should you put hobbies on your resume, I want to leave early when work is slow, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Should you put hobbies and extracurriculars on your resume?

I’ve always thought that putting extracurricular interests on a resume was optional at best and self indulgent at worst. But recently, an interviewer seemed very surprised that I didn’t mention my background as a classically trained musician on my resume — to the point where he asked me more about that aspect of my life and took notes (our conversation indicated he felt it was positive information and was incredulous as to why I wouldn’t include it). This was for a position that has nothing to do with music or the entertainment industry.

Am I wrong here? Are there certain extracurriculars you should consider putting on a resume?

Different people will answer this differently. Some interviewers like seeing hobbies and other extracurricular interests on a resume; they feel that it gives them a better sense of the candidate as a person. Other interviewers find it utterly irrelevant and a waste of space.

It is true that some extracurriculars can be more impressive than others. Something that requires years of training and unusual skills is going to be more compelling than the more generic stuff you usually see listed (like running or baking). And sometimes a hobby will spark a conversation that can build rapport. But there’s never any obligation or expectation that you’ll include outside-of-work things on your resume, and your interviewer’s incredulity was just something about him, not a sign that other interviewers will react the same way.

And in general, no one is going to reject you for including or not hobbies on a resume (as long as they’re work-appropriate).

2. I want to be able to leave early when my work is slow

I work for a mid-sized nonprofit. I really love the workplace and have been promoted from an office assistant to a senior associate. I have very few complaints about the office, but I want to ask an etiquette-type question. I tend to be a pretty productive person, I’m quite type-A and always work efficiently. Now that I have been here for over three years, I understand my workload and always respond to emails promptly, even when outside the office, if warranted.

This leads me to my main question: I’d like to ask my supervisor for some flexibility to leave the office when I know I’m not going to be busy. I quite dislike just having to sit at my desk just because it’s normal working hours but I know I don’t have anything going on. I don’t want to seem lazy nor give the perception to my other team members that I’m skipping out early, so I’m not sure how to navigate this. Generally, our office is quite flexible for those that have kids so that’s a normal “excuse” to leave early, but I don’t have kids.

Do you know how your coworkers with kids have handled this? If they’re just announcing “I need to leave early today to pick up my kid,” there’s a good chance that you can just announce, “I need to head out early today, but I’ll be checking email if you need me” (or whatever) as long as you don’t do it more frequently than they do. Of course, before you do that, you’d want to find out if they’re using PTO for that time — if you’re not sure, I wouldn’t assume they aren’t.

But you could also just ask your boss about it, saying something like: “I’ve noticed that other people sometimes duck out early when their workload allows it or they have a kid thing going on. Is it okay for me to occasionally do that too, when my workload is a little slower and it won’t impede anything? I’d love to be able to do that once a month or so when I’m in a slower period.”

3. Can an employer refuse to consider out-of-state job applicants?

I just applied for a position for which I am well qualified. I got an email the following day stating that they are not considering out-of-state applicants. Is this legal? Do I have any recourse?

Yes, that is legal. Legality aside, there are a lot of reasons why employers might decide not to consider out-of-state applicants: It can be more of a pain to schedule in-person interviews if they’re moving very quickly, they might want someone who can start immediately, they might worry about how you’ll adjust to the area (especially if they’ve had issues with that before), and on and on. If they have plenty of strong local candidates, it can be easier to decide just to focus on them. That can feel quite unfair if you’re not local and you’d be willing to pay your own way (to interviews and for relocation), but there’s nothing stopping employers from making this choice.

4. I’m interviewing for a job with an old friend

I recently graduated and started applying for jobs. Through a job agency, I got an interview for a job that would be a great starting point for my career. As I got the details about the appointment, however, I realized that I will be interviewed by someone who I used to be friends with. We even lived together for a few months and were quite close at the time. Over time, our friendship faded and we haven’t been in contact in at least three years. Nothing bad happened; we just had our own social circles and sort of forgot to stay in touch.

At first, I thought this could be in my advantage. Since I am a bit socially awkard, I asked other people for advice and someone told me to send her a message on LinkedIn, telling her that I’ll be coming in for an interview and asking if there is anything I should know about the job. Since I did not have my old friend on LinkedIn yet, I had to add her and wrote this message in the invitation. This is more than a week ago and she has not accepted my LinkedIn invitation or messaged me back. I am wondering if I did the wrong thing messaging her, as if I’m trying to get some special treatment because I know her personally. I wonder if she did not accept me because it was making her feel uncomfortable. Of course, it is also possible that she is not so active on LinkedIn and simply did not see my invite and message.

I am now dreading this interview that is coming up next week. I’m afraid it will be awkward to see her again in this setting without having had contact about it beforehand. Another applicant will be coming in for the interview with me, at the same time. I am also afraid that she thinks my reaching out to her on LinkedIn was rude or insincere. I know I tend to overthink things, but I don’t know what my next move should be with this interview.

It wasn’t rude to contact her on LinkedIn. I wouldn’t have suggested asking if there was anything you should know about the job, since she might worry about giving you an unfair advantage over other applicants or even that she’s not sufficiently unbiased to interview you — but that’s still a really common thing that people ask their contacts and it wasn’t a major faux pas that you did. It’s pretty likely that she doesn’t check LinkedIn that much and hasn’t seen the message, or that she’s just busy and hasn’t had a chance to respond yet (or even that she’s purposely not answering so that there’s no appearance of bias).

I really wouldn’t worry about this too much! Ideally, if you hadn’t already sent the LinkedIn message, I would have suggested you email her a quick note to let her know that you’re interviewing with her and are excited to catch up (more personal than LinkedIn and more appropriate for a former roommate/friend, and more certainty of reaching her), but it’s not a big deal that you didn’t.

Don’t dread the interview! When you see her, just say, “It’s great to see you!” and then treat it like any other interview. She may be worried that you’ll expect her to be less formal with you than with other candidates, and you can put her at ease by not doing that and just taking your cues from her. As much as possible, though, you want her to see you as “skilled candidate,” not “my old roommate,” since the latter can make it hard for her to evaluate you.

5. My coworker is singing nursery rhymes to himself

A coworker on the opposite side of the cubicle wall from me has started an unusual habit. For the last week or two, at random unpredictable intervals and for no evident reason, he has started quietly singing children’s nursery rhyme songs (“I’m a Little Teapot,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Old McDonald,” to name a few). It’s not very loud – I think only this of us immediately adjacent can hear it – but is INCREDIBLY distracting. How do I ask him to stop, or bring it up to a manager, without sounding totally crazy or obnoxious?

People are often oblivious to how the noises they’re making are affecting other people. He may not have even processed that you can hear him. (And maybe his kid just started preschool and he’s hearing these constantly himself? Who knows.) In any case, speak up! Frankly, just something like “Hey Bob, what’s up with the nursery rhymes?” might be enough to draw his attention to it and get him to stop. But if it doesn’t, then you say, “For some reason, I’m finding it incredibly distracting — would you mind stopping?” (The “for some reason” is just padding — it’s a little tidbit that lets him save a bit of face. You can skip it if you don’t like it.)

But definitely talk to him directly rather than going straight to a manager. The manager’s first question is likely to be whether you’ve asked him to stop, and it won’t look great if your answer is no.

{ 407 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager Post author

    I’ve removed some long off-topic threads about what songs people have in their heads. Please keep your comments on-topic about the letters; I will remove off-topic comments, particularly if they invite a long string of off-topic replies.

  2. RoadsGirl

    #4, relax. A few months ago I walked into an interview and discovered my old Sunday school teacher. We caught up on life, then had a good, professorial interview.

  3. Starling

    Number 5, please tell poor Bob that he’s doing this. I have toddlers and I occasionally find myself humming Daniel Tiger songs in the shower. (In case you’re not familiar, they’re intended to be aide-memoires for the preschool set and include such deathless lyrics as “Flush and wash and be on your way!”) I’d really want to know if I were serenading people with the Eensie-weensie Spider.

        1. PB

          Daddy shark doo doo do doo do doo daddy shark!

          I worked as a camp counselor for a summer years ago. It was an all-ages camp. That was the only song the high school kids liked. The downside? Continuing to sing it for months after returning to college…

          1. Swordspoint

            I had never heard this one, despite having two kids, one of whom is four.

            Immediately googled it, of course. Aaaaand now that’s my ear worm for today.

            1. Falling Diphthong

              My kids (who have been taller than I am for some years now) learned this song at camp. Ear is now wormed for the day.

              1. Rachel B.

                Well, I can’t say I wasn’t warned that “Baby Shark” was earworm material. But nooooo, I had to Google it, didn’t I?

    1. Lynca

      I second telling him. I find myself singing aloud and my child is only 2 months. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could actually carry a tune.

        1. Quackeen

          Yup, kids don’t matter if you sound like a chicken with a sore throat. it’s all fun to them!

        2. A Non E. Mouse

          Don’t let it stop you! I sang to my children (well, I still do, but to annoy them) when they were little.

          I sang everything from “Ich bin Ausländer und spreche nicht gut Deutsch” to Fifty Nifty United States, Amazing Grace and everything in between.

          Fun fact: first day of high school German my oldest was all OMG I KNOW THAT SONG.

          All my kids can name all fifty states (and sing the Mr. Ed song, and tell you all about Puff the Magic Dragon).

          Sing! SING! Sing at the top of your lungs in the car, sing softly at night, but SING!

          1. Tess McGill

            Agree! Sing your heart out! When son was in 2nd grade, I made up a song for every number from 1 to 12 and helped him learn his multiplication tables. I don’t remember learning them that young, but there he was, trying to tackle them at the age of 7. The year my husband was deployed to Iraq, little man would crawl into bed with me at 6am every morning and we’d sing our way through every number, up to 12 x 12. Years later, when I had long forgotten about this, he came to me and thanked me for helping him learn them so thoroughly. (He did very well in math for years after that, until the beast that is calculus came calling.) Also, I highly recommend the CD “Beethoven’s Wig” for playing in the car (do cars still play CDs?). 11 famous classical songs with silly words added. It’s a really fun way to use catchy tunes to introduce kids to classical music and recognize famous composers with only a few notes. The same classical pieces are played on the flip side without the words.

    2. Pollygrammer

      He definitely doesn’t know he’s doing it. I would just casually–and jokingly–interrupt.

      “What, what did the itsy-bitsy spider do??”

      “Why he gotta be ‘old’? Young people can have farms too.”

      “When you think about it, aren’t we all little teapots in our own way…?”

      1. Dragoning

        I don’t think this is a great idea. I would be mortified if someone did this to me when I was accidentally singing at work. Even if it was said jokingly.

        Just tell him he’s been singing.

        1. Pollygrammer

          I actually think pointing out (jokingly or not) that he’s singing just now would be way less embarrassing for him than pointing out that he’s been doing it all the time for quite a while, and it would probably be enough to get him to stop.

        2. CMart

          I think doing it in a joking matter is on the right track, though I agree Pollygrammer’s suggestions are a little heavy-handed.

          “Geeze, those children’s songs really get into your soul, huh? Catchier than The Macarena!” is a lighthearted but not mocking way to point out someone is mindlessly broadcasting the running soundtrack of their lives. Most people will get the hint that they should be more mindful of idle singing.

          I’ve had this conversation (as the humming offender) with friends and one colleagues, though they’ve all also been parents. “Lots of Daniel Tiger happening at home lately, eh?” which always devolves into what I suspect was the exact chain Alison just removed for derailing. It’s always been fine.

          1. Dragoning

            I agree, those suggestions are much better.

            Though, I’m aware of my habit of speaking aloud when I’m thinking sometimes, so if someone pointed out I was doing it, I would take it pretty well. “Oops, doing it again!”

          2. Annoyed

            I think joking/not joking is a judgement call. How well do you know/get along with Coworker? How casual is the environment? Is Coworker “touchy” or “chill?” Etc.

    3. staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar

      I have a coworker who randomly whistles the theme from Peter and the Wolf. It gets to be much sometimes.

      1. J

        I used to work with a woman who sang to herself frequently while working. She had ADHD, and it was one way she learned to help herself concentrate. She was semi-aware of her habit of doing it, and she wasn’t super loud about it, but the rest of us just learned to deal and over time got used to it/were able to ignore it. Just bringing it up as a possibility because otherwise I never would’ve considered ADHD as a reason why some people do that at work.

        1. Vikki

          Years ago I had a co-worker who whistled the same tunes constantly – off-key! One day I asked her if she could “change the station to one that was “on-key”! I said it loudly enough (not shouting) so that others sitting close to me in the bullpen heard me! They applauded as they were fed up with her! She blushed, said nothing, but quit whistling!

          1. Dragoning

            I know she was annoying, but that seems like a pretty cruel way of handling the situation. I would be utterly humiliated if I were your coworker–especially once people started applauding.

          2. Mary Dempster

            Nothing like publicly shaming/humiliating someone into silently blushing and never doing something harmless again :-/

          3. HummingBird

            That’s horrible. You intentionally humilliated someone who probably didn’t know they were doing something annoying, and you’re bragging about it on the internet?! On a blog that does really value respect? So sorry to tell you, but you’re the one off-key here.

          4. J

            Yeah, public humiliation isn’t all that funny. In my opinion, people in our society are often far too easily annoyed. Or we’re just all self-centered enough to believe that everyone around us should bend to our annoyances. Probably both?

        2. Dove

          I was going to suggest that the co-worker might be trying to time something (since all of those songs do have a fairly predictable length, and the singing is happening at seemingly random times). “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, for example, is about a minute or so long – exactly the length of time you need to thoroughly wash your hands and make sure it’s been done properly, which is why I used to sing it to myself (in my head, most of the time, I hope!) in order to make sure I wasn’t rushing too fast.
          If there’s some process the co-worker’s dealing with that requires waiting a minute or two, he might be using the songs to try and time it out without looking away and forgetting about what he was doing. (Which is, now that I think about it, an ADHD thing to do…)

    4. Elle

      haha, my mom was recently entrenched in a massive abandon-ship workplace situation after a merger. People were writing “Everything is awesome, everything is cool.” on whiteboards and using it as their goodbye emails

    5. Falling Diphthong

      Trust me, with the right trigger you, too, can follow “Big A, little a…” with an instinctive “… What begins with a? Aunt Annie’s alligator, a, a, a.”

      Your brain carefully preserves this stuff, so that decades from now you can sing about teapots.

    6. Hermione Lovegood

      “Get your pet *clap clap* to the vet! You’ll both feel good to go get them checked!”

    7. Specialk9

      Oh lord they’re not little pictures of tigers, but tiger SKIN. (Hurk) Thanks, now I won’t be able unsee that horror.

      Another thing to notice is the pants. It’s a thing.

    8. Specialk9

      My toddler now loves singing Brass Monkey. I’m not sure if we’re the best parents ever, or the worst.

      “BRASS MONKEY CHUNKY MONKEY MONKEY MONKEY!” (we’re all a little unsure of the actual lyrics)

    9. A tester, not a developer

      I do have a bad habit of doing Canadace’s “It’s a bustin’ feeding frenzy, stay outta the water” thing.

      “I Ain’t Got Rhythm” is an awesome song… and now I need to go and rewatch the episode where they reunite Love Handel…

    10. Julie in Ohio

      Just yesterday I was asking my husband, who had P&F on the tv for background, (deliberately – as our 14-year-old just rolls his eyes at us and refuses to watch) when there’s going to be a real Love Handel. But it would probably be a copyright violation unless Disney did a boy band competition…

    11. ChaufferMeChaufferYou

      Agreed. When I’m tired, I hum and sing to myself without realizing it. People have to tell me I’m doing it before I realize it, half the time. (I apologize every time, and I hate it about myself).

    12. BadWolf

      I had a coworker who was singing along while wearing headphones. I jokingly mentioned something about karaoke time to him — turns out he didn’t realize his was using his outside voice to sing along. After that, I could send him a “singing” ping on IM when he was singing and it was getting to me.

      While I don’t sing at work, for somehow my grocery store is always playing my jam and I find myself singing along while shopping.

    13. Ophelia

      My 1.5 year old just learned this song, and now will yell Shahk! SHAHK! SHAHK!!!! until someone sings it (incessantly). Sigh.

    14. What's with today, today?

      What gets me is that Daniel Tiger wears pajama tops and bottoms to bed, but only a sweater and no pants to school. My husband and I also joke a little about the family sleepovers with Prince Wednesday’s family. What exactly are the adults all doing during this family sleepover at the palace???

    15. ThatGirl

      I was just singing Izzy’s got the Frizzies to myself the other day.

      (We do not have children. My husband just likes Phineas & Ferb.)

    16. What's with today, today?

      Not me. My son started stomping at me when he didn’t get his way, and we deleted that episode.

    17. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius

      P&F has some of the catchiest tunes

      Bow chicka bow wow, that’s what my baby says………

    18. Ask a Manager Post author

      I removed a very long off-topic thread here about what songs people have in their heads. Please keep your comments on-topic about the letters; I will remove off-topic comments, particularly if they invite a long string of off-topic replies.

      1. What's with today, today?

        I think it was less about the songs we have in our heads and more how this happens to almost all parents, and we can relate. My comment was removed and it was mostly about my husband texting me from a meeting realizing he was singing Frozen, after having said something that is in a song. It was the only part of this comment section I was interested in and enhanced the sense of community here. Sigh.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Unfortunately off-topic comments are making already long and unwieldy comment threads pretty out-of-control here and driving away people who don’t bother to read the comments at all when they see a really high comment count. The thread I removed was nearly 50 comments long, none of it with advice for the letter writer.

    19. LJay

      I don’t have kids and I’ve had the baby shark song stuck in my head for days and catch myself humming it when I’m alone.

      Also the “Welcome to the Dallas Zoo” song, which is insanely catchy for some reason.

      I’d really hope someone would point it out to me if I were humming or singing it at work.

    20. Annoyed

      I had my only child in 1987. Occasionally my cats are (still) subjected to hearing about how the wheels of the bus operate.

      They likely don’t like it any better than OP does…but then they don’t have the thumbs necessary to open their own food packaging so they just have to suffer. OP not so much.

      OP just tell him.

    21. AKchic

      My kids haven’t watched Blues Clues in about a decade. I still occasionally sing the “here’s the mail” song when opening mail… both at home and at work.
      My youngest is 9 and I still have a Yo Gabba Gabba soundtrack on my volunteer flashdrive. “Just in case”, y’know.

    22. Admin 4 Life

      Is it possible he’s doing it intentionally but not maliciously? As in face-timing his kiddo to try and get some more time with him or her?

      This is something I do and I try to step away so I’m not disruptive but he might not have that option.

    23. Jill

      Yep. Please point it out in a lighthearted manner. I’m also the mom of littles and I can’t tell you the number of times someone at work has asked, “Can we do that?” or “CAn we do it?” and I responded heartily “YES WE CAN” (Thanks, Bob the Builder).

  4. Lilo

    LW #3 I was just in this position and I basically had to plan to move before getting a job, which is definitely a scary thought. My move was a (far) plane ride away and while I was getting interest in my out of state application, a lot of them were wanting to interview me within the week. With this distance, last minute plane tickets would have been a fortune, not to mention coordinating logistics with Current Job and managing time zones.

    So basically I set a date for when I was moving and noted it on my resume, as well as a realistic date on when the earliest I could meet for an in person interview was. Upon telling them that, some employers ghosted but I found more success as I got closer to moving date. The company I ended up getting hired at had me do a phone interview the week before I moved and we scheduled an in person interview for when I got there. I had an offer in hand after reference checks a few days later. And since they weren’t planning on having the position start for 2 weeks, I got a nice 2 free weeks off to help me get settled!

    So, if you can manage it, I would move out job or no job. I find that much more employers are more open minded if you have at least some kind of permanence in the area.

    1. Blue

      I think this really depends on your field. I’ve twice (in my relatively short career) performed long-distance job searches, and it hasn’t been an issue either time. However, it’s pretty standard in my field to offer long-distance candidates for entry- to mid-level positions final-round interviews over skype, so dealing with costs and logistics of last-minute travel aren’t big issues for the candidate.

      From the employer side, the biggest concern I’ve heard about non-local candidates is that they either weren’t committed to the idea of moving or would regret doing so. I preemptively dealt with that concern by briefly addressing my plans for moving in my cover letter, which was generally enough to convince them to interview me. You need to be able to talk about it, too, because it always came up in interviews – “I’m looking to move for X reason, and this specific position is a good fit for me because of Y.”

      1. Allison

        Right, exactly, specify that you want to move. There’s a huge difference between someone moving for a reason needing a job in that area, and someone who’s been living in one city for a while but feels like making a change and they think your city could be a nice change of pace. They might end up loving your city and everything could work out great, but there’s also a very real possibility that they’ll only last a couple years before deciding it’s just not for them, or it was fun for a while but now they wanna try another place and see how that works out. No one’s ASSUMING the latter is definitely going to happen, but they’re right to be concerned that it might, especially if it has happened.

        1. topscallop

          I want to do this, but my reason for moving is that my husband and I want to relocate to the new state, get a house and a dog, and start a family. We don’t have relatives there, he doesn’t have a job lined up there (will hopefully be working remotely) but we hope it can be our long-term home. Not sure employers will be happy to hear this, though we wouldn’t ask them to cover moving fees and I’d be willing to fly myself there for an in-person interview :(

          1. nonymous

            The way we (reversed situation from you) presented it was that the job-seeking spouse was relocating as part of a two-body problem. So hubby told potential employers that his spouse (me!) was assigned to our new city starting XYZ date. I work from home with the same employer as in old city.

          2. Prof. N

            Is there any way you can move and your husband can start the remote work before you look for work? It definitely does vary by field, but my husband has moved twice for my job, and in both cases, he could never get an interview until after we moved — companies would basically say “Yes, we’re definitely interested in your application, feel free to give us a call when you’re in town.” And then they wanted him to start pretty much right away after interviewing/hiring him, so there wouldn’t have been time for us to move after.

            Of course, all of this is super field-dependent — I am in academia where hiring from all around the country is the norm (it is probably less common to hire a local candidate), while my husband is in architecture and firms are typically hiring because they need someone to work on a specific project, like, yesterday. So, if you only got one company telling you they’re only looking at local candidates, you could keep trying. But if it’s a repeated thing, it may be the norm in your field that they want local candidates who can start sooner rather than later, making a remote job search a big challenge (if it’s even possible).

    2. Elle

      It can definitely be super frustrating when you WANT to relocate and companies won’t hire you because they don’t want to pay relocation or think you won’t want to move.
      Last time I relocated for work, I just completely left locations off my resume. When I got a call, I was able to express that I wasn’t local yet but was very interested in moving closer to family. This was particularly important because I didn’t have a specific location in mind, just somewhere within a 2 hour radius, so its not like I could say ‘I plan to move to X state on Y date.’ I think having the chance to talk it out ‘in person’ made all the difference.
      I also like the idea of including it in your cover letter.

      1. Specialk9

        Yeah my company paid $10k to move me. I would totally get why that could be prohibitive for some positions.

    3. Erin

      As an employee I weed out jobs that have too far of a commute or require a relocation all the time. It’s a two way street.

        1. LQ

          Some don’t, but plenty of companies move their locations around or move people between locations. The companies I’ve been with have all moved more than I have. And my org has started to bring up moving, and I will change jobs if I’m really unhappy with where they move to. The only difference is in number. Generally a person only works for one company, but a company has many employees. So if a company looks at it “employees” move frequently because there are many. An employee may not. But to a person, a company may move as often or more than that person.

    4. Falling Diphthong

      A note of caution that I had a relative figure “I’m not getting any calls because I haven’t moved yet, I should move first and then I’ll get interviews” and then it turned out that wasn’t the problem. Or not the only problem. Definite emphasis on “if you can manage it.”

    5. Nanani

      Just want to note that “Move first, Job second” is a -very bad idea- if the move involves crossing national borders. I understand a lot of commenters are talking about moving across US states, but for the more international situations, it’s worth bearing in mind.

      There’s a lot of variation depending on the specific countries involved, but generally, to get a visa that allows you to work legally, you need to have a job already lined up when you cross the border because the employer will need to be involved in the process for getting the kind of visa that allows you to work in the destination country.
      Showing up with a non-work visa (like a tourist one, which is what most “no visa needed” situations actually are) and then applying for jobs once you’re there, means that your new employer will need to get involved in changing your visa type. Lots of employers will nope out at that point, simply because it’s an added hassle.

      Not impossible, but definitely a lot harder than lining up the job first.

      1. Birch

        All the yep to this. Also I would advise against it even moving inter-state; I could see from the interviewer’s perspective that moving to a new place with no job and no security could signal lack of good judgment. Even if it’s a totally legitimate and healthy thing for your life (which moving and redefining yourself etc. can be), I could definitely see interviewers not wanting to take the risk of just being a part of someone’s manic pixie moment.

        1. sarah

          How in the world would they know that’s what you were doing, though? They would just see a local address on your resume. You don’t need to fill out your life’s backstory in your cover letter.

          1. Zillah

            Yeah, I agree with this. Even if your work history makes it pretty clear that you’ve recently moved, people move for a lot of other reasons – and I think it’s probably more likely that they’ve moved for a different reason than because they’re having a manic pixie moment.

      2. De Minimis

        I was conducting a long distance job search for several months, and the temptation was great to just move first. Employers kept asking, “When are you moving?” and I think many just didn’t want to deal with someone from outside the area. I was doing well to get interviews, but I think being long distance was ultimately a deal breaker.

        I’m glad I didn’t decide to roll the dice, though it was an easier decision since I didn’t have a clear idea of where I wanted to move and had just focused on cities in a particular region. I had moved without a job when I was younger, and it was hard then, I can’t imagine what it would be like in middle age with more responsibilities.

        I ended up taking a job about 60 miles away, remaining in-state. Still hoping to relocate to a lower COL area in the next few years….but at least it’s slightly cheaper in my new location.

      3. Dove

        Yep. If you’re moving to a different country, you have to be able to prove that you’re either going to have a job when you’re there or that you and your sponsor will be able to support you until you’re legally allowed to work.

        The only reason this wasn’t an issue for someone I know who’s immigrated recently, is because she’s self-employed and her job doesn’t care about which side of the border she’s living on – only whether or not she’s got a decent internet connection. It’d have gotten significantly harder for her to immigrate if she hadn’t been able to prove that was the case.

    6. Le Sigh

      This isn’t always possible, but I’ve used the address of someone I know in the city I want to live in (with their permission). I’ve done this for moves to major cities where a lot of employers won’t look at applications from out of the area–I think this is especially true for more junior-level positions, since they’ll probably have a lot of candidates.

      The biggest challenge here is a) you can’t ask for a relocation reimbursement if/when you do move and b) you will need to make sure you can get to said interview, since they won’t assume you’re coming in out of state. If you’re prepared though to handle that part, it can be helpful.

      1. CheeryO

        I see this advice a lot and always wonder how you’d handle it if you did get the job. Do you fess up? I feel like it would be strange to not be able to talk about your previous city, and equally strange to admit that you purposefully skirted their requirements.

        1. Le Sigh

          On a lot of job listings this isn’t actually a requirement. It’s just an unwritten rule or known thing your friends or family warn you about if you want to move to SF or NYC or DC. Employers throw out your application if you’re out of state without telling anyone that’s what they’re doing. So you’re not violating anything, it’s more game-playing.

          To your other point — you find creative ways to explain. So if you’re planning to move anyway, you crash with your friends/fam while you interview and talk about how you just came the city a few months ago and are looking for a job, etc. Or you actually move in with said friends or family temporarily until you get a new place. So you can be honest about where you moved from, etc., you just shift the timeline.

          And of course, you can’t ask for moving expenses (though you might be able to write it off on your taxes) and you need to make sure you can be available for interviews.

        2. Zillah

          When I did this, I explained at the interview stage that I was currently in X state but would be moving in with a friend/family member at an address in the city/zip code (because I generally just put City, State ##### rather than my full address) once I got the job. I wasn’t lying – my plan generally was to stay with that friend for a week or two – and I can’t imagine a whole lot of people seeing a change in housing plans as a problem.

  5. Amanda

    Re: leaving work early when work is slow. It can be aggravating that some employees get to do this but others can’t. Is your boss leaving early? In a former role, if several coworkers and the boss had left, then I felt I could go. If my boss was still working, I was still working. He sat right next to me which certainly figured in.

    Out of the box advice: consider taking a class. I’ve been taking night classes for the last year and am usually desperate for a couple of hours during the day to chip away at homework. Doing that at your desk (when work is truly not available) leaves you both (a) sitting there and (b) available if something comes up. I’m taking my classes through the local university’s continuing education department.

      1. Delta Delta

        I used to do something like that! I had a job with very slow periods but couldn’t leave, for various reasons. I kept a little notebook and would use down time to create characters just in case I wrote a novel one day.

      2. Quackeen

        Wasn’t there a letter a few years ago from someone whose coworker used work time to write (possibly a bad?) erotic novel?

          1. TardyTardis

            Well, at least it wasn’t me–my books have adult activity, but aren’t x-rated. I did work on them at lunch and sometimes my ExBoss would accidentally read over my shoulder (she didn’t believe in lunch boundaries) and sniff at them, but oh well. But if things were really slow at work, I’d get out a paper notebook which I took home every night and work on some outlines.

    1. Washi

      I wondered that as well – is the boss leaving early? Are coworkers at similar levels leaving early? There are some jobs where if you’ve finished your work, there’s truly nothing else to do and it would feel very silly to need to sit there and twiddle your thumbs. But at a more senior level, I think the assumption tends to be that there is always more you could do – developing strategy, doing research on a new direction you could head, etc, and saying that you’re “done” with your work might come across as a little tone deaf to the expectations of the job.

      That said, I’m currently in a job with a lot of down time in the mornings, and I use it to do some of the administrative functions of my life – paying bills, making appointments, keeping in touch with friends, planning trips, etc, and I like the other suggestions here of taking a class or taking up some other office-acceptable hobby if you really can’t leave early.

    2. LilySparrow

      You can also use the time for work-related training to keep improving your skills and moving up in the organization. The Foundation Center, for example, has a variety of webinars and e-courses relevant to nonprofits.

    3. Turquoisecow

      I’ve never had a(n office) boss who left early, (retail is another story), unless it was some unusual circumstance, like they were leaving for vacation or had some evening appointment or something. My last few bosses were so swamped with meetings from 8:30-5 that they usually stayed until 6 or 7 to do actual work. (Also, my last boss was salaried while I was not.)

      So I could definitely not use her schedule as a guideline of when to work, and while I liked my boss, I loved my husband more, and liked getting home a little earlier so we could spend some time together in the evenings! I also had a number of bosses who left at a reasonable time, but came in an hour or two earlier than me.

      The best thing, OP, is to look at what your coworkers are doing. Are they leaving early because they come in early? Are their jobs comparable to yours? I’m assuming you’re salaried or you wouldn’t be asking this question – are your colleagues? Are they getting paid less for working fewer hours? A lot of my coworkers at an old job left earlier than me, but came in earlier, and were paid hourly, so there was no expectation that they’d stay late, while salaried workers were held to different standards. Once you understand the differences, if any, between yourself and your coworkers’ positions, you’ll be in a better place to take this to your boss.

  6. My boss is dumber than yours

    #1: how “classically trained” are you? As in, did you take lessons back in high school (and maybe some summer programs), or did you go on to conservatory/university level post-secondary education (or even professional work)? If it’s just the former, I wouldn’t bother mentioning it, and am surprised that your interviewer was that interested. If it was the latter, then that really transcends the idea of hobbies/extracurriculars and instead is a legitimate part of your education and experience. As a working classical musician (who has also worked outside the industry), I can confidently say that there are many transferable skills that advanced music education and music industry work will provide you with.

