When writing your CV to apply for a job or for a university program in a different country you need to make sure it contains all necessary information for the recruiters to see. In my previous articles we looked at how to describe your skills, how to choose a photo and the mistakes you should avoid while writing your CV.
In this article we will have a look at hobbies and how to describe them on your CV.
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First of all, you SHOULD NOT call this section “hobbies” but name it “miscellaneous” instead. Miscellaneous is an elegant English word meaning “consisting of a mixture of various things (…)” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. This category will be further divided into three sub-sections: hobbies, volunteering and highlights.
In this subsection you will include your hobbies. Before you start typing “movies” or “travel” ask yourself is it really a hobby or just something you like to do? The difference here is very simple, a hobby is something you will devote your time and resources to, you will book time for it and decide to do this instead of something else. So, if you want to say “travel” think of how often you have travelled in the past year, how much money you have actually attributed to this hobby and has it been a priority in your free time. If the answer is yes, you can list it as your hobby.
Once you have selected the hobbies you want to place on your CV, think of the way to describe them. If you like literature or reading, try to be a little more specific and write “modern American fiction” if this is the genre you really like. Whether you like extreme sports or knitting, boxing or hiking, try to give some more info, yet, stay concise. If you say you enjoy learning languages, you may write “2015-2019 summer language stays in Madrid, DELE certificate in 2018.”
This is a subsection recruiters really like. It doesn’t matter if you volunteer at the Soup Kitchen, help children with their homework, look after animals or help with the web marketing of a local association. What really matters is that you care enough to give an hour of your time to a cause, be it wildlife protection, visiting the elderly or teaching recycling at a local community center.
Volunteering, indeed, tells more about you as a person than a thousand words. It means you have good time management skills- you manage to find some extra time in between your school, work and social life. It shows your dedication, because you volunteer on a regular basis. This means you can be counted on and reliability is one of the top skills HR people are looking for. It also proves your capacity to prioritize, because you choose to go out there to help instead of watching Netflix.
You have no volunteering experience? It’s never too late. Image a cause you would enjoy helping and simply google (yes, “to google” is now a verb:) an association or a community center near you. Visit them and see if you’d enjoy helping out. This is sure to boost your prospects of recruitment.
Not everybody might have something to put in this category. It’s still ok if you don’t, just make sure you compensate somewhere else, by volunteering for example.
The highlights subsection is where you can tell the recruiters about your special achievements. Are you a regional finalist in basketball or a semi-professional tennis player? Maybe you have been cheerleading for the past 8 years or you have played the cello since the age of five? Maybe you won a chess tournament or a local student design contest? You name it. This is your opportunity to show the one special thing about you. And is not really about the winning.
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What the highlight section is about is perseverance, not giving up, showing up for practice rain or shine, trying and trying again, being a team player, setting goals and building a plan to achieve them.
Those are the characteristics of a person you want on your team, a person you want to hire because they are serious, motivated and dedicated. The achievements you put in the highlights subsection of your CV make it visible to recruiters.