DOES YOUR RESUME HAVE AN “INTERESTS” SECTION??

One of the most important parts of your resume is often the one that candidates pay the least attention to when writing or updating their resumes.

I am referring to the Interests & Activities section of your resume – if in fact there is even one included in your resume. Once a month I hear “Someone told me not to include an Interests section in my resume”. That someone couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s why …

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A well-written Interests & Activities section in your resume allows your personality to shine through. It makes you stand out and gives the law firm or legal department another reason to want to interview you.

It also makes you a more interesting person to want to meet and potentially to work with. It provides some conversation starters and icebreakers for the interview. The interviewer wants to get to know you and your personality better to see if you will fit into their law firm or legal department culture. Your interests and activities are a great starting point!

It is often difficult to determine just what activities and interests you should add to your resume. Here are some suggestions.

RUN A MARATHON

running a marathon

Running marathons for a myriad of causes have become quite the trend in Toronto, Vancouver and across Canada. This activity looks especially good on your resume because it shows you value keeping fit and also doing something that benefits a good cause.

Rather than just saying what marathons you’ve run in the past, your resume should be forward thinking. So I’d suggest mentioning a specific run that you’re preparing or training for.

SALSA, TANGO & THE CHA-CHA-CHA

salsa dancing

All forms of Latin dance are beneficial to your body, your spirit, and your CV. You may want to incorporate some regular dance lessons into your life to help boost memory, improve flexibility, increase energy and make a few new friends along the way.

Dancing shows that you are social and personable. Talk about a dance school you belong to, rather than just listing the types of dancing you now enjoy.

KARATE KICK

girl practicing karate in sunset

Martial arts have been long known to improve your physical health, mental agility, as well as focus and respect for others.

Talk about your level of achievement and any tournaments you’re preparing for.

Remember that any activities and interests mentioned in your resume should be current. You don’t want to be asked about an activity mentioned in your CV, and then have to reply that you last participated in that activity four or five years ago.

VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Whether you are volunteering at a senior’s centre, an animal shelter, cleaning up the local eco-system, or acting as a big sister or brother, giving back is an important part of your life and your career.

Including something you’re currently volunteering for shows engagement in your community and good character, two attributes your prospective employer values highly.

BUT I DON’T HAVE TIME

If you don’t feel you have the time to engage in any outside activities or interstests, pick an activity or interest that does not that involve a big time commitment or that you’re already doing. Talk about a future trip you’re planning or a new sport you’re learning or planning to learn. Volunteer for something that takes up just a few evenings or a weekend. If you enjoy cooking, talk about the type of cooking you enjoy the most or what new recipes you’re trying out.

What other types of interests and activities do you engage or participate in? Which of your activities and interests have particularly resonated at interviews?