Let’s face it: Some days, even if you love your job, you want to do more. You want to live beyond your desk, your inbox, your projects, and your coworkers. This is especially true when you don’t love your job. It can be hard waking up every morning, shuffling to the office, and focusing on a goal you’re just not feeling any more. So what can you do about it? Glad you asked! We’ve found that having an extracurricular activity outside of work not only boosts your mental health, but can help make you more productive at work, yield connections you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, and yes, even enhance your resume.
First off, volunteer work or a side hustle can help you develop some great leadership skills that might otherwise be reserved for your superiors at your current job. For example, if you were to join the planning committee for a nonprofit’s annual gala, it would teach you fundraising skills, how to negotiate with vendors, and digital marketing strategies. You never know when those types of skills might come in handy at work, but more importantly, they'll likely expand the types of opportunities you're qualified for when you start exploring other jobs.
Okay, sure, but isn't that also work? What about an extracurricular that's just totally fun, without the stress of volunteering, endless committee meetings, and time commitments? Yup, that's great too -- it’s actually still beneficial for your career if you pursue a hobby. Let's say you enroll in a dance class. In addition to burning off calories and steam, you’ll likely make friends. And maybe your new dance BFF’s roommate works at your dream company and can refer you when there’s an opening! The more you expand your social circle, the more you expand your professional network -- and the best way to get your resume into the right hands is through a contact who really knows you ... AKA a friend.
I get it, but how is this stuff going to boost my actual resume? Well, your extracurriculars are fair game for the experience section of your resume if you're learning transferrable skills, but even those purely fun activities can be useful. We’re big fans of including an interest section on your resume to help prospective employers see you as a person, not just a list of skills. This way, a hiring manager can potentially relate to you -- maybe they dance too, or they volunteer with a similar charitable organization. Or, maybe your hobby is so interesting that they’ll want to bring you in to learn more about it -- like you play Quidditch, collect airline miles, or have run marathons in 12 cities.
Expanding your life beyond your desk is better for you as a person -- which makes it better for your career. The workforce hasn’t been taken over by robots (yet), and hiring managers are looking for happy, well-rounded people. So be happy, and take advantage of the added value your hobbies will contribute to your career!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Hollywood Resumes' Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan were interviewed by Hollywood Hustle podcast about breaking into the entertainment industry -- we shared our own career stories along with tips for how to search for jobs, build a network, and craft a strong resume and cover letter.
Listen to the full episode here, or on your favorite podcasting platform! We also helped cohost Daniel Tuttel revise his resume on the spot in a fun bonus preview episode!
We’re often asked about resume formats -- if there’s a cool, fancy one that everyone’s using these days, if graphics are necessary, and if there’s a standard format we use across all our clients. The short answer is: No. The longer answer is that while a good resume format is essential, it's only the first step in creating a resume that will get you the job.
Just like people, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Are you articulating the proper skills? Calling attention to the biggest highlights in your career? Telling your story as clearly as possible? You should pick a resume format that will convey your skills the right way for the job you want and the story you’re trying to tell. That might mean putting education first, or using a sidebar to include extracurricular achievements -- or it might mean skewing more traditionally so you can fit more on the page. But no matter what, you should let the content guide the format -- not the other way around.
Anyone can pull a cool format off the internet and fit their work history into it. Word even comes preloaded with a few formats that you can plug your info into. As long as your format meets the following criteria -- easy-to-read, fits on one page (unless you're an executive who needs a CV), doesn't include excess colors/graphics, highlights your contact information, past companies, positions, and dates -- it'll be pretty and function just fine. But if you want it to be great, think about the story you're trying to tell, and choose a format that will help you get there.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
You’ve heard that your resume should be more than a list of responsibilities -- it's a story that explains why you’d be great for the job you’re applying for. But a lot of our clients struggle with what belongs in that story, especially when they're trying to convey results and accomplishments. Should you craft a bullet point about the time you saved the production $25K by switching to off-brand snacks for crafty? What about the new spreadsheet you designed to make reporting more effective, because your boss was using post-its to track everything instead of Excel? Is it relevant that you rolled calls for three bosses, one of whom had a serious temper? If you include too much information, you might start to sound a little ridiculous.
We often see candidates make the mistake of listing their key skills and illustrating them with “highlights” like the specific, detailed anecdotes above. Doing so often makes your resume harder for a hiring manager to parse through and may feel redundant. Plus, it can be tricky to convey the significance of your proudest accomplishment in just a few words. You'd do best to save some of this more nuanced information for the interview.
On your resume, you should want to focus on the big picture -- what are the key takeaways that will match the skills listed in the job posting? In the above examples, you might say “Managed production budgets and implemented cost-saving solutions,” “Created new tracking system,” or "Supported three executives." If you feel the need to get some results in there, that's fine, just make sure they're results that can be conveyed in a few words: "Implemented cost-saving solutions that saved $25K." Alternatively, you may want to add a little more about how you did something: "Created new system for tracking project submissions using Excel." This is okay too. What you'd want to avoid is: "Converted supervisor's post-it reminder system into an Excel submissions tracking system to increase departmental efficiency." See the difference? Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. It's a waste of valuable resume space and makes you sound silly.
But don't discount all of these great stories and accomplishments -- even if they don't belong on your resume, they're still very important! Save them for the interview. When you're asked about an achievement you’re particularly proud of, your biggest strengths, or how you managed a challenging situation, use these anecdotes as examples to bolster your argument.
It can be frustrating to look at your resume and not see the full picture of who you are as a worker. No one wants to be boiled down to a one page document that relies on bullet points and white space! But it’s important to remember that your resume is step 1 of your job application. You can supplement it somewhat with a cover letter, but the real moment to shine is the interview. Your resume should be simple, concise, and effectively communicate that you meet the basic requirements of the job at hand -- the last thing you want is for a hiring manager to get overwhelmed by the details and miss the bigger picture of your capabilities.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan