Interests Section?

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Interests section on resume?

Yes
50
54%
No
13
14%
Yes, if you actually have something interesting
29
32%
 
Total votes: 92

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Kilpatrick
Posts: 1073
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Interests Section?

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:48 pm

I've gone back and forth on having an interests section on my resume. Some associates I have talked to have told me they aren't worth the risk, some have told me I was crazy for not having one because it's the first thing some interviewers look at.

I searched and there a couple threads on this already, but one is about law school admissions and one is about skeeting and ended with a Lil Jon joke. I'm talking about for BigLaw

So, good idea or bad idea? Horror stories about interests sections gone wrong are welcome.

viking138
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby viking138 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:04 pm

Interests are actually very important for BigLaw interviews because they create an instant topic of conversation that allows the interviewer to gauge whether they'd want to work with you or not. For example, if you have "superhero films" under interests, the interviewer can ask you if you saw Captain America this summer, you discuss the merits of reboots, etc. It's all about creating fodder for conversation beyond "how do you like law school?"

With that said, try to put something on there besides "travel, food, reading." Sure, you can ask someone about those interests, but being more specific ("backpacking in Asia, Vietnamese cuisine, 19th century travelogues") makes you seem more interesting and is more likely to lead to a good conversation.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby Stanford4Me » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:06 pm

Disclaimer: I only interviewed with firms in Texas.

Anyone who brought up my interests brought it up as a way to start conversation. One of the partners I interviewed with (at the firm I am now summering with) is an avid skier. When he saw that I have an interest in skiing we spend our entire interview session talking about skiing. I don't know how it can be bad (unless you put some odd interests on there), but I view the interest section as a way of showing attorneys you're still human. My interests included video games, basketball, baseball, music and skiing (obviously I didn't just list them out like that).

lawhawk
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby lawhawk » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:11 pm

I think it's stupid, but CSO insists. If nothing else, whether or not to list an interests section could be a topic of convo.

Listed nascar and jeopardy on mine.

shadow.
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby shadow. » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:22 pm

Stanford4Me wrote: My interests included video games, basketball, baseball, music and skiing (obviously I didn't just list them out like that).


How did you list music as an interest...I've been struggling on how to word this. I'm big into music criticism (Lester Bangs, etc.) but also enjoy listening to vinyl and audiophile type speakers.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby Stanford4Me » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:39 pm

shadow. wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote: My interests included video games, basketball, baseball, music and skiing (obviously I didn't just list them out like that).


How did you list music as an interest...I've been struggling on how to word this. I'm big into music criticism (Lester Bangs, etc.) but also enjoy listening to vinyl and audiophile type speakers.

I don't remember exactly. Since I'm a musician I tied that in. I'm on my work computer right now so I don't have access to my resume, will update when I get home.

goodolgil
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby goodolgil » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:03 pm

Results of this poll are making me mildy nervous. I didn't include one on mine, and I don't really have anything all that interesting to put.

I figured that an interviewer will just ask me what my interests are instead of picking them off the resume if he wanted to ask about interests. Am I wrong?

gingersnaps
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby gingersnaps » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:19 pm

don't put avid TLS poster

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quakeroats
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby quakeroats » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:21 pm

shadow. wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote: My interests included video games, basketball, baseball, music and skiing (obviously I didn't just list them out like that).


How did you list music as an interest...I've been struggling on how to word this. I'm big into music criticism (Lester Bangs, etc.) but also enjoy listening to vinyl and audiophile type speakers.


Watch it with this. Vinyl is a controversial subject among people who care about music. While it's inferior to modern mediums, the partners (and others) I've talked with usually haven't figured that out. For those who have, they'll think slightly less of you for it. Unless you know in advance, it's better not to bring it up. Ditto anything else that can make you look like a dilettante to the person reading the resume (e.g., enjoy French Wine).

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Cupidity
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby Cupidity » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:24 pm

I agree. It's all about specificity. You're goal is that you make a lucky connection with a member of the hiring committee, so that they go to bat for you. For example, one of my interestes is "Shakespearean Acting" because I did it back in high school semi-professionally, well... turns out a hiring partner at a firm I'm interviewing for is on the Board of Trustees of a Shakespeare Theatre.

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Cupidity
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby Cupidity » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:25 pm

quakeroats wrote:
shadow. wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote: While it's inferior to modern mediums


I'd throw your resume in the trash.

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truthypants
Posts: 108
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby truthypants » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:27 pm

I enjoy baking, hiking, sailing, watersports, spending time with family, and...

bringing the banhammer in my spare time.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=108041&p=2583086&hilit=+banhammer#p2583086

bdubs
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby bdubs » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:30 pm

As others have alluded to, put things in your interests section that you are likely to have in common with another biglaw attorney. Don't list things that are controversial, or would cause those interviewing you to question your judgement. The interests section is about proving that there is more to you then just a series of grades and that you can hold a normal conversation with people.

