“IF YOU LIST HOBBIES IN YOUR RÉSUMÉ, I WILL LAUGH AT YOU”

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Our informant makes or contributes to hiring decisions for experience design, creative technology, and content strategy positions.

We asked a hiring manager to give us tips on how you can impress HR—and how you can avoid making horrible mistakes when hunting for a job.

To ensure their honesty, we’ve granted anonymity to this design manager at a major ad agency. Check out his/her résumé tips, as told to the SALT Blog’s Aaron Weber.

SHOW ME YOUR STUFF

The first thing I want to see in a résumé is a URL for the portfolio.

I like to see clear organization and some design sense. That’s less important in other industries, I’m sure, but this job requires aesthetic judgment, so you better demonstrate it from the very first moment. In my business, that means use InDesign and not Word, don’t use that cutesy logo you made out of your initials, and pick a more interesting font than Arial.

If you’ve got a shorter work history, you can include volunteer experience—especially if it’s relevant. An entry-level designer might not have a ton of experience, but if they overhauled the website for their local charity, I’m happy to look at that as an example of their work. Treat it professionally, and you’ll be treated professionally.

KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET

Use active voice bullet points. If you can quantify your achievements, even better: “Redesigned website, producing X% more conversions” is a winner. I don’t want to see weird infographics or skill maps, unless they are mind-bendingly brilliant (hint: yours probably aren’t). When in doubt, just present the facts cleanly and without error.

AND BE CONSISTENT

Make sure your résumé material syncs up with any data you provide on a LinkedIn profile. I will Google you. I will read your Facebook page and your Twitter feed. Make it good. Make it consistent. Don’t look like an idiot.

WHAT I HATE

I’ll throw out anything with typos. If you say “attenion to detale,” you’re out. If you misuse words and say things like “my skills run the gambit,” you’re out. If you lie, you’re out—and yes, I will check.

I once threw out a résumé from someone who had an objective statement saying they were looking for “meaningful work.” This is an ad agency. We don’t do meaningful.

Other people’s objective statements don’t hurt them that much, but I don’t think they help much at all. We all know that your objective is to get the job. Use that space to tell me something I don’t know.

Also, if you list hobbies, I will laugh at you. Unless you’re a Winklevoss twin, I don’t care.

Do you have any great résumé tips for your industry? Share them in the comments.

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  1. Holly June 19, 2013 / 12:11 pm

    Very interesting article! It made me double-check my resume to make sure I didn’t actually list any type of hobby.

  2. Kimberly June 19, 2013 / 12:26 pm

    This article was very interesting to read. I have learned a lot and will apply this knowledge towards my résumé. Thank you for posting it!

  3. Joseph Kelley June 19, 2013 / 12:34 pm

    Organization is Key!

  4. AP June 19, 2013 / 12:45 pm

    This article has some good tips for the most part, however I’ve been told directly by some employers that they liked seeing that “I play guitar” and “Hike/Hunt”. The reason behind stating extracurricular activities (not hobbies) is to show you don’t go home everyday after work and sit on the couch watching TV non-stop. It can reveal more about who you are, especially if you’re applying for a job and your ‘hobby’ directly relates in a tangible way.

  5. Latoshia Jefferson June 19, 2013 / 1:31 pm

    Interesting I did not know these things until now thank you so much.

  6. Jessica June 19, 2013 / 1:47 pm

    This was helpful and makes you be more aware of what is actually on your resume!

  7. Dre June 19, 2013 / 1:57 pm

    This person is just a heartless ass who is drunk with power. Oh you don’t want to see my hobbies but you will go look at Facebook and twitter? Those are hobby tools mostly so make up your mind mister I like consistency. Hummm sounds like someone needs to get off their high horse.

    • Connor June 19, 2013 / 4:27 pm

      He’s probably making millions of dollars a year and you think you know more about how to hire people to make you more money? Look at the Scoreboard

    • Lorraine June 19, 2013 / 10:17 pm

      So let him check your facebook for your hobbies, no need to highlight them on your job application/resume makes you look like your trying to apply for college and telling them what your extra curriculars were. Keep those to yourself unless he brings them up.

    • Your Mom June 20, 2013 / 11:38 am

      Nice of you to assume it’s a guy :)

  8. Brittany June 19, 2013 / 2:07 pm

    In my field- outdoor recreation- it actually benefits me to list my hobbies. I list hobbies if I’m applying for a job where I might have the opportunity to teach activities I’ve never taught.

  9. Katie June 19, 2013 / 2:09 pm

    Great for future reference!

  10. Lynda Perry June 19, 2013 / 2:11 pm

    Have been writing resumes for years. Hobbies????? Why would the employer care what you do in your own time…..they dont!

  11. DCMD June 19, 2013 / 2:19 pm

    For readers: keep in mind that this hiring manger does not speak for the entire job market’s hiring managers. Just for an ad agency that doesn’t promote “meaningful” work, in their own words.

  12. Nicole June 19, 2013 / 2:19 pm

    This would be helpful, if I wanted to get into the ad agency or impress this one guy. Everyone is different. Hobbies, like knitting, aren’t relevant unless you are applying for something like a craft magazine or a Hobby Lobby. However, some “hobbies” are relevant and help show that you can do the job you are applying for (writing and reading, for instance). To each their own. Not everyone is as narrow-minded.

  13. Brenda Leeflang June 19, 2013 / 2:28 pm

    I want to win…………….

  14. Aaron June 19, 2013 / 2:30 pm

    I suppose the hobby thing is a risk. It may depend on whether your hobbies are interesting and relevant, or boring and embarrassing. If you’re the organizer of a triathlon, that can be a useful demonstration of your drive and organization.

    On the other hand, if you’re the proud webmaster for a Fast and Furious fan-fiction website or a guild leader in My Little Ponies Online, that shows you don’t have the common sense to know that some things are better left unsaid.

  15. tonyia June 19, 2013 / 3:34 pm

    Volunteer experience is helpful when writing resumes. Wonderful I have tons of that!

  16. Ken June 19, 2013 / 3:42 pm

    Great Info

  17. CJ June 19, 2013 / 4:18 pm

    I agree with most of your comments but it does depend on what and whom you’re applying for.

  18. Felicia June 19, 2013 / 5:02 pm

    very interesting. I didn’t think about the portfolio bit.

  19. Athena Kulkarni June 19, 2013 / 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the great advice! Seem harsh but good to know!

  20. jasmine hollis June 19, 2013 / 5:57 pm

    This is great!

  21. ABhinav gupta June 19, 2013 / 6:27 pm

    True but bot so interesting….

  22. Liz June 19, 2013 / 7:26 pm

    I’m a recruiter for a staffing agency and this is very accurate.

  23. DAniel June 19, 2013 / 8:16 pm

    resume is one thing interview is another

  24. Sean June 19, 2013 / 9:12 pm

    Keep it simple, stupid is what I say.

  25. Sean June 19, 2013 / 9:14 pm

    Also, hobbies may be relevant to some jobs.

    If you’re going for a job at a skateboarding magazine, they probably want to know if you do photography or video editing in your spare time.

    If you have hobbies that may be practical to a job position, then absolutely post them.

  26. Llewellyn Tilma June 19, 2013 / 9:30 pm

    OK

  27. Julie N. June 19, 2013 / 9:38 pm

    good tips

  28. Heidi Hile June 20, 2013 / 2:19 am

    It appears there is some controversy in the comments here!

    I, personally found this article very interesting and informative. A resume is going to need different fields for different jobs, obviously. In regard to including hobbies; If my hobbies demonstrated more appeal as a candidate for the position, then yes, I would include them. Otherwise, as an employer, I would not care what the candidate does in his spare time, as long as it’s legal.

    Although this man did seem a little on the arrogant side, he had very good points in reference to which resumes he would toss into his circular file. I have to agree with him in regard to typo’s, misuse of words, and spelling errors. I would not give any further consideration to the candidate. He didn’t mention grammatical errors. I would dismiss the resume upon seeing one grammatical error. If a person can’t correctly say what they need to say in writing, having the opportunity to proofread their draft, there’s a very high likelihood that the phrases coming directly from their mouths will portray even worse grammar. Poor grammar is a definite “NO” in my book considering the job may require the candidate to speak with clients!

    Overall, I liked the article, and feel that it could help someone unsure of what needs to be included in their resume. I think it would be beneficial for resume tip seekers to see resume tips from employers of various career fields.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read these interesting tips from a professional individual!

  29. Vera Jones June 20, 2013 / 2:56 am

    CONTRADICTION IN A SENSE LOOKING UPON ONES FACEBOOK TIMELINE AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS IS THE APPLICANTS PAST-TIME WHICH IS A HOBBY ALSO LET ALONE BEING LIST IN THOSE PROFILES, WHICH I FEEL THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH A PERSON’S QUALIFICATIONS IN SEEKING EMPLOYMENT!

  30. Hannah June 20, 2013 / 9:01 am

    I’m not an expert, but I think that hobbies could actually be useful on a resume. they help you get a clearer idea of what kind of person they are and what kind of personality they will bring to your company culture.

  31. James McLaughlin June 20, 2013 / 10:18 am

    Hobbies, are not for resumes,maybe for job applications.

  32. Kelly Hughes June 20, 2013 / 10:50 am

    True!

  33. Michael Bencivenga June 20, 2013 / 12:03 pm

    This was a really interesting article it definitely helped me understand what they are looking for

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