    1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter

      Also, even if you’re not a professional, is classical music a big part of your life now? Do you play in an orchestra or sing in a choir, do you occasionally get paid for performing somewhere or perform for free somewhere that isn’t organized by a family member? Or was it just a thing you did at some point of your life and maybe even got some kind of degree/certificate (if that’s a thing for non-professionals in your country) but you don’t actively play/sing anymore?

      1. Antilles

        +1
        This is a critical factor no matter what the hobby is – if you’re going to include it as a hobby or interest*, it needs to be something you’re still somewhat actively involved in. Because it’s going to come off super weird if you list a hobby that you dropped long ago.
        *Note: This only applies if you’re listing it as a hobby; if it was an actual job and part of your relevant work experience, you can go ahead and list it even if you haven’t touched an instrument in years.

        1. Washi

          Yeah, I would say that you still need to be involved and also have either some sort of accomplishment or leadership position to point to. I taught myself a couple of instruments as a kid and still play them quite well, but that doesn’t really need to go on my resume, nor do my excellent knitting skills or ability to tell time by the sun. Not everything that is cool about you needs to go on a resume! Sometimes a hobby is just a hobby. I list my regular volunteering gig, which is relevant to my field, and that’s it for non-work or educational items.

        2. Amber T

          Or at least still ready to actively discuss.

          Fun fact – nearly every resume we receive has a Hobbies/Outside Activities section, and the ones with insider knowledge have the same things listed: Game of Thrones (because most of our office is obsessed… it’ll be interesting to see what happens next year when the show ends), professional non-local sports team that one of the MVP’s family member co-owns (applicants are from all over the country, and yet you’re alllll sports fans of this one city? Really?), and they all played another sport in high school/college (that another MVP was a big shot in when he was in college).

          So, I don’t think Alison would recommend it, but you can also use that section to show you have similar interests to the hiring manager. (But really, don’t do this.)

    2. Indigo a la mode

      I don’t think most people would take lessons for a couple years and call themselves classically trained. I’m 25 and have been playing piano for 21 years, including classical training for 14 years. It’s probably the thing I’ve been doing the longest other than breathing and reading, and piano study teaches dedication, diligence, public performance, essentially another language, yadda yadda yadda. I can see why an interviewer would be interested in knowing about such a long-lived and skilled hobby, the same way they might he interested in someone being an eagle scout. But I’ve never put it on my resume or brought it up as an example in an interview. I think this interviewer was unusual in her jaw-dropped-ness. In the future, it’s probably fine to mention it casually as an example of work ethic or just a fun fact, as long as it doesn’t sound like you think it’s the best/only example.

      1. Courageous cat

        Yeah, I played for many years in middle/high school and would never consider myself classically trained (don’t know who would). It’s not the same thing.

    3. Snickerdoodle

      Yes, the “transferable skills” is the key part. I list my volunteer work on my resume because that includes mentoring and animal care (which is not related to my job, but it’s quite a bit of responsibility and shows organizational skills) and a first aid/CPR/AED certification, which my work likes to know if people have.

      1. ElinorD

        this!
        I had a friend who was President of the figure skating club where her daughter skated. She didn’t think she should put that on a resume, but through that position, she had experience in event planning, fundraising, etc etc. I don’t think she ever did put it on the resume, but I thought that outside interest/activity had some excellent job transferable skills. (“I can land a single salchow,” however, not so much.)

    4. MissGirl

      Also, this doesn’t have to be a section on your resume with bullet points and transferables. It can simply be a bullet point under your skill section. I write and publish non-fiction books and have that as a bullet point along with a few other skills.

    5. schnauzerfan

      I’m always glad to see hobbies on an app. Some are very on point. We have an active music program on campus that staff are encouraged to participate in, so toot your own horn please. Depending on what other hobbies you list it might help us see you as a natural fit amongst our somewhat nerdy cohort. RPG? Robot builder? GeoCatcher? All are pluses. They’re not going to get you a job, just as a hobby isn’t going to disqualify you, but they might catch someones eye and that’s a good thing.

      1. Snickerdoodle

        I would worry about that kind of thing leading to favoritism. For example, at my last job, the boss asked me during the interview about my Excel skills. I mentioned all the basic stuff and that I also used it in designing knitting patterns. That sparked a conversation about knitting, and I later got the job. I suspected (correctly) that she wanted another woman and another knitter working there, and she always asked me about knitting and wanted to do girls’ nights outside of work, which made me uncomfortable. I’ve been careful not to mention interests that aren’t transferable skills during the interview process since then. “Fitting in” with others’ outside interests shouldn’t be an eyecatcher in the application process.

        1. JLH

          I get that it made you uncomfortable, and there are varying degrees very clearly laid out in multiple threads on this site about what kind of relationships people are comfortable having with their coworkers. That being said, I don’t see an issue with this being any sort of eyecatcher or determining factor as long as it wasn’t placed over your actual skills and ability to do the job over a better qualified candidate. Fitting in with a culture is a big part of what makes a good workplace and that little detail may have sent you over the edge in what was otherwise an even match. I guess it’s all in perspective.

      2. Lisa Babs

        I think of hobbies as any other element that goes on the resume. If there is some achievement or you got paid for it, then it can go on the resume. Because one shows just what you do in the spare time while the other demonstrates skills and dedication. But if it’s not to that caliber it can’t be included. It’s the difference between “likes to bake” and “won the Pillsbury baking contest” or “plays piano” and “Piano teacher for the last 12 years”.

        1. Snickerdoodle

          Exactly. I love to cook and bake and often get asked if I attended culinary school (no). I wouldn’t put that on a resume, but I might include that I was asked to join the division party planning committee as a result of the popularity of my baked goodies, organizing care packages for ill coworkers, etc. That also depends on whether I want those transferable skills known. If I don’t feel like being known for baking in the future, I won’t advertise it.

      3. Annoyed

        But how does one parlay “advice column junkie” into something the employer will see as a “skill?”

        1. That Would be a Good Band Name

          I said in an interview earlier today when asked “how I keep up with updates on HR, payroll, etc” that I read management blogs that help alert me to new/developing policies and then research information from there to be sure that I’m staying current.

    6. Engineer Girl

      I have really mixed feeling by about this.
      I am a fellow in a few science oriented organizations but I leave it out because it has nothing to do with my engineering. I’ve also been certified to teach some super technical techniques that have nothing to do with my day job.
      I normally leave it off my resume. The only time I included it was when the on-line resume tools requested it.
      Part of it has to do with room on the resume (I’d rather list my accomplishments) and part of it has to do with the fact that the positions are more senior engineer oriented. It seems the higher you go the more job focused things get.

    7. OP 1

      OP 1 here!
      I originally attended university as a music major because I was accepted into one of the top classical vocal programs in the country. I ended up switching majors though because I couldn’t see myself as a professional musician. I currently still study with a teacher at a conservatory after work hours and perform with an opera company and a major area choir throughout the year (all after hours). None of my performances are paid, so I wouldn’t call myself a professional, but people do have to buy tickets. I’ve just never associated my singing with finance, but the interviewer seemed to find it notable (I got the job, by the way).

  7. Meliza

    I remember years ago when I worked as an admin in a healthcare setting, my co-worker and I were helping our physicians review resumes for fellowship applicants. We came across one CV where the candidate had listed his favorite hobbies, and included hunting, BUT he spelled it wrong and instead wrote “haunting”. I can’t remember if he got called in for an interview or not, but I still laugh when I think about it.

      1. Lora

        I’m thinking of folks who pick up seasonal work as monsters in haunted house tour type of things…some of them have amazing special effects, people drive for hours to see them, so this would actually be pretty cool.

        I still wouldn’t want to see it on a resume in general, but it would amuse me to no end.

    1. Baby Fishmouth

      Even hunting is a hobby I’d recommend someone put on their resume – how do you know it won’t be read by somebody who has a moral stance against killing animals? Better to leave off anything that could possibly be a source of controversy.

        1. Antilles

          Agreed. This isn’t the time or place for a political debate or gun debate, but the basic fact of the matter is that hunting (and firearms in general) is a controversial hot-button issue in a way that most other hobbies like “piano” or “basketball” or “mountain climbing” simply aren’t. So it’s probably better to dodge the whole issue.
          During the interview, you could bring it up as part of the “so what do you do for fun?” topic if it seems like something they’d appreciate. But when you’re just a faceless piece of white printer paper, it’s probably best to avoid such controversial topics when possible.

          1. Lily Rowan

            I feel like that’s a big part of the argument against listing even innocuous-seeming hobbies or interest, actually — someone could read “basketball” and think, “Ugh, one of those jocks that always hated me in school,” or “knitting” and think, “Ugh, is this an old lady?” or whatever unfair stereotypes might pop up. When it’s not going to be relevant anyway, it feels like an unnecessary risk.

            1. BenAdminGeek

              Exactly- it adds risk where you don’t need it. I mean, I love video games, but I ain’t putting that on a resume.

      1. Guacamole Bob

        For people who can be selective about their jobs, putting that kind of stuff on a resume can help screen out workplaces where the culture fit might be bad. It should be done thoughtfully, with an awareness that it might cost you some interviews or offers at places you might not have felt were a good fit anyway. Same with references to activities or clubs or leadership positions related to a religion, political group, hot-button political cause, identity group, etc.

        1. Sun Rising

          I agree. I actually put on my CV that I do volunteer work with refugees. I figured if someone is going to reject me for that, I don’t want to work for them anyway.

          1. Engineer Girl

            I did that once and my company decided it was a security rush because I was going into dangerous areas.
            You can’t win.

        2. Chaordic One

          In particular, I’m aware of people listing membership in PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) as a subtle way of indicating that they want to work in an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender)-friendly environment.

      2. Meliza

        Yeah even putting hunting on his resume was weird – I live in a very urban, liberal area that definitely doesn’t foster a pro-hunting culture, but to each their own I guess.

    2. Snickerdoodle

      I would bring that guy in for an interview and ask for a demonstration of his haunting. He could provide the entertainment at the office Halloween party.

      1. TardyTardis

        I have two three-foot-long rubber snakes that I have used in Jaycee haunted houses in different ways to pretty good effect (including a turn as the Evil Rapunzel discussing the Hair Club for Witches).

  8. Doctor Schmoctor

    #5. A few days ago I found myself softly whistling the MacGyver theme while I was working.

    Bob probably doesn’t realise he’s doing it, and he would probably appreciate it if you said something. I had a coworker who complained about someone in the office who, according to him anyway, had a very irritating voice, and she spent a lot of time talking on the phone (with clients). That’s the kind of complaint you have to handle very carefully. But someone singing nursery rhymes? Just tackle it head-on. “Dude, you’re singing nursery rhymes. It’s kind of creepy.” He’ll probably be a bit embarrassed, you can all have a laugh, and move on.

    1. LJay

      Unless you’ve got a good relationship with him, I’d leave out the word “creepy”. It seems unfair and pretty negative.

      (If you’ve got a good relationship where he will understand that it’s a joke and that you don’t mean any harm by it, go ahead.)

      But yeah, I definitely agree that you can and should address it head on.

  9. AcademiaNut

    For #3 I am curious what field the OP is in. My experience with science postdocs is that they are almost always aimed at multi-national applicants, never mind restricting by state! (The main exceptions would be situations involving military clearances, or ones that require fluency in an uncommon local language).

    So if the applicant is in the sciences, this is still legal, but would be extremely unusual.

    1. Les G

      OP is probably in a “normal person” job, the kind that can be filled easily and done well by a large number of fairly average people and don’t require a special search, visa sponsorship, etc. Like most jobs! When you’ve been in academia too long it’s easy to forget that *you’re* the weird one.

  10. Harvey P. Carr

    In response to 3. Can an employer refuse to consider out-of-state job applicants?:

    I guess it’s because I live in NYC, but my first thought was ‘why would someone refuse to consider someone who lives in New Jersey?” Northern New Jersey, of course, being part of the NYC metropolitan area (and again, since I live and work in NYC, part of my first thought was that the employer is located in Manhattan).

    Long-distance out-of-state, of course, is a completely different matter.

    1. stump

      Yeah, I was thinking how absurd that’d be for my area. I live in the Greater Cincinnati area, so Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana are all Right There together. Hell, a No Out-of-Staters rule would probably cut out half my coworkers and managers right off the spot.

      Now I’m wondering if there are local companies that would try to enforce a rule like that…

      (Tangent: Now I’m remembering the time my parents tried to buy expensive-ish jewelry in Cincinnati and their card got declined because they’re from Kentucky and thus “out of state”, even though they live about 20 minutes away from the store at most.)

      1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD

        I had that happen in DC. I lived in Maryland, at the end of the DC metro Red Line. My bank got an earful, and then shortly thereafter was no longer my bank.

      2. LJay

        I’ve seen some positions like that, but they’re usually either city/town government positions or positions with non-profits where they want you to live in the area and alongside the people you are meant to be serving. Or they are emergency response positions where it really might be important to live in that direct area if there were say a flood that blocked the roadways into and out of the specific area.

        And all of these have been very upfront about the requirement on the job posting with something like “the successful candidate must live in or within 5 miles of the city of [X]”.

        1. stump

          Yeah, those are the only positions around here that I can think of where the Local rule would make sense in this area. I know there was a big Hubub from one of the local cities about a potential new rule that police officers had to live within 20 minutes of the station if they took a cruiser home with them.

      3. BF50

        On the opposite side of this… I live in Colorado. When my sister received an offer for a job in RI, they wanted her to do a drug test. The HR lady couldn’t find a lab near us so asked “What are the 4 closest states to you?”

        We laughed.

        If you can’t find a lab in the Denver metro area, you aren’t finding one in Cheyenne, WY (1.5 hours away),or anywhere in else in Wyoming, for that matter. We could get to KS, MN, or UT in 3-4 hours, but getting to a metropolitain area would take substanitally longer.

        1. AnotherJill

          They must not have been looking very hard. I was once visiting Boulder and got a job offer from Ohio. That afternoon I was on my way to a lab in Boulder for my drug test.

          1. BF50

            No, they were not looking very hard.

            The lady was a bit put off, initially, when my sister refused to leave the state. I think she had never left the east coast and had no idea how spread out cities are in other parts of the country. She did find a lab, but we still laugh about it.

      4. BenAdminGeek

        The greater Cincy area of Kentucky is one of my favorite spots to drive through, solely because of
        1) Big Bone Lick State Park signs (I’m immature I know)
        2) The Florence Y’all/Mall water tower.

            1. BenAdminGeek

              Oh, I’m sure. I remember it from college fondly, but if I lived in the area I’m sure it would get old really quick.

    2. Delta Delta

      I also live in an area close to a state line where the whole area feels like one community rather than different states. Tons of people work on the opposite side of the line from where they live

      That said, people on each side of the line have different state tax issues. Maybe the employer only wants to have one set of tax forms to have to do? This seems thin but maybe.

      1. Natalie

        The employer generally only has to worry about the state where the work is performed. Any issues related to needing to file a return in two states would be the employee’s burden alone.

        1. M. Albertine

          Generally, but not universally, especially if there’s a reciprocal tax agreement between states. Having to register for withholding in another state can also create nexus issues. Ask me how I know! (Don’t ask me how I know)

        2. Le Sigh

          The metro area I am in has a lot of reciprocal tax agreements since so many people live/work across state borders, so the HR departments I’ve dealt with have forms for every scenario so the employee can just fill in the right one. I actually got really irritated with a poorly run HR department I dealt with that failed to set up these forms when I changed which state I lived in (I just moved across the border, but the same metro area). I wound up having to drain my savings account to pay one state all of my annual owed taxes, while I waited for the other state to reimburse me. That was a great tax season.

        3. MsCende

          Not wholly true. My husband and I just moved from the west coast to the northern-Midwest. His job offered him the option of working remotely for a couple of months (they didn’t want to lose him), but we wound up going around in circles as to how it would work for a while. The company is only registered as an employer in Washington and didn’t want to change that, so for tax purposes my husband is (mislabeled as) an I9 contractor. Washington doesn’t have income tax (only sales), so it wouldn’t be part of any reciprocal withholding agreements.

