Fascinated by the paranormal or passionate about poker? That’s fine—but if you want to get into the good graces of a hiring manager, you probably shouldn't list these quirks in your CV’s “Additional Interests” section.
Career resource website Zippia recently analyzed a staggering 3,543,017 resumes and used them to mine the most disproportionately common interests in each U.S. state. Then, they tracked which of these keywords appeared in people’s “Additional Interests” sections the most around the country. They used the data to compile the fascinating map below.
Lots of people mentioned standard hobbies, like gardening, volunteering, and reading. However, a large chunk of prospective employees copped to unusual interests (and some that were just straight-up weird). For instance, many Marylanders listed “ghosts,” whereas job seekers from New Hampshire were into Bigfoot. In Rhode Island, 13 people mentioned Harry Potter. (One of them ran a “Harry Potter Science Night,” complete with demonstrations of “non-Newtonian fluids and density through fun, interactive activities.”)
Some of the listed interests were pretty regional. Nevada residents (not surprisingly) mentioned poker a lot, and in Alaska, 232 resumes out of 11,283 listed trucks, which could be attributed to the state’s icy roads. In Georgia, people name-dropped Coca-Cola, where the company's headquarters are located.
Of course, some of these keywords can be interpreted the wrong way, and might be better understood with some context. For example, three resumes from New Mexico mentioned UFOs—but in one of them, a person explained that they’re “familiar with many different satellite types including DSCS, MILSTAR, UFO, Intel Sat, and Pan Am Sat.” It’s likely that the candidate was referring to The Ultra High Frequency Follow-On (UFO) system, which the U.S. Navy uses to provide communications for its forces, and not alien spacecraft. Meanwhile, one person who listed the Kardashians on their CV had actually worked in a professional capacity with the celebrity family. Now, if only we had an explanation for why Hawaiians mentioned heroin…
In short, be mindful of the keywords you put on your resume, as hiring managers might be taken aback if you play up your passion for superheroes (unless you're applying for a gig at a comic book company). By carefully cultivating your image on paper, you'll hopefully make the cut for an in-person interview.