Lipko

Does "playing Lego" look good on your résumé/CV?

48 posts in this topic

I'm at the start of job seeking, and I can't really make up my mind whether to add Lego to "hobbies/special interests" or not in my CV.

I want to apply for mechanical engineering positions, and I definitely think that building Technic MOCs makes me stand out of the crowd. But I don't know if people (especially hiring managers) know what Lego Technic is, and would they get scared instead. Maybe they wouldn't take me seriously.

I have been to an interview for a software developer position (business and financial applications) without the Lego thing in my CV, but they said (without me even mentioning Lego) that all people in the company are big Lego fans. :sweet:

Is it luck? Or "cultural"? Maybe I should only mention it on the interview where I can explain it? Maybe I should seek out the age of the staff at the company then decide it?

If I could put it in my CV, how should I word it to make it clear that it's technical, and I build my own creations?

It's not a cardinal question, fortunately I have stuff to put inside my CV, but I'm very curious about this one, and I guess a lot of you guys and gals have already faced this question.

Thanks for any feedback in advance!

Edited by Lipko

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The only thing lego related I have on mine is related to the LUG that im a member of. I guess it really depends on the company and if they know what lego is or that there are even adult fans. I would imagine more engineering related jobs would know more about lego than other fields. As for the MOC's, I would just put that your in a lego group or that your an adult fan and if they ask about it, i would bring up that you make MOC's and tell them about it.

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I would put your Lego Technic experience on your resume. You could say that you are a "serious technical modeller" of cars, trucks, or whatever you prefer using the "Lego Technic building system" involving gears, drivetrains, etc. Make it sound TECHNICAL and not a "toy", and people will take you seriously.

Since you are in you mid-20s (from your profile), people will take you seriously. I find that, at my age (mid 50s), people raise their eyebrows at me when I mention I like Lego Technic, but I don't care. It's WHO I AM. Don't fake it -- be proud! :wink:

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Only if a hobby is relevant to the job, it's worth mentioning. If not; leave it out!

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I mention it, but more in the context of admin work. I don't have a hobbies section in my resume. But I think if you're an advanced Technic modeler going for engineering jobs I think it could be relevant.

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If you are applying for an engineering or architecture position; you should surely mention LEGO. If you are applying fo a position that is not related to LEGO, don't bring it up. :classic:

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On mine I have said that I enjoy designing and making complex mechanical scale models of various different things!

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I want to apply for mechanical engineering positions

i would be surprised to discover that any engineer in the western world did NOT play with lego as a child. i wouldn't hesitate for a moment to list lego at the top of my "interests".

KEvron

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i would be surprised to discover that any engineer in the western world did NOT play with lego as a child. i wouldn't hesitate for a moment to list lego at the top of my "interests".

KEvron

Well, I hope that Hungary is western country enough, I have doubts... I know a 28 year old architect, who looked at me with big round eyes asking "but what do you use the Lego Technix pieces for?" when I said I buy sets for the pieces...

Thanks for the feedback, to be honest, I'm more afraid of the "hiring managers" than engineers. Maybe my CV gets screened out before getting to an engineer.

Maybe I shouldn't be a pussy and just add that line.

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As both an engineer who evaluates job candidates and as a Technic fan, I am sadly forced to advise against putting LEGO on your resume. While you and I understand the technical competence required to design and build functional Technic models, the vast majority of hiring managers will not understand this and will simply see this part of your resume as childish. If you want to be seen as a professional, you should list only professional qualifications. On the other hand, it may be a good idea to bring up this hobby in the context of an interview once you determine the personality of the interviewer and decide whether or not he/she would take it seriously.

If you've really done some good technical LEGO work, just try to word it without mentioning LEGO. For instance, "developed a functional prototype of a continuously variable transmission using off-the-shelf parts". This sounds impressive and they will almost certainly ask about it. At that point you could even do a functional demonstration. This way they become interested from the technical side before any bias is present. Only after they are interested in the technical side will they discover it was LEGO.

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Boy am I glad I don't have to worry about this. :classic: I'm just a dumb vendor who likes to "play" with toys and video games. :laugh:

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majority of hiring managers will not understand this and will simply see this part of your resume as childish. If you want to be seen as a professional, you should list only professional qualifications.

i have to question the validity of your assertion. i believe hr takes a broader view when asking applicants to note their hobbies and interests. they're more interested in knowing if the appplicant has a wide range of interests, if they're active and creative. that's why they provide two seperate sections on the form; "interests" is seperate from "qualifications."

any hr people wanna weigh in?

