Should you include a section on your CV for 'Hobbies and Interests'? And what should you do if you don't have any?
There are mixed opinions on this subject, and not all recruiters agree that they are necessary, however hobbies and interests do inject an element of personality into your CV.
Reasons to include them
Demonstrate additional skills
Help you stand out
Make your CV more individual
Create talking points for interviews
If cultural fit is a deciding factor for an employer, or if it's a close decision between two candidates, knowing more about your personality can make the difference.
What NOT to include
Hobbies and interests can be anything from sports, music and dance to art, blogging and reading, but they do need to be interesting. Saying that you 'enjoy socialising, reading and walking' or 'watching football and spending time with the family' are all fairly passive and things that most people like to do. 'Watching films and TV' can be made more interesting by expanding on the particular genre you enjoy, but it won't help to increase your employability.
What interests should you include?
Not everyone has Olympic medals or national awards they can shout about, but take some time to think more about the activities you do in your spare time and how they demonstrate skills that are either beneficial or transferable to the workplace. If you take part in a sport, are you part of a team that can show off teamwork or leadership skills? If you are training for something specific, outline your motivations and how dedicated you are to this. With any sport or activity, are you responsible for organising or helping to organise events? When new people join your sports club or team, have you helped to mentor or coach them?
Volunteering is also great for demonstrating your skills in working as part of a team, problem-solving, time management and many more. Have you taken part in charity events? Helped out in a soup kitchen? Marshalled at your local parkrun?
For school leavers and graduates, a 'Hobbies and Interest' section can really help to fill your CV where you have little work experience to talk about. Think about any extracurricular activities you took part in while studying, or any roles or responsibilities you had such as head boy/girl, committees you were on, clubs, etc..
The above advice should give you some ideas to put together a short paragraph to close your CV on a high but, if you really can't think of anything or you're low on space, it's fine to leave it out.
Don't lie as you're likely to get caught out in an interview!
Always put hobbies and interest at the end of your CV, after detailing your professional skills and experience.
If you would like some more in-depth advice or feedback about your CV, please feel free to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and any of our recruiters will be happy to help.