A reader writes:
Lately, I have been wondering about conventions regarding including hobbies and activities (other than volunteer work) on resumes. For example, in my spare time I take archery lessons and sing in an a cappella group, in addition to various musical commitments that may pop up over the course of the year (i.e., a summer concert band at a local university).
I have received mixed feedback in the past regarding listing activities listed on my resume. One hiring manager told me that I should make it more apparent that I am a musician, as he has found in his experience that musicians tend to have strong work habits and other qualities he finds appealing in a candidate. Likewise, my company likes seeing activities on resumes since we push for a good work/life balance and like to hire creative people with mixed hobbies. Still, others have noted that activities aren’t actually relevant to the position and therefore should not be included.
Is there a general rule about when to include or leave off activities and/or hobbies on one’s resume? Additionally, I am only a year and a half out of college and I’m wondering at what point college activities should come off a resume.
Like listing fraternity or sorority affiliations, this falls under the “different people have different opinions, but you’re not going to be rejected over it” category.
Some hiring managers (like me) don’t have any interest in seeing hobbies or activities listed on a resume, and we think “I don’t care” when we see that you like to sail or knit. Among those of us on this side of the fence, our take is that unless your hobbies are related to the job you’re applying for, they’re irrelevant. But we’re not going to reject you for listing them.
Other hiring managers do like seeing hobbies listed. I can’t agree with them, and I wonder what it says about their competence at hiring, but the are plenty of them out there.
Regardless, no reasonable interviewer is going to reject you for listing hobbies, so it’s really your call.
(Obviously, there are some common sense exceptions to this: Don’t list your leadership role in your local bondage club, and be aware that some hobbies are polarizing — like hunting, for instance.)
As for your question about when college activities should come off your resume: There’s no hard and fast rule, but if they’re still on there eight years after you graduated, it’s too long.