Careers Advice Blog

How to handle ‘hobbies and interests’

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We were all told at school to put our CV under headings: ‘qualifications’, ‘work experience’… and the dreaded ‘hobbies and interests’. What even are hobbies and interests, anyway? And, more importantly, why do employers care?

Why is it on your CV?

Well really, they are there on your CV to show a potential employer that there is more to you than the 2D person they get from the rest of your application. At the end of the day, this person is going to have to work with you, and see you pretty much every day. We’re all human, and even scary bosses want to have something to talk to you about at the Christmas party.

That said, it is important that you regulate what you write here. Recruiters really don’t care that you’ve got your ten-metre swimming badge, and this perhaps isn’t the place to mention your passion for violent slasher movies.

Make it what you want it to be

There is a lot of potential to twist what you do in your free time to something that makes you appealing as a candidate. For example, don’t just tell them that you sing in a band, but explain that this has helped make you more confident in front of crowds, and given you the drive to succeed. If your hobby is something that someone else is likely to find boring, use it as a way to explain that you can be passionate and enthusiastic, qualities that employers want in their workforce.

Hello – I’m human

Hobbies and interests is the place to show your employer that yeah, you got the grades at school or university, and yeah you’ve done internships here there and everywhere, but you stayed human along the way. What’s more, if you managed to get straight As without spending every waking hour in the library, instead choosing to chill out occasionally with some ballet, stamp collecting, or BMX biking, then it’s even more impressive.

Tweak it!

Essentially the trick with CV writing is to tweak it to suit every single job you apply for. It takes time, but making sure that a recruiter can see that you are the perfect person for the role will pay off. Make everything you do seem relevant to this particular application. I’ll always remember that on my UCAS form I somehow made my Saturday job in a shop link to my interest in Virginia Woolf. It worked, and I now sit here, about to write my dissertation on Virginia Woolf.

In short, hobbies and interests make the person reading your CV want to meet you, and, cleverly worded, shows them that every inch of your being will fit right into this job role. You won’t be applying for jobs much longer.

What hobbies and interests are you including on your CV? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: peddhapati / Flickr

English Literature at Exeter. Online Features Editor, Exeposé. Enjoys a decent mojito, and plays netball, badly.
Also a little obsessed with Virginia Woolf.
Fran LoweHow to handle ‘hobbies and interests’

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