Everyone knows that the first place an employer will look when given a CV is at previous work experience and qualifications. These should come at the top of the CV and be the main focus of any application. But how much do future employers really want to know about your interests outside work?
Some employers might like to see well-rounded applicants whereas others might view a hobbies section on your CV as an attempt to bulk out an otherwise flimsy application. Here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to including past times on your CV.
1. Some hobbies are not going to help your application. For example, everyone enjoys socialising with friends or going to the cinema. Try and pick hobbies which require commitment. Also, be careful when it comes to listing ‘reading’ as a hobby. Make sure you can back this up with some literature that would impress an employer… so not Fifty Shades!
2. Hobbies only belong on your CV if they can support your application. A bullet point list of hobbies (- singing – football – baking) isn’t going to impress anyone. However, explaining how your hobby is relevant might help your application to stand out. For example, ‘I have been an active member of my local choir for a number of years and have been responsible for organising concerts, publicising the choir and sourcing sheet music.’ If you cannot find a reason why your hobby would impress an employer, don’t include it!
3. There are some cases where it is vital to include your hobbies. For example, if you’re applying to be a gym instructor an interest in sports and exercise should be a priority. Also, if you’re applying for your first job including hobbies can be an effective way of demonstrating that you are a proactive person.
4. Lastly, remember that the aim of your application is to convince the employer that you are passionate about the job… not your hobbies. Too much emphasis placed on your local badminton tournament, for example, will not make you stand out as an attractive candidate. Getting the balance right can be tricky but a brief section about interests outside work can make you standout as a well-rounded and proactive candidate.