What to put in the further interests section of a graduate CV
On average, 57% of students now have a 2.1 or higher, making degree classification of less use as a selection tool. Graduates need to find more innovative ways to stand out from the crowd and a good place to assert your personality is in the further interests section of your CV.
It is easy to revert back to clichéd answers enforced during your school years, such as ‘reading’, or ‘socialising with friends’. However, few skills can be extracted from these sorts of activities because little responsibility or personal development is demonstrated. At the same time, anything wacky will be seized upon at interview so don’t invent things just to make yourself stand out.
Your interests and activities can reveal hidden depths and skills
Employers can learn a lot about a person from the activities they describe. Group-based work is always impressive because it shows initiative and leadership. Sports and other team activities also look good because they demonstrate energy and commitment.
You need to provide details to back up your inclusion of a particular hobby though; for example, if you’re into performing arts then your role demonstrates responsibility to the rest of the cast, commitment to rehearsals, team interaction and possibly production assistance.
Keep your statements neutral
Be wary of citing anything too political or religious. Applications are very subjective and although equal rights are applied to all graduate recruitment schemes it can be difficult to escape an employer’s unconscious bias if you state ‘lobbying for free tea from the taxpayer’ as your main diversion.
A few simple rules should always be adhered to:
- NEVER use the word ‘hobbies’ on your application, even if the employer does. It has childish connotations so a more professional approach would be to use words such as ‘activities’ or ‘interests’.
- Try to exercise balance. Keep information concise and only mention the activities that you would be willing to discuss in more detail during the interview process.
Cue your added extras
You may think that the ‘other interests’ section is not of primary importance on an application form but it allows the employer access to further clues about your personality. Aim to show them that you’re more interesting than the other candidates with similar work experience and academic grades to you.