you know aligns with your values.
Interests may be beneficial talking points. However, if something is on your resume, be prepared to talk about that interest in an interview. Be aware that interviewers may make assumptions based on your interests, so keep that in mind when listing interests.
In addition to showcasing your education, experience and skills, adding some relevant interests can spice up your resume. It may just be these interests that get you to stand out from others and get invited for an interview!