Photography. Gardening. Rock climbing. Traditional career advice says hobbies and interests don’t belong on a resume, but times have changed. Today, including hobbies and interests on your CV can make your job application stand out to prospective employers and help you get in a foot in the door for job interviews.
For entry-level job seekers, “hobbies demonstrate to an employer that you are a passionate, enthusiastic, and engaging individual and that there’s more to you than good grades,” says Chris Smith, chief executive officer at MyJobMatcher.com, a job-matching service based in the UK.
Experienced job seekers can also benefit from having an “interests” section, since it gives you an opportunity to present yourself as a candidate who matches a company’s culture, says Natalie Severt, a resume strategist in Poland. That’s especially important seeing as how more than 80% of employers worldwide say cultural fit a top hiring priority, according to a recent survey by international development firm Cubiks.
Moreover, research by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman suggests that people who pursue creative activities outside of work often perform better at their jobs.
Of course, some hobbies make more sense on a resume than others. (Collecting those creepy troll dolls, for instance, may scare some employers.) Here are five types of leisure activities that belong on your CV.
Overall, the hobbies that you include on your resume should connect to the job that you’re looking for. So if you’re applying for a job as a stockbroker, mentioning that you enjoy skydiving or mountain climbing shows you know how to take calculated risks. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a job in a creative field like marketing or graphic design, including painting or photography on your resume shows that you have a creative mind.
Hobbies that show you possess unique characteristics can become great conversation starters during a job interview with a hiring manager or recruiter, says Aileen Baxter, a Chicago-based career coach at global consulting firm Deloitte. For example, if you’re a classically trained pianist who performs publicly, you’d want to highlight that on your resume.
Indeed, citing musical talents on your resume can be particularly impressive to employers, since playing an instrument is “an exercise in developing good listening skills, experimenting, overcoming repeated failure, self-discipline, and successful collaboration,” writes Panos Panay, founding managing director of the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship.
In a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, a global HR society, 83% of employers said that teamwork is a top priority when assessing entry-level job seekers. Therefore, using your resume’s “interests” section to show that you’re a team player can be extremely valuable.
If you play a team sport, include it on your resume. “Student athletes know how to be a good follower as well as how to take control of a situation,” says Vincent McCaffrey, CEO of Game Theory Group, a Greenville, N.C.-based recruiting and career services firm. “They understand roles, and they know where they fit in. In the workforce, they are comfortable taking the lead as well as providing support.”
Endurance sports, such as running, swimming, or cycling, are also worth putting on your resume, since they represent tenacity, perseverance, and drive—skills that translate well to pretty much any profession.
Sadly, an overwhelming 88% of American workers don’t have passion for their jobs, a Deloitte survey found. However, employers still want people who love what they do—which can extend to your personal interests. After all, if you’re a passionate person outside the office, you can bring that same level of energy to your work.
So instead of simply stating in your resume’s summary section that you’re “passionate” about your field, use the “interests” section to showcase passion projects—anything from an improv comedy troupe or community theater group to blogging or teaching yourself a new language. For artists, perhaps the ideal passion project is opening a shop on Etsy; for photographers, it might be selling your work online. The possibilities are endless.
According to a survey by TimeBank of 200 businesses in the UK, 73% of employers said they would hire a candidate with volunteering experience over one without. The survey also found that 58% of employers believe voluntary work experience can be more valuable than experience gained in paid employment.
The same holds true in America. A recent survey by Deloitte of 2,506 U.S. hiring managers found that 82% of respondents said they’re more likely to hire a candidate with volunteering experience. Thus, to leverage your voluntary experience, place it in the “interests” section of your CV.
“When you volunteer, you project yourself as someone concerned with a cause greater than your own personal needs,” writes Arnie Fertig, a job search coach based in Boston. You are seen to be a person who gives back to your community, profession, or cause,” which is appealing to all employers.
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