In the résumé writing process, it’s common advice to include community service, awards, and volunteering to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded candidate.
But, have you ever thought about how your hobbies could help you stand out as a candidate in the interview? How you spend your leisure time reflects your passions in life. And in today’s job market, it’s important to interject your personality into the job search process so you can stand apart. Here are some common hobbies and how you can use them to reflect your personality – and creativity – in your interview.
If you’re an avid reader, whatever your preferred genre, this hobby can demonstrate a hunger for knowledge or adventure. If the opportunity arises within the interview, you can tap into the knowledge-reservoir you’ve gained from this hobby by using an illustration from a favorite novel to talk about an insight you’ve applied to work.
Example: “Here’s what Lord of the Flies taught me about dealing with human nature in corporate politics…”
Crafting comes in many forms, and it’s a great hobby that directly illustrates creativity put to practice. Have you used a logic or thought-process from constructing a craft and applied it on the job? Maybe you’ve started a part-time business selling your wares? Talk about experiences you’ve had or things you’ve learned from your favorite craft project to demonstrate your creative or entrepreneurial spirit.
Example: “Whenever I sit down to create a new scrapbook page, I go through the same planning process, but I’ve learned how to follow my instincts, too. Here’s how I apply that concept to my work…”
Do you love movies, television, or other pop culture? Maybe you’re an avid fan of a specific genre or form. This hobby can do more than just produce great water cooler conversations between you and your co-workers. It can also show your hip, in-the-know side. Try talking about observations you’ve made from pop culture you admire and how that can apply to your field or discipline.
Example: “I think director J.J. Abrams has a real knack for respecting the history of a show but at the same time finding creative ways to give life to old ideas. I aim to apply that same process to building a business strategy…”
Do you love cooking, hosting parties, and celebrating special events? This hobby does more than just make you the life of the party, it can show an aptitude for strategy, a flair for creativity, and an excellence at executing a plan. Talk about a unique idea you had for a recent event and how that applies to the job.
Example: “I wanted to test a new recipe before the party to see if it would appeal to kids. So, I made a batch and shared it with children in the neighborhood. Just like when I’m planning a celebration with my friends, I like to incorporate feedback to make a better project at work…”
What are You Passionate About?
These are only a few examples of common hobbies and how you can talk about them in an interview. Whatever your hobbies, whether skydiving, horseback riding, or building computers, can you find ways that they apply to your job skills?
Spend some time jotting down all of your hobbies on a piece of paper, and before each interview, check your list to see if any of them apply to the type of work you’re interviewing for. Then, find appropriate times to talk about them during the interview. This trick can also build commonality between you and an interviewer if they share the same hobby. Make sure you don’t dwell too long on a hobby, and try to talk about it in terms of how it applies to the job you’re trying to land. And, choose the hobbies you want to talk about carefully to make sure you leave the right impression. Interviewing with a traditionalist may not be the appropriate time to talk about how your fight club taught you how to resolve conflict!
Have you ever talked about a hobby during an interview? Share your stories – and how your hobbies applied to your job search – in our comments section.