The Value of Interests

map-SEAIn Career Services, as you can imagine, we see MANY resumes.  Most if not all have the basic, core sections – Education, Experience, Projects, Coursework, Activities, Leadership.  But one category that often does not get included, or gets cut in favor of growing other, “more relevant” sections, is Interests.   I encourage you to consider this section for the value and potential engagement with an employer that it can provide in just a scant line or so.

Capturing your interests on your resume gives you a chance to set yourself apart as an individual in a potentially crowded marketplace of talent.  Think about how your interests may have contributed to your ability to be successful in the workplace.  Do your pursuits demonstrate your dedication to self-improvement and pushing boundaries, providing opportunity to test and prove your mettle and work ethic?  What about your curiosity?  A quick search of on the keyword “curious” came up with 5,500+ openings; a search on “creative” has thousands more, confirming that these attributes are in high demand across a variety of industries and positions.  How might your interests capture and express your creativity in a way your other endeavors may not?

This resume one-liner can also be especially valuable if your pursuit has lead you to an accomplishment or personal achievement of which you are particularly proud, whether or not there is an obvious connection to your major or career choice.  Perhaps you are an engineering student –and a foodie with a blog about local restaurants – or in a business concentration having read Shakespeare’s entire catalog.  You might be an economics student with a penchant for international travel that has been to eleven different countries before age twenty; a biology major that has completed three marathons; a nursing student who loves to cycle and spent the summer on a cross-country bike ride.  Whatever your interests – and they need not be extreme – consider their contribution to your resume for the unique insights they can provide, and for the conversation-starter they may be in your next interview!

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Author: Jamie Grant

Jamie Grant is Associate Director of Career Services for the School of Engineering and Applied Science.