Finding a job is serious work. Most job seekers wouldn’t dream of listing their favorite free time activities on their resume or job application. Employers want to know how your job experience will benefit their organization. While that’s true, that experience doesn’t always have to come from time on the clock or in the office.
Life is full of lessons to be learned that don’t happen between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Your personality has an effect on the hiring process and makes a difference when it comes to being a fit for a potential employer’s culture. The character you can put into your job search can help make it easier to grab a hiring manager’s attention and connect with those decision makers.
There are plenty of things you can do during your free time that can help you get a job offer. Here are some ways you can list your hobbies and free time activities to grab employers’ attention and make you a more desirable candidate.
When an employer announces an open position, keep in mind that hundreds of resumes and applications are being delivered. These applicants will have similar experiences, education, and training. What better way to stand out than to have some of your activities that can show a little personality while demonstrating the skills needed to do the job.
Just because you may be an avid reader, it doesn’t mean you should put it on your resume. However, if you’re an avid reader of medical reports and breakthroughs in medicine technology, that might place you in a position to be seen as someone who is forward thinking and willing to lead change in a hospital. Your hobbies have to be seen in a way that relates to the job duties of the position you’re applying for.
Take some time to think about your pastimes and see if you can’t use them in a way that applies to a job description. Are you an officer for a club? That means you probably have managed groups of people, helped grow an organization, or aided in raising large funds for the community or charity. Use your imagination, but keep it slim. You will want to include your most important skills and experience first. If your resume is getting long, your hobbies will have be the first to go. They could be woven into your cover letter as a way to demonstrate your skills and add personality.
There are several ways you can connect with others who share the same passions as you. If you haven’t already, consider finding, joining, or even forming groups based on your hobbies. Not only will you have fun and learn new things about your hobby, you will also have a chance to network with like-minded individuals. In today’s job market, people are more likely to hire someone they know or trust. You never know who you might meet and build relationships with, or who could give you an opportunity to put your foot in the door with an employer or job opening.
Your hobbies can be great conversation topics during an interview. You have a small amount of time to convey your skills and build a rapport when being interviewed. Sometimes your pastimes can help establish a connection with your interviewer, which can help you feel more relaxed and confident, and support you stand out better in the interviewer’s mind. If you notice a lull in your conversation, try to use your experience with your hobbies to explain your passions and see if you can relate to the person asking questions.
If you don’t have any hobbies or impressive interests, don’t try to pick one up overnight. Interviewers can pick up on your lack of passion and it can make them wonder what else in your resume might be inflated. Now is the time to pick up a hobby and explore your interests. With fall and winter around the corner, there will be plenty of opportunities in various ways to volunteer during the holiday season.
You don’t have to hide the fact that you live an active lifestyle when looking for work. In fact, the things you do in your spare time can make you a more desirable candidate. How can you use your hobbies to make your resume stand out and make yourself a better applicant? Let us know in the comments section below.
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I volunteer for the planning committee in my town. We plan one large festival every other month and small events in between. I am a pageant director for the planning committee and I used someone from the board as my reference. When asked in an interview about my references and how I know them I explained that I had volunteered next to the lady for over 5 years and this is what we did together. Turns out the interviewer served on a similar board in her home town and knew people from my board. She called them and used them as references rather than the people I had put down. When all my random references came back positive I was hired! So sometimes your hobby can give you people to reference not just experience.
Great story, Ashley! People who aren’t related to your work can be powerful references when they vouch for your work ethic, positive attitude, and commitment. Thanks for sharing!
Hello Jared it has been awhile since I have worked with Express Personnel and I love the company when I did work for them. This is awesome that you are requesting what are hobbies are outside of work.
What I am passionate about is cooking and really taking care of children. I have a catering business that is on hold right now because I have to be tied a job because I have to make a living and pay my bills. I also have been a nanny for 7 years and have had the please of working for families that was awesome, but know days when you apply especially for these two careers the world requires degrees and such..
My degree is self taught and trained because I do it home for family and friends and they enjoy the food and the nanny services that I offer.
I would love to work next to a experience chef to learn the skills and the trade without spending years or months in a classroom spending and agreeing to loans that I would have to come from under. So may just maybe some will read this and feel the same way about the hobby that they are passionate about. I also like doing event planning for weddings, birthdays and other special occassion.
Thanks very much for the information. Look forward to doing a great job for you
folks again. As a matter of fact, I’ll come up and see you just for good ole times
sake. Love you guys. Take good care!!!
The best example from my own experience / job history of a private passion being an asset in landing a job comes from a couple of years ago, when I was hired by the National Park Service to be a seasonal ranger, in the very park that I lived close to in my youth. While most of my qualifications for the position came from prior work experience and education (I have a BA in history, which is a very good degree to have in working for the Park Service), the one aspect of the job for which I had little, if any, qualifying job experience was working in the backcountry. However, I grew up frequently backpacking in that same park for which I was applying, and can honestly say that outdoor recreation has been one of my lifelong passions. Because I was able to convey that in the application process, I believe my backpacking experience was a significant factor in my being hired.
Congrats on landing what sounds like a really cool job, Randall! How are you enjoying it? I might be camping with family this fall. What would be the most important things to know/do/remember when camping outdoors in a national park? Thanks for sharing!
Jared – Unfortunately, that was a seasonal job from 2 yrs ago, and though I was hired again last year, due to Park Service budget cuts, I wasn’t hired this year. Even if I had been, the season would be over now (normally ends on Sept. 30). But it was great while it lasted.
The first important thing to know about camping outdoors in any kind of park depends on what you mean by “camping”. Camping in a campground is an almost completely different experience from backcountry camping; both, however, can be experienced in most national parks and national forests, whereas state parks usually have only campgrounds. I’d say in campgrounds, the most important thing to do is observe the posted rules & be courteous to your fellow campers (the particular rule that comes immediately to mind, if you have pets with you, is to keep them leashed & quiet).
For backcountry hiking / camping, the best thing to do is check in at the nearest ranger station and/or visitor’s center and get information for the specific park, or area of the park, which you’re visiting. If there’s any universal best thing to know and/or remember about hiking & camping in the backcountry anywhere, it’s to “Leave No Trace”. Ask any ranger or visitor center staffer for a copy of the NPS printed checklist of “Leave No Trace” principles.
Above all else, STAY SAFE!
Awesome advice, Randal! Ill keep that in mind when I’m going Grizzly Adams style.
I am an avid karaoke singer, a friend that I made helped me get into the public health field. After some hard work I earned my health license. And they became one of my references. My past time led to a very fulfilling and practical job move because I already had a biology degree and wanted to to do something more specific. Thanks to their support and experience and of course their friendship my hobby led to networking and it all paid off. I have my foot in the door when I go to interviews
I have used examples from some of my mission trips to answer some of the questions in an interview since I was able to use some of my interests and hobbies
on the trips, it can show an employer that you are dependable, can work in different environments, can be open and adapt to change and that from doing these things it is also a learning and acceptance of different cultures, backgrounds and that you can use situations as learning experiences.