I have to admit, I am not a fan of hobbies being included on a CV. When I have recruited staff in the past, I haven't really given two hoots what the candidate's personal life entails; rather that they can do the job they are interviewing for. Don't get me wrong; it's lovely to know that staff have a life outside of work, but that for me is only of real relevance when they are actually hired and relationships are truly being built. Then I want to know all the gory details!
Including hobbies on your CV can actually be detrimental to your interview success if they don't add value to your application ie. The job. Let me explain…
Until you are in front of the interviewer, you are (in most instances) just a piece of paper. The tough part for you is to make it past the pre-selection stage and secure an interview invitation. Then you can WOW the person sitting before you, correct any misconceptions and show that you are the right person for the job.
Including hobbies on your CV may conjure up negative connotations about your personal life, for example, you may innocently enough state that you like music, attending gigs and socialising with friends – nothing wrong with that, but a person who doesn't know you and chooses a conservative existence may well interpret your hobbies as “party animal who I may have issues with their Monday morning attendance.” Perhaps you like kite-surfing, motorbiking or potholing; great that you are adventurous, but the reader may well be visualising you with bruises or broken bones. You just don't know who is reading your application and making decisions based on assumptions, so tread with caution when you include hobbies on your CV.
Every single bit of text on your CV should add value to the role or organisation and set you apart from the other candidates.
So what should you type if you choose to include hobbies on your CV?
Aim to only detail activities that show a quality that is a pre-requisite of the role or can demonstrate something you may be lacking in your work experience, but can demonstrate by things you are involved in outside of the workplace.
Examples are hobbies like team sports, which can not only demonstrate teamwork, but physical fitness, loyalty, leadership and passion. If you are applying for a leadership role such as a supervisor, manager or team leader, but haven't a career role to draw on, think of anything in your personal life that can show that you are capable of organising, motivating, inspiring and leading. Are you on the Parent/ Teacher Committee at school? Have you organised any events? Perhaps you are a Scout or Brownie Leader? I don't know – you do!
Look at the job description and person specification closely for key words. Look for words such as responsible, organised, team player, tenacious, practical and so forth. If you don't have any career examples then include hobbies on your CV that will allow the recruiter to visualise you performing the quality desired.
The bottom line is, workers are hired for their ability to do the job. Yes, a recruiter will choose someone they like, but don't be fooled into thinking that even if you have something in common outside of the company that that will seal the deal. It won't.
Finally a word of caution.
As a potential employee, you are protected by a variety of legislation that prevents interviewers discriminating against you. There are certain questions an employer should not ask, including those about your personal life. If, however, you have details of your personal life on your CV, they can ask away as you have essentially given them an invitation to do so. You can read my article on questions an interviewer should not ask over at www.allukjobsites.com or click here.
So, my advice is…if in doubt, leave hobbies out.
For more on what to include or leave out of your CV, click the link below.
Author Jules Halliday