“Enjoys reading and Italian Food"

The dos & don’ts of hobbies and interests in your CV


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“Enjoys reading & Italian food” The Dos and Don’ts of “Hobbies and Interests”

“I enjoy walking my dog and listening to 70's music"

“I am a member of my local cheese making society"

“I enjoy films and socialising with friends”

“I am Captain of my local ladies’ football team”

These are real examples of “Hobbies and Interests” as seen on a random selection of CVs in my library. It’s true to say that 99% of people have a hobbies and interests section in their CV.

It’s also true to say that 99% of that 99% shouldn’t bother. Why?

Because in most cases listing hobbies and interests adds nothing to the CV and very often it can do actual harm.

Let me explain. Now, I am going to exaggerate for effect here and that includes how people might interpret your hobby, but it’s important to recognise that hobbies and interests can send the opposite message to the one you intended.

The Don'ts

- Your hobbies and interests are in fact deeply dull and make you look like a social inadequate.

- You have put something like “socialising with friends” (the most common thing that people write) which is meaningless and implies that you lack the imagination or drive to do anything really interesting.

- You state that you have ”a regard for the novels of Flaubert” (that really is a quote) = you are a pretentious intellectiual snob.

- Your hobbies send entirely the wrong message e.g. “Love Clubbing”= out all night in an inebriated condition, will be late to work most days.

- “Part time Mixed Martial Artist” = really quite scary.

- “Fascinated by out of body experiences = really quite weird.

- “Interested in current affairs” = reads the Sun on Sunday

- “Season ticket holder at Arsenal Football Club” – fraught with danger! Even more so, I have discovered, if you support Man U!

What these people were trying to achieve of course makes perfect sense: they want to come across as interesting, well-rounded people. But don’t forget that all the hiring manager or recruiter wants to know is whether or not you are the right person for the job.

The Do's It’s simple really:  Only include interests and hobbies if they add value to your application.  If they do not, then don’t include them!

Examples that might work include:

- “Captain of Wolverhampton Aces Volleyball team” – if the job for which you are applying requires team work or competitiveness .

- “Volunteer at Restful Waters Home for the elderly” – if the job requires evidence of a caring and altruistic nature.

- “Studying for a distance learning MBA in my spare time” – illustrates a desire to improve your skills and an ability to study whilst working, so organisational skills, hard work etc etc

- “Treasurer of the Events Committee at the University of Hull” – if you are applying for a role in Events Management.

Hopefully you get the gist.  If they build your case - they are in.  If they do not - don’t bother.

If you like my advice on CVs, Interviews and Job Hunting please sign up for updates, and please tell your friends. If you don’t like my advice – please keep it to yourself. :-)

Drop me an email if you want any advice on CV Writing, Linkedin or Interview technique. Its nick@theprofessionalcvwriter.com.

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