Interest section on resumes

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Gofigure
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Interest section on resumes

Postby Gofigure » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:57 pm

My advisor told me to completely remove the interests section from my resume because my interests weren't that serious and judges don't care about them the way firms do. Is this true? Are other people including interests?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:16 pm

I included interests. I don't know that including them helped me/not having them would hurt you, but since so much of clerkship hiring is about whether you and the judge click personally, I think interests are more helpful than not. (I mean, sure, if you put down "deer hunting and taxidermy" as your interests and the judge is a vegan, it won't help you. But the judges I know who are passionate about golf and skiing seem to love being able to talk about those things with applicants.)

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nevdash
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby nevdash » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:52 pm

I included them, and they were a big part of the only successful interview I had. Like A. Nony Mouse said, you want to show the judge a slice of who you are personally, not just professionally, since your working relationship with him or her would be extremely close if hired.

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:14 pm

Absolutely include. I know for a fact (my judge has said) that one reason I got an interview was because we had similar interests. And I mean generic stuff -- like sports, watching movies, stuff everyone likes. It shows you have a personality, and if they happen to like the same thing you do (for instance, if you put "horror movies" or "spy movies"), they could bring you in because you'd be a good fit. Obviously it isn't going to help if your basic credentials (good school, great grades, etc.) aren't there, but it's something.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Bildungsroman » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:10 pm

I found including an interests line to be very helpful.

lolwat
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:54 am

My judge doesn't have the same interests I do but he found them interesting enough to ask about them. And they were pretty generic stuff. I never asked him directly, but it seems like my interests section might have been part of the reason I got an interview. He's also mentioned several other interests sections on resumes that have caught his eye in the past.

I have since removed them based on his recommendation that I do so, but that was for applications to law firms -- absolutely keep them in for clerkship applications.

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:58 am

Care to share examples of interests?

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:23 am

I have a whole dumb "Personal" section -

PERSONAL
Volunteer with animal rescue societies (most recently, [name]).
Travel in [I list about5 European countries].
Other interests include knitting, cycling, and history.

I've been asked about the animal rescue stuff and the travel.

lolwat
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:54 pm

The personal section is fine and not dumb, and doesn't even necessarily need to be limited to interests. (I included language proficiencies under personal, and when I removed interests, it's now just a separate "Languages" section I think.) The more specific you can be about your interests without taking up more than a couple lines at most, the better. Not to say that having generic stuff is bad, but for example, "college basketball" is better than "basketball" or "sports" and "horror movies" is better than "movies."

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:19 pm

Do y'all have 1 page resumes? I'm not sure I can fit it in a page format.

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:28 pm

I included a short interest section but made sure to pepper them up. Already had one person that hired me that immediately starting talking to me about poker for about 30 minutes before getting to anything else.

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:38 pm

I have to say, my "interests" section was one of the most helpful parts of my application, not because I am particularly interesting, but because it gave the people I interviewed with a chance to talk about their interests as well. For example, one of the interests I included was weight lifting, and I included a specific lift and goal. I had several people ask me about it, and it gave me a chance to make fun of myself ("Well, since I'm obviously not a runner...." I'm a bigger dude), while showing them I haven't dropped everything just to focus on law school (regardless of how busy I got, I still lifted 5 times/week early in the morning). It was also a signal to me that my interviewers had gotten comfortable enough with my substantive skills, and that they wanted to see if I was a good fit for the firm. It was usually during the lunch portion of the interview that my interests came up, or that they shared theirs. It worked.

P.S. As for the one page resume question, I had a one page resume, and had several partners I interviewed with tell me I should have included a certain job I had left out (but came up during interviews), which was relevant to most of the firms I interviewed with. Against the advice of my career services office, I did. The reality is, it's not, in my mind, categorical. What you want to avoid, is having 2 pages of fluff.

insideman
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby insideman » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:31 pm

My interests would basically be "sandwiches, fantasy sports, and travel." That's why I don't put it on my resume. If you are interesting, however, I'd give it a shot.

lolwat
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:43 pm

If you can fit everything one page, that's optimal. If you can't, then use two pages. Maximum. I believe the problem with many two-page resumes is that they include fluff. What you SHOULD do is build your resume with the thought that it should only be one page. Only when you get to the point where you've literally tried your ass off to do that and still feel like you can't, do you add the second page. I think most resumes are also not 1-inch margins and size 12 font. I think mine is like 0.5-inch margins and size 11.5 font or something.

My interests would basically be "sandwiches, fantasy sports, and travel." That's why I don't put it on my resume. If you are interesting, however, I'd give it a shot.


