Myth---Always List Interests and Personal Achievements

Are you an avid gardener? Are you handy around the house? Maybe you’ve taught your dog some interesting tricks.

Ya know what?


Sorry to be so harsh.

Sure, in the old days personal interests were commonplace on resumes. Back in the day, I was even taught to list my height, weight, marital status, and comment on my general health. Really!

Since then, employment laws have dramatically developed, and with it, attitudes on personal interest in the workplace. Today asking for such information is at best superfluous, at worst illegal.

I know that some people still insist on listing personal interests because it will show that you have integrity, studious, or just otherwise a wonderful person. The problem is, though, that you won’t get an interview because you’re a wonderful person! You’ll get an interview because you’re very well qualified for the position, you have plenty of knowledge and experience to back you up, and you have measurable results to top it off! 

While listing personal interests and activities may give more insight as to you as a person, employers are more apt to see outside activities as potential distractions. Whenever you can, keep it professional.

Except: (and this is a big ‘except’)

If the personal interest or achievement is directly relatable to the job you are applying for, I recommend including it on your resume!

So if you’re an avid gardener, and you achieved the status of Master Gardener, and you’re applying for a job at a landscaping firm, include it!

If you’re handy around the house, maybe you even rewired your new addition, and you’re applying for a job as an electrician, include it!

If you taught your dog how to play dead when you shoot him with your finger and say ‘Bang!’ and you’re applying for a job at a dog training school, include it!

These facts are not only applicable to the job, but it makes you memorable in a very positive way. 

Professional affiliations also fall into the ‘directly relatable’ category. If you have served dutifully in professional organizations, many times it’s that involvement that will set you apart from the next candidate. List it.


At One Great Resume, we take the guesswork out of the contents of a successful resume. We’ve creating resumes for years and have plenty of success stories that show our results. Don’t hit the job market without One Great Resume.

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