When it comes to writing a CV the last thing on your mind would be worrying about the hobbies and interests section. It isn’t really that important to an employer, is it?

Writing a great CV comes down to how well you use each section to prove your relevance to the role. The employer is only interested in reading an application that offers what they need, which is why a tailored CV is the best approach. But what can a hobby really offer a company which is looking for hard skills, like data analysis, project management, or computer programming?

The answer is quite simple – a hobby can demonstrate a soft skill. But what is a soft skill?

Soft skill analysis

A hard skill relates to something very specific which would usually require training or the gaining of a qualification to achieve. However, a soft skill doesn’t require a qualification, and although training can be offered for certain soft skills they are often achieved through experience.

Here are the top 8 most common soft skills an employer would desire for any role:

  • Communication – written or verbal (or both)
  • Problem solving
  • Organisation/time management
  • Able to handle pressure situations
  • Team working abilities
  • A strong work ethic
  • Flexibility
  • Conflict resolution

You may not be able to cover with examples all of the above traits within your CV, and you may not have too. Depending on the role and the requirements set by the company, you could decide to only highlight 3-4 and write an application that focuses upon the soft skills which would be most beneficial to the company.

The main point here is that you DO focus upon certain soft skills within your CV and demonstrate you are capable. Upon reading your CV the employer would want to have some reassurance that you are able to put your hard skills to good use through the use of these soft skills.

Now that we understand the importance of soft skills and how they play a huge part in an everyday working environment, it’s now time to look at how a hobby or set of hobbies can demonstrate them too, and in particular – which ones.

Why some hobbies are good for your CV

Certain hobbies are not just good, but are great for your CV. However, let’s first take a look at the ones which are not so good and could potentially be left out of your application altogether, freeing up space for something more valuable.

Now before we continue it’s important to recognise that some of this is my own personal thoughts on particular hobbies, and not a reflection of you or how an employer would view them. This article is intended to help job seekers delve deeper into a hobby to potentially bolster their chances of success. You may naturally disagree with my assessment of certain hobbies, particularly the ones I will label has ‘generic’. But hopefully I can help steer you towards a certain approach when it comes to writing the hobbies on your CV.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s look at what I would class as ‘generic’ hobbies, and why they would add little or even no value to your chances of gaining an interview. Here’s my list of generic hobbies:

  • Walking the dog
  • Family time
  • Reading
  • Going to the cinema
  • Socialising with friends on the weekend
  • Watching TV or movies at home

There is of course nothing wrong with having any of these hobbies, and I realise that I share quite a few of them. But what value do they add to a CV and do they demonstrate any soft skills?

My personal opinion is that an employer would glance at these for a few seconds and think nothing of them. They probably don’t need to be there and the applicant could have considered removing this section altogether and replacing it with more information on previous work history, achievements, results, and so on.

So if these popular hobbies add little or even no value at all to a CV – which do, and why?

These hobbies are good for your CV

Here is a list of hobbies which can potentially impress an employer because they demonstrate a whole range of soft skills which could be utilised within a working environment:

Captain of a sports team – Having a sporty hobby on its own is great for your CV, and even better if you are the captain of a team. Here are the soft skills this type of hobby can demonstrate:

  • Leadership qualities
  • Great communication skills – public speaking
  • Problem solving
  • Organisation
  • Team player
  • Competitive nature
  • Hard working
  • Confident

Computer hobby – If you are applying for a job in web design, SEO or digital marketing, then knowing your way around a computer is essential. Naturally you will have to present the relevant qualifications and skills on your CV, but having this as a hobby is also a further demonstration of your skills. You should consider providing an online portfolio of your work so the employer can see what you’re capable of. So if you are a blogger or web designer, you can attach your work as a link to your CV.

Here are the soft skills this type of hobby can demonstrate:

  • Written skills
  • Creativity – graphic design
  • Computer literacy
  • Strong work ethic – continues career outside of work

 Musical hobby – Whether you play in a band or just like to serenade your family at home, having a musical hobby can add value to your CV. Here are the soft skills this type of hobby can demonstrate:

  • Creativity
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Organisation – leader of a band
  • Public speaking – singer in a band
  • Confidence
  • Able to build up a rapport
  • Disciplined
  • Focused

 Outdoor pursuits – If you are someone that likes the outdoors, then you will be able to demonstrate lots of soft skills from your pursuits. Activities like rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, rowing, cycling, running, and many more – will all add value to your CV.

Here are the soft skills this type of hobby can demonstrate:

  • Hard work and determination
  • Outgoing personality
  • Fit and healthy – less sick days
  • Willing to take risks
  • Competitive nature
  • Team player

There are much more

There are many more examples of hobbies that I could have listed, but hopefully this will have given you an opportunity to think outside the box and take advantage of yours. The hobbies and interests section of a CV is certainly not something which should be dismissed and left as a last minute task. In the right circumstances you can really impress an employer with a unique hobby or skill outside of work, and any edge you can gain over your competition is always desirable.

At the end of the day, an interesting or unique hobby makes you more interesting to an employer. They are often looking for someone who is outgoing, dynamic, confident, and a team player. You will have many opportunities to demonstrate these personal attributes and soft skills within your CV, but why stop there? Roll this approach out into every single one of your CV sections and you are going to receive more interview call backs – fact!