I think that's fine, honestly. I'm not into fantasy sports, but I'm sure tons of people are, and that could very well be a talking point. Plus, sandwiches are yum. I'd probably ask what kind of sandwich is your favorite as my first question.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:49 pm

I used a 2 pp. resume (1 1/2), but in part that's because I went into law as a second career, so I had a section of previous experience to talk about - I kept condensing it as I got more legal experience and it got less relevant, but it was there. I also did a fair amount of different LS extracurriculars/jobs etc. (I have 7 jobs/internships from law school, plus various awards and LR and whatnot, and now 2 real jobs on top of that). It was Garamond 11 so I really didn't want to go any smaller to get it all on one page (going to .5" margins wouldn't do it).

Now that I will be starting a permanent job in the fall, I hopefully won't be applying for anything else for a while, and when I do, I will cut almost all the LS crap, condense the previous experience even further, and probably work it back to one page. But for clerkships, it made sense to me to include all my LS internship work and activities.

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:50 pm

insideman wrote:My interests would basically be "sandwiches, fantasy sports, and travel." That's why I don't put it on my resume. If you are interesting, however, I'd give it a shot.



Yeah but if you parenthetically add (have tried 1000 different sandwich restaurants), (run several annual fantasy leagues in basketball and football), (explored tropic and subhara regions of blah).

It becomes a lot more interesting. My interests were like, poker, and movies. I amped them up.

letsdoit
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby letsdoit » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:41 pm

I know for a fact my interest section was essential to my USDC judge pulling my resume from the pile. Also helped me substantially during OCI and callbacks.

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emciosn
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby emciosn » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:02 pm

I have a catchall category on my resume "Other Experience and Activities" under which I included a line on interests (last line on my resume)--pretty similar to the "Personal" section the poster above uses. For firm/in house job hunting perhaps the interests section isn't as useful but for clerkship hunting I would say the interests section is very valuable--it gives the judge some insight into what type of person you are. It is important to have a good judge/clerk fit since there are only a few people in chambers for a whole year or two. My CSO told me to include an interests section for clerkship resumes (they said it wouldn't matter as much if I was applying to a firm).

I used pretty broad stuff--classic literature (listed a couple authors in a parenthetical), movies, cycling etc. I think its kind of useful to have some sort of nerdy interest (literature) with something less so (cycling)--might make you seem interesting or like a regular/personable smart person. As it turned out my judge is a big movie buff too so we talked about movies for a while--great tension breaker and made the interview into more of a conversation (and I got the job so thats good too).

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guano
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby guano » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have a whole dumb "Personal" section -

PERSONAL
Volunteer with animal rescue societies (most recently, [name]).
Travel in [I list about5 European countries].
Other interests include knitting, cycling, and history.

I've been asked about the animal rescue stuff and the travel.

When I went through it, I got asked about animal rescue and traveling as well

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:06 pm

I do not have an interests section because I want to keep my resume to 1 page and I just can't spare the space (I am not a straight through guy, so I have to make room for other work experience pre law school).

But while I was externing with a circuit judge, one of his clerks specifically recommended putting an interests section in my resume. He said judges like to know that the applicant has a personality.

Not having one hasn't hurt me I don't think. But if you have the space or have some really interesting background / personal info, I'd include it.

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guano
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby guano » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I do not have an interests section because I want to keep my resume to 1 page and I just can't spare the space (I am not a straight through guy, so I have to make room for other work experience pre law school).

But while I was externing with a circuit judge, one of his clerks specifically recommended putting an interests section in my resume. He said judges like to know that the applicant has a personality.

Not having one hasn't hurt me I don't think. But if you have the space or have some really interesting background / personal info, I'd include it.

I've got a ton of experience and still squeezed in an interest section - it can be all on one line

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:21 pm

I also have a two pager because I have considerable w/e prior to pursuing law. I left "interests" off of my resume for the past several years, primarily due to space constraints, but I will be finding a way to trim some of the less law related stuff in order to put them back on there.

Law School Confidential adamantly advocates having an interests section, for the reasons some others have mentioned. It seems reasonable that common ground such as golf or sailing could help land an interview. I'll take whatever edge I can get. :D

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rinkrat19
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:24 pm

I've got six jobs plus volunteer gigs on my resume and it's still one page, with an interests line. Almost everyone should be able to fit it on a page. My career adviser was pretty adamant.

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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:29 pm

I triple dog someone to put "voyeurism" and "amateur photography" jointly in that section.............

thelawdoctor
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Re: Interest section on resumes

Postby thelawdoctor » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:30 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:I've got six jobs plus volunteer gigs on my resume and it's still one page, with an interests line. Almost everyone should be able to fit it on a page. My career adviser was pretty adamant.


This brings up an interesting question:

Which do they view with more weight, multiple short term gigs or one or two longer ones?




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