Education Career Services

July 16, 2009

LinkedIn: Career and Education Q & A

Question and AnswerOffering support to as many people as possible via multiple mediums, I am an advocate of social networking.  As such, I am on LinkedIn and often respond to questions posed on that site.  I’m easy to find and welcome you to take the first step and invite me to join your network.  After all, we all need a helping hand now and then!

Below are two questions (and my two responses) recently found on LinkedIn.  I bring this to you as the questions are pertinent to just about everyone, including students and directors at all levels…

Do personal interests add to or detract from a resume?

According to the top three career management associations in the United States, interests should NOT be incorporated into the resume UNLESS it shows value to the reader/company. For example, overseeing local events for up to 40,000 people does show value by way of organizing groups for a common goal. This is a good thing and, if written properly, would add value.  Being a Summer fisherman and working part time at a famous tourist bar should NOT be incorporated — the latent messages are not in his/her favor and could conjure negative reader images. Being a certified resume writer and certified career coach, I have seen this issue pop up (just about daily) in one form or another over the past decade. Ultimately, ask yourself “if I were the hiring manager, would a section detailing interest be of value to my company.” If so, then consider including it unless discriminatory elements are seen.

Would certification as an e-learning specialist have value?

Professional development is always recognized as a positive trait. As an owner of a company and former VP of a global career management firm, I always looked for individuals pushing beyond complacency. As a career coach and resume writer, any “added value” might be the element required to push you above the crowd. Regarding e-learning, YES! While a dean at a college, we searched for qualified instructors and professionals capable of building platforms for online purposes. Based on practical experience, I suggested going the “instructional designer with e-learning experience” route.  If the amount of work and money to become certified is marginal, get the certification as well.

I will continue sharing information from various sources for everyone’s benefit.  In the meantime, if you have any questions and prefer not to post it on our blog, get into LinkedIn, look me up, and let’s connect!

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
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  1. Interesting post, thanks. Isn’t there some valuable to including personal interests that could potentially be an ice breaker with an interviewer, ie common interests, hobbies, clubs? Thoughts on that?

    Comment by Sally Phelps — July 16, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  2. Good point as an ice breaker can be used effectively during an interview. As for incorporating hobbies or personal interests on a resume or cover letter, if the hobby or interest is not tied into the position or industry, I strongly suggest not including the information. I base this on the recommendations of the Professional Resume Writers Association, the National Resume Writers Association, and the Career Management Alliance.

    Then again, these are suggestions as one-size fits all approach should not be adhered to either. For example, a student invovled with community activities, clubs, and volunteer work should consider including such information. If the same student is involved with a political group, religious group, or an association or club open to negative perception, do not include it. Let’s think about the why behind this…

    The core purpose of the resume is to obtain an interview; one does this by highlighting his or her value and ROI. True enough, personality and hobbies are important as they display a well-rounded individual…just be leary to the fact that many people discriminate over the simplist things or will look at the information (if not directly related to the position) with a “so what” attitude. That is my fear and the best way to eliminate the fear of discrimination is to omit elements which can be mis-perceived. Ultimately, include school projects, certain industry-related courses, and those items reflecting the ability to get the job done in a multitude of settings and circumstances.

    Once an interview is arranged, research and an investigative eye comes into play. While a director at college, I would insist that my students examine the surrounding, pictures, trophies, etc. of the company and office, using that information as a key to discussion and ice breaking.

    In effect, hobbies and personality can be used to an advantage but they can also be used against the candidate. For those who have a hobby that can be used as an “added value,” without a doubt include it in your material and during interviews.

    Comment by careersi — July 16, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

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