First impressions are the most important
The 'interests' section is a critical part of your CV. One recruiter told me recently that this section is the first thing they look at, even before your current or most recent role. This means that the 'interests' section is your chance to make a great first impression.
Four tips for a stellar 'interests' section
How do you make a good first impression on recruiters with your 'interests' section? Here are four great ways:
- Be relevant: Take time to really think about how the information you include will be perceived. Ask yourself if it ties in with the role you are looking for. A creative project manager who enjoys interior design correlates.
- Don’t waffle: Keep it short and sweet, a couple of lines tops. You can list your interests or you may want to write them out in a sentence.
- Be honest: Don’t lie, or be tempted to elaborate or embellish. If you haven’t been sky diving in the last 2 years, don’t include it. Chances are you will be found out!
- Be specific: Expand on the information you have decided to include. If you list reading as an interest, specify which type of books you really enjoy. Is it biographies or thrillers? If you enjoy travelling, share some of your favourite destinations and say why they are your favourites.
Switching careers? Your interests matter
When people are looking to switch careers, their interests are often more relevant than their employment history. Very often, the applicant has interests and hobbies that directly relate to the role they are applying for. For example, a recent client worked in the Telecoms industry, but took a voluntary redundancy as an opportunity to move into working with young people with learning difficulties. This is as a direct result of her experiences with her own son.
Why you should include an 'interests' section
The 'interests' section on your CV is useful to you and your recruiter because it provides conversation topics that act as icebreakers in a tense environment. Recruiters will often open an interview by asking you about what you’re interested in. The recruiter’s aim is to make you feel comfortable so that you can answer their questions. Providing them with your interests is a way to ensure that you come across as yourself in an interview.
A CV expresses your professional experiences in skills and job descriptions, but it does not address who you are. If used successfully, the 'interests' section tells a recruiter what you enjoy and what type of person you are, creating a better understanding of you as a whole.