Can 'Random Stuff' on Your Resume Help You Stand Out?

Susan Hall

I wrote recently that I wouldn't put my total addiction to dog sports on my resume, even though a post by mysalary.com listed hobbies among 12 things employers want to see on your resume. I said I'd wait to be asked about my hobbies.

 

In a blog post at KODA, a career site for young job-seekers, though, Lauren McCabe published a post entitled, "Why you should put random stuff on your resume." She says that though she spent a summer teaching surfing, she didn't put it on her resume because it was not related to the job she was seeking. And everyone knows that space is at a premium on a resume. But it came up in conversation once during an interview, and as she tells it:

The PR Director's eyes lit up.

 

"Really? He picked up my resume and started scanning the page. "I didn't see it here."

 

I hesitated. "Well, it's not directly related to the job I'm looking for now, so I left it out."

 

"Oh." His voice dropped, tinged with a note of disappointment.


 

And that's when I vowed never to trust spoon-fed corporate career advice again.

The point she's making is that fact was interesting, and resumes, by nature, are boring. She's since added it to her resume and she says it's been a conversation-starter in interviews ever since. It's not enough to get her hired, but it is a way to help her stand out among the crowd of applicants.

 

She says job-seekers should dare to be different and should be proud of their accomplishments, whatever they are. I don't think she's really talking about "random stuff," but life experience. And worded correctly, no doubt she can name traits she honed in that surfing-instructor position-teaching, dedication, reliability-that could serve her well, even in a corporate PR job.

 

She advises putting it under categories such as "relevant experience" and "other experience." She says:

I also try to figure out the one great transferable skill that came from teaching surfing and highlight that in my work experience.

I still won't put dog sports on my resume, because the accomplishments belong to my dog. But I have learned a skill from it that might be valuable in the workplace: inter-species communication.



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