          1. MsCende

            And I mis-read “employees problem” as “employers problem.” Tiny little text in tiny little phone screens.

      2. Justin

        Being that many metro areas are on rivers, and rivers commonly divide states, lots of metros are on or near a border with another state and have commuters from other states. I imagine a company that refuse to consider out-of-state candidates isn’t located near a border.

    3. MTUMoose

      In Metro Detroit we are not only multi-state but international as well. I have co-workers that commute in from Windsor, Canada. A commute to Automation Alley is 45 minutes without factoring in border delays (add an extra 30 minutes easy).
      If the auto industry ever stopped hiring Canadians they would lose a quarter of the work force.

      P.S. – I have even had co-workers in the past that commute in from Toledo to the Norther Suburbs (1.5 hours one way) as well.

      1. Queen Anon

        I’m from that area (though never lived there as an adult) and I love that Canada is our friendly neighbor to the south. But – why are the auto industries hiring Canadians when people in the Detroit area are desperate for employment? Detroit’s been in the news for years about how bad off it is and how people have been leaving there for multiple reasons, including lack of employment – so why are the auto industries hiring Canadians? It’s hard to believe that so many of the people still in Detroit (not to mention all the surrounding cities and towns) are unqualified to work in an auto plant or office.

        1. A tester, not a developer

          Canadian checking in (close to the border, but I don’t work in Detroit). Most of the cross border workers I know aren’t doing auto plant or office work; they’re working in automation, or robotics, or materials sciences… specialized stuff.

          1. Fin Shepard

            Why shouldn’t they? Maybe to be good corporate citizens in an economically devastated area?

        2. Baby Fishmouth

          I would imagine some of it is that they’ve also been closing plants north of the border as well, and I would think some of the employees would have been offered a chance to work in Detroit if they were particularly qualified. Although this is entirely just speculation.

        3. deets

          Caveat that I don’t work in the auto industry (though have relatives who do), but I have lived my whole life in southern MI and am familiar-ish with the situation. There’s a lot going on with auto industry hiring right now, but a few things to keep in mind:

          1) Most auto industry jobs are fairly high-skill. So much is automated that working in a factory often means programming robots rather than a traditional assembly line job. MI has had a lot of brain drain problems and companies had to get creative with hiring and retaining engineers, programmers, etc.

          2) A lot of those jobs are in Metro Detroit, not Detroit proper. Public transit throughout Metro Detroit is awful, so to work out in a suburb you need to have a car. That’s a massive barrier to entry for a lot of people. (And is how you get those “feel good” stories like the guy who walked his 20-mile commute until donors offered to buy him a car.)

          3) There’s no way a quarter of MI auto jobs are held by Canadians. There are over 100,000 auto jobs in SE Michigan, and only ~6000 people commute from Windsor to Detroit (and a lot of those people are in non-auto jobs like nursing).

        4. MTUMoose

          Just to be clear I am talking about specialized white collar type positions – engineering, program management, purchasing, computer programmers, etc. People don’t realize how much non-manufacturing work is being done in Metro-Detroit. Unfortunately the ability to make a good living working in the plant lead to a lack of people with professional skill sets instead of labor skill sets. Additionally with the great recession of 2007-2009 a lot of the skilled people left the state to find work and they have not returned. Therefore, finding people to do the work who live outside the US happens. That and there are a good number of car plants / part suppliers in Canada as well so the experience transfer occurs easily.
          In all honesty if you are looking for a good place to live with reasonable cost of living and a good variety of activities Metro-Detroit is a great place to live. If you are an experienced person with skills in electronics/program/electrical engineering the Auto Industry is hiring.

          1. Engineer Girl

            Actually a lot of us also left in the early 80s. The unemployment rate was 35% and only one person in my class got a job in-state.
            Southeast MI is quite pretty. Detroit area has the most parks per capita of any major city. There’s a strong outdoors culture of hiking, biking, cross country skiing. And it’s very affordable.

      2. Slow Gin Lizz

        Lubec, ME and Campobello Island, NB are like that. The only way off the island by car is to go through the US, and people come and go between the two communities all the time, living in one, working in the other, etc. When I visited a few years ago some folks did say that the upped security at the border made it slightly less convenient than it used to be.

    4. Holly

      I was just thinking that. I would assume it would be equivalent to say a company is not considering those out of the metropolitan/tri-state area.

    5. lost academic

      My boss refuses to consider anyone for this office that isn’t from here or lives here now. For all the wrong reasons. For new grad jobs where everyone is moving. The result is that I can’t fill necessary roles and the office is extremely homogeneous. And… racist.

    6. Legal Rugby

      I’m guessing this is more like my employer – I am less than 100 miles from you, and the largest employer in my town, but if you don’t have a connection to the area, its very difficult to get them to look at you on the staff side of the house. There is a long history of people saying “It’ll be fine, I’m 100 miles from two major cities!” and then faced with the reality of living here…. lasting a year, tops.

      If they dont have qualified local candidates, they will definately look outside, but they try to be REALLY open about what the realities of living here are.

      1. Antilles

        I’ve had friends who work for major companies in remote areas and they’ve said the same thing. Like, “oh it’s only an hour to Major City” sounds like it’s no big deal when you think about it.
        But then the reality is that you’ll make it to Major City only on a weekend…and even then, with the drive factored in, a lot of weekend you won’t even feel like doing that. And every trip mentally feels like it needs to be something exciting or at least a lot of time, since it doesn’t make sense to drive an hour each way and only spend 1.5 hours actually there.

        1. Legal Rugby

          It’s 103 miles from my house to where my friend from law school lives in the city. but I’ve seen that last 15 miles take 90 mins. It’s nothing like living in or even near the city. And people who aren’t from the area tend to assume they will essentially be getting the City, when in reality, they are living in the hills with the hillfolk. My boss is HR adjacent, and they are pretty upfront that location is a huge burden when it comes to retention.

        2. Le Sigh

          I interviewed for a job right out of college in a really small town. There was basically one crappy grocery store, most restaurants were just so-so chains (so no local diners or hometown joints, even, and I love trying food, so this was a bummer), even the movie theater and other local entertainment had closed, the area was prone to flooding, and it was an hour from the city (where my interviewer told me most young people go on the weekends). He also talked up the positives, but I appreciated his honesty about living there. I know now that while I’m a bit of homebody, I really like living close to stuff so I don’t have to spent a lot of time getting there. I would have taken the job if it was all I had, but I don’t think I would have lasted more than a year there.

    7. Dragoning

      I live in a border town of one state and work in the border town of another…many of my coworkers live in my city.

    8. Polymer Phil

      I once had an interviewer tell me that everyone he’s hired with an hour commute (which applied to me) has quit within a year or so. I think this is why I didn’t get the job, and he was probably right that I would have hated the commute. I only applied there because it was during the dark days of 2009 and I was desperate for a job.

      I would never move for a job in today’s era of short-termism. Why should I go through all the hell of uprooting my life when there’s a good chance I could be laid off in less than a year?

      1. Antilles

        That’s interesting. Do you happen to know what the typical commute was like in that city?
        I ask only because in a lot of places I’ve lived, an hour isn’t a particularly notable commute – it’s a bit longer than most people’s 30-45 minutes, but not at “everybody is going to quit and flee screaming” levels either.

        1. Zillah

          Yeah – being a New Yorker may mean that my perspective is skewed, but for me, significantly less than one hour is a treat. I’ve always had to leave myself at least fifty minutes.

    9. nonymous

      It can also be an issue of expectations. My MIL used to live just outside Yellowstone and she frequently shares stories about how people will decide to settle in the area after a summer experience, live through one winter and then nope out in spring. It made hiring permanent staff at her workplace (K12 ed) difficult.

      1. Annie Moose

        Oh man. I was out in Yellowstone last summer, and it was amazing–but also 100% not a place I could live in the winter. Southern Michigan winters are plenty for me.

        I have family in Alaska and it sounds like it’s quite similar up there–lots of people would LIKE to live in Alaska, but can’t hack the winters. I think it’s valid in cases like these to be very careful about out-of-the-area candidates.

        (my OldJob wasn’t in a place with bad weather, but it just was kinda isolated, and unless you grew up there, you got bored pretty quick. It had a terrible time finding good out-of-the-area staff that would stay more than a couple years)

    10. Dove

      I know from conversation with my partner and my in-laws, a lot of oilfield work in Alberta (and other areas in Canada) tends to have one of two notations on the listing: local only, or non-local preferred. (Paraphrasing, since it’s been a while.) They can’t actually *refuse* to hire locals unless the site is really far from town, but they can definitely make it clear whether or not they’re looking for someone who’s going to be able to live in camp or someone who’ll be able to commute.

      Even with having to pay for flying non-locals home and back when they’ve got time off, it usually worked out to be a lot cheaper for the companies to have people living in camp if they could manage it.

  11. Knitting Cat Lady

    #5: People often don’t realise that they’re doing things like that.

    When I was in 9th grade I was apparently mumbling what I was thinking during a math test.

    Teacher sidled up to me and said: ‘Please stop calculating out loud. You’re giving the others the solutions.’

    Oops.

    1. Zaphod Beeblebrox

      I suppose continuing to calculate out loud, but giving the wrong solutions would be bad form?

    2. Snickerdoodle

      Haha, yeah, I had a classmate once who was very perky and hyper and read the first question to a quiz out loud and then glibly also read out the answer. Luckily, the teacher laughed, but the girl had to be extra careful about keeping quiet during quizzes and tests in the future.

      1. Dove

        I’m remembering the time when I got so absorbed in a book I was reading that I didn’t realize the teacher had started giving an oral quiz…until I said the answer to one of the questions and, promptly, revealed that I hadn’t really been paying attention to what’d been going on for the first five or so questions. (I’m pretty sure I got the answer right, too, which annoyed the teacher even more because now she couldn’t be sure if everyone else actually knew the answer properly or if they’d just cribbed off of me.)

  12. Julia

    Question 1: This may be a cultural thing as well. According to my husband, in Japan it’s considered positive if you’ve stayed in the same sport or sport circle during your school years, because it shows dedication. Of course, Japan also thinks that people should be married to their jobs and that extreme conformism to the group is a good thing.

    I wouldn’t put my hobbies on my application outside of Japanese (or Japanese companies overseas), but it’s probably not a bad idea to have an interesting hobby ready to talk about, or at least to make one’s not so interesting hobby sound more interesting. Of course, that requires people to have time for hobbies…

    1. Les G

      Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a culture where showing dedication by continuing to [practice the same insttument/play the same sport/what have you] *wouldn’t* be considered a positive thing. That’s certainly the perspective of every American parent who makes little Otis drag his bassoon to school every Wednesday even though when he plays cat’s whiskers fall out. The salient question to me is, why is it relevant for jobs?

      1. Julia

        In Japan, it IS relevant for jobs. I guess because the predominant attitude is still that you stay somewhere for life, so if you’ve been in the same sports club for years and endured all the hazing, that shows you will stay in the same company even if they mistreat you?
        I’ve been in Japan for quite a while now, but some things still puzzle me because they don’t seem important at all. I can see why they care, but I personally wouldn’t care.

      2. Julia

        Of course, it might also serve to identify who could afford to not work after school and instead be in a club.

        1. Mookie

          Yep. Merely including the hobby section — sometimes even irrespective of the hobbies listed — is often a reliable class signifier, conscious or no. Most of the conscientious managers I’ve worked with try to actively disregard, when present, its existence because it can cut so many ways. True of unpaid service, as well, but that rarely tends to negatively bias the employer against the applicant.

          1. Hiring Mgr

            Not sure i’m following–are you saying listing hobbies could bias employers, or not listing them could do that?

            1. Someone Else

              I thought the implication was having hobbies significant enough to be worth listing suggests having sufficient free time/money to spend on said hobbies and thus could create a divide between candidates who do not have time/money for such things. So the bias comes in when you see a “hobbies” section in the first place. I don’t know that I necessarily agree because it’s not at all consistent in my experience whether people choose to list hobbies (and is totally independent of whether they HAVE hobbies), but my takeaway is the bias comes in when seeing hobbies.

              1. Jadelyn

                Plus, a lot of the “cool sounding” hobbies are expensive – things like camping, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc. require gear and travel, which means owning a vehicle that can carry your gear and get you to potentially remote areas. (Can these be done on a budget, yes – but it’s not easy, and most people who are on a tight budget aren’t spending what little spare cash they have on scraping by in a normally expensive hobby.)

                Also it means you have time to spend on optional leisure activities, which probably means you don’t have a second job or side hustle, which is a class signifier as well.

            2. AMPG

              A friend of mine launched a discussion on this very topic in his Facebook comments last week (since apparently it’s expected that freshly-minted lawyers will have an “Interests” section to differentiate them from every other new lawyer) and a couple of people posted studies showing that listing hobbies tends to decrease diversity in hiring.

        2. CMart

          You just made my brain explode a little with a realization about a big reason I’ve always struggled to have “hobbies” of any note.

      3. Snickerdoodle

        I think the idea is that dedication to a given pastime demonstrates (however falsely) an equable dedication to a job. Patchy resumes with lots of job hopping don’t look good, like the employee is flaky or gets fired a lot, whereas somebody with a steady history at a given company even though they didn’t like the job or weren’t a good fit shows reliability. Playing the cello or whatever for a decade has nothing to do with a senior accounting position, but it might if the cellist also gave lessons, organized a local club, or had won an award.

        Personally, I don’t think a person’s hobbies have much relevance to a job (unless they’re a conflict of interest) because being able to pay for hobbies (what I want to do) is why I have a job at all (which I don’t want to do).

    2. AnotherAlison

      In the US, I think that if you’re a college athlete, you absolutely should put it on your resume (up to a certain point in your career, anyway). My son is a current college athlete and it takes a ton of time. He gets about a month off at Christmas, and maybe a week between spring/summer and summer/fall seasons. On a daily basis, they practice or play at least 6 days a week and go to school and weight train on top of that. He doesn’t have time for things like summer internships (or any job at all this year because he played out of the country), so it helps explain why he will be graduating college with very little work experience.

      1. Washi

        In my field (nonprofits) I would find it a little weird to see a college sport listed on a resume after 2-3 years out of college. Maybe if it were something really prestigious, like a basketball team that got to the NCAA championship? But otherwise, I feel like knowing that the person was like, an excellent squash player in college doesn’t really add to their application and might seem a little out of touch for what constitutes relevant experience to a job.

        1. AnotherAlison

          I guess it’s a know your audience kind of thing. Getting into college sports at most levels is extremely difficult, so I would say it is prestigious, even if you aren’t on the NCAA championship team. The problem is people who aren’t into sports and especially aren’t familiar with college sports don’t necessarily understand that. The odds of a high school player going on to play college are like 2-10%, depending on the sport, and that includes walk-ons. I mean, I agree with you to an extent–it would be weird to see a 30 years old mentioning their college track & field days, unless they were still heavily involved with it in some way, but I wouldn’t blink at a 25 year old looking for his second post-college job includng it.

          1. Sue No-Name

            While I completely understand where you’re coming from–college athletics take extreme dedication–I wonder if you mean that the team participation should be included as on par with a job? If you’re saying it should be on the resume in a “hobbies” section, 100% agree. If you mean it should be listed with dates and accomplishment bullets under “work experience” or whatever the title is these days, I don’t think that’s appropriate no matter how much time and skill and dedication is required. It’s not a job.

            1. AnotherAlison

              No, I don’t mean included it AS a job, just an “other” activity. Point was that athletes don’t really have time to work a lot. If you are taking an average course load, have middling grades, and never had a job/internship, I think you need to have something to address what you did with your free time.

              1. Starbuck

                But why would an employer be impressed by sports? Unless there are somehow transferable job skills, or I’m hiring for a position that involves a lot of physical labor, sports participation isn’t going to do anything to make up for a lack of work experience (especially as someone who didn’t do college sports). In the back of my mind would also be all those grade-inflation scandals to help top athletes maintain the GPA threshold they need to be eligible to keep their scholarships.

