Personal interests: 10 CV Dos and Don´ts

by Dorothy Dalton

Tags: expert CV personal interest volunteer activities

Hannah Morgan Career Sherpa says ” No one really cares that you enjoy knitting, wine tasting and training for marathons. That is, unless, you are applying for a job in one of those areas. Save the space for more meaningful, work-related information. Have you included professional memberships or volunteer activities?

Stand out with your hobbies on your job search byBane Srdjevic exhorts candidates to share their personal interests on their CVs. Why? “ Because who you are transfers over to how you work.”Here’s my input but suffixed as always with the judicious ” it depends”:

Do:  Remember that what is relevant will depend on the company culture and nature of the open position.  Not all company cultures or teams look for, welcome or need the person who does a fitness boot camp at  5.00 am every day before work.

Do:  include some  personal interests especially if they can showcase or endorse your professional skills and particularly if  you have achieved  some level of excellence or expertise

Do:  give a range of personal interests which showcase your  personality. I think Hannah’s example of a wine tasting,  knitter,  who runs marathons could be a potentially interesting character.

Do:  be strategic and highlight those  personal interests which could be professionally relevant but with a balance: team and leadership roles as well as introverted and extroverted, competitive and non competitive.  Depending on the nature of the opening,  I would certainly pay attention to someone whose interests were exclusively solitary or exclusively competitive.  Generally personality traits will be identified via any type of testing or assessment process anyway.

Do:  include if you played a sport to a high level or represented your country in any activity even if it was some years previously. It demonstrates focus, discipline and energy.

Don’t:  include if you claim to be an international athlete light years before and it looks as if walking from the desk to the door will induce a coronary.

Do: be sensitive with regard to any of your interests which might be” hot” issues for others:  certain causes, or political or religious activities. It’s impossible to know the personal biases and perceptions of  the reader and interviewer unless they are in the public domain.

Do:  share if you are using that skill currently via coaching,  mentoring or volunteering.

Do: if you think  your personal interests will be a social ice-breaker  and professionally relevant. It is becoming increasingly easy to research interviewers and companies. If the hiring company sponsor an activity which genuinely interests you – include it. I was participating in a search recently where the company sponsored the fine arts and one of the candidates was a serious opera buff.  The panel Chair and candidate  had a brief aside on Liudmyla Monastyrska‘s  role as Aida.   It was  a clear differentiator in that particular hiring process.

Don’t: claim to have interests which are not real. If the last book you read was the Spark Notes from a university course, or the last movie you saw was Ghost  or  your idea of haute cuisine is opening a takeaway carton,   best not to mention them as interests. You could be asked.  You are not a wine taster if your  knowledge extends to white, red and pink.  I interviewed someone who said they were a “huge tennis fan“, but couldn’t comment on the 2012 Wimbledon final. (Murray lost to Federer  or Federer beat Murray depending on who you were supporting). As John McEnroe would say ” You can’t be serious”

So like any other part of your CV the personal interest section is an opportunity to be strategic.  So I say use it – but wisely!

Still looking for your Dream job?

View all of our current vacancies NOW

NGO org(4)


The newest articles

Most popular articles

JobsInYangon.com MEDIA PARTNERS - Your jobs can appear there

SWeSone IrraWaddy Business Today Irrawaddy Burmese Partner PopularNews MRTV-4 PopularNews MCN Messenger ELEVEN


Jobsinyangon.com is a leading Career and Job site in Myanmar. Jobsinyangon presents the largest porfolio of jobs on Myanmar market, thus helping recruiters to source top talents and job seekers available in Myanmar. Jobsinyangon.com job board helps hiring managers and recruiters from all companies in Myanmar to post jobs, manage applicants and make the right hiring decision. Any jobseeker in Myanmar can find Jobs in Yangon and other cities of all categories of jobs. Online job opportunities can be searched or arranged by our Executive search branch Roger Quest International.



Find us on Facebook Find us on LinkedIn Get ads from RSS