Mentioning hobbies and interests on your cv; do or don't?

The hobbies and interests section in your curriculum vitae can be an important part of your cv in some situations. While many candidates include it in their CV, there is a little misconception about what should and what should not be included. Your hobbies and interests should only be included if they are relevant. They can, for instance, help to demonstrate certain skills and competencies or involve social and community activities. This way, the recruiter can get clues about the person you are in real life as well as your interests. It’s recommended that you include them because it’s a great way of standing out from your competitors. It shows the employer a bit of your personality, hence giving you a higher chance at a job interview.

Should you mention hobbies and interests in your CV?

First, the question has both yes and no answers. On the positive side, including hobbies in your CV can:

  • Help you get your personality across to the employer which in some cases is an added advantage.
  • Bring out valuable skills depending on the industry you seek employment.
  • Help you stand out from the crowd, especially when there is stiff competition.

On the other hand, including your hobbies could have a negative outcome. Here are some arguments as to why you should leave them out:

  • They are often not relevant to the position you are applying for, and the employers may not be interested.
  • Questionable or unusual hobbies can ruin your application and take you off the recruitment list.
  • They could also be a waste of valuable space on your CV that could have been used on relevant information like education and career history.

whether you choose to or not include hobbies in your CV should entirely depend on your level of experience, the position you are applying for and the industry. Below is a section to help you decide whether or not you need to include the hobbies and interests section.

Examples of situations where hobbies and interests add little value

Depending on specific circumstances, there are times when including your hobbies doesn’t make any impact on your CV. For instance, the candidates below have no reasons at all to include hobbies in their CVs.

  • Candidates with many years of professional work experience

Let’s look at an example where you have 5-10 years of experience in IT project management. If you were to apply for a job in the same field, why would you need to include hobbies and interests? You'd rather concentrate on detailing your CV on the same and focus on achievements and accomplishments. The years of experience clearly stand you out from the crowd.

  • When you have common interests

Anything you choose to add to your CV should add value to it. There is nothing wrong with hiking, watching movies or socialising, but adding that to your CV does not make an impact. There is also a likelihood that most of the interviewees will have the same interests. In other words, you also haven't heard of cases where employers need people who have interest in watching movies, have you?

When you should add hobbies and interests to your CV

Now that you know when you should not add hobbies to your CV, there are also other cases where doing the opposite is an added advantage. Take a look at the examples below.

  • Inexperienced candidates

Those that have little or no work experience in the field of work they are applying for can have difficulties indicating their abilities and skills. If you have to make a cv as a student looking for an internship, you'll for instance have to cope with little relevant work experience. you In such cases, adding details to their hobbies and interests can be beneficial for them. For instance, participating in club games, community work and associations like the Red Cross can open up opportunities to demonstrate skills like leadership and teamwork.

  • When applying for a role as manager without professional management experience

Employers usually require management experience for managerial positions. However, a manager has to start somewhere as well. Therefore, if you have no managing experience in a professional setting, you might demonstrate leadership skills gained in a different setting. Think of leadership skills gained in a role as a team captain, chairman or president of an organisation.

  • People with hobbies related to the job they're applying for

If you have hobbies that are directly related to the field of work you are applying for, then adding them to your CV will be an added advantage. Such hobbies usually catch the employer’s eye and are more likely to secure you a job. For instance, stating web developing as one of your hobbies and you happen to have a personal website would be a great way to highlight your skills as well as the passion for the field.

  • People making a career change

Job application for people making a career change can be tough. In most cases, you will not have direct work experience in the positions you are applying for, hence making it difficult to secure a job. However, if you have personal interests in the new field of work, mentioning them would be worth it since it proves skills and motivation. For example, a lawyer who wishes to take on travel writing may have problems securing an interview if they only include their law experience in their CVs. However, if they added a little more about their passion for writing and travelling, their CV would be more relevant to their job applications hence getting responses from employers.

Benefits of including your interests and hobbies

Employers recruit people to work for them; in other words, they invest in people. In this case, they are always looking for clues in the candidates' application letters to find out more about their interests, skills and competency. These three are what helps them decide whether you are fit for the job or not. Some of the benefits of including your hobbies in your CV are:

  • It helps the employers acquire detailed information about you.
  • Some hobbies help the employer understand the kind of person you are outside the office.
  • It might be an easy, accessible topic for some small talk during the job interview before "getting down to business".
  • Hobbies that include extracurricular activities like sports in them indicate that you are healthy and physically fit.
  • Involvement in charity and community work indicates excellent interactive skills.

The hobbies you decide to include in your CV reveal a lot of information about you. Make sure that they are relevant to the field of work you are applying for. Supporting documents of the same will be an added advantage. If you would like to understand better how adding interests to your cv for you, also check out the various cv examples that you can download free of charge.

Where should you mention interests and hobbies?

The hobbies section is optional. Placing it in the upper part of your CV might have the wrong impression that you do not know how to prioritise things. Hobbies also don't have a higher impact than your work experience and qualifications on the employer's decision to employ you. This section should be brief and occupy less space. However, there are rare cases where hobbies are more important than work experience. For instance, if you just graduated from college and are applying for a soccer coach position in junior school, you might want to mention a league that you recently won or got involved with.

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