                1. Mad Baggins

                  I think it’s fair to assume that an employer would be as impressed by a hobbies/other interests section that stated “played college-level basketball for 4 years” as “knitting” or “playing video games” or “piano” or whatever other regular hobbies someone might add. Presumably the applicant would be young enough to still have their GPA on their resume, which might address concerns about grade inflation. And I think it does account for how someone spent their time if they have no other work or internship experience.

      2. Yorick

        I probably wouldn’t include it, especially past the first job. It might give interviewers a bad impression, unless they’re sports fans.

        Saying this as a former college professor: many/some (not all!) college athletes are not serious students and coasted through college courses, if they got a degree at all. Seriously, I had a football player in my class who couldn’t read, their tutors did their homework, the basketball coach escorted them to class to make sure they attended but then they’d sleep or put on headphones, their advisors put them in classes that they knew were really easy or the coaches literally bribed professors to pass them.

        I say all this not to bash college athletes, because I know many are working very hard and are good smart people, but because anyone who went to this university and had classes with a football or basketball player would think the worst of former college athletes.

        1. Brett

          As a former college athlete who met athletes from all over the country through my sport, the vast majority of college athletes have more difficult schedules and higher grades than the average student (with an amazing percentage going into STEAM fields).

          The exception though, were Div I football and basketball players at certain schools, and it sounds like that is what you experienced. Div I football (12,650) and basketball players (4,511), though, are less than 4% of all college athletes (460,000), and even then it is only certain Div I schools (mostly profitable power 5) that have the atmosphere you describe. Basically, few people in college would have the encounters you have, while many people would instead encounter the 96%+ athletes who do not fit that stereotype.

          1. Starbuck

            Yes, but which stands out more? Who ends up in the news? I went to a large state school with big sports teams (don’t know the appropriate lingo- Division 1? anyway) and while I didn’t encounter slacker athletes, I remember being really bitter that they got to register for their classes before almost anyone else- and I had my schedule thrown out of whack many times because the classes I needed were already full by the time I was able to register.

    3. Nanani

      In Japan, the hobby section is part of the resume template (Yes, there’s a standard ONE TRUE FORMAT*) so reluctance to change the way it’s always been done is probably a factor too.

      *With mild variations for new grads vs not, but only mild.

      1. Julia

        Yup, and you also have to list your age and any dependents etc.
        So somehow, recruiters always figure out I’m a married woman around 30 (child-bearing years alert!), but they can’t always figure out that I’m not Japanese despite my photo, obviously also mandatory (which is what I complained about yesterday, being rejected for a job that required my native language). Fun times.

      2. Mad Baggins

        I remember seeing advice to include “intellectual” hobbies like reading, but not too many solo pursuits or else you’d be seen as a loner/not a team player. I think the ideal hobbies section was reading+a classy instrument like piano or violin+a team sport.

        Not what my hobbies section looked like but the reasoning behind it was illuminating.

  13. Screenwriter Mom

    LW#4– I don’t know about your field, but in my field (the film & TV business) literally no one uses LinkedIn. I used to get random invites, which never stopped (LinkedIn seems to be set to repeat the emails) so I blocked them. Chances are your friend never saw the message. In any case, please, please don’t “dread” the interview. Just go with your best smile and put yourself forward as a bright, pleasant person. Don’t even mention the LinkedIn thing, don’t give it a second thought.
    As a screenwriter, my profession basically consists of constant job interviews (pitching, at all stages of a project, basically comes down to a “job interview,” over and over), and one trick I’ve discovered that really helps, is to stop obsessing about whether you’ll get the job, but to think of each interview as a thing in itself: you’re widening your network of contacts, you’re learning more about your profession, you’re gaining experience, you’re letting more and more people see who you are and how great you are to work with. So simply having the interview is the “accomplishment,” and if you get the job, great, but if you don’t, you’ve still gained plenty. This way you can approach every interview with calmness and confidence–no dread! Dread really just works against you, and it’s really valuable to figure out how to get rid of it.
    Good luck!

    1. Julia

      If no one uses LinkedIn, wouldn’t they just not have profiles at all? I agree that OP3’s friend probably just doesn’t check LinkedIn a lot, but I assume she at least uses it sometimes, otherwise why have it?

      1. NeverNicky

        I have a LinkedIn profile because it was needed for a specific volunteer task (why I couldn’t have emailed a CV, who knows?) but I never go near the site. I treat it a bit like a piece of string in a rammel drawer – might come in handy one day but I don’t need to use it right now.

      2. Shannon

        because it’s there ready to be activated when I need it, but I haven’t opened the site in 3+ years.

        1. sheworkshardforthemoney

          I haven’t updated mine since I got my present job 2 years ago. I wonder sometimes if it’s even worth keeping. I get automatic notifications but no one has ever personally reached out to me since I’ve had it.

      3. Bagpuss

        I think for a lot of people, it’s something they signed up to for a specific reason – for instance, that they were job searching, or a boss or trainer recommended it, or something similar.

        I signed up mostly because I wanted access to a specific group which was relevant to a specific task which I had to deal with (task involved an application to an external agency for a form of accreditation needed by my company. The application was both compulsory and incredibly badly designed and having a group of people who were doing the same thing so we didn’t all have to solve the same problems independently, was really useful).
        I haven’t made any active use of it since then. I recall that it was also something which I’ve heard recommended for networking / job searching but I personally have never found it remotely helpful for either.

        I do occasionally look at it if I happen to get a notification when I’m not too busy, but it’s very low on my lists of priorities as I have never found it particularly helpful or relevant, on a day to day basis.

        So I don’t find it surprising that people have it but don’t use it / check it regularly.

        1. Emily K

          Yep, I probably log on once every 4-6 months for some specific thing and try to clear my notifications/inbox while I’m there, and then won’t log on again for ages.

        2. Jadelyn

          A couple of my well-meaning college classes required that we have a LI and complete certain sections of our profile. Have any of those students continued to use LI after completing the class that requires it? Doubtful. I only use LI because I need to post jobs for my company on there sometimes.

      4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

        My cousin just bought a house and for some reason it was necessary to create a LinkedIn profile in order to get a mortgage. She messaged me to ask what to do with it because it’s not used in her field very much.

      5. Turquoisecow

        My husband got a LinkedIn profile specifically in hopes of stopping the spam he was getting from them. He would constantly get emails asking him to connect, so he finally created a profile and went into settings and told them “don’t email me anything, ever.”

        I go on LinkedIn about every six months, confirm whoever’s requested me, maybe check on some former coworkers to see if they’ve updated their profiles with their current workplaces (many haven’t, and still show them working at a company that went out of business almost three years ago), and move on with my life.

        I know some people use it regularly, but not a lot of people I know.

    2. Glomarization, Esq.

      Different strokes for different folks — er, industries. In the lawyering and lawyer-adjacent consulting I do, LinkedIn is very useful for finding gigs, including my current position.

    3. Mallory

      Ha, I asked my husband to “like” something I posted on LinkedIN to help with traffic and he agreed but said “they’ll probably think my account is hacked since I never log in.” He’s upper management at a tech company and in linkedIn’s sweet spot. But he doesn’t really do social media.

    4. Lora

      It varies a LOT by field. In my field everyone and their brother uses LinkedIn, but not very many people use social media in general if that makes sense: we all have LinkedIn profiles but check them maybe once a month if that, and typically only to chase down a vendor who we met at that one trade show two years ago, sort of thing.

      From my friends in other fields, it seems like people use Facebook and other things more often, and they really cannot conceive of “doesn’t use social media much at all, but need to keep track of people for references” as a thing that people actually do in real life.

    5. Long Time Reader, First Time Poster

      I don’t “use” LinkedIn in that I’m rarely on it, I don’t read or share content, etc.

      BUT it’s still useful to me, it serves as a self-updating electronic rolodex. It’s a great way to track down someone you don’t stay in touch with regularly, but might need to contact for some reason.

      1. Ophelia

        Yep. I also use it as sort of a resume clearinghouse – if someone contacts me interested in a consulting job or whatever, I can see whether they’re relevant enough to pass along to one of our recruiters, and I also keep tabs on who’s hiring in my (relatively well-networked) industry. But I often go months without checking the messages, since I am forever forgetting my password and rarely log in.

      2. Turquoisecow

        Yeah I got my current job because a former boss had a job to fill and messaged me there; she had no other contact information of mine. But it was completely useless in finding me a *new* job, since a lot of my “connections” are people I don’t actually know, or don’t have hiring power, or aren’t in my industry.

  14. Shannon

    I’m super curious what #2’s boss will say. I’ll admit I would just bring non-work to work unless it would be very obvious I wasn’t doing work work, there’s always boss’ that place more value on you being physically there. Or the boss would give me a big long term project to do if I asked Alison’s script (which I think it great!). Good luck.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz

      The #1 thing I miss about working from home: that I could knit when things got slow or while I was on the phone. Now I just play with my hair.

      No, I take that back. That’s the #2 thing. The #1 thing I miss is hanging out with my kitties all day.

      1. BottleBlonde

        This is my favorite thing about working from home too! I was just knitting on a call this morning. It actually helps me pay attention better too.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago

        I’m a fidgeter and I recently bought a thing of fidget toys off of Amazon. You might find that useful instead of playing with your hair. I’ll comment a second time with a link to what I got. It has actually made it easier for me to focus and stay alert.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz

          Thanks! I tried silly putty/thinker’s putty, but that didn’t really work for me. Fidget toys don’t often appeal to me because they don’t replicate the motion (or sound?) that I wanted. I would love a permanent solution though, so maybe your fidget toys would help.

  15. The Principal of the Thing

    LW#1: I think it can also depend on what field you’re in: in early education, for example, (my field) a lot of hobbies can enrich your work performance and be an edge over another applicant. I’ve hired applicants based on learning other languages (from beginner to fluent), their sports, dancing or drama groups, or learning to play a musical instrument.

  16. londonedit

    On hobbies – I think there’s definitely a difference between just putting ‘I like baking and going to the theatre’ and listing outside interests that may be relevant to the job, or show another aspect of your personality that could boost your chances as a candidate. I’m a qualified football (‘soccer’) referee and even though I don’t actively referee matches anymore, I still have the qualification so I put it on my CV. It always gets comments in interviews – even if the interview isn’t in a sport-related field – and interviewers invariably say something like ‘Wow, you must be pretty unflappable’ or ‘I suppose that means you’re well used to dealing with difficult situations!’ which is really useful as it can open up more conversation about the non-work skills I can bring to whatever role I’m interviewing for.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Agreed. I wouldn’t put that I enjoy going to the movies on my resume, but I do have a section where I list my membership in various hobby organizations, especially where I’ve held certain roles. I have a musical hobby and I include my membership in two major groups as a conversation piece, plus my role as a managing board member to demonstrate leadership skills.

    2. Naomi

      Yes exactly. I put knitting as a hobby, but I set up and organise a local knitting group. So there are some relevant skills there too. It should only be a brief line on the CV though, there’s no point filling it up with hobby info.

      If it’s relevant to the job you should also include it. That’s probably more likely in my role which is ecommerce, so depending on what the retailer sells I may have a relevant hobby. For example my love of computer games and comics was relevant for the job at a pop culture focused retailer. And in my current role we value photography as a hobby as that’s our business.

      1. Washi

        Yeah, I think if you are an organizer/leader of a group, that’s very different than listing knitting because you like to keep your hands busy while you watch TV (which is me haha.)

      2. LJay

        Yeah, this is the distinction I was thinking of.

        I think if it’s done in an organized way, it seems more valid to me to put on a resume than if it’s just done individually.

        Like, music. If you just have a guitar that you pull out sometimes, or took music in middle school and still have your flute and take it out sometimes I don’t think that I would put it on your resume. If you play in the community orchestra, or take individual lessons and do recitals or whatever, then yeah, I would put it on.

        I think it’s because the second implies more dedication and sustained effort to me than the first. Like, I have a cello. I haven’t broken it out in more than a year (mostly due to living in an apartment). But I could say I play the cello as a hobby and it could technically be true while not saying very much about me at all. But if I’m taking lessons or playing in a community orchestra then there’s evidence that I’m pulling the thing out and actually playing it at least once a week and probably more than that.

        Same with the baking example. Like, okay, you enjoy baking. Does that mean you bake Christmas cookies once a year and cupcakes on your birthday? That doesn’t tell me much about you. But if you tell me that you bake for the food pantry every week, or that you take classes at the local university extension in cooking, or take Wilton cake decorating classes that tells me it’s a big part of your life, and something that you’re more dedicated to doing.

    3. Allison

      Right, exactly, I feel like some people list very generic hobbies because they think they need to put *something* on there to remind whoever’s screening the resume that they’re a human being, but the reality is, mentioning that you like to cook, listen to music, and spend time with your family under your job qualifications won’t really have an impact on your candidacy.

    4. Persimmons

      I know several women in “manly man” industries who list (legitimate) hobbies like rock climbing or dirt biking to prevent assumptions that might cost them an interview. It’s gross and unfortunate, but it often works.

    5. Magenta

      As a recruiting manager I find that hobbies listed on a CV can be really helpful during interviews, especially when I am interviewing young or nervous people. Often getting people to talk about their interests allows them to relax and show a bit of their personality, which doesn’t always come across in structured interviews.
      I’ve also found that candidates who put effort into hobbies, activities, causes, volunteering etc tend to have a better work ethic/attitude than those who don’t.

      1. Lynn Whitehat

        Yes, when interviewing new grads, I often tell them explicitly that I will accept school projects and extra-curriculers for the questions about “tell me about a time you had a difficult colleague” and so forth. Usually any paid work experience they had doesn’t really apply.

        Oh man. We recently interviewed a guy who said that he dealt with difficult people on group projects by “telling them to shut up, since I AM RIGHT.”

  17. FD

    #5- Yeah, I’d put money on he’s hearing these at home/singing them with a child at home, they’re stuck in his head and he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it.

    For some reason when I was taking my SATs, I had the song “I’m So Blue” from VeggieTales (the episode with Madame Blueberry) stuck in my head The. Whole. Test. I still remember it almost fifteen years later! A lot of people get something running through their head when they’re doing some sort of repetitive work, and I bet he’s just humming it out loud without even realizing he is.

    1. Mookie

      A lot of people get something running through their head when they’re doing some sort of repetitive work

      I’ve noticed I assign myself inner songs for specific tasks off a growing playlist. It’s actually very helpful for keeping the wandering part of my brain superficially occupied, and even stimulates new ideas that will consciously emerge a day or two later.

      But doing it out loud* is a no-no. He’ll understand and change accordingly, I think.

      *a friend of mine worked with someone who head-banged silently. Every now and again, in the radio in his brain, he’d get to an awesome guitar solo or bass-heavy bridge and would start mosh-pitting from his chair. Sounds distracting, but entertaining in small doses. Ditto people who like to keep time on their desks or nod out a never-ending beat with their heads.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer

        I would love to hear more of this on the open thread this weekend. What gave you the idea? What are some examples? This sounds like a cool way to harness something my brain loves to do anyway.

        Also, you can sing just about anything to the tune of the hairbrush song. And my husband says the same about Abba’s Mamma Mia.

      2. EddieSherbert

        My SO does this – his ‘household busywork’ (chores, hygiene routine, cooking…) song is the Andy Griffith theme song, which he subconsciously will hum or whistle. Drives me nuts. Hahaha.

        At this point I just yell “No!” from where ever I am in the house when he starts whistling and he laughs and stops.

    2. Not Australian

      It can depend on the background noise, too. If the sound a door makes opening just happens to be similar to the first couple of notes of a song I get that song stuck in my head all day, so it could be that the co-worker is hearing some ambient sound and their subconscious is doing the rest. Doesn’t make it less annoying, certainly, but slightly more explicable.

      1. FD

        Definitely, and in any case, the LW should definitely say something! Hopefully that will resolve it easily.

    3. FD

      Anytime. :3

      I don’t know if you ever had their Christmas album, but my family still says, “You’re killing me, Larry.”

