At the end of any good CV there’s a section that should be entitled ‘hobbies and interests’ which should give the reader more of an insight into you and your life outside of your work.
It’s the only section on your CV where you get to talk about yourself and, career aside, the things you do, you love and you’re good at. Frankly if you’re just going to put ‘reading, swimming, socialising and spending time with my family or walking my dog’ (like everyone else!) you’re wasting an opportunity to stand out!
I think the golden rules here are to make it interesting, tell the truth and really use that section to set yourself apart from the other candidates applying for the vacancy that you are. That section really can make the difference between being invited to interview, or not!
Here are some ideas on things to include
Whether you volunteer your time for charity or you fundraise for them, talk about it, it’s interesting and will make you come across as big hearted, a team player, community aware and someone who puts their free time to good use.
It’s well documented that a healthy body/mind makes a productive employee. Talk about the clubs or groups you are a member of and be specific about the exercise you do or maybe what event you’re training for. Any sporting achievements – i.e. I ran the London marathon would be good to put in here.
Do you follow a sports team, whether a professional team or maybe one that a family member belongs to? It’s worth mentioning the lengths you go to in order to support them. Maybe you help out in the kitchen, wash the kit, help with the training or travel miles to support them? It shows your commitment and team spirit.
What do you read and why? What does this say about you; spell it out for your prospective employer!
Are you studying towards an interesting qualification, whether a personal interest or something potentially work related that a future employer would be interested in? Mention it! A word of warning though if your study sounds like something that could take your career in a different direction to the role you’re applying for it might be detrimental to your application.
Do you write any blogs or contribute content for any publications? This is a useful skill that shows your language skills, attention to detail and creativity.
A business interest
Are you helping to grow a business, or have a business interest that shows your entrepreneurial and organisation skills but is not a threat to your career? Mention it. It shows a strong work ethic amongst other things.
Do you mentor, help train or develop the skills of someone else? What an amazing skill set to bring to your next employer, let them know you have the patience of a saint and the skills to listen, coach and support someone else.
Are you a member of the PTFA or help out at your child’s school or contribute to the success of the organisation? Talk about it!
This list really could do on and on. What I’m trying to do is to inspire you to use this space wisely. Instead of seeing it as a necessary section on your CV that you just put anything into in order to ‘tick the box’ use it wisely as another way to give a prospective hiring manager a real insight into you and what you have to bring to an organisation.
There are other useful hints and tips if you’re looking for a new job on our website.