The art of CV writing.

When it comes to writing your CV there is no one good way. A question that comes up is: should you include hobbies in your CV? Read our tips below.

Meet Tom. Tom, an accountant, sends a CV to a company he hopes to work for. Sarah, the hiring manager has a pile of CVs to go through and barely enough time. Sarah is tasked with picking the right candidate for her team. Her team is made up of young twenty-somethings, they’re all quite fit and television series are their jam. Sarah goes through a number of CVs and she comes across Tom’s CV. Tom is qualified for the job, but lacks experience. Sarah thinks Tom may be worth interviewing, but will he get along with the team? She looks at his hobbies listed at the end of his CV - football, PS4 and movies. Sarah thinks Tom may fit right in with the team and calls him for an interview. The question is: should you include hobbies in your CV?

hand typing on keyboard, writing a CV.

This is an example of how hobbies could work for you. Whilst your CV outlines your career and qualifications, you are more than that. As humans, our daily interactions with other humans shape our lives. It is no different at a place of work.

Peter Drucker, described as the “the founder of modern management” said, “One cannot hire a hand; the whole man always comes with it.” Your personality and attitude are also being hired. 

A few benefits of including your hobbies in your CV would be the following:

  1. Your CV stands out from the crowd.
  2. May provide a conversation-starter at the interview
  3. Hobbies may translate to soft skills which may add value to your application.
  4. Gives depth to your personality.

However, recruiters are not all like Sarah.

Whilst some recruiters are complete advocates of this, others may only go through your hobbies if it’s a close decision. A good rule of thumb is to only list hobbies if they are relevant to what you are applying for. An interest in art might come in handy when you’re applying for a role at an architecture firm as a design architect. Your hobbies should show an interest in the industry you are looking to work in, or add value to the role.

Acryclics - hobby. Should you include hobbies in your CV?

Read more about Culture fit vs Culture Add.

Research the company.

Researching the company you are looking to work for also helps. It is useful to know what you're in for and cater your CV to it. Before listing your hobbies, determine whether the company would appreciate seeing your listed hobbies. Keeping your hobbies out may be a good idea when applying at a fast-paced prestigious accountancy firm. On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job where being creative is expected of you, listing your creative hobbies is a plus.

Hobbies may showcase your ‘soft skills’.

Coaching a children's football team may show organisational skills and leadership. Volunteering at an immigrant centre may prove that you’re open to different cultures and different working environments. If the hobby is not applicable to the role it may have a negative impact on your application and best avoid including it.

Can hobbies replace experience?

Hobbies can never equate to work experience in a role. However, when you’re a fresh graduate, only starting out in the job sphere, or you’re on a mission to rebrand yourself and change your career course, hobbies may come in handy. If Fashion is a hobby of yours and you’re applying for a role within the Fashion industry, including it will add value as it shows a pre-formed interest in the sector. In addition, having hobbies in a related field, if you’re looking to change industries, or going for a complete career change, may help you land you the job you wanted. In this Harvard Business Review article it's emphasised how hobbies are even more worth including if you've been laid off, or have been out of work for a while. These can help you find your ground quicker.

Meeting or Interview with three people

The interviewer is a fellow human.

Whilst a CV is meant to show your experience and qualifications for the role, it says little about your work ethic, attitude or values. The job interview is a good opportunity for you to share your hobbies and even break the ice at the start of an interview. Showing your human side can help you.

So... should you include hobbies in your CV?

Unless your hobbies add value to your CV and help your chances of landing the role, it is best to avoid including them altogether.