    4. Monty's Mom

      I love that one! But, ya’ know, I play it rarely, so then it’s still fun. All. The. Time. would be too much!

  18. Lynca

    #3- You don’t say whether you indicated you are moving to the area or how out of state you are. An applicant from California (for example) would have a hard time being considered over someone that wouldn’t need a cross country relocation where I work. You would need to be a superstar applicant and highly in demand to overcome that.

    Also there isn’t a lack of qualified applicants locally so there is actually a lot of competition for jobs that open up. It doesn’t make sense to consider out-of-state applicants when you have hundreds of in-state ones.

  19. Child free

    #2: I’m so glad you asked this question because I’ve been struggling with something similar at my own workplace. I have a few co-workers who have children, and they routinely get to come in late and leave early to drop kids off or pick them from daycare, essentially making it so they are there for 7-7.5 hours instead of 8.5 hours like the rest of us (includes lunch). It is honestly starting to make me a bit resentful that they get to work an hour less each day but are still paid full-time (we are a public institution where the state makes a database available—they aren’t at 80% or 90%) because I don’t think it’s right for only people with kids to get to enjoy flexible work policies.

      1. Child free

        We are required to take PTO in increments of four hours or more, so they are not because they would’ve run out of leave within a few weeks. We also aren’t allowed to work from home. But if they did have an arrangement allowing to make up time that way, then that would be another example of unfair policies for those with kids vs. those with not.

        1. Kj

          Maybe they don’t take lunch breaks? Or arrive at work earlier than you do? I had a job where my schedule was very different than most folks. People sometimes assumed I was skipping out early when really, I’d been in since 7am and never took a lunch. This is for your boss to decide if it is ok. And you can ask for flexibility too.

          1. Yvette

            Exactly. Also, everyone notices when someone leaves early but often don’t notice when someone stays late. At one point I needed to leave 2 hours early on Fridays, so I worked an extra 30 minutes later the other four days. I doubt very much anyone noticed the half hour later but I am sure everyone noticed the 2 hours earlier.

    1. MicroManagered

      Also child-free at a public institution!

      It took me a while to recognize this (and YMMV) but I have access to that same flexibility around scheduling–the idea that “they can because kids but I can’t because no kids” was in my mind. I started putting things on my calendar when I know in advance, or simply telling my boss in the morning “Hey I need to leave around 3 for an appointment” or “Hey I need to leave early on Friday [for unspecified reasons] so I’m going to work later on Tuesday if that’s ok.” To my surprise, that was totally fine!

      Are there workplaces out there that are more flexible toward parents than child-free employees? Absolutely. And yeah to some extent, that’s ok. Generally, a child who is sick and needs to be picked up from school is a “need” where me wanting to leave two hours early to get ready for a concert (or something) is more of a “want” and a “want” may need to be planned in advance or take a backseat to a “need” sometimes.

      Lastly, don’t be that person who keeps tabs on others’ comings-and-goings. As WellRed mentions, do you know for sure they aren’t supplementing their missed time with PTO or by working from home or not taking a lunch break or something? My guess is, you probably don’t know that for sure, and I would hope not, because paying that much attention to what others are doing WILL drive resentment and be crazy-making!! I know this because I spent wayyyyyy too much emotional energy earlier in my career resenting a coworker who seemed to use her kids as an excuse for everything. If her kids got sick, she needed the whole week off–every time. If she was half an hour late coming back from lunch–she had to drop something off at her kids school or something. It was frequent enough that she either had an extremely chaotic life or a very active imagination. She bugged the hell out of me. But you know what? What I really didn’t like was that that behavior translated into her work. She was one of those people who shuffled papers on her desk to make herself look busy, when really, for all that effort, she could just DO work. That’s the thing about resentment. It’s sometimes not about the thing you think it’s about.

      ANYWAY! I didn’t mean for this to turn into a novel! TL;DR: Don’t worry about what your coworkers are doing and see if you can establish more flexibility for yourself with your work schedule like they do. Chances are you might be able to! :)

      1. Emily K

        This is great advice! In my line of work, marketing/fundraising, one of the most important rules we love by is, if you want something, ask someone for it.

        Working in an asking profession really illuminated for me how common it is to think that what you want is obvious and that people would be giving it to you already if they wanted to. Like it’s weird how often our brains make that assumption without realizing, “You know, I never actually asked.” Some common human cognitive bug.

        So just ask*, and you might be surprised to learn your boss would be fine with you adjusting your hours.

        * The only exception is if you’re having any performance issues at work, in which case it would be tone deaf to ask for additional privileges.

        1. BF50

          Yep.

          At my last job, I worked on a 3 person team. When one the child of one lady on the team started kindergarten, she started a really unusual schedule to accommodate the school’s regular late start days.

          After a few months, my other teammate and I saw that the flexibility was working, so we came up with a plan and presented it to our manager. We switched off weeks taking short lunches and leaving early on Fridays. The phone was still covered every Friday until 5 and we still each worked 40 hours a week. Sure, our desire to get to happy hour early might not have been as important as our teammate’s need to reduce limit the cost of before and after school care, but we covered our work so it was immediately approved.

        2. Lynn Whitehat

          Yes! I was just doing political canvassing for the challenger in our IS House race. I knocked on one guy’s door, and he was super-excited to meet me. He invited me in (yes, bad Lynn, not supposed to go in), and he had a whole area of his house dedicated to Our Congressman and How He Sucks. Newspaper clippings, letters received from the Congressman, photos of protests outside the local office, etc. Intense. So I asked him if he would like to volunteer for the challenger, and it was a totally new idea to him. Yes! You too can get out votes for a better alternative! Whoa.

      2. imustbanonymous

        It’s okay unless your job is one that mandates behind-in-seat coverage for specified shifts, like mine, and you are one of the small pool of available people who can cover it. It’s happened to me too many times to count. On a similar irksome note, although of much lesser importance, is the extra breaks that smokers are allowed to take.

      3. EddieSherbert

        This is a great point – you don’t know what’s actually going on with people.

        For example, my office has flex scheduling, I usually leave earlier than 75% of the office. I also come in at least an hour earlier than 99.5% of the office (there’s one guy who almost always gets in before me and one who does about once a week). Most people see me leaving but don’t know when I got in.

      4. nonymous

        I will say that being child-free and in relatively good health means I don’t use as much leave as my colleagues with kids. I have a coworker who’s kid pukes a lot (not infectious, but due to sensory issues) and the local school district has a 24hr rule. So if kid pukes during school Thursday, coworker takes Friday as a sick day to care for kid and they will go off and do fun stuff like go to the park or visit grandma or he can squeeze in errand running.

        But I do get resentful when I eye my 440 hr sick leave balance (coworker runs pretty close to zero) and I’m only taking an hour or so for my dentist appt!

        1. Kj

          I’d ask the boss if you could use some sick leave for a mental health day. I had a boss who would allow it, especially since I was rarely ill and my job was super-stressful.

          1. Emily K

            If your workplace doesn’t require doctors notes, I wouldn’t even ask, because a lot of bosses have really outdated views on mental health and will think that the request is either 1) not a valid use of sick time because suck it up buttercup, or 2) an indication that you must be severely mentally disturbed/on the verge of a nervous breakdown if you are requesting time off for mental health.

            In my workplace it’s perfectly acceptable to just say, “I’m not feeling well and will be taking sick leave today,” and nobody would demand any further explanation. “Not feeling well” IMO truthfully encompasses both physical and mental health. This would not raise any alarms in my workplace unless you were doing it like, every month.

            Alternately, if your workplace’s policy allows sick leave to be taken for pre-planned medical appointments, you might consider doing something like treating yourself to a monthly massage if you can afford it. It’s great for mental AND physical health, especially considering it’s very common for desk workers to have posture issues that cause chronic back/neck pain which regular massage is very effective at relieving. You can book it for the afternoon and then use your sick leave to take the afternoon off and if your workplace is reasonable they should have no more issue with that than a dentist appointment.

        2. zora

          or take a whole day off the next time you have a dr or dentist appt and enjoy the rest of the day? Focus on doing what makes you feel rejuvenated, not resenting your coworker. It’s more healthy in the long run.

    2. DCompliance

      Have you tried coming in late or leaving early? If so did you get your hand slapped? Like others have said, you may have the same flexibility.

      1. Fin Shepard

        THIS. The assumption that special privileges are at play always amazes me. If you want to do what somebody else is doing, just do it!

      1. Nonny Maus

        Yes, thank you. I don’t understand why “someone else gets something nice” = “I’m being horribly mistreated.” Is their apparently shorter workweek harming you and your ability to get your own work done? If yes, speak to your manager. If no, get over it.

        If you want the same apparent perk, ask for it.

        And btw, just because it LOOKS like they’re getting away with working less, doesn’t mean they actually are. Some years ago I had a co-irker tell me, to my face, must be nice to get to leave the office early and work from home, if you’re actually getting anything done at home. I responded, must be nice not to have to do work reports at the pediatric oncology clinic while your kid has giant needles stuck in their chest. (I’m still angry. That a*hole retired years ago and I still leave the room when anyone mentions her name.)

        1. MicroManagered

          That is just awful. I’m so sorry. But it’s a really good example of why everyone should keep their eyes on their own paper, isn’t it?

          For what it’s worth, the coworker I mentioned in a somewhat judgey tone upthread did not have a child with an ongoing medical condition–that she ever shared, at least. This was more like “kid threw up at school” = “now I have the flu too and will be out all week” happening like, every other month. From what I knew of her work habits and general personality otherwise, that she was abusing her sick leave seemed like a reasonable inference.

  20. Tertia

    #5: Be glad it’s not “We are the Dinosaurs.” I spent a weekend with my nephew three months ago and am still humming it at random times. And I *hate* it.

    Anyway, yes, mention it to him before it infects other coworkers.

    1. Red Lines with Wine

      This is my go-to song to get my son to calm down. But I agree, it’s an annoying song.

  21. akiwiinlondon

    LW #1
    I agree with Alison and the comments here, I also wanted to add this might depend on how much work experience you have behind you.
    For a recent graduate or with maybe 1/2 years experience I’d be more interested in your hobbies and who you are as a person to fit into my team because I’d expect to train you on specifics and ‘team fit’ can be more important.

    I would recommend if adding these to think about the skills it supports and how you might talk about that in an interview also to think about how useful they are. Say if I asked about your organisational skills, if you have lots of work experience to support this you don’t need to fall back on hobbies, but if you’re not so experienced you may have an example of how your interest in baking means you have to be prepared and organised before tackling a recipe. When I’ve interviewed junior positions this is a big bonus to be able to highlight your skills where some people think they need work examples they fall short.

    1. Miss Displaced

      I agree with this. For someone with little work experience listing certain hobbies or extracurricular activities can make sense.
      For the more experienced, I would just say consider very carefully your skill level at the hobby and how it might be relevant to jobs you’re applying for. There certainly are good cases for including certain things.

  22. Elle

    #1- I have specifically been told that I was given an interview / the job because I included volunteer experience on my resume. I worked on a volunteer fire department, and people have told me this is how they knew I would have the leadership expertise without necessarily having the ‘real work history’ to prove that.

    Obviously my example is incredibly specific, but I think this can apply in many other areas. For example, someone who is a musician is obviously capable of patience and hard work. That might tell someone more about who you are as an employee and set you apart from others who only show their black and white skills.

    If your hobby is something a little more contested (thinking of my friend who is a competition hunter) or without application to building business skills, it feels more out of touch and braggy to me.

    1. FD

      I think you’re right–and in this sense, volunteer/hobby activity can help bolster your resume. For example, “Helped to found, organize, and run fan convention which has continued five years to date, attracting up to 1,500 attendees”? That’s concrete, shows sustained ability over time, and shows clear results. Whereas “Attend 3 conventions per year” might require planning and organization but it’s hard to show how that benefits the employer.

    2. EddieSherbert

      I went from marketing to a tech writer/editor job for awhile (it was not a good fit, but I was young and thought I had to stay awhile anyways…) and my volunteer work doing events/graphic design/etc for an animal shelter during that time was the main topic when I was interviewing for marketing jobs again.

  23. Icontroltherobots

    OP #2 – This is the inherent built in unfairness to people with children vs people without children. Allison is right, your co-workers may be taking PTO for their child care options, but they might not. Is there something concrete you want to do after work?

    I have replaced “childcare” with exercise. I will sign up for a class and then if I need to work late (or later than I thought), I will ask my boss, should I cancel my class? I am explicit.

    Your time is not less valuable than your co-workers because you don’t have children. Repeat as many times as necessary.

    1. Les G

      This. My wife’s d-bag old boss was a huge stickler for punctuality–unless you were picking up junior from soccer practice. It seeped into the office culture in a really toxic way. When there was an assignment that required pulling an all-nighter or a weekend shift, my wife (coincidentally one of the few childfree in the office) was the first to volunteer. She’d been guzzling that kool-aid and really, truly believed her own time was less valuable than her coworkers’.

      1. Icontroltherobots

        This is my life right now – it’s toxic. One of my managers brags about having a play pen in her office when her child was little, so she could work weekends/nights.

        It’s also just assumed that because I don’t have a kid, I’m perfectly okay with working later/longer/harder than my peers.

        1. Fin Shepard

          Is that grounded in fact? People have all kinda of obligations to pets, elderly parents, and themselves. Workplace flexibility can accommodate all of that. I wish parent wars would end, but they won’t in my lifetime.

          1. Icontroltherobots

            I have had those words said to me –

            I do not resent the people with kids, if I ever have one, I will be just as vocal about seeing said offspring as they are. I also recognize, “I did not go to the gym” is not in the same ballpark as, “if I don’t get my kid they will call DSS.”

          2. Engineer Girl

            I know that when I was working through university they used to schedule me to work on Christmas and thanksgiving because I supposedly didn’t have “family”. They gave me New Years as compensation.
            Except I’m very family oriented and I don’t like to party down.
            So yes it’s a thing.

        2. anonners

          Also, because I don’t have a kid, I’m a bad, entitled, and disloyal employee if I get sick. Forgot about that one!

      2. Not So Super-visor

        This is what happens at my husband’s work too. He’s constantly being told that he has to stay late (salary) to cover for someone who had to leave early because of little Billy’s soccer game or that he has to stay late because his replacement is at little Sally’s dance class. He’s working 11-12 hours a couple of times a week, and the manager always allows it because “kids.”
        It’s been a little extra salt in the wound as we legitimately tried to have kids and weren’t able due to fertility issues. It’s really painful to have it constantly enforced that his time is not as valuable because we don’t have kids.

        1. Icontroltherobots

          That is a very painful situation. I’m sorry you have to be constantly reminded. It’s something I’ve encountered my entire working career. We recently had a “promotion” some up at work, and it was legitimately addressed whether one of my co-workers would dedicate the time necessary because of children but it was just assumed I’m okay with working the additional overtime.

          This “promotion” can without a new title/pay so I self selected out of the running for it. I’m trying really hard not to do what Les G’s wife did and drink the kool-aide.

    2. Mr. Bob Dobalina

      I prefer to call it discrimination instead of unfairness. And it’s real, for sure, but often subtle or indirect. In this day and age, where flexible schedules are so popular, if I was in a work environment where flex was available, I wouldn’t offer any reason for wanting a flexible schedule, (if asked directly I would just say “personal commitments”), but I would be prepared to explain how I can get my job done with the flex schedule, and provide reassurances in that area.

      In my experience, unfortunately, flexible schedules are often enabled by those who don’t have them.

    3. CMart

      I often wonder in people’s specific situations how much of it is an unwritten but explicit culture from on high that “the only good reason to have flexibility is for children” and how much of it is just that the non-parents don’t think they have the ability to advocate for themselves.

      There’s certainly a different feeling to “I’m leaving the office now because if I don’t, my kid will be sitting on a curb in the rain waiting for me” than “I’m leaving work now because I want to hit up the grocery store”. By and large most people would feel a pang of guilt for the latter, even if it was actually perfectly okay within your office culture to do so. The former is something most people would do unapologetically.

