Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

"interests" section on resume?

Is an "interests" section on a legal resume tacky or appreci junkwired07/13/17
I had an interests section on my resume when I was applying bucwild07/13/17
What is the hobby?? uknownvalue07/13/17
skydiving and marathon running. bucwild07/13/17
unless you're applying for a senior position, I'd put it in dingbat07/13/17
I've never seen that on a lawyer resume or seen it recommend fettywap07/13/17
Bingo. Unless the interests include stuff like "Chamber of c vohod07/13/17
Back when I was applying to places, I had a midlaw hiring pa thirdtierlaw07/13/17
A 2-page resume is fine at this level. You'll never fit it a fettywap07/13/17
Unless you're in academia, the one page rule is universally mrtor07/14/17
It used to be, if you wanted a job in the West Wing of the W sanka07/13/17
Tacky. Only fill it if your resume is bare. My first impr isthisit07/13/17
Put a line or two at the bottom. More importantly, make it f flyer1407/13/17
Depends on where you are sending it. I also think this is o jd4hire07/13/17
This can only hurt you, not help. It does nothing for your p nighthawk07/13/17
Being mutual fans of the same sh*tty sports team or movie se flyer1407/13/17
Go Sports Team!+ isthisit07/13/17
Yep. There's something in social psychology called the "mini onehell07/13/17
Having served on the hiring committee of my previous firm, I pauperesq07/13/17
Whether to list it at all is debatable, but regardless of wh onehell07/13/17
I agree with all of this. It never ceased to amaze me how m pauperesq07/13/17
Pauper's post embodies onehell's workaholism in the professi loblawyer07/13/17
You're absolutely right but that's just the nature of this p pauperesq07/13/17
Yeah, but for the 10 year attorney coming in as partner, 3 w wutwutwut07/14/17
Very curious if millennials are going to reject this in grea loblawyer07/14/17
You're probably right about the millennials. I'm not in wutwutwut07/14/17
I have an interests section and always got positive comments 2breedbares07/13/17
So "travel" seems to be frowned upon. Maybe I got passed at jd4hire07/14/17
This. If you're going to add an interests section, make it s bucwild07/14/17
I appreciate candidates who include an Interests section. cargo07/14/17
Depends. If you're a former FFA Chapter President, and you'r acerimmer07/14/17
My sister does a lot of OCI for her company and she once tol barelylegal07/14/17
Yes- I know someone who got a SA position because they were downwardslope07/15/17
"got my first job out of law school because the GC asked " wutwutwut07/15/17
No, I worked in state government for an agency that has only downwardslope07/15/17
It depends. If your interests include things like "cook patenttrollnj07/15/17

junkwired (Jul 13, 2017 - 12:28 pm)

Is an "interests" section on a legal resume tacky or appreciated?

I'm revising my resume and thinking of adding an interests section to include programming (java/android), fitness (frequent gym goer) and traveling (taught abroad in Asia, traveled extensively).

If I decide to add an interests section I'm pretty sure fitness and traveling are generic enough to be safe. I'm worried that programming might be considered strange, nerdy, or otherwise constitute a turn off.

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bucwild (Jul 13, 2017 - 12:31 pm)

I had an interests section on my resume when I was applying for jobs through OCI. It must have caught a lot of people's attention because it was brought up in every single OCI interview. However, I have hobbies must would consider strange. As a practicing attorney with four years experience, I would not include my hobbies and interest on my resume b/c it looks silly. With that being said, many prospective employers have asked me how I spend my time outside of work, and I have to discuss my weird hobbies. Go figure.

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uknownvalue (Jul 13, 2017 - 1:31 pm)

What is the hobby??

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bucwild (Jul 13, 2017 - 2:27 pm)

skydiving and marathon running.

