Why some job hunters are adding their love of ‘Game of Thrones’ to their résumé
Analyzing the twists and turns on HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones” can feel like a skill — but is it one you should list on your résumé?
That’s what one fan asked financial career forum Wall Street Oasis recently, wondering if, because of the show’s popularity, sharing it as an interest on a résumé could appeal to hiring managers. The answer, according to résumé experts and those who responded on the forum, is more complex than you might think.
The résumé is meant to show how applicants made a difference at their jobs and not what they like to watch on TV, said Jessica Toohey, vice president of résumé writing and career services firm Evolution Coaching in Macungie, Penn. “Putting down hobbies isn’t a good idea because it is steering away to leisure time,” she said. Mentioning certain interests could backfire, if the hiring manager or résumé reviewer dislikes those interests or makes assumptions about them. “You’re setting expectations of who you are without being able to present yourself in an interview,” she said.
‘If you put your favorite TV shows on your résumé, you’re going to have a lot more free time to watch them. From home. On your couch. While unemployed.’
‘Game of Thrones’ is a thrilling and boundary-pushing drama set in a Medieval fictional universe, but it also includes a lot of sex and violence. So mentioning it as a favorite piece of pop culture should be done delicately. “If you put your favorite TV shows on your résumé, you’re going to have a lot more free time to watch them. From home. On your couch. While unemployed,” one person commented. “It makes you look lazy. Use your interests that involve using your body and/or mind,” another one wrote.
Others said they’d never been impressed with anything in an interests section of a résumé. “We all know that it’s something most of us enjoy doing but it’s not necessarily ‘proper’ to put it on a professional résumé. Millennials like us might have a good chuckle at it or even use as an ice-breaker, but there’s also the chance of an MD/director looking at it and think otherwise.”
Still, interests in pop culture phenomena like “Game of Thrones” can work on a résumé, said Dana Leavy-Detrick, chief creative scribe at Brooklyn Résumé Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y. particularly when those hobbies and interests relate to the position the applicant is applying for. Jobs in media, marketing, advertising, writing or the arts could all have some cross-over appeal. Running a marathon or practicing yoga could work for a job in a sports store or fitness center, Leavy-Detrick said. Hobbies — acting, rock climbing or swing dancing — also reveal a person’s personality, Leavy-Detrick said. That is especially important in creative professions, but perhaps less so in legal and science or technology industries.
Even some respondents on Wall Street Oasis suggested that including interests doesn’t necessarily have to be the demise of an applicant’s chances. Some even shared personal stories about favorite TV shows — one involving the raunchy animated comedy “South Park” — which led to a job. This shouldn’t be that surprising. Cultural fit is increasingly important to companies. Recent surveys suggest job interviews are, indeed, becoming more unorthodox employers asking applicants about everything from the Muppets to the five words a co-worker would use to describe you on a cake.
Some hobbies are a win-win. Blogging is rarely a bad pastime, as long as it’s not something distasteful or offensive, according to ZipJob, a résumé scanning program. Case in point: What if you have a “Game of Thrones” blog that has hundreds of thousands of hits? That could show that you are a good writer, and have original ideas about business and popular culture that other people don’t see. “I fully realize there are a lot of people out there who would straight up say ‘no, don’t ever include your blog,’ but in some cases, I feel that doing so can make you a stronger candidate,” Jaime Petkanics, founder of job search advice site The Prepary, wrote.
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