If I've excelled at a hobby or extracurricular, even if that hobby has nothing to do with my job, should I list it on my resume? I'm not talking about "I play tennis on the weekend, and we should play sometime." I mean "I've received regional or national attention for something I do outside of work, to the point where I worry you'll question my commitment to my day job." Should I be prepared to talk about it (downplay it? brag?) if an interviewer "Googles" me?

I'm assuming all interviewers run Google searches on candidates, right?

That's my question, but I've included some optional (and fictional) examples below.

Jane is a call-center manager with six years of experience in customer support and two years of experience cold-calling sales. She has won several equestrian titles and writes a column for Horse Lovers Magazine.

Quyen is a patent attorney specializing in courtroom presentations and witness coaching. She has been passed over twice for partnership, and is considering applying to other firms. She is a deacon at her church and has led two missionary trips to China, one of which was profiled in the local newspaper.

Dave started out as a Q/A software tester and has transitioned into a senior IT manager for a big company. He's gunning for the CIO position in a year or two. Anyone who "Googles" him will see video of him doing edgy standup comedy on TV. Dave has a Website and two comedy albums.

Mario is a young architect for a company specializing in hospital construction. This is his dream job, but business has been very slow during his first year. During a recent two-month furlough, Mario and his college roommate published a video game they'd been working on for years. Mario is now earning about $500/month from this game, and he's been invited to speak at a gaming conference, but the furlough is fresh in his mind and he doesn't want his boss to think he's not committed to his day job.

Holistically, it's great that Jane is such a disciplined competitor, that Quyen devotes so much time to serving others, that Dave has a sense of humor, and that Mario has computer skills. But are these accomplishments the sort that belong on a resume? Do we trumpet them? Hide them? What if the CEO is offended by Dave's racy jokes?

TNoxtort's picture

 I think you'll get a wide variety of responses on this questions.

If it has nothing to do with the job, I would not list it. But you could perhaps use it in a story at the interview to talk about positive characteristics.

I did a lot of extracurriculars in grad school and I got some awards for my leadership. For that reason, I did list them on my resume because they showed leadership. When I interviewed, one of them didn't care at all about it, another one wanted to hear it and told me I'd be CEO in 20 years because of it.


Ultimately, remember that the person looking at your resume is asking if there is enough evidence on it to make it worthwhile to bring you in for an interview. Based on the examples you gave, I don't think it adds to that. However, it could be a good story at the interview, or perhaps in a more detailed resume used at the interview.

Mark's picture
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...what the heck did you do that you feel the need to give us fictitous examples to build our answers around?

And, as a pretty strict general rule, the answer is LEAVE IT OFF.

Even if it's poetry, or a book or something.


afmoffa's picture

I gave examples of four areas in which one might excel outside of the office: the arts, athletics, ministry, and enterprise. I'm sure there are others. Personally, I've written a book, and most of my vacation time goes toward book tours and readings, but I didn't want my particular (esoteric) example to distract from the general question of what one does with extra-curricular accomplishments.

The general rule you gave is exactly the guidance I was seeking. Thank you.

Mark's picture
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Man, do I like my job.  I work harder than anyone I know (so everyone says, other than Mike) and I get more nice notes from more good people.

Happy to help.