The “hobbies and interests” section of the resume has evolved over the years. From a few throwaway lines, it’s become an important insight into your personality, one that many prospective employers in the hospitality industry read to get a complete picture of a job seeker. “Some years ago, it was seen as too fluffy,” says Peter Shrive, a partner with Cambridge Management Planning. “Today it’s become more acceptable. In the beginning, you included club memberships, church affiliations and such. Now it’s an opportunity to expose another side of your experience and what you can do.”
It’s also often the last chance you have to make a positive impression in writing, so you want to get it right.
“If nothing else on the resume has persuaded someone to call you for an interview, if you’re clever, this paragraph could be the last opportunity for someone to say, ‘I want to meet this person,’” says Shrive.
This is the time to ask yourself:
- have I ever been elected to anything?
- have I ever won any awards?
- have I done anything that would surprise (and delight) an employer?
The way your talk about your hobbies and interests says more about your personality and your suitability for a job than you might think. Perhaps, in your mind, your weekend sky-diving shows an adventurous side of you that will appeal to employers. But, as chef-consultant Gary E. Miller says, “I want to know that the person is going to show up for work on Monday. For extracurricular activities, I look for people who list things like soccer and hockey because then I know they’re team players.”
Here are some other dos and don’ts for your hobbies and interests section:
The right “hobbies and interests” section can be just the door-opener you need to pull your resume off the pile. Highlighting the right activities in the right way will persuade prospective hospitality employers that you are someone worth talking to.