Although your CV should be professional, it's also about showing the employer who you are.
It might not feel natural to talk about yourself, or your hobbies and interests outside of work - it isn't even relevant to the job you're applying for, right?
We spoke to Steve Thompson, Managing Director of leading Digital and Marketing Recruiter, Forward Role, on this topic. Steve recently took to LinkedIn to talk about the increasing number of candidates not including any hobbies or interests on their CV.
He wrote, "It bemuses me slightly that some people think that only their commercial experience is relevant to a job application. Hobbies are an important part of a CV!"
So, you shouldn't underestimate the importance of a Hobbies and Interests section. Here's why.
1. It'll give your CV some personality.
When you're a recent graduate, fresh out of uni, it's unlikely you have years of work experience. Your CV is probably going to look pretty similar to that of your uni friends: a Bachelor's degree, plus a couple of internships or part-time jobs you had during your time at uni. Concluding your CV with a Hobbies and Interests section gives you a chance to tell the recruiter, hiring manager or prospective employer a little bit more about you.
As Steve says, "Nobody wants to work with a robot!"
He told GradTouch that you shouldn't just list your hobbies, because "a simple list is a missed opportunity to show some personality." Instead, Steve advises going for something "more visual, fun and personal for the reader. Remember, this person is probably going to be working with you, so they're probably going to want to hire someone they like - as well as someone with the desired skill set."
So, if you're really into going to art galleries and cycling in your spare time, be sure to include some detail as to what you get out of doing so. Are you more into contemporary or classical art? Where do you like to go cycling, and who with? Are you training for an event?
Of course, you should still aim to keep your CV a short, snappy read - a sentence on each hobby or interest will suffice.
2. You can show you're motivated and passionate as a person, outside of work.
Steve tells me that "hobbies don't have to be directly relevant" to the job you're applying for to be included on your CV. "They're more about showing that you make time and organise yourself to achieve something other than watching box sets or socialising outside of work - not that there's anything wrong with those two things as a way of relaxing, but hobbies that involve commitment and show drive are a good indicator of the types of commitment I want to see in business."
Bear in mind, also, that though many prospective employers will request a cover letter - they won't always read it. So, you should take any opportunity on your CV to show the reader who you are and the qualities you can bring to their company.
Did you commit to writing for your university's student newspaper regularly for three years, whilst balancing your course and a part-time job? That shows motivation, commitment and the ability to organise your time well. Do you volunteer your time at weekends to helping out with local conservation projects, as well as photographing wildlife for your Instagram or blog? That, again, shows commitment and also passion and empathy for a cause.
Perhaps your hobby doesn't relate at all to the work you'd be doing for the company, but, as Steve says: "If you're passionate about something outside of work, it tends to demonstrate you can be passionate about work too."
3. And you can even demonstrate transferable skills, that you might not yet have from work experience.
Though you should certainly include interests even if they're not at all relevant to the job on offer, Steve says any hobbies you do have that transfer can really step things up. "The best CVs include them in a way which helps them to sell their suitability for the job and show some positive personality traits," he says.
So, as you would when tailoring your Experience section and cover letter, look closely at the job description and think about all your interests - do they align and overlap anywhere? If so, seek to bring that out in your sentences summarising what you get up to in your free time.
4. It makes for a less awkward interview.
Do you get nervous before job interviews? Well, they're not especially easy for the person doing the interview, either. A few well-crafted bullet-points on your CV detailing your hobbies and interests is the equivalent of providing the interviewer with some "ice-breaker" material.
You can then expect the first 5-10 minutes of the interview to be based upon your Hobbies and Interests section. So, be sure to only include hobbies you're confident and excited to talk about.