In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews.
Some people worry that a personal section on their resume might seem silly or even unprofessional. Nothing could be further from the truth – unless of course you make your personal section silly and unprofessional. We strongly recommend that applicants seize the opportunity to add some personality to their resume and create a variety of opportunities to connect with their potential interviewers and employers in “softer” ways.
One applicant who we spoke to recently had organized a bike ride across the United States. Our first question to him was, “Does anybody ever start an interview with anything but your bike ride?” He laughed and said that that is where they all begin. Why? Well, we could all probably agree that it is a fascinating experience that we’d like to hear more about. That may be the starting point, but beyond sheer curiosity, interviewers can learn a lot about our characters from the commitments we take on in our free time – in this applicant’s case: leadership abilities, mental strength, and persistence. This individual’s experience enables him to break the proverbial ice quickly and on a subject he loves to talk about.
Now, you might not have ridden your bike across America. No one expects that you have. However, you do have interests. So, put a few of them on your resume and give someone an opportunity to connect with you – to like you – before you even enter the room.