Hobbys (and other stuff) on resumes (long!)

Subject: Hobbys (and other stuff) on resumes (long!)
From: TRACY BOYINGTON <trlyboyi -at- GENESIS -dot- ODVTE -dot- STATE -dot- OK -dot- US>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 08:57:35 +0000

John Posada wrote:
> Remember, people...it isn't what you think as the person WRITING the resume
> think...it's about what the person READING the resume thinks...and so far (I
> think) all (or most) of them have said thumbs down to putting it on the
> document. Therefore, if there is the slightest chance that it will interfere
> with your chance, why do it?

I'd like to hear from those on this list who have been responsible for
*reading* the resume. I've been on that side of the desk briefly, when we
were recruiting contractors, and to me, listing hobbies is like
listing your marital status, the ages of your children, your
religious affiliation, and where your husband works (yes, I've
seen that.) Why on earth do you think I care that you like to read
mystery novels? Someone offered the theory that resume readers
might like (consciously or not) to hire those who are most like them,
i.e., those with the same hobbies. Perhaps. But when I see that
someone's hobbies are reading and needlework, I think "she's as boring
as I am" or "he couldn't think of anything to put here either!" :-)
There are instances, of course, where your hobby actually does
pertain to the job you apply for. In that case, I'd like to see the
hobby mentioned in a cover letter. But that's just my personal preference.

I could also do without the notation "Health: Excellent." Does
anybody ever put "Health: Persistent hacking cough; hope you
have a good insurance plan"? This is the most meaningless
waste of space I've ever seen on a resume. If being in "excellent
health" was a qualification for this job, nobody would take your
word for it. You'd be taking a physical before you were hired.

{WARNING...this will offend somebody}
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the
hobby/religion/family/health information used to be fairly common,
but now tends to appear on the resumes of people who are (a) older
or (b) homemaker-types or recent grads looking for their first job. I
GROUPS, but some would balk, especially at the older applicants.

One more thing you can leave off...I really don't care that you were
a lifeguard 30 years ago. One of our contractors lists this on her 10-page
resume. She could have gotten a job anywhere based on her last 5 or 10
years of experience, but she listed every summer job she ever had!

And while I'm on a roll, here's what I *want* to see on a resume (or
included with it):

-- I want to see what I asked for. If the ad said to send 4 writing
samples, then by golly I want to see 4 writing samples. Not your
transcript, not a copy of your teaching certificate, not newspaper
clippings about you rescuing a drowning child.

-- I want to see *perfect* spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It's
one thing to misspell a word or split an infinitive on this list (we
all do that!), it's quite another to do it on your resume.

-- I want to see some shred of evidence that you're actually
qualified for this job. If you've got lots of writing experience but
you've never actually had the job title "technical writer," I
understand...I've been in the same boat. Just let me know that you've
actually written something. If someone applies to be a writer and their
resume suggests that they'd make an excellent artist, proofreader, or
desktop publisher, or secretary, I'm probably not going to file it for future
reference or call them and ask if they've had any writing experience.
I'm probably going to put it in the "people who apply for *anything*
and waste my time" file.

Like I said MUCH earlier :-), this is my personal opinion, and I'd
like to hear from others who have been on the other side of the


Tracy Boyington
Technical Communication Specialist
Oklahoma Department of Vocational & Technical Education
Stillwater, Oklahoma

I never express opinions, but if one slips out, it belongs
to me and not ODVTE.

"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out
with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."
-- Steve Martin

Previous by Author: Re: S/he discussion (and e-mail/email)
Next by Author: Re: Certification
Previous by Thread: December column on web page
Next by Thread: Re: Hobbys (and other stuff) on resumes (long!)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads