Should I include my interests on my résumé?

Meredith Lavine,

This is a very common question. Coming from an arts background is a great asset to any role in the “regular” work world. On a less tangible level, a performer is intuitive about reading a situation and the players, relating to the public, and they are creative thinkers because they can imagine a variety of scenarios or approaches to a problem. Performers especially tend to be tenacious, detail-oriented, disciplined and diligent to make sure their final product is thoroughly complete and meets the deadline. It’s not very often you can delay opening night, right? Lots of employers also relate the old music to math analogy. These are all positive aspects that you can speak to when presenting yourself in the cover letter and in the interview.

In library settings, interests can be a good icebreaker, and they might see your subject matter knowledge of fine/theater arts as a distinct advantage. In my opinion, the ability to excel at an outside discipline (be it performing arts or a sport) demonstrates how well you cultivate quality work and relationships in the workplace, and illustrates your focus and discipline. It’s more about how you draw the parallels from acting to how you would approach your cataloging job. Employers just want to make sure that a prospective employee won’t flake out. We artists sometimes have to surmount that reputation. Those positives being said, I would be more apt to add “other interests” more so in an academic or public library setting than I would in an accounting firm library or other conservative environment. It really is a case-by-case basis on the resume, because some corporate cultures also welcome and encourage artists for the above-mentioned reasons. I suggest having one version of the resume with interests and one without, and evaluating each opportunity as to appropriateness.