Hobbies & Interests on CVs…….

Yes or No?

It’s a tricky question to ask and there’s no hard and fast answer, so in the effort to get a good feel for people’s thoughts on the matter, our Director, Patrick Murtagh, posed this very question on LinkedIn recently. And the response he received was massive!

At Rytons, one of the services we provide for construction industry professionals is CV guidance and it’s vital that we gauge current opinions from managers and other industry leaders, in order to take the most up to date approach.

Patrick discussed the topic with people on social media from a whole range of sectors and levels, as he had a number of clients who saw it as valuable and others a waste of time. This left him on the fence about whether or not to include a hobbies and interests section on a CV and interested to hear from more people on the subject.

One thing that came out above all was the idea that it allows the employer the chance to discover the person they’ll be working with (because they’re human beings as opposed to robots). In recruitment, finding a good client/candidate fit isn’t just about qualifications, but also whether a person will fit in with the ethos and values of the organisation and the team already in place.

But on the other hand, can having a particular hobby go against you in an interview? Is it really necessary that people know what you get up to outside of work? And are you leaving yourself vulnerable to poor judgement by including it?

Here’s what our LinkedIn community had to say

Comments in favour of adding a hobby section on your CV included the potential for it to be an icebreaker or conversation starter at interview. A way of helping to ease the nerves. But, on the flip side to this, if an interviewer was less open minded and more prone to judgement, could including your hobby be the one reason they shut you down?

Another comment mentioned that when it comes to apprenticeships, including hobbies is of ‘paramount importance’ in the absence of real work experience. If a hobby relates in some way to the job, or gives an indicator of the kind of person the interviewer is looking for, then it can be worth its weight in gold.

For the same reason, evidence of volunteering was considered to be a useful thing to include, with the suggestion that people with little direct work experience could visit the national volunteering database do-it.org to gain valuable credit.

However, Patrick made the point that, while this can be useful for younger folk who lack experience, people should be careful of how it might look to an interviewer and whether they might worry that it could interfere with working life.

Ultimately, including a hobbies and interests section gives the interviewer an indicator of where a person’s drive and passions lie in their private life, which will not only help someone understand a bit about them before spending every day with them, but give some indicator of their working life attitude too.

So, according to this Linked In study, it seems that including a hobbies and interest section has more plus sides than negative ones overall.

However, just listing them as a series of bullet points is a definite no-no, because, in the absence of explanation, it leaves the candidate open to judgement. When including this kind of section, any hobbies should clearly show how they relate to the job, or demonstrate how they helped shape the candidate into the type of person the interviewer is looking for.

E.g. – DJing / Dance Music – Leading to own record label (could this have negative connotations on its own?)

Instead:

“My passion for music lead me to set up my own record successful label, which has enabled me to travel worldwide and network on a global scale, all within my personal time”.

Hobbies and interests are only interesting if they’re unusual (and make a good talking point), or, if you can demonstrate how they’ve added to your good qualities. Although, be careful not to make something look fabricated – if you say you’re passionate about something, make sure you really are.

Patrick added: “Make sure you are not leaving things to a reader’s interpretation of your personality. If you only include bullet points, something you see as positive might not be read that way. Make sure people don’t categorise your personality into something that isn’t a true representation of who you are, based on stereotypical values. Use your hobbies and interests to the best possible advantage.”

So, in summary, the importance of a hobbies and interests section on your CV has a lot to do with what stage you are at in your career and how you present that information. What is interesting to some, may come across as boring to others.

A good recruiter will always say why you are a perfect fit for a role, not only because of your qualifications, but because you match the ethos of the organisation and the person the client is looking for.

Here is our basic guide to getting this part of your CV right depending on what level of job you are applying for and how much experience you have:

0 – 2 years’ experience

  • Use it to showcase your personality and get across key attributes.
  • Show how the hobbies relate to the job.
  • Give examples of how they have made you the person you are.
  • DON’T just give a list of generic interests.

2 years experience up to and including management –

  • This CV should talk more about work experience.
  • Include a hobbies section, but keep it short.
  • Give a more concise explanation of how hobbies and interests relate to the job.

Senior management upwards –

  • Experience and direct knowledge of the role is the key.
  • Hobbies and interests section is much less important and little attention is paid to it.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who took part in our survey on LinkedIn and gave their valuable input, it’s been incredibly interesting!