Some things must absolutely be included on a CV, others should only be mentioned on merit – or even not at all.
Everyone knows that relevant experience from previous jobs and education should come first – but should hobbies still get a look-in these days?
Not necessarily, say HR experts. And yet those who do include their interests can help create a more rounded picture of their personality.
“Since applicants have to fit into the corporate culture, [employers] are obviously looking at their personality,” says Yasmin Kurzhals, HR manager at the German lender Auxmoney.
What does that mean for applicants? Jochen Mai, editor of career advice website, recommends first reviewing how relevant a hobby is.
“What kind of social skills does it encourage and are those skills meaningful in the role?” Any kind of team sport or voluntary work always makes a good impression, he says.
But applicants should beware of mentioning extreme sports. “Dangerous hobbies make HR managers sweat: ‘Is he going to be off sick half the time with a broken arm? Does this mean she tends towards risky behaviour?'” says Mai.
Including creative or more practical interests depends on the job. Mai differentiates between hard and soft skills. “In the fashion industry, sewing clearly represents a hard skill, which shouldn’t be listed under hobbies but included higher up under expert knowledge or qualifications.”
The intensive use of platforms like Instagram could also be included under expert knowledge when applying for jobs in the PR industry, for example.
But things like reading, meeting friends and listening to music are “too standard and don’t say very much,” says Kurzhals.
Job-hunters should also note: employers may perceive watching Netflix, going to the cinema or playing video games as being reclusive pursuits, not conducive to team work.
But playing an instrument or studying a particular area of literature or film could be seen as a plus point that shows a particular personality trait desirable in the role.
One or two particular successes relating to a hobby can also be mentioned, Kurzhals and Mai agree. For example, a good marathon result could indicate perseverance and a goal-orientated approach.
Mai says that applicants should also be careful not to be too enthusiastic about their hobbies in the interview, or at least not more enthusiastic about their hobby than the job they’re interviewing for.
It’s also best not to fib about what you do in your spare time – claiming to enjoy cooking and then suggesting spaghetti bolognese is your best dish in the interview is not a good look.
But being truthful and including some well-chosen information about a hobby can fill in the gaps in an application and be the decisive factor in getting an interview.