What kind of environment are you applying for?
The company you’re sending your application to is probably the most important consideration when it comes to including activities. A recruiter for a position at a classical, old-school company might not look favourably at an application filled with “frivolous” activities. When lacking experience, you might want to stick to volunteering and practical abilities. If you enjoy a skill or an art, like coding, visual design, or painting you can include it without worrying you’ll appear unprofessional.
If you’re applying for a job at a modern start-up, you can include a larger variety of your pastimes. Boardgames, various types of media, and video games can all be appreciated by the relatively younger management and recruiters. However, don’t just write that you like video games, emphasize what abilities you’ve developed and how they’ll transfer to the work environment.
Applying via a recruitment agency can be an advantage, as you can ask their staffing specialists or recruitment consultants for tips on how to best present yourself.
Are your hobbies and interests relevant to the position you’re applying for?
This is the big one. Unless you can leverage your love for reading romance novels into a useful skill for your developer position, it might be best to leave it out. As an addendum, unless it’s obvious how the activity relates to the job, be ready to explain it.
Listing sports you enjoy playing can be an excellent indicator of teamwork, which is important for almost every job you’ll ever hold. Artistic activities like writing, playing an instrument, or painting emphasize your creative side. As a rule, you want to show you have a broad set of past times and that there’s more to you than your “hard” abilities.
Keep it short
Don’t spend too much space on your activities, no matter how important they are to you. It’s likely a recruiter won’t be interested in every single one. This is especially true if your expertise isn’t relevant to your application.
Since the recommended length for a CV is two pages or less, you can’t afford to waste space and word count. Speaking of space, don’t pack the information too densely — it will make your application look too cluttered.
You should link each hobby/skill to an employability skill listed in the job description. Problem-solving, conflict resolution, and adaptability are all examples of useful and transferable skills. If you lack previous work experience, they can be an excellent way to pad out your application.
While it may be tempting to exaggerate your abilities, just don’t. After all, everything you write can be checked, and it’s important to stick to the truth. Is it really worthwhile to include your painting skills if you haven’t picked up a brush in years? If interviewers notice you were fibbing on your resume and you can’t back up your claims, they’re likely to reject you outright.
Don’t exaggerate your accomplishments. The recruiter is interested in how your hobbies and pastimes shaped your existing skillset. They’re not interested in how you crushed it at football practice.
Today, personality quirks and amusements outside of work are often seen as assets at the workplace. However, cluttering a CV with information recruiters might find irrelevant for the position really won’t do you any good.
While your interests are undoubtedly useful, they shouldn’t be the focus of your resume. Use them to enrich it, giving the recruiters a more complete picture of you as a person. This also helps them understand what you’re bringing to the table.
Just keep it concise and relevant and you should have nothing to worry about.