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Recently, I attended a leadership retreat hosted by the student life organization at my university. Personally, I grew a tremendous amount in the three short days, and wanted to include this experience in my resume, which is for another job also employed by the student life organization. As my experience is a bit lacking (only some tutor/mentor volunteering), I wanted to include this retreat and explain how it reinforce existing strengths, while also allowing me to discover new ones.

However, this is very outside the norm, as I couldn't find anything about including non-work experience; I only found how to include non-relevant work experience. As such, I'm a bit lost on the unspoken rules of resumes; should I include the retreat? How long and how detailed should I describe it? Or should the description be moved to the CV?

  • Were you selected to attend the leadership retreat or was an workshop for everyone interested? If it's the latter, it does feel like filler material. I would rather you substitute that for a project related to a job that you're applying for. – jcmack Jun 4 '18 at 23:16
  • I was chosen, but I also get where you're coming from. – L to the V Jun 5 '18 at 0:20
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should I include the retreat? How long and how detailed should I describe it? Or should the description be moved to the CV?

Include it on your resume only if it is related to the job you are applying, otherwise it will add noise to your application and perhaps harm your chances of landing the job.

Even though it were ok to include it, try to keep it as brief and on-point as possible (1-3 sentences), so it doesn't take much space on your resume that could be used to include other highlight of your profile.

When/if you get an interview that would be a good moment to describe in more detail this retreat and all the valuable things you learned.

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    I agree with keeping it short. No matter how much you learnt, it's still just 3 days and how much space on a resume something takes should at least be somewhat proportional to its duration. – Dukeling Jun 4 '18 at 22:35
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    only if it is related to the job you are applying -- bingo! Otherwise its just garbage.... – Mister Positive Jun 4 '18 at 23:26
  • " its just garbage...." - I strongly disagree. – tymtam Jun 5 '18 at 0:35
  • "and perhaps harm your chances of landing the job." - this phrase can be added to almost anything. – tymtam Jun 5 '18 at 0:36
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    I agree with this answer wholeheartedly. The entire point of a CV is to sell yourself to a prospective employer. If you have a long CV with 'filler', it will more often hurt your chances than help. Filler is any experience or selling point that does not meaningfully relate to the position you are applying for. As a hiring manager, I don't want to know about your youth group at the local church, unless you make it clear that the experience at that group has helped you develop leadership skills for a leadership position. – GOATNine Jun 6 '18 at 18:16
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Since you are in school, adding this (no more than 1 line) to the resume may help add something to make you stand out depending on what kind of other experience you have to detail. If you have several internships for instance, it doesn't really add much. If you are graduating in business or political science, it probably is a plus. However, once you have job experience, it is no longer useful and should be removed.

In general, it is better to talk about this sort of thing in the interview not the resume.

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If you believe this is important, I encourage you to include it.

While there are some common conventions about résumés, generally, we (including the people who read them) don't know what works and what doesn't.

Throughout your career you will be encouraged:

  • to follow others otherwise it will 'harm your chances of landing the job'.
  • to think outside the norm, otherwise it will 'harm your chances of landing the job'.

Vast majority of time it's just an opinion - it's definitely not science.

Don't overthink it, follow your...self.

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    On the contrary, most hiring managers will point out that a CV is a window into your life in which you display the qualities and experiences that qualify you for the job you are applying to. Including things that don't relate to that job adds clutter without adding substance, and can hurt your chances of landing the job. This doesn't mean you have to cookie-cutter your CV, it means you should personalize it to the job. – GOATNine Jun 6 '18 at 18:20

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