Spotlight on CVs: The Interest Section
Posted on: 17 April 2023 by Aditi Gupta in Hints, tips and advice
Our graduate intern Aditi takes a look at writing a CV as part of a job application, with a particular focus on the interest section.
I have always found writing the “interests” section tricky. While the other sections tend to be quite straightforward, this doesn’t seem to be the case this part of the CV. Now having worked as a Career Coach for a while, I have gained a deeper understanding on how to write an impactful “interests” section and would like to share the following advice.
What to add as part of the Interests section?
As part of this section, you can add any hobbies you that you enjoy participating in regularly. This most commonly tends to be extra-curricular activities related to sports, music or arts and is a great way for recruiters to gain an insight into your leisure time activity. Some other activities that you can add as part of this section include hiking, travelling, gardening, crocheting, cooking, biking, among others.
Why add the Interests section in your CV?
While it is a completely optional section, the “Interests” section is an opportunity for you to provide the recruiter a peak into your personality. The recruiter might also be a co-worker who’d be working alongside you so showcasing what kind of personality you possess can potentially help you stand out in the application process. For example, a unique and interesting hobby like calligraphy or woodcarving can make you a memorable candidate in the candidate pool.
Additionally, the “Interests” section is also an opportunity for you to showcase your strengths and abilities to your recruiter, especially in a case where there is fewer work experience added to the CV. For examples, involvement in team sports enable you to build your teamworking abilities and leadership skills can be gained if you served in a position of responsibility at a student club/society of your interest.
How to write the Interests section?
When writing the “Interests” section, it is advisable to present it in a contextualised manner rather than giving a long list of bullet points that gives little indication of your level of involvement. For example, instead of mentioning just “reading” as an interest, you can elaborate on what genres of books are you most interested in and who some of your favourite authors are.
It is also worth extracting the transferable skills that you may have picked from involvement in these hobbies. For example, you may have served as the captain of one of the sports clubs at the university which may have helped you on developing your leadership skills. Or you may have served as a social secretary for the book society where you were involved in organising successful events for a club of 50 people which demonstrates your organisational and managerial skills.
You may also have participated and won contests/competitions which qualifies as a great achievement to add as part of the description of your interests. For example, as part of your involvement with the Salsa Society, you might have participated and won inter-university competitions that is an important achievement to add.
What not to add as part of the “Interests” section on your CV?
It is not advisable to lie and make up a “hobby” to add as part of this section! You might find yourself in a situation where the interviewer might be intrigued about your hobby and ask you questions related to it, and it would soon become clear that this wasn’t a real interest which would reflect extremely negatively on you.
Sometimes you may feel like your hobby is plain and simply an everyday activity but the way you describe it as part of this section can make a whole lot of difference. For example, one of my hobbies is cooking which is arguably quite an everyday activity. However, to make it interesting and worthy enough to make me stand out in the recruitment process, I dive deep into my cooking hobby:
“One of my interests is cooking. In my leisure time, I like to try new recipes especially from cuisines that I am not too familiar which includes Caribbean and Moroccan dishes. As a result of this, I have gained an appreciation of different cultures which has enhanced my cultural sensitivity. I also experiment with presentation of my food that demonstrated my attention to detail and creativity skills.”
A key thing to remember about the contents of the “Interest” section is to be descriptive and succinct, in addition to identifying and highlighting the skills you demonstrated through the experiences and NOT just what you did.
Get your CV checked
If you would like some help creating or updating your CV then drop into the Career Studio anytime between 10am and 5pm on weekdays, and one of our helpful Career Coaches will be able to support you.
University of Liverpool students also have access to CV360, an AI-powered CV checker that allows you to create a brand-new CV in matter of minutes, or upload your current CV to get instant feedback and suggestions to make it shine.