You don’t need to include hobbies and interests on your CV unless you are applying for an entry-level position. It's a good idea to add them when you don’t have much work experience or relevant qualifications.
A well-written hobbies section can help present you as a well-rounded individual and provide useful information to employers about your personality. It allows them to determine if you are a good cultural fit and will enhance your CV.
1. Choosing Your Hobbies Carefully
Many people overlook this section of their CV and select hobbies that don't actually relate to the job they would like to interview for. In order to make your CV stand out from the crowd, every section needs to be captivating. It's important to refer to hobbies that provide proof of the skills you possess and personal qualities that make you who you are - a great fit for your potential employer. To do this, you have to identify key skills and abilities that the employer needs and focus on the same characteristics using examples from your daily life.
2. Create The Section on Your CV
There are generally three steps you need to follow to create a great hobby section on your CV. So, whatever hobbies you choose you need to make sure you do the following:
Step 1: Brainstorm your interests and hobbies on a draft paper
The first step is to think about what you like the most or what you are doing in your free time. For example, do you enjoy playing sports? Are you an avid reader? Do you belong to any clubs or organisations? Do you play a musical instrument? How do you spend your vacations? All of these can work when you come up with good supporting examples to accompany them.
Step 2: Provide details of each hobby or interest on your list
Some jobseekers include one-word bullet points to describe their hobbies and interest -- hiking, running, swimming, dancing, cooking, etc. But, to make your CV standout, give the employer more. Rather than list ‘volunteering’ as a bullet point, flesh out the point and provide background information. You don't need to tell a long story. But at least mention where you volunteer or add any numbers alongside it to make it more powerful. Likewise, if you play a musical instrument, do you play with a band? You might think that this is irrelevant, but employers like to know these details.
Step 3: Tailor each hobby/activity to the role or employer
It's tempting to create a generic section for hobbies and interests. But, your chances of getting an interview increase if you customise or tailor the section to each position. Your hobbies and interests probably include a mixture of team-focused activities and solitary activities. Rather than bombard employers with too much detail, only list relevant hobbies and interests.
3. Hobbies to Include
Here is a list of some skills that can look good on your CV and increase your chances of landing a job:
Cooking: Cooking portrays you as a hard-working and attentive person. You would, for instance, know how to improvise missing ingredients to get a meal ready and tasty, the same way you can work with minimal resources and produce outstanding results. With this skill, you show that you have different interests to other applicants.
An example: ‘I'm presently enrolled in a beginner's cooking class.’
Fishing: Gifted fishermen understand the benefit of patience. They maintain focus, keep all their senses alert, and leave nothing to chance. It is therefore an excellent hobby to have on your CV if you’re applying for a supervisory role or if the job requires you to have a lengthy concentration span.
An example: ‘In my spare time I enjoy fishing and patiently waiting to catch fish, it gives me time to appreciate nature’
Sports: Every athlete’s dream is to break a record; hence, they set goals and strive to attain them. It’s a good hobby to pick when applying for jobs that require you to meet specific targets. It can also show that you are a team player and can work well within a group.
An example: ‘I enjoy playing sports and recently joined a community football team.’
Athletics: This hobby shows employers that you care about your health and wellbeing. So apart from improving your academic knowledge and experience, you have other interests such as keeping yourself active and fit.
An example: ‘I enjoy running and recently finished a 6km marathon.’
Community work: If you find community work attractive as a hobby, then you can manage affairs on a grand scale. The hobby shows your ability to network and your genuine love for people – making it suitable when applying for managerial career openings. Community work is also focused on your interest in volunteering which shows that you are a person who takes the initiative.
An example: ‘I am actively involved in community-run projects that aim to improve effectiveness and accessibility of underprivileged members in our neighbourhood.’
Crossword puzzles, chess, and other board games: Most people who spend time trying to figure out crossword puzzles are either wordsmiths or problem-solvers. Also, chess players are articulate planners. They think long-term and they are never scared of making a couple of mistakes provided that they can pull a heart trick and win the game in style. Chess, therefore, paints you as a strategic thinker who calculates risks and make decisive career moves and the same can work for board games.
