A recent study of recruiters found they look at the interests you describe on your LinkedIn profile to find ways to connect with you.
For example, one recruiter noted their love of skiing and said they would be “pretty excited” to find a candidate who had anything skiing-related on their profile.
Is Making Decisions Based on LinkedIn Interests Legal?
A recruiter giving a candidate an interview because they love skiing isn’t legal — unless they can tie skiing to job performance.
However, it is real. Being relatable will draw recruiters and hiring managers to you and make them more likely to want to meet you.
Add Job-Related Interests and Side-Gigs
I’ve also seen clients get interviews because of their job-related side-gigs and interests.
Your interests tie to potential job performance when they demonstrate valuable skills and abilities.
Some examples include:
- Creative ability — that food blog you write.
- Project management skills — that short film you produced.
- Showmanship — that band you front.
If your interests demonstrate marketable skills, be sure to feature them.
Add Job-Relevant Volunteer Work
Another study found it’s beneficial to feature volunteer work on your resume when you use job-relevant skills.
If you’re a marketing executive who developed a successful branding strategy for your favorite nonprofit, share the story on your profile.
Research Decision Makers’ Interests
If you have found a company or a job you like, research the recruiter and hiring manager who will be reading your resume and LinkedIn profile:
- Check their LinkedIn profiles for Group memberships.
- View their LinkedIn updates to see what they like.
- Look for them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. What do they post?
If you find you share interests, then include that information on your resume and profile. It will help you build rapport when they look at your materials.
Legal or not, that connection might tip an interviewing decision or job offer to you.
Don’t abuse this.
The same article noted other research has found that candidates lie about their interests more than any other topic. If you can’t talk about your interest with knowledge and enthusiasm in an interview, don’t put it on your profile.
LinkedIn Interests — How & Where to Add Them to Your Profile
LinkedIn used to feature an Interests section on your desktop profile. That went away with the interface introduced in early 2017.
Given that, these sections are your best bets:
- Summary — You can provide a brief paragraph that describes what interests you most.
- Volunteer Experience — If your volunteerism reflects your interests, the section provides a natural opportunity for sharing.
- Achievements — If you’ve earned a certificate, taken a course, received an award, completed a project, written an article, joined an organization, etc., this section gives you an opportunity to share your interests.
- Skills & Endorsements — If your interest makes you better at what you do for a living, you can list it here.
- Groups — Join LinkedIn groups that reflect your interests and display them on your profile.
Pick one or two of these options and enrich your profile.
You can also add interests to your mobile profile, where they still display if someone really goes looking for them. Click Activity/Interests and you will reach Causes you care about and an edit pencil to add information.
Let’s Connect on LinkedIn
Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect on LinkedIn here. The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.
LinkedIn and Recruitment: How Profiles Differ Across Occupations, Employee Relations V36/I5 (here).
Volunteer Experience May Not Bridge Gaps in Employment, Internation Journal of Selection & Assessment V23, I3 (here).
Featured by SmartBrief
Image: Canva/Pavel Losevky
Updated March 2018
© 2016 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, Smart Brief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.