Crafting a top-notch CV is a challenge. Whatever stage of your career you are in, whatever industry or type of role, a well written resume - finding that perfect balance of enough information, but not snooze-inducing detail, professional but catchy - is as crucial as it is a challenge.
Perhaps you include a hobby section in your CV because you have certain pastimes that you feel are relevant to your applications or because you have hobbies which define and describe your personality so perfectly they can’t be missed out. But even if you only include hobbies because you’re short on work-experience to detail and need some more to say, you should think carefully about what your hobbies are saying to a potential employer.
Message Number One - "I’m a team player"
For many roles, the ability to work well in a team is an essential skill which recruiters will be scanning CVs to spot. If your hobbies are team sports, then this is a pretty loud message to your prospective employer. However, if you volunteer or work in your local community, for example, this will also be a great way of highlighting the ways you work in a team, should this be key to the roles that appeal to you.
Message Number Two - "I’m a creative spirit"
If you are seeking a position in one of the creative industries, then listing your hobbies could well be as important as your direct work experience. However, your creative streak could just as well get you a head start on jobs within more creative departments in traditional business sectors. If you paint, write, cook creatively, play music or any other creative endeavour, then this will highlight to recruiters your suitability for roles across the arts, design, marketing and PR, whether you’re applying to a start up or a professional services firm.
Message Number Three - "I’m a risk taker"
So you jump out of planes for a hobby, then? Or perhaps you hurl yourself up and down massive hills with merry abandon as a fell runner? Perfect if you are seeking a position in which pushing boundaries, weighing up the inherent risks to calculate your next move, and really challenging yourself is important.
Message Number Four - "I’m tenacious"
Endurance sport, whether that be running, cycling, rowing, swimming or any other variation, all screams perseverance and tenacity. List these sports especially if you are seeking a role in a sector like sales, in which you will be working alone, driving yourself towards goals, and responsible for your own motivation and measurement.
Message Number Five - "I have a love of learning"
Finally, if you are seeking a position in research, education, politics, or any other sector in which a love of learning and enrichment is needed, then list hobbies such as visiting libraries and museums, reading, taking up new academic challenges, learning new skills and attending evening classes. These all show you are passionate about your own development and will continue to seek continuous improvement for yourself.
Whilst taking up a hobby purely for the benefit of job hunting is not likely to pay off, thinking about which of your varied pastimes make the cut into your CV, based on the message you want to send to recruiters, can help. Don’t include a hobby section for the sake of it, especially if you plan to list only reading (which is usually a fib), cinema (OK, might be true, but a bit of a cover-all), and socialising (which we all know means frequenting the pub).
But if you run marathons in your spare time and are looking to land a position in which perseverance is key, get listing your personal bests; if you manage a popular blog and are looking for a job in the creative industries, ditto. In a competitive market, leveraging the impact you have from your hobbies is a smart move for many jobseekers.
Image: Skydive via Flickr