Want Your Resume to Stand Out? Consider This Trick.

Woman cooking in kitchen
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This article originally appeared on Uncubed.

While your professional experience can say a lot about who you are, an interests section on your resume is a huge opportunity to infuse a real, dynamic voice into that dry PDF.

You’re not only adding color to your application, but you’re also making a recruiter’s life a bit easier. Dan Geiger, Recruiter at BuzzFeed, loves seeing “a little kicker” at the end of a resume because it helps him break the ice on a phone call – especially if it’s something he can personally relate to.

We’re going to walk through four ways you can frame your interests to make a resume stand out…and ultimately lead to a more natural and authentic first call.

Get oddly specific

We can’t emphasize enough just how limp a lineup of “reading, camping, traveling, and exercising” appears. Your space is limited, so choose your words wisely! The more specific you can get, the easier it is for questions to flow and an authentic conversation to happen (when you land that phone interview, of course). Here are a few examples of transformed cliches:

Cooking → Recreating/hosting neighborhood Chopped competitions
Music → Started an album review channel on YouTube
Comics → Female protagonists like Mac in Paper Girls

Be relevant

If you’re really passionate about a role or company, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for you to tailor your interests to the job. This doesn’t mean you have to build data models on the weekends! Think bigger (or smaller). If the role includes managing a small team then you’ll probably want to mention that you coach a beginners soccer league. Struggling with this? Do a bit of digging into the company’s blog or Twitter, it’s possible you’ll find some quirky parts of their culture that resonate with you!

Compensate for experience with interest

Startups in particular are notorious for hiring scrappy individuals who have the will and motivation to learn, even if all the professional experience isn’t there. Use your interests section to your advantage! If proficiency in React.js is preferred but not required, make sure to note that you attend the monthly NYC Javascript React Group Meetups. Showing you take the time outside of work to pick up skills…huge plus in a recruiter’s mind.

Stylize your interests section!

Explore innovative ways of describing the things that make you you. If you’re applying for a sales role, change up the “Interests” headliner on your resume to an actionable phrase like “Talk to Me About”. Simple style tweaks like this can go a long way when it comes to getting your personality across with a limited amount of space.

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