      So in places that truly offer some flexibility, it’s worth it for those without “understandable” obligations to start valuing their own time. Find out if it’s truly a luxury afforded only to parents, or if that’s simply something you’ve been assuming and then advocate for yourself accordingly.

      1. Icontroltherobots

        Excellent point – I have actively tried to advocate that my “personal time” is important. My office offers moderate flexibility but we have a culture of extracting every last drop of productivity from people.

        As an example, it is perfectly appropriate to bring your child to work with you, if your child care falls through, just the existence of that child cannot affect your work output in any way.

  24. you don't know me

    Good luck OP #5. I used to sit next to a guy who would sing the same line of random songs over and over. I politely asked him if he could stop and instead he just got louder.

  25. fre-zem

    #1 a quick warning when listing hobbys can go wrong. I used to put ‘Wikipedia: article writer and elected administrator’ on my resume. I ended with a company that tried to make me misuse my position to *improve* their Wikipedia article. They even threatened to fire me unless I put some garbage PR text in there and prevent it from being removed again. I was lucky to get out there fast. I left the hobby section off ever since. (I realize this is an unusual example)

    1. BF50

      I put “conversational Spanish” on my resume when I was right out of college. I was young and naive and thought people who didn’t study foreign language would know what that means, (i.e. not fluent, but able to carry on a casual conversation, not having technical vocabulary.)

      Nope. I got hired for what I soon realized was an unethical, high risk, mortgage company. They wanted me to sell loans and explain mortgage documents in Spanish. Selling is fine, collections were fine, but explaining a legal document was not fine. I don’t know the word for mortgage in Spanish, much less amortization. Even if I could explain the document, I couldn’t answer in depth questions. My parents are attorneys, so I felt it was a real ethical issue to try to explain a legal document to someone without having the proper language skills to do so.

      Management did not like that. I certainly would never put that on there again. It was not my intention to imply that I could work fluently in Spanish, but that was how it was interpreted, which was partially my fault. I am now very careful not to mention my spanish language skills in interviews. If I need to write an email in Spanish after I get the job, I can and will do so, but if it’s anything more complicated I’m careful to have it reviewed by a native speaker.

      1. Jadelyn

        I would urge you not to let one really terrible company (who sounds like they would have been toxic about literally anything, it just so happened to be language skills this time) put you off of mentioning your language skills in the future – just as long as you can be very explicit with them about what exactly your level of skill includes and doesn’t include. Speaking as someone who often hires for bilingual-preferred or required positions, I don’t interpret anything short of “bilingual fluency” to mean “I can do the job in a second language” – if someone says “some Spanish” or “conversational Spanish” I will rank them above someone who has no language skills mentioned, but not as high as someone who is actually bilingual. Most of us are quite capable of discerning the difference between the two. And completely avoiding all mention of it is doing your skills a disservice.

        1. Fulana del Tal

          Jadelyn, you may know the difference between conversational and fluency but from my experience a lot of people don’t especially if they don’t speak another language. In fact there was a letter about this here once. As a Latina with less than conversational Spanish skills I never state I have any type of fluency on my resume, if asked at interviews I try to explain the best I can.

          1. Jadelyn

            Which is why I mentioned being very explicit about what your skill level is – “fluency” is a terrible word, to be honest, as it has very little nuance to it. Are you natively bilingual? That’s the top level of fluency, but you can be conversational-fluent without having deep technical vocabulary, or you can be business-fluent but you’d struggle to have conversations about other topics than your specific field. I just feel like any level of language skill is an asset that should be noted, as it could give you an edge over other candidates in getting to the interview stage – but I also understand being wary of doing so, to avoid misunderstandings.

            1. BF50

              Even natively bilingual can be tricky. I know people whose parents speak one language and that is their first language, which they speak at home, with family, and with friends, but who spoke only English in school, read in English and work in English. They do not all have deep technical vocabularies.

        2. BF50

          Thanks for that. It is amazing how a truly toxic job can mess with year head, even years later.

          My horrible boss told me he thought I was “deceitful in my interview”. I knew he was full of crap, but it did make me doubt myself.

          I have tons of stories of his awfulness. There was the time that he was absolutely shocked when I said I was bothered by his comment that I couldn’t be as close to my family as he was to his because of my race, or that time he I didn’t take it as a compliment when he said I was “better at filing than him because women are more organized than men”. Then there was the time when he announced to the room full of women that his first wife “made him beat her”. There was the time he was mad that one of his subordinates had closed more loans than him. This is messed up on multiple levels because he was supposed to be managing, not just closing loans. We had a big whiteboard calendar where we would write the time and last name of loan closings and he would change her closings from “Bueller -1 pm” to “Bullshit – 1pm”. He was a peach. It’s been more than 10 years and I’m still angry.

          1. Jadelyn

            Oh my god my jaw kept dropping further and further the more I read of that. That is so wildly unacceptable I don’t even know what to say. Yeah, I’d still be angry too.

            Honestly, saying you have *conversational* Spanish when you lack the ability to have extremely detailed, technical discussions with loan applicants in that language is not even remotely “deceitful” except in the world this guy lives in, which is one in which it’s acceptable to do the things he did, so I’d say it’s not particularly well-connected to the real world the rest of us live in. Please don’t doubt yourself for that.

            And anyway, a company that runs its hiring well would test an applicant’s language skills if they’re that critical to the job – have someone who does have the appropriate level of fluency do a phone interview with you to ascertain just how fluent you are or aren’t. I’ve got a shortlist of coworkers I go to when I need someone to test a candidate’s Spanish fluency for me, since I don’t speak enough Spanish to do so myself – if we need a loan officer who speaks fluent Spanish, I grab someone from the mortgage dept to call and talk with the candidate specifically about the details of lending documents and whatnot so they can tell me not just whether the candidate “speaks Spanish” in a general sense, but whether they speak enough Spanish to talk mortgages with clients in that language. Same for tellers, or marketing folks who need to translate docs about our products and services, etc. If I didn’t do that, and I just made an assumption based on a candidate saying “I speak conversational Spanish”, then that’s on me as the recruiter for not verifying that the candidate had the level of skill I needed for that role, not on the candidate for being “deceitful”.

          2. Thursday Next

            What does race have to do with family closeness? I can’t even begin to make sense of that.

  26. Rusty Shackelford

    So here’s an interesting story related to #1. My teenager just got her first job. It’s at a national chain store… let’s say they sell tea and tea-making accessories. She has no work experience other than a volunteer stint at a charity stop, but she’s an avid tea hobbyist, and spends all of her spare time and spare cash making tea. She’s also made made a tiny bit of money making tea for others. I helped her write a cover letter that emphasized how this particular store was her favorite place to buy tea and tea accessories, and how she’s learned so much about tea and has helped others with their tea selections. She ended up getting selected for hire before she was even interviewed, based on being an experienced tea hobbyist. I know this isn’t the exact same situation as #1, since the hobby was related to the job she applied for, but I still thought it was pretty cool. (Because she’s my kid? Yeah, probably.)

    1. SarahTheEntwife

      I think hobbies are also much more understandable if you’re talking about a teenager applying for their first job. She’s not necessarily *expected* to have any real job experience and serious hobby experience can count for a lot in that situation.

    2. LilySparrow

      I think I accidentally went into one of the stores you’re talking about, just looking for a nice hot cuppa with milk to perk me up while shopping. The employees were so, so, into the nuances of tea that it was startling to a utilitarian tea-drinker like myself. (Twining’s Irish Breakfast is about as fancy as I ever get.)

      So I think your cover-letter advice was an excellent example of tailoring to the position and showing one’s relevant strengths and experience.

    3. smoke tree

      In retail, there are some cases where I’d say this applies regardless of the experience level of the applicant. I know that for knitting and sewing stores, it’s basically required that you have substantial knitting or sewing experience, since customers will often ask for advice. I’ve had friends who got jobs on the basis of their knitting skills alone, although they didn’t have much customer service experience.

    4. frystavirki

      I’ve only had one job since I’m a student and ill, but I’m pretty sure they hired me because I noted in my interview that I had been sewing for at least twelve years and, moreover, knew what a yard was. This was in addition to my experience as an artist. So…I have enough experience to get a fabric and craft store retail position, I guess? But yes.

  27. Cat

    #4 — people vary wildly in how much they pay attention to LinkedIn. Anecdata: I look at it MAYBE once a week, and usually because I’m working with someone new and want to get a sense of their background. While I’m at it, I may or may not click over to the notification/messaging area; it’s usually clogged up with sales-y invitations from recruiters or financial advisors so I don’t pay much attention… anyway, just go into the interview with confidence and be happy to see your old friend.

    1. CleverGirl

      Came here to say the same thing. When I’m not job hunting I log into LinkedIn probably about every half a year. I always have piles of connections waiting for me and sometimes a message or two. LinkedIn is definitely not the most efficient way of getting in touch with someone.

    2. AnotherJill

      I log in so infrequently that usually don’t remember my password. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that others check those things at the same frequency as you do, but the reality is that everyone is different.

      Push the thought out of your head that this means anything and go to the interview as you normally would.

  28. Linda Evangelista

    OP1 – I played an instrument for about ten years, I DEFINITELY put it on my resume (and explain how it translates to my work now). :)

    1. Curious Cat

      I think translating it to your work now is what’s key about putting hobbies on a resume! As long as a hobby can relate back to your current work, work ethic, how you approach certain problems, organizational skills, etc. and you would use it as an example in an interview, it could be put on the resume. Otherwise, I think they’re just simply nice discussion topics for small talk in getting to know the interviewee a little bit better.

  29. Persephone Mulberry

    I really wish #2 had specified how frequently they’d be leaving early if they could. For whatever reason, my impression was that the LW was thinking of flexing their schedule on a weekly basis, so I was startled by Alison’s assumption of “once a month or so.” I really do think the frequency impacts how they should address this with their manager.

    1. CMart

      Agreed, the tone from the LW seemed to be “I don’t really work 8 hours a day, can I just… go?”

      Though I suppose the implication from AAM’s response is that probably no, you can’t just dip out on a recurring basis just because you’re efficient, since she didn’t even entertain it as a possibility.

    2. EddieSherbert

      +1

      I DO have flex scheduling, and I tend to come in earlier and leave earlier than most of my office – which my manager permits because I check my email/notifications at least once in the evening. I assumed OP wanted to do something similar (minus coming in early) that would be a regular thing / “the norm” for her.

    3. nonymous

      I was under the impression that flexing, by definition can only occur within a single week. That is, an employee can’t work in excess of 40hrs one week and take the overage as credit the following week; they would have to be paid OT the first week and <40hrs the second. So for many companies, it's financially beneficial to expect staff to manage their workload so that they aren't working OT and use the extra work to fill in light weeks.

      That said, there are companies where the regular week is 35 hrs and you might be asked to stay late for projects (with extra hours of pay), but OT rate of 1.5x only kicks in at the 40hr mark.

      1. CMart

        I’m sure there’s a formal, legal definition somewhere, but in my office with an all-salaried, exempt workforce “flexible hours” simply means “we’d prefer that you’re in the office 8-5 but honestly, as long as you’re getting your work done, you do you.”

        So we have people floating in any time between 7am and 9:30am, leaving anywhere from 4pm-7pm, in any random combination of hours spent with butts in seats. Some folk work through lunch, some log in from home before or after they’re in the office, others have a lighter workload and work fewer hours and others have heavier workloads and put in some extra time.

    4. E.

      I came to say the thing. Since OP mentioned parents who are leaving early to pick up their kids, I was assuming that was on a regular basis – every day or at least a couple days a week, not as an occasional thing. If those people are often coming in early/working from home at night/etc. to accommodate leaving to pick up their kids, it might not be relevant to OP’s question though.

      One thing to consider (I think this has come up in similar letters) is that if OP asks to frequently leave early because they’re done working, the organization may wonder why they’re paying her as a full-time employee? Also OP, does your boss know that you don’t have enough work to fill your time – are there more responsibilities you could take on?

      1. CMart

        Your second paragraph was what was on my mind: is the LW efficient enough that they could ask for extra work instead?

        I say “could” instead of “should” because I think there’s a trade-off to be made for people who are able to be more productive than average. We’ve had several discussions on this site about how many people only really “work” for 60-80% of their actual workday, often because they’re faster than their colleagues.

        It would be the rare employer who would hear “Actually, I get 40 hours of work done in 35 hours, would it be possible for me to leave at 4 every day instead of 5?” and think that sounded grand. Rather, they’d think it’s an opportunity for you to take on more work. My office is big on “process improvement”, so when we find ourselves staring down some idle time the ambitious among us start digging into our existing projects and tinker to see what can be improved. The less ambitious among us (*cough* me *cough*) keep our heads down and comment on AAM sporadically throughout the day, rather than let it be known we have time to do even more work than is expected.

        The LW needs to be pretty darn sure of what the culture and expectations of the office are before letting it be known their assigned work doesn’t fill an entire week for them. Chances are the result is not going to be “sure, go ahead and scoot on outta here!”, but instead “here’s some projects that have been on the backburner you can tackle! Thanks!”

        If that’s what she wants, to actually work while at work, then awesome! I personally enjoy being able to be leisurely (for me) in my work and faff around here and there through the day and produce the expected amount of work. But I really don’t think “eh, yeah just leave” will be the answer.

        1. Lynn Whitehat

          I am one of those productive people. I do a lot of personal business at work, always have.

    5. CM

      Yeah, I was wondering about the timing, too. Mostly because I had an office job a few years ago where it was obvious that they’d made a mistake by hiring someone full time, since I had nothing to do 40% of the time I was there (and it wasn’t a responsive position where something could suddenly come up; it was literally a three-days-a-week workload getting spread across five days for no reason).

      Unfortunately, they had some kind of mental block where somehow they weren’t getting their money’s worth if I didn’t spend 16 hours a week teaching myself to juggle and reading random crap on the internet, so they wouldn’t negotiate any kind of deal where I spent less than a full 40 hours in the office. It was stupid, and I quit as soon as my lease was up and I could move away.

  30. A Scrummy Manager

    OP1 – Just like any other experience, consider how you can phrase the things that you’ve achieved with your hobby.

    Hobbies: hiking.
    vs:
    Hobbies:
    Meteorology, 2003-Present
    * NOAA Certified Weather Spotter
    * Leader of the Tempests for Teapots Association
    * Local speaker on a variety of weather related topics

    That’s not saying that every hobby needs to have some achievements in mind, but it makes them more applicable to a resume.

      1. Dragoning

        I suppose it depends on how “into” your hobbies you are. I’m the kind of person who goes to conventions to learn more about my hobbies and immerse myself in the community around them–I don’t put it on my resume, but since I take time off work for these, my coworkers all know this about me. And if I wanted, I could put it on my resume similarly to the example.

        But, yes, if it’s just something you do to fill your time, it probably doesn’t need to be on your resume.

        1. Sue No-Name

          I honestly meant it seems *more* resume-appropriate when it’s got so many tasks and accountable elements involved :) “Volunteer experience” as a detailed section makes sense, whereas “Hobbies” seems more like something that should just be a single line at the bottom of the page.

          1. Dragoning

            I don’t think people would view it as volunteerism, though. Being a Certified Weather Spotter isn’t a volunteer activity, it’s a certification you sought out for…no reason other than you wanted to.

      2. EddieSherbert

        Honestly, I immediately thought of my volunteer activities when they said “hobbies” (because I call them that/other people call them that/if I was asked in an interview about hobbies, I’d name my volunteer activities/if they don’t count then I guess I don’t have hobbies?).

    1. Lisa Babs

      I agree with scrummy manager that hobbies should be treated as any other element that goes on the resume. If there is some achievement or you got paid for it, then it should go on the resume. Because one shows just what you do in the spare time while the other demonstrates skills and dedication. It’s the difference between “likes to bake” and “won the Pillsbury baking contest” or “plays piano” and “Piano teacher for the last 12 years”.