An example: ‘In my spare time, I enjoy completing crossword puzzles and playing chess.’
Reading: Reading may be the most useful hobby on your CV. Career openings which involve research work suit people who uphold reading as a hobby. Reading also helps you to land jobs in dynamic industries with frequent change in policies, concepts and principles such as law and the tech world.
An example: ‘I enjoy reading articles and books about personal development (or any other topic), and stay up-to-date with current trends and development in my field of interest’.
Sewing: Sewing is a very useful hobby that many people indulge in that focuses on creativity. Being skilled at sewing can actually be an asset at some jobs. Melissa Washin hand-sewed her own CV to show off her design skills and land a job after she graduated. If you like sewing, you can include on your CV and show your interest either in fashion, arts and crafts.
An example: ‘I spend my free time sewing and creating handy products for people to use e.g. wallets and bags.’
Social Media/Blogging: Blogging skills are essential in today’s workplace, not only as far as it concerns media and marketing. Every company needs a social media manager no matter what industry they are in. Being active on social media, having accounts on more than one platform or better yet a personal blog, can definitely work to your advantage.
An example: ‘I am currently working on a blog that talks about self-development, personal and professional success.’
4. Identify Field Specific Interests
Here’s a list of the hobbies that can’t work for every CV and it’s best to only use them for special roles.
Craftsperson: As a craftsperson you possess the ability to use your hands to get things done. Building and construction, carpentry and metal work enterprises are usually in search of people with craftsmanship and if you are carrying out this activity as a hobby, it can add some real value to your CV.
An example: ‘When I have free time, I help out friends with carrying out building and gardening work.’
Stamp collecting: Stamp collecting is a unique hobby and while there is nothing wrong with it, it’s not as imaginative as others. In fact, some people say that it’s outdated. Listing stamp collecting on your CV is only useful if you are applying to be a stamp appraiser. If you are applying for that role then use it, but otherwise it’s best to leave it out.
An example: ‘I am an ambitious stamp collector with 5 different albums of stamps used in 35 countries.’
Pet care: Expressing your interest in pet care it’s something that shows sensitivity and loving nature. You can include this hobby on your CV if you are applying for a veterinarian role as it can give you an extra boost.
An example: ‘I take good care of 3 dogs I found on the streets and 2 cats that needed good shelter.’
Hunting and karate: Hunting and karate may look good on your CV if you’re thinking of joining the police force or the army. It can also help you get security firm jobs given that they need these skills to flash out criminals in different terrains and situations. These hobbies also show that you keep fit and you’re ready to work in hardship areas.
An example: ‘In my free time, I engage in activities such as hunting and karate.’
Practicing mime routines: This hobby shouldn’t cause much problem when you associate it with theatre practice. Although it’s an unusual one, it can work to your benefit and might intrigue the interest of employers.
An example: ‘Since I got into drama studies, I got interested in theatre and the practice of mime routines.’
5. Activities to Avoid or Remove From Your CV
This is a list of activities that candidates may regard as hobbies but not employers, and you can make a better impression on employers if they are left out your CV.
Watching TV: Unfortunately, there are no special skills involved in the watching TV, and adding this activity on your CV is just a waste of valuable space.
Witchcraft and other weird things: Even though it may sound interesting to some, most employers wouldn’t hire any person who is into this activity. Not only it’s crazy and bizarre but also scary.
Extreme sports: Employers want people who work for them to be in a perfectly good shape and very much alive. Since they are aware of the fact that hobbies such as base jumping or skydiving are incredibly risky and can kill you, they might think twice to hire you. If however, the employer is into these sports, he/she might relate and hire you right away. So, this is a risk you may be willing to take, or not.
Drinking and socialising: these aren’t hobbies rather activities you engage in while on your social outings and it’s something that doesn’t require any special skills. Not only that but you are risking coming off as a drunk. As such, it’s better to keep them out of your CV.
Don’t forget that your hobbies section is most powerful when it can provide a connection to the qualities you possess and the skills employers need you to use in the job! After reading this guide, what hobbies and interests are you going to choose for your CV? Let us know in the comments section below…