Many people believe that including a hobbies or interests section on your CV is a waste of valuable space. However, if done right, this can actual be the perfect place to demonstrate key skills in a lively and thought-provoking way. It’s also a chance to make yourself stand out as a person.
Rule one: Be clever
You’ll have done your research to understand exactly what this role requires, and you can use this section to plug any gaps in your skill-set. Perhaps you’re going for a management role, but you’ve never been in charge of a team of people at work before. In this section, you could mention, for example, the years you’ve spent coaching a football team, co-ordinating a local initiative or running a group such as the Scouts, Brownies or WI. It’ll prove you can take charge, deal with different personalities and be a leader.
Rule two: Volunteer information
As well as being good for the soul, charitable work is great for your CV. This is especially true if you haven’t got much of a professional track-record, or you’ve been away from the workplace for a while. Be sure to detail the work you did, what skills it required and who it benefitted. Employers will be impressed by your dedication, selflessness and achievements.
Rule three: Be specific
Get into the detail of your hobby to point out why it makes you a brilliant candidate. So if you are a chess champion you’d talk about how you’ve sharpened your strategic thinking to win a title, or your ability to think three moves ahead saw you top the league. Consider what it takes to be good at your past-times, what you’ve learnt and how you can bring those experiences into the workplace.
Rule four: Be honest
It’s never a good idea to lie on your CV, but even fibs in the hobbies section are a no-no. It may seem like a good idea to mention interests that you think will grab the imagination. But what if you lie about making cheese every weekend but happen to be interviewed by your local Cheddar aficionado? You’ll look like a fool and a liar, neither or which is going to see you soar to the top of the candidate list.
Rule five: Be fascinating
Sorry to break this to you, but your love of squash and going to the cinema is going to send a potential employer to sleep faster than Nytol. However, if you’ve got a particularly unusual hobby then speak up. After flicking through hundreds of CVs, the one in which a candidate mentioned they made their entire wardrobe themselves or spends their weekends hand gliding over local beauty spots will stand out. It’ll also get you a great talking point for the interview – and make you someone they are intrigued to meet.