      1. Working Mom Having It All

        To me, things like “likes to bake” shouldn’t go on your resume at all, period, unless you’re applying for a job for Pillsbury or as the cashier at a bakery or something. “Won the Pillsbury baking contest” would be appropriate to list in a “personal interests” subheading, or stuff along the lines of “8 week pastry course at Le Cordon Bleu”, “blue ribbon winning pies, Local County Fair”, etc. In the work experience area of your resume, you would put something like running a side business where you sold baked goods, or being a professional pastry chef.

        I put my writing classes at the Upright Citizens’ Brigade on my resume under personal interests. I put my years of experience in scripted TV production on my resume under work experience. I do not put the fact that I love Doctor Who on my resume at all.

  31. FritzieTudor

    #4 If I were in the interviewer’s position, I might feel it wasn’t appropriate for me to respond to your message until after the interview, but I wouldn’t view it negatively at all. (Sometimes I’m baffled that alumni apply without ever bothering to contact me.)

  32. Bea

    Re:Out of state apps

    It depends on the city as well sometimes. We’re in a desirable area where some folks will throw out a grappling hook to get any job just to get a foot in the door.

    So my boss won’t look at out of staters because he assumes they won’t stay. It’s a flawed outlook to many but when you’re hiring, you tend to lean towards people you see as long term team members instead of the fly by nights. We are quite good at retention and low turnover with this established process.

    I’m surprised they sent out rejections at the application stage. If anything it’s nice they gave you that courtesy. I don’t. It opens a can of worms for people to respond nastily.

      1. Lora

        Did this once with holiday carols, turned out we had a surprising number of choir members in the lab.

    1. Chaordic One

      I have witnessed a situation like this. When I was at the dentist having my teeth cleaned the hygeenist was humming to herself while scraping my teeth. Then she started singing, then in came the dentist and he started singing with her in harmony while I’m laying in the chair, helpless, with my mouth propped open. I could have groaned, but I couldn’t have said anything. It was like being trapped in a Saturday Night Live skit that went on for too long.

  33. Observer

    #3- Out of state employment.

    I’m curious about your thinking. Why would you expect there to be a law requiring an employer to consider out of state applications?

    1. Sue No-Name

      I think there’s a general feeling that it’s not fair to be rejected on the basis of something that is so irrelevant to one’s job-related qualifications, and that there may be laws against things that are unfair.

      1. Sue No-Name

        (not to say that it’s irrelevant to one’s *employability*, as there are many reasons stated here in the thread why local candidates would be preferred)

    2. McWhadden

      Well, for state and local government employers it is unconstitutional to not consider out of state applicants (although they can require employees to live in-state if hired) unless there is a substantial reason for the difference in treatment. Without such reason, it violates the Privileges and Immunities clause. So, it isn’t impossible they had heard of that and thought it applied to all employers.

        1. McWhadden

          Link to the Supreme Court case in the reply. There have been many many subsequent cases across the country.

      1. Brett

        That case (Building Trades v. Mayor of Camden) looks like it only applies to private contractors contracted with the city, and not to applicants for positions directly with the city.

        I find that interesting, because when I was first job hunting out a grad school in a field with lots of public sector employment, many cities required an application waiver if you were a non-resident. Of the ones that had that requirement (I remember Chicago in particular), none of them granted me a waiver to be allowed to apply. Checking Chicago’s rules today, it looks like they changed the residency requirement from “time of application” to “time of employment” in 2009, but still requiring applicants to be residents at “time of appointment” (before time of employment) under a different ordinance anyway.

        1. McWhadden

          Case law has been expanded in many states beyond contractors. Nor do contractors have different constitutional rights than other people.

          1. Brett

            Oh, I get it now… residency requirements on their own are unconstitutional, but if the residency clause is an appropriate response to unemployment, economic blight, or some other compelling interest, then the residency clause is legal?
            So, Chicago can bar non-residents from applying for positions, or only hire current residents, on the basis that they have a compelling interest (e.g. reducing unemployment or economic blight, improving community relationships) in only allowing residents to apply for city jobs.

    3. Bea

      I assume it’s because folks seem to think this kind of screening is discriminatory.

      But I share your general “Why…” reaction to just about all the “is this even legal?!” questions that pop up.

  34. Sally

    My work just hired someone who has absolutely zero experience in the job area and not in an entry level position largely because her hobbies listed she liked to bake. Which happens to be my supervisor’s favorite hobby.

    So, apparently they can help.

  35. Quickbeam

    #1. I think it helps to weigh in the potential of a hobby/skill for being a help or a bonus to the employer. I got a job in an extremely competitive hiring situation because I listed my long ago interpreting training program for ASL. I had taken it for personal growth and to communicate better with a deaf neighbor. Turns out (unknown to me) the employer had 10 deaf employees and saw my sign skills as community building. It had zero to do with the job but was value added.

  36. grey

    #3 – One of the tips I heard years ago was to get a burner cell (or now, number using an app) with a local area code to help hide the fact that you are out of state/area when applying. You could probably also get a PO Box to have a local mailing address if you need to provide an address. Of course that assumes you can jump on a plane or drive quickly for an interview if they do call you in; but this might be worth it if you are looking to resettle in a specific location.

    1. A username for this site

      I’ve had my cell phone number for 15 years while living in four states. My “out of state number” doesn’t mean I live out of state. That’s silly.

      1. Bea

        Yeah. It’s outdated to go by area codes. You can get any area code you want now anyways. This is how the original catfish situations started.

        The address is key.

        And the requirements for lots of applications to input city/state of your job history. If your last/current job is in Miami, the place you apply for in New York can see that.

      2. Working Mom Having It All

        Was about to chime in with the same thing. I got my first cell phone when I was in college in New York. 15 years later, I live in Los Angeles but still have the same number. I’ve had a few people be confused by it (never in a work context), and honestly I kind of regard it as an immediate weed out for dumb people.

        FWIW my company has offices in several states, and when they transfer people they tend to just keep the same work cell phone. I’d say that a solid 25% of people in my Los Angeles workplace have a Maryland work cell phone number. Nobody is every confused about this.

        On the other hand, the relocation advice I’ve heard is not to include your address on your resume. Which is solid, since why do they need to know that?

  37. Annoyed

    #5 If he has kid(d) I’d bet these are his personal earworm. Maybe even “earworm hell.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. Working Mom Having It All

      oh god am I humming “Baby Shark” under my breath all the time? I am, aren’t I?

  38. Oilpress

    #1 – I love seeing hobbies on applicants’ resumes. Put anything on there, as long as it is genuine and you are willing to talk about it. Being given the opportunity to speak passionately about a subject on which you are an expert is probably going to help you in an interview. It doesn’t have to be job related at all. I interview people, not robots. I want to see how they talk and interact because that’s going to be a huge part of the job.

    1. Magenta

      This!
      I have been in interviews with people I thought had no personality or drive, I then asked about hobbies and they were able to speak animatedly abut their interests. Often people are really nervous, getting them to speak about things they are comfortable about loosens them up and means they are better able to answer the actual interview questions.

  39. Justin PBG

    I admit i throw my marathon/boston qualifying times (not the times themselves but that, basically, “this is a very serious, lasting commitment in which I participate”) on the very bottom of the second page. It doesn’t seem to hurt me, in fact at my current job they brought it up when we were face to face (it happened to be IMMEDIATELY after I ran one, though).

    But I wouldn’t try to position it as a qualification.

    1. Justin PBG

      This being NYC, two of my (then future, now current) colleagues had also run several, and one of the managers volunteers on the course every year, so hey, it was useful. Wouldn’t have helped me get the job if I had done poorly, but it was a way for them to chat with me casually at the start before getting into the meat of the interview.

      1. Working Mom Having It All

        Yeah, for me this is a “cultural fit” type of thing, or an area where an already strong candidate can make themselves more memorable. I just referred a friend of mine for a job at my company, and I noticed that they put an extremely interesting if only tangentially relevant pastime on their resume. (Deliberately keeping it vague in case they read the AAM comments section…) Like OP, it’s something that demonstrates workplace oriented skills, in their case stuff like leadership, initiative, project management skills, and the like. It’s also a very memorable thing, not just your garden variety “I also enjoy scuba diving” stuff. I would normally not put something like that on my resume, but I think they definitely made the right call in including it.

    2. CristinaMariaCalabrese (do the mambo like-a crazy)

      Well if you’re in Boston that does come in handy, since many companies have charity teams that run in the marathon! So it’s just more about knowing your “audience”. Someone from outside the region wouldn’t necessarily know that.

  40. Someone Else

    I think where things can sometimes get dicey with hobbies is, for example, let’s say you are a classically trained musician, applying for an office job with a major symphony. To some hiring managers, including that in a hobbies section might show a lifelong passion for classical music, and thus be a plus. To others, it might be a red flag that you think somehow that working there will get you some sort of “in” for performing/auditions, which it does not. I think it’s unreasonable and illogical for a hiring manager to conclude the latter only having read the resume, without actually speaking to the person and getting a sense of them. However, people are often unreasonable and illogical, and a hiring manager who has had a lot of previous bad experiences with applicants who did think that way will be more likely to write someone off because of it. So, the “relevant hobbies” thing can go either direction.

    1. nonymous

      I’ve seen it work the other way, where people who were considered but ultimately not hired for the performing group be selected for the admin roles. Like a consolation prize for not being in the 0.0001% of the talent pool, lol. Not that they were weak admins, just that the admin staff was also incredibly talented and had a huge depth of knowledge/training on the performing side as well.

    2. Working Mom Having It All

      I think this is something that varies with what field you work in and what the norms are like there.

      I’m in a creative field, and it’s almost taken for granted that people who work in the office or a non-creative capacity also take a great interest in the creative aspects of it. Nobody really expects that their main/day job is going to get them an “in” for creative roles at their actual job. Because that’s just not how it works, and literally everyone who does this knows that.

      On the other hand, as Allison says, it’s a crapshoot with each individual workplace whether that means listing that stuff on your resume would be seen as helpful or obnoxious. A lot of the time it can depend on the whims of the individual hiring manager. FWIW, I worked for someone who would frequently mock entry level resumes that listed this sort of thing, and that really communicated what a shitty manager they were. I would rather work for someone who thought semi-relevant personal interests were good to know about rather than someone who immediately trashed a resume with that stuff on it while loudly mocking them for… liking the stuff we make. Oy.

  41. Beth Anne

    #2 – As an hourly employee that is super annoying. That would happen to me and my sister at our jobs and it’s like yeah we could leave but then we get paid less. Most of the times we would stay and just mess on our phones or like others said do personal things like wrote blog posts or other things.

    I feel like the world is so much about working 9-5 where so many jobs can be done in less time esp now with internet and email and apps…I feel we should still be able to get paid our regular salary but not having to work so much. Until mindsets shift it’ll never happen though and it’s annoying.

    I knew a lady that had to go back to work after her youngest was born. He was in preschool from 9-2. She became a realtor and she only went into the office when her son was in preschool and worked with her door shut super focused from 9-2 and many ppl in the office said she got more work done in those few hours than most people did working all day. She later would answer emails and show houses at night but I always thought was a really interesting that she was able to get so much done and not have to worry about daycare.

    #4 – I’m going to be really curious for an update on this one.

  42. AKchic

    LW1: Putting hobbies, volunteering and other extracurricular items on a resume is so hit and miss, as Alison said. I think it really does depend on how you can show it relates to the working world.
    Having the dedication to stay with an instrument, to practice daily and to dedicate hours a week to become as skilled as you are says a lot about both your passion and commitment to a project, but also your loyalty to a product (shh, I’m going somewhere with this). These are things you can highlight when discussing your (ahem) “hobby” in context to a job. I mean, you have used the same brand instrument cleaner for over a decade because you know it works well and because you took the time to research the choices and found that *that* particular cleaning product gave you the best overall clean and shine for your money, with no streaking or filmy residue. You know that if you need an instrument case, Brand A is better than Brand B because you tried both and talked to other musicians and found that the majority liked Brand A and so did you. Sure, some prefer Brand C, but it’s usually people with bigger hands who need a wider grip.

    Are you getting what I’m saying?
    I put some of my volunteer work down, because they highlight my community work and connections. They show my managerial / leadership roles. I don’t get paid to organize statewide events in conjunction with gov’t organizations nationwide, but I still do it. I don’t get paid to collaborate with 400 other wonderful people to put on a renaissance fair, but you’d better believe it goes on my resume because I can tell you exactly what skills I utilize when I’m volunteering and how I can use those skills when I’m at a paid job and how I can use them for *your* organization, Hiring Manager.

    Your resume is supposed to sell you.

  43. She's One Crazy Diamond

    Regarding OP#1’s question, I make and sell handmade jewelry, mostly for fun and without a business license, but with enough regularity that I’ve considered putting it on my resume to show that I have the skills needed to do so. How would I list this on my resume?

    1. Working Mom Having It All

      I’ve seen people include an “outside interests” type subject area on their resume. I think this only works if you have multiple things to list, though.

    2. Bea

      I’ll be honest with you. I’ve seen Esty accounts and crafting listed on resumes over the years. None of those resumes were made better by the information and I’ve never interviewed someone with that information included.

      Depending on the position, maybe work it into the cover letter. But unless you’re running it as a tax paying business, please reconsider including it on your resume.

  44. Working Mom Having It All

    Maybe it’s just my field, but it has never been my experience that jobs expect out-of-area people to apply. And that, if a company were to choose someone who would need to relocate for the job, it would probably be in an upper level area or for a position that would otherwise be hard to fill. If there are 200 development coordinators, project managers, graphic designers, etc. right here in this city who already want the job, why should the company bend over backwards to accommodate someone who lives outside the area?

    I’ve heard of people relocating for an internal hire situation, or being transferred, but is finding a job in a different city and being hired before relocating really that common?

    1. Sue No-Name

      This line of thought requires one to assume that the employer would need to “bend over backwards” in order to even consider hiring the out-of-towner. I think the letter writer feels wronged by this assumption, because they never even got a chance to make their case or be evaluated on their work-related characteristics.

  45. Canadian Natasha

    “I’ve never kissed a chipmunk and I don’t look good in leggings… and I’ve never been to Boston in the fall!” ;)

  46. nd

    #3 Maybe this has been addressed, but I will add the experience we’ve had. We are a nonprofit organization in a very high cost of living area. We’ve had problems with employees from out-of-state who severely underestimated what it would cost to live here. We offer what might sound like a lot of money, but they find it doesn’t go very far. We specifically reference the high cost of living during the recruiting process and encourage out-of-state applicants to research housing costs. Many end up leaving and returning to their original state, or going to some other lower-cost living area.

  47. Dawn

    I have never included hobbies on my resume, but when applying to work at my current school–a job I really, really, REALLY wanted–I had to interview over Skype, and my principal noticed that I was a Tolkien fan based on my Skype username, and we were able to connect pretty quickly over that shared interest. I still don’t know that I’d list hobbies on my resume, but this experience definitely changed a bit how I feel about them.

  48. SG

    #1 – as someone who just read 400 resumes, the only time I really take note of hobbies is where it’s something that takes dedication, or shows the ability to work in a team atmosphere – things like that. They tell us other things about you as a person versus like, enjoying cooking.

  49. LadyCop

    #1 For nearly every Law Enforcement job I have ever interviewed for, they have wanted to know about hobbies. Generally, it’s not needed to be listed on a resume, but considering the emotional, physical, mental etc… commitment and demand such a job has on people, it’s important to have interests and healthy coping mechanisms to handle the stress, and not let your life become “the job,” especially when you work in a profession where suicide rates are abnormally high. I realize this is an exception, not a rule, when talking about hobbies, but it is helpful to consider.

  50. LW #4

    Thanks everyone who commented on my letter! An update on the interview I was “dreading”, with my old friend:

    The interview went fine and was very informal. It actually turned out to be more of an intake, where my old friend explained what the job entailed. The selection process had already mostly taken place through the agency and so I got the job.

    Alison’s advice, as well as the advice and supportive comments from everyone here, have been very helpful. I learned an important lesson from this whole experience: I don’t need to worry so much!

  51. Anna

    A friend of mine working in IT put “chili cooking’ as a hobby and got hired because the boss was an enthusiast. So …

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