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When writing your CV . it’s important to include information most relevant to the job at hand.
The section of a CV that seems to cause a lot of confusion is hobbies and interests, and naturally many people tend to neglect it. However, this section is actually very useful to employers.
Here are our tips on how to make this section more effective.
Save it for later
The primary purpose of a CV is to showcase your professional skills and experience, so listing your personal hobbies should be lower in terms of priority and included at the end of the document.
Write it as a short closing paragraph which the employer can use to form an overall impression of you. This paragraph should provide just enough detail to act as a springboard, so you can elaborate on any personal interests outside of work if asked during an interview .
Make it snappy
A golden rule of writing a CV is to condense everything. Ideally, you should be aiming to keep the overall content to a maximum of two pages, so as hobbies are important but not a priority, less is more.
In most cases, this can take the form of a straightforward list occupying little more than a few lines. If for example you “regularly play football with a local club”, you don’t really need to say much more than that.
Maintain some focus
The hobbies section of your CV does need to show restraint when it comes to what you include. Be honest with yourself and prioritise what your genuine passions and pastimes are – the few things that you feel define you beyond your work.
Generally we’re talking about significant activities that you invest meaningful time and effort into – not just “watching TV”. These universal pastimes are fine to include, but largely taken for granted. But they can take on a different dimension for example if you regularly attend conferences for a particular genre of film, or if you are a keen blogger or twitter follower of an iconic TV series or film.
But avoid a long and meandering stream of consciousness for everything you do in a typical day. Set yourself a focused limit and stick to it.
Targeting your hobbies
When you tell your employers about what you do in your own time, it says a lot about your natural motivations. These activities are the things that nobody tells you to do, but for many they are as vital as a career.
However, it’s likely that there are logical connections
between your hobbies and the types of jobs you gravitate towards. In these cases there is often an implied interest and enthusiasm that the job expects from candidates.
Bear this in mind and think about prioritising hobbies that are more significant to your job application. Cover letters are best for waxing more lyrically about your passions for a potential role, but steering your CV in this way could work wonders.
Hobbies to include
Take some time to consider any hobbies or interests that might be deemed worthy beyond the usual fun stuff. If you regularly invest time in formal activities or organised clubs, make reference to it as employers tend to value this more highly.
Society memberships, voluntary aid, community work or even local council involvement are great things to include if you’re looking to prove your commitment to good causes. An active interest in travel beyond the normal package holidays suggests a keenness for culture, but also how suitable you could be if the job requires international awareness.
Similarly, you may possess a love of something academic that has no direct link to the job, but studies or a formal qualification demonstrating self-motivation are worth highlighting.
Honesty within reason
When it comes to job applications. honesty is always the best policy. While it’s true that most employers will have made up their mind about you by the time they come to read about your hobbies, this section of your CV could still come back to haunt you.
If you’re worried that your outside interests are lacking or seem ‘dull’, resist the temptation to lie. There would be nothing worse than excelling at the important parts of your CV, only to be quizzed about hobbies you know little about. Just try your best to describe the interests that you do have in a more engaging way.
On the other hand, when taking the honest approach there is still a limit on how much you should say about what you do outside of work. While nobody would dare engage in questionable activities, apply sensible discretion on what you divulge.
Our most fundamental advice for the hobbies section of your CV is not to add too much weight. Use it as your closing statement towards the end, making it concise and focused.
Think about how the few hobbies you list say something about your passion for the chosen job, and above all, who you are as a person. While personal interests aren’t enough to secure your dream job in isolation, a few well-thought lines can contribute to your overall success.