Hobbies in your CV
It’s a common practice when writing a CV to include a list of hobbies and interests. It is almost ubiquitous, but is it really necessary? After all, if you are looking to work within embedded development then does your employer want to know you enjoy watching a romantic comedy with your other half and hiking in the hills? Probably not.
Perhaps oddly, it doesn’t matter if you’re applying to an agency or direct employers – it’s often seen as a ‘must-do’ to include a list of your hobbies within a CV, even if they aren’t relevant. No one seems to ask why, though, and if they did they would probably realise that a list of hobbies has very little effect on positively affecting your CV to give you an edge in getting employed. With the occasional exception, including such a list is unnecessary, and as space within a CV is sacred enough, it should be a list you’re more than willing to forgo.
One of the main reasons CVs shouldn’t include hobbies is because candidates should be judged on their skills and what they bring to a role – not what they do in their spare time. Some applicants may hope that by sharing a hobby with the employer they increase their chances of being successful, such as if they both enjoy fishing for instance, but it can work the other way too. If you have an interest that conflicts with your potential employer’s, you could be rejected on the basis of that, or it could be the tipping point if you are one of two potential employees. As an example, if your employer supports a rival football team, that could be used as a reason to pick someone else over you.
Another reason is you just don’t know how your hobbies come across to other people. You may be quite involved in real-life fantasy role-playing games, and could justifiably list it as a hobby, but you need to consider whether that would negatively affect your application.
Similarly, if you consider your parental duties around the home are worth listing as hobbies or examples of your management skills, your outlook or attitude to work may see your CV slip near the bottom of the pile. In these instances, it would be much better to omit the information from the CV entirely.
That said, though, there are times when it’s acceptable to include hobbies on your CV, and those times are when the hobby demonstrates your skills. If your hobby is creating websites or learning more about physics, then they show keenness to work and also a desire for knowledge, both of which are desirable traits in an employee and could give you extra credence with the recruiter.
If you have a Duke of Edinburgh award or have experience in mentoring or something similar, then they are definitely worth mentioning on your CV, especially if you are new to the world of work and need to showcase some real-life experience besides your qualifications. In short, if your hobbies or interests help to demonstrate your skills or show your desire to learn new things, then they help to show you as a strong candidate and should be included. If, however, they are merely things like you enjoy reading, going on holiday or cycling, then they should be left out in favour of more related content elsewhere in the CV. If you can’t think of anything else, then it could be an incentive to start a hobby that will look good on your CV and help you progress in the world of work.