The hobbies section or hobbies and interests section on a CV is an important section but it is optional. Many job seekers make a point of including their hobbies, where others do not.
Which is the best approach for you?
We would always recommend that you include your hobbies and personal interests within your CV. That’s because it’s a way that you really can stand out from the competing crowd. Adding hobbies to a CV demonstrates some of your personality to a prospective employer. Plus, it provides a good basis for conversation during, and perhaps even after the interview.
What kind of hobbies should be added to a CV?
The answer to this question is simple: add hobbies that not only add value to the application but ones that are also relevant.
If you are unable to strengthen your job application by adding some of your hobbies then avoid listing hobbies.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Team sports, for example, playing football, are an excellent match for jobs that frequently involve working as part of a team.
- Bain activities, for example, playing chess, are an excellent match for analytical or technical jobs.
Varying activities will be interpreted differently by the interviewers but it entirely depends on the job you’re applying for. As an example, if one of your hobbies is playing computer games and you’re applying for an interpreter job or a banking job, this hobby will have little to no relevance and an employer might interpret your hobby negatively.
Nevertheless, that very same hobby, when added to a CV can provide the CV with tremendous weight. If you are applying for a graphics designer job, a video game developer, or to be a shop assistant in a games shop then you can’t go wrong by adding this as a hobby to your CV.
How do you match your interests with the job you want to apply for?
Read through the job spec and find clues
As an example, if the ad specifies that the right candidate must possess excellent people skills, it’s certainly worthy to mention your hobbies and interests that include team sports, volunteering, and/or social activities you take part in on a regular basis. All of these help in developing interpersonal, communication, and people skills. Avoid mentioning things such as jogging and playing chess as those activities here are irrelevant.
On the other hand, should the job spec state that the candidate must have superior technical skills, upgrading computer networks, building computers, and playing chess are all highly relevant. These hobbies indicate that you possess a level of technical competency and that you’re analytical in your thinking.
Research the culture of the company
Many companies have a certain ‘culture’ with respect to how they operate and how their employees behave. For instance, take Google, where they encourage employees to play games, indulge in sports, and go for regular walks as a way of relieving stress and to become more productive.
If you wish to apply to a company that is, at least in some way similar to Google, there’s certainly nothing at all to lose in demonstrating your playful, fun, human-side, given that this type of character fits in perfectly with the culture of the company.
List your skills and abilities
It’s a good idea to make a list of your skills and abilities before progressing to filling out job applications. This way you can figure out which of these would be of value if included on your CV. Skills and abilities have a close relationship to hobbies and interests so you can also include those in this particular section of your CV as well.
What to avoid when writing the hobbies section in your CV
Avoid being judged by stereotype
Avoid adding controversial or sensitive information to your CV. By our nature, we humans tend to be judgemental, so take care about the information you disclose in your CV.
For example, if you were to say that your favourite music genre was heavy metal, you may be judged negatively by some recruiters.
Avoid mentioning any religious, political, or sporting affiliations
If you are an active member of your church, saying so on your CV can be detrimental since one or more of the interviewers may, in fact, be strictly atheist.
In similar fashion, if you have volunteered to help in a variety of Conservative election campaigns or if you’re a die-hard fan of Manchester United, it’s not such a good idea to add this information to your CV.
Don’t mention risky hobbies
An employer always wants their employees to be fit, healthy, and capable of working. Therefore, any activities you frequently undertake that are particularly risky to your health (and perhaps even to your life) will not be looked upon favourably by most employers.
Hobbies that are irrelevant
As stated above, your personal interests should be added to your CV only if they add value to the application.
Management level employees, executives, and directors should avoid adding a hobbies/interests section to their CV. It ought to be clear by now what your hobbies and personal interests are based on your past work experiences and achievements.
Weird hobbies and interests
Carrying out the dissection of frogs or performing witchcraft, well, perhaps it’s best to avoid making mention of either on your CV.
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