Are you wondering if you should include your hobbies and volunteer work on your CV? Well, there is no right or wrong answer to this. The key is, however, to think about including hobbies that add to your overall qualities or relate to the jobs you are applying for. If you have also completed volunteer work then this is something to add, especially if you are a student or graduate with little employment to date. This article will help you to think about what to add... and what not to!
'I like to walk my dog named Ben'
Before you include the above on your CV, think about how this adds to your application. Unless you are looking to be a dog walker, or work with animals, it probably won't add any value. Therefore leave out this type of information. It can take up valuable space on a CV which can be used for more relevant information.
'I captain my local football team'
This is more useful. The above can demonstrate team leader abilities and organisational skills. The recruiter may be looking for these qualities and experiences. If you don't have them through employment then use your hobbies to showcase them.
'In my spare time, I like to restore classic cars'
So, you are applying to be a mechanic. Then the above hobby will definitely be relevant and give the reader of your CV some insight into you as the candidate. The key is to keep your information focussed and try and think from a recruitment perspective what it demonstrates about you and how it relates to the job you are applying for.
If you are a student and have little employment experience, then adding volunteer work to a CV can be a great way to demonstrate your transferable skill set. It also helps to show community spirit and that you are prepared to give up your time for the good of others.
'How do I list this on my CV?'
Create a section detailed 'Voluntary Work' or 'Experience'. Write this section like you would for paid employment. State the company or organisation you completed this with, position held, the dates to and from, then your achievements within the time you were there.
Add bullet points covering these achievements, giving specific examples where possible. This will help to demonstrate a transferable skill set that is relevant to the application.
Read the job description relating to the position you are applying for. Note what experience and skills they require. Try then to match the bullet points utilising keywords. So if the recruiter is looking for analytical skills, demonstrate through your volunteer work, if applicable, where you demonstrated these skills. For example, you may have produced reports and presented your findings to a finance director. So you could write 'Responsible for producing accurate reports and presenting these to senior management, demonstrating accuracy and analytical skills'.
If you begin to struggle writing your CV in detail, remember help is at hand. As well as free advice online, there are also professional CV writers who can offer their help so you are not on your own.
One key message that can be taken from this article is to keep it relevant and focussed when adding hobbies and volunteer work. This will help to show you are an ideal fit for the position you are applying for. If you do this correctly, you may then stand out from other applicants and secure the job you are looking for. Good luck in your applications!
This article was written by Chris Pennington, Founder and Director of Your CV Consultant. Chris is a published author relating to careers advice and recruitment, as well as an experienced CV Writer.
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