View Full Version : Thru Hike in Résumé

01-31-2010, 14:53
In the linked thread, some people mentioned that they placed reference to their thru hikes in their résumé after completing the trail.


For those who have done this, where did you place such reference ... reverse chronological, activities and interests footnote, other? What specific wording did you use?

01-31-2010, 15:11
Over the years, I've read a bit of advice about writing résumés by human resource managers who deal with them every day. Most claim a preference for a straight-forward, reverse-chronological list of employment experiences.

In most cases, they see right through attempts to conceal larger periods of unemployment or a lack of employment experience. It's better to just acknowledge them.

There are many good reasons to consider a through hike upon graduation from high school or college, at mid-life when one is contemplating a career change or other life-changing events when one has financial resources to draw upon or once one has retired. Gaps in résumés are a consequence of through hiking and could be an issue with some employers.

Through hikes often are not all they are cracked up to be and there is nothing inferior about hiking sections. In fact, there are many advantages including section hiking doesn't leave gaps in one's résumé and it can be a wonderful recreational opportunity for the right individuals, but the advantages and disadvantages of each are a topic best adressed in another thread.

Lucy Lulu
01-31-2010, 17:36
I've recently been through the whole interview process, and did not list my hike in my resume. Instead I just chose to speak to the gap between positions with future employers. Once they asked, and I effectively spoke to why I chose to hike, it was never an issue. It at least gave me a chance to discuss it rather than have a potential employer draw their own conclusions.

On the other hand, I just recently took a position in California. The recruiter I used asked if he could place something in the resume about the hike, with what is now my current employer. He put about a 2 sentence description in italics between the resume summary at the beginning, and the first heading for my professional experience.

Hope that helps a little.

01-31-2010, 17:46
Not knowing a thing about you, I would suggest that you consider multiple resumes.

In my experience (sample of one, right?) very accomplished business owners appreciated my thru hike (and such) much, much more than those farther down the corporate food chain.

SGT Rock
01-31-2010, 17:50
Exactly, target resumes. Some places may not care if you thru-hiked and I could see some places that might take it as a negative.

01-31-2010, 17:54
put it in the "other" category

01-31-2010, 19:19
As someone who has hired people.....

I would want to see a single line to explain what you were doing for 6 months between jobs or school.

But unless you have done practically nothing else in your life relevant to the job and are looking for something extremely entry level the life experiences you learned on the trail aren't going to mean much.

OTOH, if you are trying to get a job at a store that sells backpacking gear or as a hiking guide or other job where your experince is more relevent than just life learning then it probably should get some focus.

The Will
02-01-2010, 02:02
Placing a thru-hike in a "other" category makes the experience sound sterile. How about concluding the resume with a section entitled "enrichment experiences". It's a simple way of indicating how significant the trip was to you. Maybe add another point or two and you have discreetly given yourself some dimension and provided some nice talking points for the interview.

02-01-2010, 09:53
I listed my hike as part of a chronological sequence. I dont know if it deterred any companies from contacting me, but it definitely helped with my job search. About 80% of the managers that interviewed me chose to use the interview to talk primarily about my hiking experience. The general consensus among those managers was that anyone that could complete such an undertaking probably had the type of characteristics they were looking for in a manager. I also believe that my technical background is what opened the door initially. My thru hike is what set me apart from other applicants.

02-01-2010, 10:23
I would second (or third) what rickb said about multiple resumes. You should have a basic resume that you change slightly to fit the employer you target. Generally the AT should fit in the normal chronological sequence, with a one line description.

As a former business owner I would probably have seen this as a positive, unless I had the impression that you were going to be taking off again. Most employers are looking for long term commitments.

Good luck on your job search.

02-08-2010, 01:27
I have hired quite a few people in the past. For me.....ONE thru hike on your resume might actually stand out and cause you to get an interview that you MIGHT not have otherwise received. TWO thru hikes on your resume will probably make me a little "nervous" as an employer--and I may (or may not) grant you an interview. THREE OR MORE thru hikes on your resume will probably cause me to not even invite you to an interview--based upon a (realistic?) belief that you will probably only leave my organization in order to go on your next big hike.

Johnny Appleseed
02-08-2010, 01:36
I am a professional goof. I won't go into detail, but I will also put thru hikes on my resume, and have.

