Using your Hobbies to Stand Out from the Crowd

We all have hobbies we enjoy in our spare time, but are you making the most of them on your CV?

Mentioning your hobbies and interests on your CV isn’t essential, but they can be a great addition if done in the right way and allow a little bit of your personality to shine through.

For jobseekers with little experience relevant to the role or industry they’re applying for or whose interests relate directly to the role in question, including them can be a great way to stand out from the competition; for instance in her early 20s Hayley (our recruitment co-ordinator) had an interest in classic Volkswagen vehicles and was in the process of restoring a 1973 VW Beetle in her spare time, something she mentioned on her CV when applying for a junior marketing position at Renault. This stood out to the recruiter, and whilst she can’t be sure if this went some way to her getting the job, it allowed her personality to shine as she briefly chatted about her hobby with passion when it was mentioned by the recruiter.

Having relevant skills and experience only goes so far, your potential new employer also wants to find out if you are going to be the right fit for the team you will be joining and that you have a range of valuable skills that you could apply to their vacancy.

How to Include Hobbies in your CV

Your CV is the first stepping stone to your dream job and should reflect not just your experience and skills but also your individuality. Here are a few tips on how to effectively include hobbies in your CV, just remember: if you’re not comfortable talking about your hobby in detail at an interview, it’s probably best to leave it out.

  • If you’re looking for finance jobs; primarily these roles require excellent analytical skills, and whilst treasurer of a community or sports club would spring to mind as an obvious one to include and shows you have a good head for numbers, other ways to demonstrate an analytical mind would be with an interest in strategic mind games like chess or Sudoku and a love of puzzles would certainly demonstrate a methodical mind.
  • If you’re looking for marketing & media jobs; these creative industries are particularly competitive, emphasising your relevant skills with hobbies could be a great way to stand out from the crowd. Some great examples are using an interest in blogging to stand out for a marketing position, or a passion for photography to land a job in design.
  • If you’re looking for management & business development jobs; employers in this field are primarily looking for candidates who have tenacity and can effectively lead a team. Any kind of team sport would be a great way to demonstrate these attributes, so make the most of any clubs you’re a part of. Especially if you’re a team captain, or you play a big part in the organisation of a sports team.
  • If you’re looking for tech jobs; luckily technology is used in a variety of mediums, both in and out of the workplace, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a way to make your hobbies relevant especially if you have a genuine interest in the field. Expressing a knowledge of hobbies like coding, programming and web design or attending hackathons would certainly improve your chances for roles in this area.
  • If you’re looking for construction & engineering jobs; you might be surprised at the ways you can demonstrate your technical mind, focus, and project management skills just by talking about relevant hobbies in your CV. An interest in a practical hobby such as woodworking or model making could help you to stand out when it comes to being considered for roles in architecture or construction, just leave the Lego at home.
  • If you’re looking for work in customer service, sales, healthcare; or any other industry that centres on people, it’s key to make your interpersonal skills known to employers. Mentioning any involvement, you might have had in after school clubs if you are a parent, community groups, volunteering or anything else that requires a high level of understanding and empathy could be key, especially for roles dealing with sensitive situations.

What if I don’t have any hobbies?

If you can’t think of any particular passions or interests you pursue, don’t be tempted to just stick to clichés. Socialising with friends, reading and going to the cinema may be accurate, but are all unlikely to add value to your application. And it’s far better to lose the section completely than to offer up a token gesture.

Final Thoughts:

If you do include your hobbies and interests, always make sure they come at the end of your application. Use them to seal the deal rather than as your key selling point. Wherever possible, your hobbies and interests should reinforce your job application and the idea that you’ll be the right fit for the job role, even if it’s just through transferable skills.

Finally, always resist the temptation to embellish. If you choose a particularly quirky pastime in an effort to impress, chances are it could come up during your interview. A missing section is always easier to deal with than an awkward silence…