Q+A: Do I put advancement or interests in my resume?

Questions from our Readers
Answered by Michael Pollock

“Is it really important to put professional advancement or interests on your resume? If so, should it be detailed or brief so you can talk to it in the interview?”

The purpose of your resume is to get you the interview, so if your professional advancement activities are of good quality and relevant to the position, then you should absolutely include them. The knowledge that you are keen enough to improve your skills is a plus to a discriminating hirer and can set you apart. It demonstrates that you are engaged with your own development and the development of her industry.

As for your interests insofar as they add breadth and color to the picture you are painting of yourself these can be helpful in separating you from the pack of similarly qualified candidates. But your interests must be consistent with the image of yourself that you want to convey. If you are positioned as an effective team leader for example you will not want to mention your macrame or your stamp collection! On the other hand if you are the captain of a racing yacht that could add a very strong credential.

Detailed or brief, you ask. “Brevity is the soul of wit,” they say. Don’t bog it down in too much detail; it’s not your autobiography. It’s the trailer that you are carefully designing to get you the interview.