Written by: Mike Smith | 8 Jan 2023

Hobbies – A chance to differentiate or a CV disaster?

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This is an interesting one! Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers. From my experience working in both recruitment and coaching offices, half are keen, and the other half are less keen. The less keen ones are typically more vocal though!

The general rule of thumb will be that it depends on how interesting your hobbies are!

So, why do some people put hobbies on their CV? Well, it’s simple really. It’s a chance to differentiate yourself from someone else who potentially has a similar set of experiences and skills.

Generally speaking, adding hobbies onto your CV is more effective at the start of your career. Perhaps because without much (or any) experience, people, when based solely on a 2-page CV, are more likely to look similar. It is typically more likely to be adopted by a younger demographic too.

If you’re after my personal thoughts. I’m a big fan, sitting firmly in the yes camp.

I feel that it’s a good place for someone to amp up their skills and/or personality. Let’s not forget how much employers gauge personality as a vital component in the success of a new hire.

Like with everything, it’ll depend on the content you write, and you need to be aware that people can draw a subconscious opinion of you, be that positive or negative. Some examples below:

  • Spend your free time solving Rubik’s Cubes and have a sub-10 second time? Problem solver and maybe a bit nerdy.
  • “Socialising with friends and family”? Bland and stereotypical with nothing more interesting to say about themselves. Possible alcoholic.
  • Captain of the local rugby team? Good leadership qualities.
  • Building robots / fixing cars / techie IT stuff? Great, even better if it’s similar to the role you’re applying for!
  • Gaming? Slightly risky, and quite common. Could be very effective if it turns out your potential manager plays games too.
  • Playing an instrument to a decent level? Committed to learning new skills.

As you’ll notice, some hobbies are quirky and memorable, some are common and not that interesting, and some can be skill-enhancing.

In the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted, some of the best applicants are people that you can immediately make a connection with. It can be something as simple as supporting the same football team. Who you support is unlikely to ever make its way into a normal interview without being prompted from the hobbies section of your CV.

So to conclude, ‘Hobbies & Interests’ is a great section where you can really include a few little extra’s about yourself. Try to make them memorable and show off your unique personality. It really can make all the difference, especially when you have little experience or formal education to call back on.