Hobbies: to include, or not to include?
That is the question we get asked time and again when it comes to the all-important CV. And, like many questions of this nature, there’s no simple answer.
Telling your potential employer more about yourself can help the CV to come alive, and it can open up some questions in your interview, but it’s important to remember that you will have to tick all of their other boxes before they start to look at your hobbies.
Having the right skills, qualifications, and experience, and making this very easy for your potential employers to spot, must always take precedence. And remember, some hobbies might polarise opinion. Not everyone is a fan of certain genres of music, sports or styles of dancing, so whilst you could build a connection with a recruiter, you also risk turning them off.
If you are going to include your hobbies, it’s generally a good idea to put these at the end of the CV. It’s also a good idea to tailor your hobbies and interests to the role you are applying for and to make sure they highlight any transferable skills. Interests that help to build up the idea that you are suitable for the position can be beneficial, as can a focus on voluntary and community-based activities you are engaged with. If you are applying for a job that requires IT skills, indicating you have an interest in coding or computing could stand you in good stead. Similarly, project managers might mention an interest in chess or problem-solving games.
If you cannot think of any hobbies that you want to include, it might be best to leave this section out rather than to fill it full of the usual suspects, such as socialising and reading. A contrived hobbies section could suggest that you are padding the CV out and not really considering what you are including. And don’t be tempted to make something up or to overstate your abilities, as that will come back to haunt you in your interview.
One final thing to consider: do you have the space to include this information, and if so, is this the best use of it? If you are a school lever or graduate, you might well have the space, and you can use it to talk about relevant skills that might otherwise go unmentioned. If you are at a more advanced stage of your career, you might well have other more relevant things to say and better uses of the space.
In short, if you cannot think of anything you want to mention, it’s probably better to leave this part out – use your time to focus on your skills, experience and qualifications – aligning these to the requirements of the role you are applying for. You will only have a limited time to make the right impression with your CV, so always make it as easy as possible for the reader to understand why you are a perfect match for the role, help them to put a tick in each of their boxes.