KEvron

Edited by KEvron

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i have to question the validity of your assertion. i believe hr takes a broader view when asking applicants to note their hobbies and interests. they're more interested in knowing if the applicant has a wide range of interests, if they're active and creative. that's why they provide two seperate sections on the form; "interests" is seperate from "qualifications."

I suppose it depends on your industry. I can say with confidence that in my industry (aerospace), it would not generally be positively viewed on a resume and may even cause a candidate to be disqualified.

Note that the requirements for a resume for someone with no job experience (right out of university) are totally different. If you have no job experience, it makes sense to highlight some technical extra-curricular activities. However, once you have job experience, that is the only thing that counts. Anything else just detracts from it (at least in engineering).

A resume should never be more than 1 page, and putting LEGO in that precious scant space implies you couldn't think of anything better to say.

I'm not sure what you mean by "on the form". This implies you are talking about filling out an application which is different than preparing a resume.

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I can say with confidence that in my industry (aerospace), it would not generally be positively viewed on a resume and may even cause a candidate to be disqualified.

honestly, i'm not trying to be confrontational when i say this, but your confidence isn't enough to convince me. i'm open to anecdotal evidence.

A resume should never be more than 1 page, and putting LEGO in that precious scant space implies you couldn't think of anything better to say.

then should personal interests even be included on a resume? what function does providing that information serve? if it does serve a function, wouldn't a complete and candid list, demonstrating a broad range of interests, work in the candidate's favor?

sure, if the candidate were to list only "vivisection and lego" as his interests....

I'm not sure what you mean by "on the form". This implies you are talking about filling out an application which is different than preparing a resume.

euphemism. i mean hiring practices in the abstract.

KEvron

Edited by KEvron

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While I understand the "pros" and "cons" of putting hobbies on a resume, I still would do it. Here's why:

1) The employer can see where your PASSION is. Are you a dull "robot"-type person who just does a job, or can you lend some LIFE and INTEREST to the workplace?

2) You really cannot "fake" your real personality for long. If you like Lego Technic, why hide it? It offers an outlet for CREATIVITY, while some work environments don't allow for much creativity (just rote repetition of boring tasks). Lego Technic building shows that you HAVE A BRAIN.

3) For technical jobs, working with complex models (such as Lego Technic) can improve your visualization of things. As Paul Boratko says on his Crowkillers website, "Studless building is like playing chess -- you must always plan 5 moves ahead." Many technical jobs require that, AND MORE.

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lend some LIFE and INTEREST to the workplace

absolutely. if personal interests are relevant info, then we can assume that a broad range of interests, including play, would work in the candidate's favor.

working in the telecom industry in san francisco, i can personally attest to the introduction of playspace in the workplace (i spend a lot of time in occupied workspace, and a good portion of that at and under work stations). toys are ubiquitous there now, and it's been my personal experience that the more technical the firm, the more elaborate the toys.

KEvron

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honestly, i'm not trying to be confrontational when i say this, but your confidence isn't enough to convince me. i'm open to anecdotal evidence.

My confidence is worth something because I participate in hiring meetings so I know exactly what I'm talking about.

then should personal interests even be included on a resume? what function does providing that information serve? if it does serve a function, wouldn't a complete and candid list, demonstrating a broad range of interests, work in the candidate's favor?

In my industry, no, personal interests have no place on the resume at all. At best they would be ignored.

I suppose Aerospace is an "old" curmudgeonly industry. I'm sure that other industries which are more progressive could be different.

Mind you, I totally agree that a bunch of complex MOCs looks like good technical experience to me personally. But it would look odd to most hiring managers. Its good to stand out from the crowd, but it needs to be positive. Many managers won't see it as positive.

YMMV

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I'll tell you a story of my own. When I applied for the job I have now (I'm a physicist) I didn't mention LEGO in my CV. However, it did come up in my first interview. Some members of the panel interviewing me had googled my name. My scientific publications do show up if you do that, but most of what pops up is LEGO-related. The professor who ended up hiring me later told me that he didn't know I built LEGO models before the interview and his first reaction when he found about it was negative. He thought it was childish. However, the interview went well overall. He got curious, searched the web after the interview, and found that what I do is far removed from child's play. It showed him that I'm creative, have an eye for detail and am innovative. Those are his words, not mine :-) His perception changed and it ended up helping me rather than being used against me.