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dingbat (Jul 13, 2017 - 12:32 pm)

unless you're applying for a senior position, I'd put it in

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fettywap (Jul 13, 2017 - 12:43 pm)

I've never seen that on a lawyer resume or seen it recommended. My resume is already at 2 pages. Firms don't care about your interests. Most of them don't really want you to have outside interests.

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vohod (Jul 13, 2017 - 12:54 pm)

Bingo. Unless the interests include stuff like "Chamber of commerce" or "Speaking at XYZ trade associations," just leave it off.

My resume has a "Professional Associations" section on the end where I list the orgs I am in. I delete it if I am applying outside the ARM/creditor's rights arena.

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thirdtierlaw (Jul 13, 2017 - 1:17 pm)

Back when I was applying to places, I had a midlaw hiring partner review my resume before I sent it out. He told me to add an interests section. So take it for what it is worth.

I've never heard it be appropriate to have a 2-page resume.

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fettywap (Jul 13, 2017 - 3:19 pm)

A 2-page resume is fine at this level. You'll never fit it all on one page if you have more than one job and achievements to list. I guess I could use 4-point font and make them get a magnifying glass.

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mrtor (Jul 14, 2017 - 10:05 am)

Unless you're in academia, the one page rule is universally accepted. It's as important to trim out the superfluous information as it is to present all of your accomplishments. You can find a succinct balance that fits on one page.

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sanka (Jul 13, 2017 - 1:22 pm)

It used to be, if you wanted a job in the West Wing of the White House, you needed only two things on your resume below your Ivy League degree:

1. Limited recreational use of marijuana.
2. High interest in college basketball.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4675908/Obama-s-speechwriter-tells-new-memoir.html

the team - and other White House aides - drank, smoked, called each other 'bro', and liked - or pretended to like - only college basketball to please the president.

I listed thirty instances of undergraduate marijuana use, plus one experience with mushrooms I made clear I hadn't enjoyed,' he writes.

Obamaworld was also a place where there was no other choice but to like college basketball or pretend to like it, as the former president was known to be a huge fan.

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isthisit (Jul 13, 2017 - 1:28 pm)

Tacky. Only fill it if your resume is bare.

My first impressions to reading your interests on your resume are as follows:

Programming: oh word?
Fitness: oh word?
Travelling: oh word?

IDGAF. Maybe the hiring committee cares but from my POV it's wasted space.

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flyer14 (Jul 13, 2017 - 1:32 pm)

Put a line or two at the bottom. More importantly, make it fit on one page... most hiring personnel have neither the time nor the energy to read a two page resume.

I rewrote my girlfriend's resume a while back to include an interests section for a job fair. She got two job offers there.

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jd4hire (Jul 13, 2017 - 1:58 pm)

Depends on where you are sending it. I also think this is one of those questions that totally depends on the recipient. Some find it tacky, while others question why it isn't present.

I have also traveled extensively and have often found myself discussing trips when interviewing. I was nervous about this at first given that you are telling a potential employer you have a desire to take long trips, but it seems to have always gone over well for me.

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nighthawk (Jul 13, 2017 - 2:08 pm)

This can only hurt you, not help. It does nothing for your professional advancement to put star wars and Australian rules football as interests. Think in terms of what it does for your resume and how others view it. If someone asks you on an interview then tell them and explain why you have an interest. Until then, don't fly your freak flag.

J Robert Wigginton III

BA Devry
JD Harvard

Experience
Skadden Arps, Associate
Interned for US Supreme Court Judge

Interests
Fly fishing
Artificial Grass
Budweiser
Watching Paint Dry

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flyer14 (Jul 13, 2017 - 2:38 pm)

Being mutual fans of the same sh*tty sports team or movie series is a credited way to hit it off with the interviewer and thus land the job.

