This is a fun topic that I talk with candidates about. At length, even. As a recruiter, I need to make sure that all of my candidate's resumes are great before submitting them. So, I go through it with them, as opposed to creating something new or editing without authorization. Every candidate, for the most part, comes in to meet with me prior to being submitted so that I can judge their interview skills, as well as go over the resume.
Well, the funniest part of this review is the Hobbies and Interests section...which I tell my candidates either to do or not. Usually I hear "That is unprofessional" or "Really? Who does that?" Well, the person who got the job :).
I don't have them all do it, and here are a couple of points why or why-not to put it on there:
Why to put it on there:
IT is where I recruit. So, think about it, what is a main topic of concern for a candidate apart from skill set? Culture, usually. Will this candidate fit in here? Let me ask this...what stereotypes come up with IT candidates? Well, let me get the name calling out of the way: Geek, Dweeb, Nerd, Dork...to name a few. Dungeon Programmers. Yeah, glasses...WoW...anime...introvert. Am I on point with what you were thinking? More than likely...unless you are an IT guy yourself. You can avoid all of these and change the initial impression you make by adding this section on your resume. Of course, keep it professional and personable. Mine says I am a Redskins fan and a Sigma Phi Epsilon member. Both of those got me my first job out of college. It even got me my second job 2 years later. Hiring managers typically want people who they can work well with, not people who will just come in and shut up. Innovation, inspiration, and overall design/project management comes from communication and team work. That being said, you need to have people who mirror that mind-set. If you give them that information before they even meet you, you are already ahead of other candidates.
Why NOT to put it on there:
If you are entry-level , low-level, or blue collar...that really is the only thing I can think of. Usually those roles are more mundane to the management, so they for the most part look for people who can do the job and get out of the way. Reception, customer service, kitchen staff, CNC Machinists, etc. Those type of roles are looking for people who can focus on the job, so their resumes need to be focused on the skills they have.
Keep in mind, this is more of a gray-area. Reason being is that it directly goes against the EEOC, on a macro level. Well, it is hitting on what people think off of first glance and what comes to mind first. If they go through a very technical resume, then hit a Hobby section, they see the person as having a life outside of work, a good personal balance, and a good solid ability to tell the difference.
Let me know your thoughts on this...bit of a touchy one when it comes to resume writing.