We’re big advocates of listing hobbies and interests on your resume if you have the space to do so. It might seem counter-intuitive -- you’re getting hired to do a job, not make friends. Except, in Hollywood, personality counts for A LOT. For one thing, the hours are long, and people want to like their coworkers if they’re going to spend 10+ hours a day with them. It’s also a very social industry, with drinks, lunches, wrap parties, and networking events all impacting your career success. Plus, you’re creating content -- no matter if you’re a writer, producer, editor, assistant, or marketing executive, you’re a cog in the storytelling wheel, and your life experience affects the stories you’ll tell.
By listing hobbies and interests on your resume, you transform your image -- instead of coming across as a robot with a laundry list of generic skills, you'll show the hiring manager that you're a living, breathing human being with a personality. If you're lucky, your resume might land in the hands of someone with similar interests. Or maybe your quirky hobbies pique the hiring manager's curiosity, and he'll want to meet you to see what you're really about. Whatever the case, listing interests gives the hiring manager an opportunity to ask more personal questions in the interview and turn it into a conversation instead of a Q&A session. The more conversational your interview, the more likely the hiring manager is to connect with you and conclude that you’re someone he wants to spend the majority of his time with. And all it takes is one little line at the bottom of your resume.
As for what interests you should list -- we suggest steering clear of the obvious, like movies and TV. Unless you’re transitioning to the industry from a different sector or applying after college with a non-related degree, listing anything entertainment-related is redundant and boring. The more specific you can get, the better. “Reading” is a little blah, but “reading biographies” showcases a little more of your character. And be sure to choose things you actually do and enjoy, since you may be asked to speak about them. If you list “travel” but haven’t gone anywhere interesting in the last couple of years, the interviewer may think you’re stretching the truth about other things too. And lastly, keep it short. Three to five interests is perfect.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan