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This guest post was authored by Marcia Windsor Waite of StudentJobUK.
Are you struggling with what to write on your first CV or resume? Or are you unsure about whether you should include your hobbies and interests as well as your education and professional experience?
Writing a CV is hard and it is not always easy to decide what to include in your CV, especially when you’re trying to confine years of experience and accolades to roughly 2 pages. But does your resume need to be strictly cut-and-dry professional material, or can it show off more of your character? We thought it would be interesting to look at the benefits of including your hobbies on your CV, what they might mean to employers and whether they can add anything to help you stand out from other applicants.
What counts as a hobby?
Hobbies are activities that you regularly carry out during your free time. You usually complete hobbies for fun, but they can simultaneously be done for personal fulfillment or to earn extra money.
Frequent hobbies and interests often include sports, music, traveling, volunteering, writing or blogging/vlogging.
Why should I include hobbies on my CV?
While your CV tells the story of your previous employment, educational achievements and qualifications, the interest section gives you an opportunity to tell an employer a little more about yourself.
Some of the benefits of including your hobbies and interests on your CV are:
- An opportunity to demonstrate relevant skills — if you have been part of a sports team or band you have more than likely developed valuable skills such as; teamwork, communication, time management and organization.
- An opportunity to help you stand out from the crowd, showing employers that you have a bit more about yourself than just work.
- Helps differentiate your CV or resume from other applicants, offering you a chance to stand out.
- The ability to showcase any volunteering work you might have done, which goes beyond a hobby and will stand out to recruiters.
- Not only will your interests give the recruiter a bit more of an insight into what sort of person you are, but they’ll also provide a good talking point for the interview.
Unless you are applying for a technical or federal job with specific resume formatting requirements — in which case, you’ll want to stick to only the pertinent details — adding your interests to your resume can help round it out and show potential employees who you are beyond your qualifications.
Do recruiters actually read them?
This will be completely dependent on the company you are applying for. However, it is important to try and tie your hobbies to skills they have taught you. For example, maybe you play hockey — what soft skills have you learned? Have you helped train other people and developed better leadership abilities?
What if I don’t have any hobbies?
If no particular hobbies or interests spring to mind, don’t be tempted to just stick to cliches or to embellish.
Hobbies like socializing with friends, eating out and going to the theatre may be accurate, but they are unlikely to add any value to your application. It is far better to have a blank interest section on your CV than an awkward silence in the interview when you are asked about hobbies that you don’t actually do.
If you really want to set yourself apart from other applicants, you could take up volunteering. Not only is it a great hobby to have, it can also help get your foot in the door in your chosen industry as well as giving back to the community.
Need more CV or resume advice?
If you are still struggling with what to include on your CV or how to structure your resume, be sure to check out StudentJob. They provide students and other applicants applying to jobs with useful tips and tricks for writing a CV and also have a free CV maker.