Resumes: When Hobbies Count

Hobbies on resumes? You have got to be kidding! I thought that went out in the ’70’s.

They did, when people put their hobbies like this:

Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Bicycling.

Who cares? No one, and that’s why they went out. But here’s a way to make them “in” again. If you list hobbies, make sure they are relevant to your targeted career (your audience) or differentiate you in the right way or are truly a part of your personal brand.

For example, I worked with an IT consultant who wanted to relocate. He was a young person with three years’ experience in IT. In his previous life though, and while working his way through college, our IT consultant had a side job – as a rock climbing instructor. How cool! Here’s a person who takes risks, who is athletic, and has a life outside a dimly lit screen. We added this job to his resume. Result? He sent out two resumes and got two offers. He called me while on the road – in his new company-paid car – and said, “Wendy, all they talked about was my rock climbing! Can you believe it?”

Here’s another. I worked with a nurse (RN) who had experience and wanted out of staff nursing. She wanted to transition into pharmaceutical sales, but she technically had no sales experience. In addition to her many transferable skills (like terminology, physician connections, etc.), we added her “hobby.” She was a competitive marathon runner. And she had placed in the top three for a variety of marathons more than once. She also competed worldwide – and had run a marathon in Prague. Again, GUTS. This hobby demonstrated that she was very competitive, had drive, endurance, and played to win. Good traits in sales.

And my own experience (albeit a while back), I was a newspaper reporter. I covered the HOG (Harley Owner’s Group) rally in Milwaukee. Yep, dressed like a biker and interviewed Harley owners from around the globe. Awesome! My story got nominated for a national award. I put this on my resume when job hunting. Got called by a recruiting firm. They had heard about me before, and now it was time to interview. Guess what? The guy interviewing me owned the Harley parked outside. We talked about the article and Harleys for about an hour. I then met the operations manager and the president and got the offer. Here I had my portfolio with my performance evals and records, and they wanted to talk about Harleys. Later, I asked about that. They said, “Wendy, we already knew all about you. We know that when so-and-so took over the old office, people were still asking about you for two years. We knew about the performance records. That’s why we kept calling. But, we needed to see if you’d be a fit for our team. Well, after you talked with so-and-so about Harleys, we knew you would fit right in.” Old “so and so” was my boss for a while. When he left, I got to be boss – for that department. 🙂

These stories are not just about hobbies, but rather a culture fit within the organization. In the employment biz, we call it “right fit.” Think about this, the average person spends 2080 to 2600 hours per year at work! Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy being there?

Challenge: What are your hobbies? Are they relevant to your career goal? Would they be a differentiator for you? Do they demonstrate your brand? Your attributes that are hot selling points for the role? If so, take a risk. Add it to your resume.

Always on the lookout for a new gig? Keep your network up to date

Constantly on the make – for a new job that is.

More than half the executives (57 percent) in a 2007 survey were actively searching for a job or preparing for one, and 75 percent of surveyed execs (average annual salaries of $197,000) were unhappy with their jobs, according to ExecuNet, an executive recruiting and networking company that did the research.

Yet, here’s what happens. We get too busy to retain, rebuild, and remain connected with our networks. And when it comes time to look for a job, that’s when we hit our network hard. No more begging!

Get reconnected NOW if you’ve let your network lapse. Here are five things you can do RIGHT NOW to reconnect – and they take less than five minutes. Yes, really. Networking is no longer a two-hour lunch.

1. Send an email with an article you know is relevant to your connection. Just today I reconnected with a recruiting solutions director pal by sending an article link on his fave topic, employer branding.

2. Send a card. E-cards are fine, real cards are even better.

3. Make a 5-minute call. Ask about THEM. What’s the latest? How are their kids? Set up a time to have a real conversation.

4. Get on LinkedIn and add some new people by sending out quick invitations.

5. Update your contact list! Who’s still hot, who is not? Get it on a system. Here’s a free networking database: JibberJobber.

Want more tips on networking? Check out our Opportunity Knocks newsroom right here: – under Networking.



Create your brand online and get hired faster


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The last time Phylise Banner looked for a job, the job market was much different. And as someone who designs online distance-learning programs for a living, she knows the world has changed since she last pounded the pavement. “This is a different type of search,” says Banner. “I’m trying to create my own online agency to promote myself.”Banner maintains a profile on several social-networking sites, including a popular online address book that, can broadcast her job-seeking status to anyone keeping up with her comings and goings. Banner is ahead of a big curve. “Job seekers today don’t realize the extent to which social networks are a good tool to reach someone inside the corporation you’ve targeted,” says Gerry Crispin, a corporate-recruiting consultant at CareerXroads.

On her website, Banner has posted the full text of her resume, seeded with key words she’s researched for her industry. Time is still of the essence in a job search — it just moves quicker these days. Be among the first to know when a job opens up by also setting up automatic searches on job search engine sites. They’ll spider other sites, then send alerts to your e-mail address.



Want more tips to crank up your brand online?

Check out:

How to use articles to get HIRED – Future 50 saw 26% revenue growth

Career Tip from Wendy Terwelp:

Stories like this one provide a terrific opportunity to learn more about top companies in your area. Future 50 awards are given to growing companies. The companies in this story grew 26% – that means MORE JOBS. Another terrific thing about this article for job seekers – check out the WINNERS LIST provided! Yes, a winners list! The list provides the name of the company – and the owner. Sending resumes to decision-makers can open doors. And help you tap into the hidden job market. One of my clients read about a company in The Business Journal. She sent her resume to the decision-maker listed in the story. She landed an interview. When asked how she heard about the company, she mentioned the article – and some additional research she had done. She was hired. By the way, no job was posted for this company. Now, it’s your turn! Good luck.


WEDNESDAY, June 11, 2008, 9:20 a.m.
By Avrum D. Lank, JSOnline

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has released its 2008 list of Future 50 companies, and their revenue grew 26% last year to $612 million.

The companies, more than half of which were recognized for the first time, provide 2,716 jobs.

The self-nominated list includes independently owned companies having headquarters in the seven-county Milwaukee region and that are “strong growth in revenue and employment,” according to the MMAC.

“The Future 50 list is often a harbinger of what’s around the corner for the region’s economy,” said Tim Sheehy, MMAC president.

The MMAC’s Council of Small Business Executives, has conducted the Future 50 program for the past 21 years. “We’re seeing encouraging signs that local, innovative manufacturers can, and will continue to, thrive here,”” Sheehy said. “The fact that much of their business is conducted outside the region means they are attracting outside investment into the region, growing the economic base for everyone.”

The MMAC said that among this year’s winners, 19 were started in the past 6 years; 15 were established between 1987 and 1998; and 16 were founded prior to 1987

They will be honored Sept. 18 at a luncheon at the Italian Community Center.

Winner’s List