As we all know, a CV is what sells you to your next employer. Whilst it needs to be factual and honest, it also needs to separate you from other applicants. Imagine you and another applicant have the exact same working experience, how will an employer decide who may be more appropriate for the role? This is where you need to be innovative and think of ways you can sell yourself and your personality, to make you really stand out!
In my personal experience, I had just graduated from University and I had no relevant working experience for the jobs I was applying for. I had been working part-time as a Nursery Assistant – which has no relevance to recruitment. So how was I going to make my CV look better, stand out and most importantly, get myself an interview for this recruitment role?
Showing your personality
As mentioned, a CV works as a small insight into the person you are, with the aim of selling yourself to a prospective employer. It is therefore really important to stand out from the crowd. For example, when applying for a sales job, instead of just telling the employer that you are a confident and ambitious candidate, show them how!
Your CV is full of your work experience and your qualifications – showing why you are suitable for the job. However, your interests section allows you to reveal more about your personality, which can also help employers find out whether you are a good fit. Lots of candidates fall victim to general statements such as ‘I like to hang out with my friends’, but what does this actually tell the employer? You need to show yourself as an individual, say something that will stick in the employer’s mind to remember you.
I remember sitting at my CV wondering what to write in my interests section. All I kept thinking was how can I relate my interests to recruitment? Truth is, you can’t. Playing the piano or enjoying reading does not suddenly make you suitable for a role, but it does show personality. Avoid sticking to cliches and be individual. Your interests section will help to reinforce your application through transferable skills, which will show that you are the right fit for the role.
Hobbies are a really good place to start when writing your interests section. Having a hobby shows that you like a challenge and you are always wanting to become a better version of yourself. Whatever hobby you may have, it is really good to include this as it can really say a lot about you, without directly stating it.
For example, for 15 years of my life and competed all around the world in Irish Dancing competitions, achieving National and European titles. Including this in my CV instantly tells the employer that I am dedicated, hard-working and committed. These are just three attributes that employers will look for. Instead of just listing these attributes, I decided to show them in a more creative way – by simply adding my hobbies and achievements into my interests section, I have validated why I would be a hard-working and committed employee and made myself stand out and be remembered.
Travelling or volunteering can also be a great thing to include as it shows that you are adventurous and that you can be pushed outside of your comfort zone. Being able to show that you have been travelling to employers can really sell you as someone who is confident. However, I would really advise being careful how to present this on a CV, as hiring staff is expensive therefore it’s vital you reassure any employer you are committed to staying with their business long-term.
Building your CV
If you are really struggling about what to write in your interests section, or you simply don’t believe writing about your hobby will boost your CV in anyway, then read here how our Managing Director Ben Thompson built his CV to help stand out from the crowd.