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Should you cross this line to get a job?

In today’s press-a-button-and-it’s-sent environment, resumes and CVs flood many companies at a staggering pace. Google, for instance, averages 50,000 resumes a week.


The average time spent on a resume by recruiters is a mere six seconds. Maybe that’s why some people, particularly in the tech world, have begun looking for other ways to stand out. The question: is it bragging or relevant to add, say, that you’re an ultra-marathon runner or that you’ve summited Mount Everest?


Show a little personality


The answer: it depends. This is, again, where tailoring a CV to the position you’re seeking — and even the company and hiring managers you’re targeting — is crucial.


“If you are trying to demonstrate that you embody perseverance and dedication, including on a CV that you ran a marathon can demonstrate your personality and values,” said New Jersey-based Merrick Rosenberg, CEO of Take Flight Learning and author of The Chameleon.

“如果你想体现自己的坚持不懈和尽心尽力,那么在简历中加入你跑马拉松的信息可以证明你的个性和价值。”新泽西州的梅里克·罗森博格(Merrick Rosenberg)说,他是Take Flight Learning公司的首席执行官兼《变色龙》(The Chameleon)一书的作者。

On the other hand, mentioning that you ran five marathons could come across as bragging, according to Rosenberg, so avoid going overboard with personal achievements. “Identifying a few impressive accomplishments can help make the case that you are the type of person they would like to hire,” he said.


But, in general, with so many people going for the same job, don’t be afraid to include your personal interests and hobbies on your CV, said Southern Australia-based Jo Schneider, director and founder of consulting firm DVE Business Solutions, in an email. “[It] gives me an idea of the applicant’s personality and helps me differentiate appropriate candidates from the pack,” she said. “I am able to get a very quick snapshot at what makes you tick.”

南澳大利亚咨询公司DVE Business Solutions的创始人兼总监·施耐德(Jo Schneider)通过邮件表示,通常而言,由于申请同一个职位的人很多,所以不要害怕在自己的简历中增加个人兴趣和业余爱好。“这可以让我大致了解求职者的个性,并帮助我从众多求职者中挑选出合适的人选。”她说,“我可以尽快了解你的独特之处。”

That helps her keep her team “dynamic, diverse and in line with my company’s culture and values”.


Small details can say a lot, Schneider said. For example, if someone watches movies, reads, and cooks, then he or she is probably introverted but creative. Plays sports? There’s a high chance of being sociable and competitive. Those who enjoy singing, dancing and live entertainment and music, are likely to be fun, outgoing and energetic, she said.


Choose carefully


Mentioning irrelevant — and possibly controversial — hobbies, such as hunting or cage fighting, can cross the line, said Kate Headley, director of The Clear Company, a UK-based diversity consultancy, in an email.

英国多样化咨询公司The Clear Company总监凯特·海德里(Kate Headley)在电子邮件中表示,在简历中提及打猎或综合格斗等不相关——甚至有争议——的业余爱好便会越线。

“While CVs can act to help level the playing field in terms of inclusion, they can also open the door to prejudice and discrimination,” she said. “These create the potential for employers to make non-relevant assumptions about you or your position in society, and conscious and unconscious bias can come into play.”


Always ask yourself if the outside interests you mention have some relevance to the position for which you are applying.


“If the personal achievement — regardless how noble — is very time-consuming and not related to the target position, [you run] the risk of the employer thinking the achievement may distract from [your] job performance, and it can have an adverse effect,” said Lisa Rangel, managing director of New York-based ChameleonResumes.com.

“无论有多么了不起,如果个人成就非常耗费时间,而且与目标职位无关,你就有可能面临风险。因为雇主可能认为这些成就会分散你的精力,影响工作业绩,因此会给求职带来不利影响。”纽约ChameleonResumes.com公司总监的丽莎·兰格尔(Lisa Rangel)说。

It may not seem fair, but that’s reality, she said. Everything you include needs to support the goal of landing the target position or at least convincing the employer that your hobby is an asset. For example: “If you are a professional looking to transition into a sales role and you don't have a ton of sales experience, showing that you run half marathons can demonstrate an inner desire to achieve and beat your own personal record,” said Rangel. “The inner drive for self-achievement and consistent personal goal accomplishment is a desirable trait wanted by companies for new sales hires.”


Whatever the case, your CV should be used to reinforce the image you are trying to present.


Seattle-based James Stanger, senior director with industry trade association CompTIA, suggests looking at your resume or CV as an argument. “It’s an argument on why you should hire me, and you have elevator pitch time to make your case,” he said in an email. “You have to have things that stand out in a positive way, something that grabs my attention, and has supporting data.” If you understand your audience, then you can get creative, as long as the content is relevant, Stanger said.

西雅图行业贸易协会CpmpTIA高级总监詹姆斯·斯泰捷(James Stager)建议将简历看做一篇议论文。“这是一篇议论文,核心是说明你为什么要聘用我,你只有很短暂的时间来阐述自己的观点。”他在电子邮件中说,“你必须通过积极的方式让自己脱颖而出,利用各种信息来吸引我的关注,而且要辅以支撑论点的数据。”斯泰捷表示,如果你了解自己的受众,就可以在内容相关的前提下发挥创意。

Use it as reinforcement


As long as your accomplishments support the image that you are trying to present, they can provide an added advantage in the interview process. Just make sure you take the time to relate it to an aspect of your personality or work ethic, according to Rosenberg.


“If you want to display that you have highly developed people skills as a computer programmer, you might want to include your volunteer work as public speaker to raise awareness of a cause you support,” he said.


And remember that too much of anything can backfire.


“I don't like big personal spiels on who [jobseekers] are, their hopes and aspirations and how they want to change the world,” said DVE Business Solutions’ Schneider. Use your cover letter to outline a little about yourself that is relevant to the job you are applying for, and what you are looking for in the role, she said, adding “be straightforward and to the point.”

“我不喜欢听求职者高谈阔论自己的丰功伟绩和远大理想,甚至改变世界的雄心壮志。”DVE Business Solutions的施耐德说。她表示,应该用求职信大致说明你的特点与你所申请的职位之间的关系,以及你希望从这个职位中得到什么,“应该直入主题”。
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