Everyone in the job market has written an curriculum vitae or a CV. The aim is simple: to sell yourself to potential employers and convince them that you are the best person for the job. While most people understand the rudiments of bio data, education, work history and skills, many struggle with hobbies.
Hobbies may not be the first thing an employer looks at but they can be used as
• A tie break between equally skilled and qualified people
• A discussion starter to gauge communication skills (if you can’t speak well about your interests, then what hope does my company have?)
.• As a cultural fit and personality indicator
.• An indication that you can offer extra value
• As a measure of your versatility
So, why can’t you add reading?
First, everyone (in the modern employment world) reads. Listing it as a hobby can make you look boring, clueless or dull. “But I am none of those things!” You say. “I am interesting, innovative and intelligent. And READING IS MY HOBBY” Okay, point taken, but in that case you will have to be more specific and creative when expressing that.
For instance, you could specify the kind of material you read, think historical fiction, contemporary African fiction and/or classic literature. Or you could list it as literature (but make sure you know what that means: genres, figures of speech, etc). You could also frame it as volunteer work, for example being a first reader for a publication. And if the job is in the book industry (libraries, agencies, publishing) maybe you can write it just the way it is: reading.
To be honest, I never thought about reading as a hobby that was CV unworthy. I knew web-surfing was a no but it took a personal experience for me to realize reading wasn’t that great either.
I was interviewing new staff and I asked one of them what her hobbies were.
“I don’t have hobbies,” she said.
“Really? How? Everyone has a hobby.” I replied
“Reading,” she responded. And it was clear that was something she made up on the spot.
Maybe if she had mentioned that first and gone on to impress me with her vast knowledge of books (any type), we wouldn’t be here. But she didn’t and here we are.
So, reading and web-surfing are out. What else should you leave out of your CV? Witchcraft or any weird practices, any religious practices, eating/killing animals and treasure hunting, ‘socializing’,watching TV, and extreme or ‘dangerous’ sports.
What should you include? Hobbies that reflect on you positively and can (potentially) be useful to your employer. Consider activities in areas like
This is a beloved area for all employers. It portrays you as healthy, competitive, able to work on goals and fun. For many employers it also means you can bring them glory, for example during industry games (most sectors have them: Oil & Gas, Banking, Medicine etc).
Games like Scrabble and Chess show a love for critical thinking, calculated risk, hardworking and problem-solving.
Solo sports like running, yoga, cycling and swimming imply you are fit, motivated and healthy.
Team sports like basketball, football and volleyball show you can work on a team and are goal-oriented.
Every hobby says something. Choose wisely.
Creative arts are also hobby gold. Most ‘non-creativea’ are in awe of creatives and fellow creatives usually have a sense of kin for their community. So creative writing, performing art, fine arts, craft-work are all excellent choices. Photography and Videography are also great choices who doesn’t want a great photographer for free?
This is also welcome by most employers. It implies stewardship, patience, altruism and diligence. For bonus marks make it something exotic, think: Venetian roses, Pangolins, Miracle berry trees.
Pole dancing, stamp/coin collecting, bird watching, making perfumes and other unconventional hobbies are great too. They make you stand out. And they can make you memorable.
Finally, keep these tips in mind:
2-3 hobbies max
Keep hobbies towards the end of the CV
Make sure the rest of the CV is awesome.
And remember to share the good news when the offer comes. To your happiness, health, wealth and continued success, cheers. 🍷