My firm (not a law firm) has a specific question about outside interests that can kill an applicant if they have nothing to say. If you list something that isn't really a semi-serious interest that you can carry on a conversation about for at least 5 minutes then it shouldn't go in this section. Example would be someone who lists "running" as an interest but wasn't on the track & field team in HS or UG and has never run in a competitive race; that is not a shared interest with a serious runner it is just a space filler for a boring person.

oneforship
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Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:17 pm

Re: Interests Section?

Postby oneforship » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:35 pm

I cut mine because I didn't have room.

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Flips88
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby Flips88 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:36 pm

I would say definitely keep it. Mine includes that I like to play basketball, that I've been to multiple large music festivals all over the country, that I've traveled abroad 5 times to perform humanitarian work (this is the one that invariably is a conversation starter in interviews for me), and I just added that I've completed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It gives them a sense of who you are outside of your grades and work experience.

goodolgil
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby goodolgil » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:37 pm

Cupidity wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
shadow. wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote: While it's inferior to modern mediums


I'd throw your resume in the trash.

Anonymous User
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:39 pm

Would skydiving be something that should be put in the interest section or left out?

Reason for putting it in, it can show that I am not afraid to take educated risks.

Reason for leaving it out, it can show that I am crazy and take risks.

Thoughts?

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Flips88
Posts: 13640
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Interests Section?

Postby Flips88 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would skydiving be something that should be put in the interest section or left out?

Reason for putting it in, it can show that I am not afraid to take educated risks.

Reason for leaving it out, it can show that I am crazy and take risks.

Thoughts?

Is it something you've done multiple times? or did so in a memorable place or on a special occasion? For instance, one of my friends went skydiving for his birthday over the Swiss Alps, which seems like a pretty cool thing. But if it's just you jumping out of a plane into a field in the middle of Kansas and you only did it once, then probably no.
Last edited by Flips88 on Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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quakeroats
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby quakeroats » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:45 pm

Cupidity wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
shadow. wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote: While it's inferior to modern mediums


I'd throw your resume in the trash.


Why's that?

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: Interests Section?

Postby bdubs » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would skydiving be something that should be put in the interest section or left out?

Reason for putting it in, it can show that I am not afraid to take educated risks.

Reason for leaving it out, it can show that I am crazy and take risks.

Thoughts?


It's not an interest unless you've done it multiple times and/or know enough about it to carry on an in depth conversation

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Interests Section?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:48 pm

Flips88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Would skydiving be something that should be put in the interest section or left out?

Reason for putting it in, it can show that I am not afraid to take educated risks.

Reason for leaving it out, it can show that I am crazy and take risks.

Thoughts?

Is it something you've done multiple times? or did so in a memorable place or on a special occasion? For instance, one of my friend's went skydiving for his birthday over the Swiss Alps, which seems like a pretty cool thing. But if it's just you jumping out of a plan into a field in the middle of Kansas and you only did it once, then probably no.


23 solo jumps and counting. So not a one time thing

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Heartford
Posts: 430
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:02 pm

Re: Interests Section?

Postby Heartford » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:49 pm

I don't know how you guys have room for interests. I can barely fit my work experience and education on one page! Maybe I should cut out some work experience to have room for interests?

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:50 pm

quakeroats wrote:
shadow. wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote: My interests included video games, basketball, baseball, music and skiing (obviously I didn't just list them out like that).


How did you list music as an interest...I've been struggling on how to word this. I'm big into music criticism (Lester Bangs, etc.) but also enjoy listening to vinyl and audiophile type speakers.


Watch it with this. Vinyl is a controversial subject among people who care about music. While it's inferior to modern mediums, the partners (and others) I've talked with usually haven't figured that out. For those who have, they'll think slightly less of you for it. Unless you know in advance, it's better not to bring it up. Ditto anything else that can make you look like a dilettante to the person reading the resume (e.g., enjoy French Wine).


How expert do you have to be in the subjects you put down? Like let's say you did put French wine. Would it be enough to name a handful of wines that you liked or would you actually be expected to know everything there was to know about it?

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quakeroats
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Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:34 am

Re: Interests Section?

Postby quakeroats » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would skydiving be something that should be put in the interest section or left out?

Reason for putting it in, it can show that I am not afraid to take educated risks.

Reason for leaving it out, it can show that I am crazy and take risks.

Thoughts?


I'd leave it out. It's not that dangerous (Wikipedia says 1 death for every 100k jumps), but most people assume otherwise.

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bceagles182
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Re: Interests Section?

Postby bceagles182 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:51 pm

bdubs wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Would skydiving be something that should be put in the interest section or left out?

Reason for putting it in, it can show that I am not afraid to take educated risks.

Reason for leaving it out, it can show that I am crazy and take risks.

Thoughts?


It's not an interest unless you've done it multiple times and/or know enough about it to carry on an in depth conversation



I know attorneys who have advised both for and against listing interests. Call me old-fashioned, but I still think listing your interests makes you look like a tool. I would think that something like sky diving is far more likely to detract from your resume than it is to add to it. I somehow doubt that a lot of hiring partners are jumping out of airplanes on a regular basis.




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