Employers typically don’t care that you bowl, play the clarinet, or take scrapbooking classes. What they are more interested in are activities that reveal insights into your character.
Executive recruiters often say that a candidate’s past or present involvement in team sports is sometimes a big selling factor, especially for sales and management candidates. The implication is that you are a competitor; understand the importance of teamwork; and know the diligence, sacrifice, and commitment it takes to win. Likewise, if the activities you are involved in will also be a venue for conducting business, such as membership in a country club or tennis club, include them.
Personal information shouldn’t be listed
Resume writing experts do not recommend the inclusion of personal information such as health, birthdate, children’s, marital status, interests or hobbies. They only recommend that you include this information if:
- Important because of a unique situation
- You have unusual interests that will grab someone’s attention.
- Is something required by the employer.
Personal information fields
The “Personal fields” are bits of information that reveal interesting layers of your life and add impact to your resume and are especially effective when used as a closing tool.
Personal fields can include details on where you grew up, travel experiences, language skills, athletic abilities, and other interests. Use caution in divulging telltale information that portrays your age, religion, ethnicity, political persuasion, or a stance on controversial issues that might be used to discriminate against you. If you know your audience’s preferences, however, you might want to include some of this information. The rule of thumb is that it should support your candidacy; otherwise, don’t include it.
Resume Personal Section related-names
The following are other possible names for the Resume Personal section:
- Of Interest
- Personal Data
- Personal Highlights
- Personal Portrait
Resume personal information Examples
You can use Personal fields to fill in “missing” elements from your background. Beau, an experienced sales representative, was targeting a sales position with Wallips Animal Health Division where he would be selling veterinary medical supplies to cattle feedlot operators, veterinarians, and animal-feed stores. He had the sales background but lacked a degree and the formal animal-science training required for the position. We wrote this Personal data to strengthen his candidacy.
Raised on fifth-generation cattle ranch (stocker operation), with involvement in all aspects of livestock management. Frequently called on to doctor cattle in remote areas, using knowledge gleaned from self-study of veterinary-medicine textbooks. Competed five years on the amateur rodeo circuit.
Robert, a district manager in his 50s, drew a picture of his health and stamina by including this information at the close of his resume.
Runner—Participate in Bay to Breakers Race
Robert reported that the Bay to Breakers Race was one of the first things interviewers commented on when meeting him. In his 50s, he competed in a “youthful” industry. This tie helped to set him apart and underscore his energy, stamina, and physical fitness. He landed a district manager position with a preeminent communications provider and was given the coveted task of launching the first wireless PCS market in the nation.
Before ending, keep in mind that information from the Affiliations section and Personal Information section may overlap, so be careful that you don’t list anything twice.