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isthisit (Jul 13, 2017 - 3:16 pm)

Go Sports Team!+

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onehell (Jul 13, 2017 - 3:19 pm)

Yep. There's something in social psychology called the "minimal group paradigm," which is the finding that people will have more favorable impressions if there are groups of which you are both members, regardless of how minimal or irrelevant that point of commonality may be. If you went to the same college decades apart it shouldn't matter, but it does. If you were members of different chapters of the same frat it only means you both lived in party houses that happened to have the same letters on the door, and yet time and again people assume they have more in common with someone who is a member of some group of which they are also a member. ("In-group" vs. "outgroup" in psych terms).

The downside, as others have pointed out, is that law is full of people who have no interests outside of work and see people who do as uncommitted, thus assigning them to the "out group."

Anyway, in most industries not so plagued by workaholism I'd say include it. In the legal field I'd say it could go either way, and depends a lot on the culture of that particular employer. Might not wanna do it in NYC biglaw, for example, but some place that markets itself as a "lifestyle firm," would be a different story.

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pauperesq (Jul 13, 2017 - 3:14 pm)

Having served on the hiring committee of my previous firm, I was never impressed with any applicant's "interests" section. I barely ever read it. The only thing I cared about was "does this person's academic/work background fit our need?"

In fact, I've seen it hurt more people than it helps. Many people like to put "traveling" as an interest. We'd bring some of those people in for interviews and the partners would ask questions like "where have you traveled? where would you like to go? how frequently do you leave the country? any travel plans for the future?" To the applicant, it seems like they are engaging the interest and trying to make a connection. They aren't. Those are probing questions designed to figure out if you're committed to billing time at the firm or if you're going to be asking for three weeks of vacation time every year.

I'm sure they help in some cases but I wouldn't include it. If an interviewer really wants to know what you do outside of the office, they can ask at the interview.

Also, you're going to get called in for an interview because your experience fits the need, not because you and the hiring manager both like to ski.

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onehell (Jul 13, 2017 - 3:30 pm)

Whether to list it at all is debatable, but regardless of which side of that divide you're on it should be obvious that listing something like "travel" is a dumb idea. It's not a hobby or an interest. Almost everyone would enjoy travel if they had the time and funds. Might as well list "I like money and taking vacations," lol.

If you're going to list interests, at least make sure they are interesting, IMHO. If it's true, say you brew beer or that you're a certified scuba diver or a concert pianist or whatever. But "travel?" That's facepalm-worthy. It's like the difference between saying you brew craft beer (an interest) versus drink craft beer (which is a dietary preference perhaps but not an interest).

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pauperesq (Jul 13, 2017 - 5:30 pm)

I agree with all of this. It never ceased to amaze me how many people listed "travel" as an interest though.

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loblawyer (Jul 13, 2017 - 3:33 pm)

Pauper's post embodies onehell's workaholism in the profession comment. I think people need to be warned about how rampant this is in law more than anything else. A paltry 3 weeks of vacation is frowned upon? We are really doing something wrong in the US.

But I am around enough lawyers to know that for many work is their life. Sometimes feel a bit out of place working to live instead of living to work.

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pauperesq (Jul 13, 2017 - 5:35 pm)

You're absolutely right but that's just the nature of this profession. I certainly don't agree with it but I knew what I was getting into before I went to law school. It's all relative anyway. A third year associate looking to lateral isn't getting three weeks of vacation. The 10 year attorney coming in as a partner with a sizable book can get away with it.

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wutwutwut (Jul 14, 2017 - 12:27 am)

Yeah, but for the 10 year attorney coming in as partner, 3 weeks vacation is defined as 3 weeks of days where she/he only works 6 hours a day vs. 14, while the spouse and kids fume about why they haven't hit the beach yet.

My agreement with my spouse is 4 hours or less work each vacation day.

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loblawyer (Jul 14, 2017 - 7:58 am)

Very curious if millennials are going to reject this in greater numbers. Much is written about tuition and debt scaring them off. But for people even with just decent options, there are far better ways to make middle class money doing some middle management corporate career (I'm specifically not comparing hot shots in either field) where work on vacation is at most checking emails occasionally.

I hope you make big money or just love working, but if I were in your shoes I would be searching for an exit.

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wutwutwut (Jul 14, 2017 - 10:09 am)

You're probably right about the millennials.

I'm not in love with my job, but I don't loathe it. I just see it as a means to an eventual end. Money's decent enough that it makes exit options pretty limited to others that would not be substantially or substantively different from this one.

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2breedbares (Jul 13, 2017 - 5:09 pm)

I have an interests section and always got positive comments on it during interviews. In CA for what it's worth. Can't imagine anyone giving a crap on the east coast. In the south it's probably mandatory to put your college football team.

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jd4hire (Jul 14, 2017 - 6:13 am)

So "travel" seems to be frowned upon. Maybe I got passed at a place or two for having it. I guess that worked out for me in the long run though. Headed on a 16 day vacation September to visit my 35th country. Super glad I landed where I did so I can do that.

My buddy just landed a new gig and he credits the fact that he put he has his pilot's license on his resume. The managing attorney also has his. The interview consisted of them discussing various planes and ended with them saying "well, even if you don't come on board, we should go flying soon."

He now works there.

The woman in charge of my firm's hiring committee is on vacation now. I also know that if you discuss her home town professional sports teams, you already have a significant bond. Inversely, she has straight up said that she dislikes individuals in interviews who favor her teams' opponents.

I would digress to the collective wisdom though, which seems to be don't add "travel."

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bucwild (Jul 14, 2017 - 9:30 am)

This. If you're going to add an interests section, make it something interesting that can spark a conversation. Vacationing isn't a hobby worth mentioning.

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cargo (Jul 14, 2017 - 9:40 am)

I appreciate candidates who include an Interests section.

Generally we've already determined if a candidate can do the job based upon the experience they list.

Once you get to the in-person interview we largely take qualities of "fit" into account--whether we enjoy talking with the person. It is a lot easier to quickly like someone if we see that they have common interests.

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acerimmer (Jul 14, 2017 - 8:36 pm)

Depends. If you're a former FFA Chapter President, and you're interviewing at a tax/probate/real estate firm in an agricultural state, it's a good thing to stick on your resume I'd say.

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barelylegal (Jul 14, 2017 - 11:06 pm)

My sister does a lot of OCI for her company and she once told me that the interests section is the first thing she looks at on a resume. Apparently all the candidates she interviews are more or less the same and it is one of the few sections that has a bit of variance.

I'm of the personal opinion that an interests section is a nice space filler when you do not have much experience but it really is something that you should drop as your career advances.

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downwardslope (Jul 15, 2017 - 9:36 am)

Yes- I know someone who got a SA position because they were looking for a person who played his particular instrument for their firm jazz band- I kid you not. Unfortunately that was during the economic collapse and the firm went under, but he at least got a fun summer out of it.

I got my first job out of law school because the GC asked me to discuss a book I read recently (which he says is his deciding question if you can answer the basics) and then we discussed music.

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wutwutwut (Jul 15, 2017 - 10:44 am)

"got my first job out of law school because the GC asked "

Interesting - you went straight LS--> in house?

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downwardslope (Jul 15, 2017 - 12:45 pm)

No, I worked in state government for an agency that has only about 15-20 attorneys. I actually left and came back, which is not uncommon in that agency. It is dysfunctional but kind of has a family atmosphere so they want people who are a good fit.

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patenttrollnj (Jul 15, 2017 - 5:33 pm)

It depends.

If your interests include things like "cooking, traveling, doing jigsaw puzzles and riding a bicycle" you are better leaving it out.

If, however, your interests include playing (NOT learning) an instrument, or competitive sports (albeit non-professional), then it's fine to include it. The idea is that you want to show that you have an exceptional talent, or that you invest a substantial amount of your spare time in doing something most people don't.

Thus, most people don't do anything all that interesting to justify having an interest section.

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