Tag Archives: resumes that get shortlist

I like strangling animals, golf and ….

I like strangling animals, golf and ….

Paul Simon began “have a good time” with “yesterday it was my birthday…”. Well that was in the 1970s and you couldn’t get your LED watches to work properly, the batteries kept running out. So we can forgive Mr Simon for being a day late with his birthday…probably waiting for Arty’s card to arrive. Anywhere where was I, yes, well, um, today it is my birthday, and I am still far younger than I look. I thought my age would one day catch up with my looks, but I have to take my hat off to my looks, they are doing a creditable impression of a 1970s kenyan long distance olympic runner – miles ahead of the pack before collapsing in an undignified heap shortly before being passed by the whole field – story of my life… How where was I? Yes,…well… everyone needs a hobby don’t they? They say that idle hands end up in front of the magistrate, or at least that was what my probation officer said, or was it my psychiatrist, I can’t remember… I am getting old you see. Anyway enough of channelling Frankie Howerd and on with the piece for today…no don’t, I thought of it too!! It’s on hobbies…enjoy. I will be in Melbourne when this gets published, I wonder if Jimmy Watson’s is open tonight…

If you want to get shortlisted for your next job, can I suggest that you take up Touch Football? However if you like camping or waterskiing, do not bother applying. These odd sounding recommendations come from some work that myself and a colleague in the recruitment industry, Kate Day undertook looking at the different hobbies that candidates had listed on their resumes and whether or not they were subsequently shortlisted for the job. We looked at a total of 999 candidate resumes that were submitted to a recruitment company for a variety of different jobs. Around 50% of the resumes listed hobbies, but it appears that there are differences across industry sectors in the tendency to include hobby information. For instance, Sales people obviously love their hobbies with 57% listing them on their resumes. In contrast only 32% of the Human Resource people those listed hobbies. Maybe the sales types have more spare time, or perhaps the Human resource people follow their own guidelines and stick only to the job relevant information.

A total of 159 different hobbies were listed across the resumes. The top ten most frequently listed were: 1st reading, 2nd travelling, 3rd Golf, 4th Tennis, 5th Swimming, 6th listening to, music,7th family ,8th rugby, 9th snowsking, = 10th fishing and going to the gym. Some of the least frequent included collecting cigarette cards, washing the car, tap dancing and keeping reptiles.

When it comes to getting shortlisted not all hobbies are equal. The ten best hobbies that were associated with resumes that got shortlisted were: Touch football, Squash, Cricket, Cooking, Wine, Rugby, Motor racing, Tennis, Socialising and Biking. When these hobbies were included, the chances of being shortlisted was increased by between 24% and 147%.

The worst ten hobbies to include turned out to be (from least worst to worst): Golf, Walking, listening to music, theatre, movies, art/craft, bushwalking, entertaining, camping and water skiing. Including those suckers on your resume was associated with a reduced chance of being shortlisted by between 28% and 73%.

So perhaps Monty Python were right and golf (along with strangling animals) is not that popular around here. Before the Camping Water Skiers Association of Australia confront me with a tent pole or “goofy feet”, I should point out that the survey although reasonably big may not be totally representative.

Interestingly, the desirable hobbies were on average slightly more likely to be included on resumes generally (average ranking 21) compared to the undesirable hobbies (average ranking 28). However, the most commonly listed hobbies such as reading and travelling were associated with only negligible impacts on shortlisting (+1% and -3% respectively). In other words, you are probably wasting your time listing these hobbies.

What are hobbies for? Are they an escape from the stresses of our day jobs, a coping mechanism to provide the rewards that our work cannot give us? Alternatively are they a dry run for a future radical career change, a try before you buy, or are they a means to an end? The answer is probably all of the above, and there is no straight answer to whether you should turn your hobby into work. For some it is likely to be a dream come true, and for others, it is a sure fire recipe to turn your escape into drudgery. As for whether you should include them on the resume or not, we found that overall including hobbies made no difference to your chances of getting shortlisted, but if you do include hobbies, some seem to be more popular for whatever reason than others.

A recruiter once told me, you should do a lot with your life to ensure that you have something to put on your resume. Maybe we should just aim to do a lot with our lives and not worry about putting it on the resume!

Jim Bright is Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU National and a Partner at Bright and Associates, a Career Management Consultancy.

Instant interview stoppers

In Amazing Resumes  published in the USA (and in Brilliant CV  for the UK and Resumes that get shortlisted for Australasia) I use the idea of the first date as a way of thinking about what you are trying to do in a job application (i.e. emphasise the positive, eliminate the negative, and maximise the shared values and experience etc).

Selena Dehne from JIST (my US publisher) once tweeted about another great JIST book of job search and dating, her tweet prompted me to take this further and to think about those date killing comments like:

  • “you don’t sweat much for such a big build”,
  • “would you like to come back to my sheltered accommodation?”
  • “oh that, It’s just an ankle bracelet, they’ll remove it in six months”,
  • “wow your mum is really hot, do you take after your father?” etc.

What are the statements that might kill an interview stone dead. Here are a few to get you started:

  • “well I was going to put the money back in the till at the end of the month”
  • “the stocking on my head? Well I suppose I can remove it if you insist”
  • “better out than in”
  • “sorry the zipper is broken, and anyway I have nothing to be ashamed off”
  • “what are you looking at?”
  • “I know where you live”
  • “My last employer? I was hardly ever there, I hated it, but I would turn up every day for you”
  • “are there many single or available staff here?”
  • “sorry I’m late, but the bar-tender insisted on telling me his life story”
  • “hang on a sec, incoming test message…”
  • “well thats the stupidest question I’ve ever heard!”
  • “say, wont you have retired by the time I start?”
  • “can you get me a coffee sweety?”
  • “I know an excellent hairdresser, would take years off you”

Amazing Resumes/ Brilliant CV scholarly and positive review in Business Communication Quarterly

Well this is not something you see everyday!  A resume guide given a serious and extended scholarly review in a journal. I was thrilled to find this review of  my book Brilliant CV (Pearson) click here.  The review relates to the first edition, and since then there have been two more editions that have greatly increased the material covered and of course there is a special US version Amazing Resumes 2nd Edition published by JIST click here and an Australian version Resumes that get shortlisted 3rd edition published by Allen and Unwin click here

Click here to read the full review of Brilliant CV in Business Communication Quarterly