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I saw this question (How should I show relevant volunteer work on a resume?) which answers half of my question, but not the other half.

I'm a programmer that does some open source work (above), but also has an interest in Linux both professionally and as a hobby. In my work experience, I have zero experience with Linux, but I use it often at home and have built my own Linux From Scratch (LFS) on a computer.

According to some contacts of mine in the Linux-focused industry, if a potential employer were aware that I'd made my own LFS it would be, barring hugely negative items, an automatic green-light for an interview with the hiring manager.

As my resume currently stands I have a section for past education, past work experience, and then a 'technical tools' section that highlights languages, software packages, etc that I am comfortable with. Due to the importance, I'd like to put it higher up but I'm unsure of how to put it on in a way that shows I didn't do it for work, but is 100% relevant to the work I'm doing

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    I have a section on my resume called "Projects". That sounds like a perfect place to talk about that. – Kathy Oct 2 '14 at 21:21
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    You could put it in the "Technical Tools" section, and discuss your usage of it more in depth in the cover letter. That gives you both keyword search on the resume, and the chance to discuss how your home usage of LFS is incredibly relevant to the position that you're interested in. – nadyne Oct 2 '14 at 21:44
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Hobbies with rare exceptions should not go resumes (in my own opinion). If you feel that you are developing skills and not playing around then you should list your skills and experience. Hobbies do not have an end, they are there to occupy time.

That being said, you can divide up your time into two sections on your resume:

As suggested by Kathy "Projects" would be anything you do with and end date. List what you did and the end result. Be ready to have your end result available if asked. In your LFS case a lessons learned document might be applicable it is hard to email an operating system.

Time spent would amount to experience and you should write it up like a part time work experience and list out your milestones and accomplishments in knowledge as they progress. Since you are doing projects expect that knowledge areas from this experience section to be implied under the project section. To show continued activity with your skills make note of maintenance of your tools. It will give the employer a gauge on how long you have been working with each tool.

To put it as an example: "I use ubuntu at home" would become "maintained my ubuntu system versions 11.04 through current" or "converted home system to use kernel compilation for versions 3.12 to 3.14"

Also as a thing I would personally avoid is trying to put time on the experience section (with start/end being an exception). My hours using linux right now is increasing as I type this response, my knowledge of linux is not.

  • I was writing out my very own lengthy version of this before I realised that you had perfectly encapsulated what I wanted to say. @user3246152, be sure to focus on what you learned and the end result - use it as a way not just to showcase your skills/knowledge but also your ability to define a project, stay on track, and complete it. – Nick Coad Oct 6 '14 at 6:33
  • would you mind looking at and commenting on my answer? we're directly contradicting each other at the moment. – user1084 Oct 7 '14 at 7:52
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There is an argument it should go in the main section of your resume. I teach that resumes should be oriented toward achievements, e.g.

John Smith, Programmer at XYZ
* wrote lots of Java code that saved X dollars, architected Y system that took Z less time than expected...

If your hobbyist experience includes achievements: open source projects you can quantify by number of downloads, a website by number of visitors, etc., then I don't care where you put it, but advertise and own your achievements!

Do NOT distill a hobby into a list of keywords if it was much more than that. Rest is up to you.

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Adding hobbies to your resume is a bit of a tricky thing. On one hand, you don’t want to include your love of eating pizza for a software development job. On the other hand, you also don’t want to include a things like your knowledge about proprietary compilers. The former is too loose, and doesn’t relate to the job description (probably), while the latter is something that would be a better fit in a different category.

This is where your ‘Technical Tools’ section comes into play. First, it might be better to rename the section to ‘Technical Skills’. This is a hard skill that demonstrates your knowledge of the Linux From Scratch, and an aptitude for programming.

Depending on the layout of your resume, you can place the Technical Skills section in an area that will be both eye-catching for potential employers, while also able to be picked up by keyword searches.

You may find that your resume doesn’t need a hobbies section after all! Sure, your LFS knowledge did come about from a hobbyist perspective, but the knowledge you’ve gained from it has made it a valuable skillset!

Also remember that if you are asked to provide a cover letter, that you’ll be able to expand upon what you’ve learned from your LFS experience, and how you can apply it to the job you’re hoping to get.

One of the best things you can do, is research as much about the subject as you can. We’ve created our own articles about this, but we encourage you to read anything you can to become an expert. Knowing the ins and outs of these sort of things will only help your odds!

  • Hi, Filly S. Nothing personal, just dropping in as part of the community review. Personally, a bit of a wordy answer, but honestly, still a good answer :). Thanks and welcome to The Workplace SE! PS - I had not been the one to downvote you :/. Sorry :/. – Teacher KSHuang Mar 13 '17 at 11:37

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