02-08-2010, 02:41
I would want to see it to explain a gap in a resume, but other than that, I don't want to see any employees' hobbies, marital status, religion, or how many beautiful children they have on their resume.

02-08-2010, 08:53
A thruhike is a vacation and a personal indulgence.

02-08-2010, 09:20
Very helpful thread. Thanks guys.

02-08-2010, 09:46
whats a resume?

02-08-2010, 10:45
I hire (and have fired) staff. My suggestion would be to put mention of your thru-hike in your cover letter. The resume is for work experience and skills. The cover letter includes and opportunity to tell about yourself things that wouldn't or shouldn't go in the resume. When I inteview candidates, I always ask 'what else about you do you want me to know, that isn't on your resume?' If you haven't put your thru-hike in your cover letter, that question will let you get it into the conversation.

My opinion anyway.

02-08-2010, 11:33
I have a difficult time with chronological resumes since I have a lot of overlapping jobs. It makes my resume look confusing. So I have started putting the years only and not the months. Because I had a job before and after each hike attempt during the same year, it appears there is no gap. When I fill out the application, that's when I put in the months and the gap is apparent and if anyone cares to ask about it, that's when I tell them.

I have put my hikes on my LinkedIn profile, however. A very curious company will be able to figure it all out. If they went through that much trouble, then they have some interest in me.

I am not interested in working for a company that only wants worker drones who never step outside their cages. In my experience, there is more of this mentality at big companies that hire HR professionals. Your hike closes some doors but opens others.

Appalachian Tater
02-08-2010, 12:29
Your hiking doesn't belong on your resumé unless it is a qualification for the job you're applying for. Are you applying to work in the Peace Corps, an outfitter, as a ridge runner, or camp counselor? Then it belongs there. Otherwise, not. After a few decades in the work force, you don't even put your early jobs that don't support your current career on it. Relevant stuff only.

The only purpose of a resumé in a job search is to show that you are qualified enough to get an interview. Any major gaps will be discussed when they ask about the gap or why you left the job.

Most interviewers are busy people and appreciate a simple, easy-to follow chronological resumé starting with your most recent employment, followed by education and then any certification, licenses, related professional organizations. Adding hobbies, vacations, and other non-work related information such as marital status isn't helpful or appropriate and just makes it look like you don't know how to do a resumé and if it is non-chronological it just confuses the interviewer. Many times they haven't spent much time looking at it until you are sitting in front of them.

Yes, there may be an exception to all of this but you should have a good reason for it.

02-08-2010, 13:05
I found that as an older employee (which usually doesn't get responses from most companies) that by putting something about my AT hike in the cover letter it has resulted in interviews .....It proves I still have some energy in me ...

O.M. River

02-08-2010, 16:33
I do not believe that someone should go out of their way to boldly announce that they have completed a thru hike (either on their resume or during a job interview). However, I am concerned that some people feel the need to purposely downplay (or even hide) their hiking history--just to get the job.

My question is: Why would you want to work at a place that might have a problem with the fact that you are a hiker? Sure, you might get a paycheck in the short term--but eventually some hiking-related problems will arise. You WILL eventually talk about your thru hike. You WILL want to go on another big hike someday. Thus, purposely downplaying your hiking history in order to get the job is not fair to you--or to the potential employer.

02-08-2010, 19:07
Expanding upon what the original question in this thread was...

Don't just think of a thru-hike as the end. Rather, it's likely to be a beginning.

Step away from the present and the immediacy of today and instead, imagine yourself a few years down the road from now. How can you experience even more excitement, passion, challenge and peace multiple times in the next say, five years from now? Consistently. How can you compound that pleasure in your life? That sense of satisfaction? How can you capitalize on that sense of harmony in your life and make it a part of who you are in your day-to-day life?

Answering those questions truthfully puts you miles ahead of the people who just get out of bed and unhappily trudge off to work every day, oblivious of the defacto choices they're making with their life.


Johnny Swank
02-08-2010, 19:13
My thru-hike and Mississippi River paddling trip are on my resume. Just had an interview and they asked about both trips just as general interest items. Anyplace that I want to work for is going to have to be OK with me not being reached while out on vacations/backpacking/paddling.