career

Why you should never list reading as a hobby on your resume.

Reading. You might think it makes you appear smart, sophisticated, on it. But it’s not going to win you that job.

In an interview with The Agefounder and president of career consulting firm Résumé Strategists Alyssa Gelbard suggested some hobbies are worth including because of what they say about you as a person. Other hobbies – like reading – also say something about you as a person, just not something positive.

Sure, people who read a lot are likely to be smarter and more successful than people who don’t, but Gelbard says reading is something you are probably expected to anyway, not just when you’re trying to win employers over. By listing it, you look like you’re floundering for something to say. Stating the obvious in an attempt to appear well-rounded.

More than this, however, is the risk of being seen as anti-social or overly introverted. Reading is a solitude sport and, if you find it important enough to list on your resume, what does this say about your personality? Gelbard says you can come across like a bit of a loner. No quite a job-winning impression.

Reading aside, there are some hobbies that can add significant value to your resume, and help build a more accurate, holistic picture of your skills, interests, priorities and commitment level.

Just remember, don’t lie about being a yoga-going, adventure-seeking, killer chess-player if you’re not any of these things. Anything you include on your resume is fair game during an interview. You’ve got to be able to walk the talk.

Here are some positive resume-building suggestions:

Yoga

Yoga can promote you candidacy, as it shows your ability and commitment to staying calm and focused.

“If you’re seeking a role in very busy, high-energy environment, like an advertising or PR agency, it can make you more attractive because you can better handle pressure,” Gelbard explains.

Extreme adventure activities

Extreme sports are an example of your ability to take calculated risks (successfully, hopefully), and that you’re not afraid of the unknown.

“These traits are desirable for any leadership role, especially in younger, growing organisations,” Gelbard says.

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Sky diving? Ultra-marathons? Mountain climbing? Tick, tick, tick.

These adventure sports often come hand-in-hand with travel, another factor that can prove valuable when added to your resume.

Sports

Whether it’s team sport, or individual endurance sports, listing these on your resume says a lot about you.

Individual pursuits show drive and dedication, and might bolster your chances in jobs that require the same values – perhaps business sales or account management.

Team sports, on the other hand, show a different set of skills. Obviously that you are a team player, and also a strategic, big-picture thinker. Team players are also thought to succeed well in corporate environments.

Blogging

Blogging is a resume-building hobby, particularly in the communications and media industries, but it has to be done well. The entries must be regular – your last post can’t be from February 2014 – and the content should be a positive reflection of your personal brand.

Sports betting

This is a more controversial addition, but in some industries – like venture capital and investment banking – showing your a gambler can improve your chances of landing that interview. It shows your willingness to take calculated risks, and your dedication to working the system for profit.

Playing an instrument

According to Gelbard, musical hobbies show your capacity for focus and multi-tasking.

“Aside from music-related careers, showing that you play classical guitar or violin can increase your attractiveness to potential employers when seeking roles that require laser focus, dedication, and discipline, like civil engineering,” she said.

Anything unusual

Making candles, selling leather goods, wood carving, train-set collecting; anything unusual can be valuable in adding depth to your resume and making your candidacy stand out. Just be careful, things like animal hunting or spearfishing might make it stand out for the wrong reasons.

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