How does what I do in my spare time affect my work? I hear you ask. Or, why should you even bother putting your hobbies and interests on your CV?
Imagine developing a single document where your main objective is to use it to express yourself as the best capable, talented, experienced and also, best-fit to be hired into an organisation.
As it turns out, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a distinct workplace culture is important to business success (according to a study by Deloitte) - this means that employers are looking at your hobbies and interests for what makes you stand out as an individual, and whether or not you are the right fit for the company.
As recruitment is quite often not an objective science, surprisingly, a recruiter's resonance with a hobby on your CV might just be a factor that sways their decision to want to meet the individual behind the CV. However, the contrary may also be the case, as hobbies may be misread as not fitting for the role, team or organisation. So, this is one more CV component that needs to be given a thought before or when including in job application CVs.
Where should I put my hobbies and interests on my CV?
Though very important, the hobbies and interests section should be expressed at the end of your CV, as in the grand scheme of a job application, they are ultimately not as important as the skills, qualification and experience you can bring to the employer.
Capturing your hobbies and interests in this section will also make a better reading flow for the reader as it leads the reading to end on a more personal note.
The only reason you would consider against including a hobbies and interests section on your CV is if you are a highly experienced professional and you want to use the entirety of the common 2-page CV template to express the said experience - however it is always a good idea to include some personal information if possible, to show that you personable and not a workaholic robot :-).
What are the best hobbies and interests to put on your CV?
Whilst this section is about you and your interests, you don't want to put anything that would make an recruiter or interviewer second guess their decision about inviting you to an interview; you want to appear relatable and interesting. As such, do not write on your CV for example, that your hobby is hacking (unless it's somehow relevant to the job) and do try to abstain from detailing any controversial, religious or political interests.
Sports (Team sports, running, dancing, martial arts etc.)
Detailing any kind of sports, team-based or individual hobby, is usually read as expressing that you are a dedicated, disciplined, competitive and goal-driven person. These kinds of traits are attractive to employers as such hobbies are read as showing that you will be a strong member of the team and that you will incorporate these traits into your work life.
Chess (or other strategy games)
From classic strategy games like Chess to video games based around strategy such as Civilization and StarCraft, putting these on your CV will show the employer that you have a problem-solving brain, which is a very appealing aspect as it shows that you will be able to plan and analyse any problems that appear whilst working.
Playing a Musical Instrument
To be able to play a musical instrument you have to be highly dedicated and disciplined, and it will show the employer that you are able to focus on what you want to get done and do it - if you're in, or have been in a band, that will also add a layer of co-ordination and teamwork that will look very engaging on your CV.
Art (and other Creative Hobbies)
If you are going for a job in a creative industry, an artistic hobby will look fantastic on your CV as it will show that you are creative, and passionate about it. It also displays discipline, focus, determination and an eye for detail.
This is one of the best things you can write as an interest (as long as it is true!) because it will show the employer that you are a kind-hearted, generous and giving person and that will make you stand out as someone that they will want to be around whilst working.
Blogging / Creative Writing
Being able to write is a transferrable skill that will be used in almost every industry, and it also shows that you are good at communicating, which is a very valuable skill at work.
If an employer sees that you enjoy reading, they will see that you are a forward thinker who enjoys learning new things and using their imagination - it's also good to specify what genres you enjoy or perhaps your favourite book, and who knows - maybe it'll be a conversation starter in the interview.
If you travel you are taking in new cultures and it will show that you are an explorer and that you are an outgoing person, and through travelling you are learning new things to become a more diverse person, which is a very valuable trait to employers as you will add to the workplace culture.
Young people may be hesitant to include video games as a hobby, despite the fact that 74% of 15-24 year olds enjoy playing them in their free time, due to the bad name the media can often give to them - but don't be afraid to show that you are passionate, problem-solving and creative minded, these are all good traits and video games are shown to help boost learning and brain function.
How do I write my hobbies and interests section?
The most important thing to remember is that you don't want this section to take up too much of your CV space - you want to aim for 2 pages maximum and it would more often than not be more valuable to talk more about your skills, experience and education than your hobbies and interests for an extended amount of space.
Try to keep it to around 3 hobbies/interests, and it will look better if you write a short description about what you do for said hobby/interest.
Hobbies and Interests
Football - Striker for Revolved FC in the National Amateur League
Video Games - Enjoy playing RTS (Real-Time Stategy) games such as Starcraft II
Volunteering - Volunteer cooking meals at the homeless shelter
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