Listing interests in a CV tends to be an awkward exercise. Conventional advice has been to exclude this section completely. Yet, having an ‘Interests’ section can help make a positive impression on your potential employers. Companies today look for well-rounded employees—not just coffee-guzzling, phone-answering, couch potatoes. Listing interests in a smart way can set you apart from other candidates.
The advantages of listing your interests in your CV
- Your ‘Interests’ section could help your CV stand out. You could have a unique hobby that creates a positive and memorable impression.
- Your interests could become a talking point during the interview. It could give your interviewer an insight into your life and personality.
- Through the ‘Interests’ section, you could display a skill set that looks good on your CV.
Tips for listing interests in your CV
- Be relevant and specific
Try not to list more than four interests as it could overwhelm your CV. Pick and choose relevant interests that give the reader an insight into your personality. Do not list your interests like this: ‘Travelling, reading, social service’. Instead, give a brief description, such as:
- I volunteer at a local hospice facility on weekends.
- I have a passion for 19th-century English literature.
- Do your research
Before listing interests in your CV, read up about the company you are applying to. Find out about its values and practices. For example, if the company promotes social work, you could mention that you are an active member of a not-for-profit organization.
- Translate your interests to a job skill
Say, you are applying to be a teacher. Your interest in mentoring poor children will reinforce your passion for the job. It will also show that you have experience in teaching and managing children, even if not in a traditional school environment.
- Mention interests that show your personality
Maybe you want to apply for a management position. In that case, your interests should display your leadership skills. So, if you captained a state-level basketball team, do not write ‘Captain of basketball team’. Instead, you could write, ‘As captain of my college basketball team, I led them to a state-level championship’.
- Avoid controversial subjects like politics and religion
Stay away from controversial topics. You do not want to alienate potential employers.
The ‘Interests’ section in a CV is a bone of contention among career experts. But if you use it wisely, it could give your CV an edge.
If your current interests do not increase the value of your CV, do not add them. The interests that you mention in your CV should highlight your personality, motivations, and ethics. Remember to use the ‘Interests’ section as a closing statement, keeping it focused and concise.