Many of you know, I look at a lot of resumes... Tons of them in fact.

One of the stranger things I've seen in India is the almost obsessive use of the Hobby field. I feel as if this field has fallen out of favor in the US - you seldom see it used on a resume, and if you do it is full of safety hobbies like travel, running and other impressive feats of endurance or brainpower. I once accepted a renter with a questionable credit history because he showed up to the meeting fresh from coaching Little League... As he set aside the batting order and brushed the dust from his hands I thought "How bad could he be?" Bad apparently... I'm still waiting for Octobers rent check to arrive.

But I digress. This Hobbies category confuses me. With so few acceptable answers, I wonder - are people hiding their hobbies? After all, can you really see yourself hiring someone who lists Dungeons & Dragons, Fire Breathing or Star Trek on their CV?

Suzy, you look great. You're just the sort of candidate we need to great our customers as they enter the building...

Whats that? Can you wear your foam Spock ears?

In the US, we've received the Hobby memo - hide them all. Be ashamed of anything other than 5 safety hobbies. And yet - here in India - folks continue to list their hobbies without the least bit of shame. Take these that came across my desk recently (edited & summarized)

  1. Reading newspaper, magazines.
  2. Interacting with new people.
  3. Always greedy to learn

I have a great lust for latest electronic gadgets including the mobile phones.

In my free time I like reading wikipedia encyclopedia.

Collating wares software.

Devotion to the execution of responsibilities are my hobbies

Encouraging Junior to play the Synthesizer. Initially I taught him to play the National Anthem (after an hour of effort on my part, to play it correctly). He learnt it in less than 10 minutes. Now, he tries to teach me the tunes he has learnt on his own

Applying Reverse Engineering to things around me

Being a winner in Quake III Arena in ZETA ’05

*Netsurfing is by far the number one hobby on resumes in India. Strange really - seems to me it would indicate a strong likelihood to not work once hired.

So there you have it - just one of those quirky little cross cultural differences I guess. I wonder how long it will take for India to get the memo.

I suspect by the time I leave I'll be working with a bunch of Triathlete, bookworms who are actively involved with Habitat for Humanity.


kaushik said...

The best one i've ver got ...

Hobbies : As stated above

and above was work experience... the guy was serious methinks...

By the way, was really looking forward to a diwali post ... let the readers down...

shelmes said...

Kaushik -

Promise Diwali post. I thought me driving would hold you over!

chandni said...


I am so going to make edits in my CV ;)

Wanderer said...

i love your blog been reading it for a while and the funny thing is that you and I have posted the same stories a couple of times

Yellow Monk said...

haha.. I get a lot with -

The bold heading on top - BIO-DATA

And the extended "PERSONAL DETAILS" section with
Father's name:
Mother's name:
Marital Status:
I mean what!?- "Thanks, will get back when I have a daughter of marriageable age (NOT)!"

Cultural differences. Rightly put. Nice blog.

Anonymous said...

Nice post.

I don't think I've mentioned hobbies in my US resumes.

Do you think having a list of hobbies helps or hurts the applicants? Do you think worse of those who list "netsurfing" as a hobby?

Jeanne Heydecker said...

Word. Copywriters have very interesting things on theirs. I had one the other day that said "posting my poetry to Orkut, reading classic literature as John Grisham, Erich Segal and Danielle Steele, I like American music like the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Shakira."


Pregnant Pause! said...

Heh. Even with appreciation of supposedly loaded American hobbies (of endurance and "brain"power), perception of people is misplaced (as clear from the failure to pay up the October rent check ).

At least this Indian practice gives you some avenue to discard some of the candidates based on the "redundant information/ show of stupidity criteria" apart from letting you fret on your usual condescending way.

We Indians are really too tolerant.