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To include or not to include, that is the question….

The issue of putting your hobbies and interests on your CV is always one that people disagree on. http://careers.theguardian.com/cv-interests-hobbies

You want to show that you have a life outside work but at the same time, not include a hobby that will suggest you will not be 100% committed to your new role. Indeed many lawyers abandon all interests outside work in favour of climbing the extremely competitive career ladder. http://www.bcllegal.com/the-brief/blog/chasing-the-elusive-work-life-balance. However I think including hobbies is important as it can often be the only differentiator that makes your CV stand out. In the personal injury and insurance market I focus on recruiting into in Liverpool and Merseyside, many firms are looking for similar skill sets and adding an insight into your personality will make your CV stand out. It also shows that you are good at time management, able to commit to an outside interest in addition to coping with demands from work.

Once committing to the decision that you will include your hobbies, the next big decision is what to include. The simple solution is to think before you put pen to paper, or indeed fingers to keyboard, what your hobby or interest says about you. Sports, particularly if you can show leadership skills by captaining a team or arranging matches, is always a failsafe. If you genuinely cannot think of any hobby you have other than reading, try and quantify this by including what kind of novels interest you so that your interviewer could genuinely have a discussion on it. If you like crime or historical novels then include this fact. Similarly if you enjoy cooking, it needs to be more than the fact that you don’t mind coming in from a hard days work and cooking up a hearty home cooked meal! Have you attended a cooking or baking course, or developed a passion for making a particular type of cuisine? If so then this could be a good talking point. Similarly, waxing lyrical about how travelling is your preferred pursuit outside work when you really mean lying on a beach for 2 weeks, is not going to spark a memorable conversation with your interviewer.

Finally, always remember it is best not to lie about your hobby in case your interviewer is genuinely interested in your fabricated hobby, and wants to talk in great detail about white-water rafting!!

For more information please contact Sharan Kokri or visit our website BCL Legal.

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