There is no telling how building with LEGO will be perceived. It depends on what you do and who happens to be on the other side of the table. I wouldn't take the risk. Your professional qualifications should get you a foot in the door and if the personal interests do come up in an interview, just be prepared to discuss them then.

Good luck with the job hunt.

Cheers,

Ralph

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A resume should never be more than 1 page

If this is the case, then I agree that there are much more relevant things concerning qualifications and work experience that need to be on the form and the Technic stuff should be left out.

In the industries I've worked in, they generally ask for a Curriculum Vitae, which is a longer and more comprehensive document (two-three pages) and it is generally accepted that you include some personal background information on your hobbies, activities and clubs you participate in etc. These are, however, generally only a one or two line list. Even so, I tend to maintain a complete CV of everything I've done and then remove parts of it depending on the position and company that I am applying to.

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In my industry, no, personal interests have no place on the resume at all. At best they would be ignored.

then the issue with any mention of lego would be moot.

But it would look odd to most hiring managers. Its good to stand out from the crowd, but it needs to be positive. Many managers won't see it as positive.

sure, if that were all you listed, even i would find that odd, but in the context of a broad range blah blah blah. i think you're projecting.

now, a legal firm or a trading firm? not on your life. i might mention the vivisection, though....

I wouldn't take the risk.

if you intend a career with the prospective employer, then yes. you should be interviewing the employer, too, if you're going to be there a while.

KEvron

Edited by KEvron

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If using Lego is considered to be a "toy" in the business world, how come General Motors (back as the #1 car maker in the world) uses it to track warranty repairs? See this article on Automobile magazine.

General-Motors-LEGO-Tracking-System-Engineer-Putting-Bricks-on-Board-623x389.jpg

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I understand both sides, but I think I will leave it out.

The problem is with the very first screen I have to pass: hiring manager (maybe some freshly graduated from business school) reading the CV. I have other stuff to put on it.

Thanks for the comments, this became a pretty interesting thread!

Edited by Lipko

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If using Lego is considered to be a "toy" in the business world, how come General Motors (back as the #1 car maker in the world) uses it to track warranty repairs? See this article on Automobile magazine.

If it wasn't considered a toy then using it in this way wouldn't justify a quirky press release. They even make a joke about enjoying playing with it in the article. It's the fact that they are doing this with a toy that makes it newsworthy.

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A resume should never be more than 1 page, and putting LEGO in that precious scant space implies you couldn't think of anything better to say.

Actually, the notion that a resume should never be more than 1 page is an outdated concept. The main idea is that a resume should be clear, concise, and to the point. It should not have anything not relevant to the position and should be easy to read and understand.

Maybe someone fresh out of school should try to stick to that as they won't have a lot of good experience to put down. But as you advance in your career you will need to show all your relevant experience. For someone with lots of work experience, relevant certifications, training, computer skills, courses, etc it is pretty much impossible to do it on 1 page without using a font so small it would be comical.

My resume is a solid 2 pages, and I've always had success at getting the jobs that I seek out. It is not uncommon for people going for Phd research type of positions with 3 or more pages on their resume.

I am a mechanical engineer that has been working for over 10 years. As far as putting Lego as a hobby, I frankly don't put any hobbies down on my resume as I don't have the room. Some large corporations have applications to fill out, and sometimes hobbies are listed. I usually put regular stuff like sports (tennis, golf, etc) or even list computers as a hobby. Yes, Lego Technic can be viewed as a technical hobby, but you don't know who is going to be seeing that and what they will think. It's always best to err on the side of caution and just don't list it.

If hobbies comes up during an interview it is probably safe to mention since you can explain in great detail what it is that you do with Lego. Once they call you in to interview, they have determined that your qualifications meet the job requirements, and they are trying to determine if you fit in with the company. So, something that can make you seem more personable and friendly is usually a plus. Also, during an interview you can present yourself in a professional and mature manner, and discussing Lego won't seem childish as it might seem when reading it on someone's resume.

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I say that I build legos on blanks for "interests" for social networking sites... I will probably do the same when I get a job

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