That has been proven. Hobbies can actually advance your career – if you make sure hiring managers know about them.
Do you remember that personal interests section of your résumé / curriculum vitae? It may have asked you to name hobbies. That résumé section is important – more important than you may think it is.
Picture the hiring managers receiving your résumé. Some of those managers will look at 200-300 hundred résumés this week: fat résumés, thin résumés, awe-some résumés, and aw-ful résumés. It can be a tiresome task.
Suppose, however, that your résumé jumps out shouting, “I’m exactly the employee you need!” You could immediately increase your career chances.
Hobbies can advance your career – but take warning.
Let us say your hobbies / personal interest list begins with “video gaming.” You may as well write, “I am a lazy oaf who really doesn’t want a job.” The second hobby you list is “watching old movies on TV;” and the third is “strumming a guitar.”
Sorry. You may enjoy doing those things, but most employers will be unimpressed. You may think they are hobbies, but wait. What is a hobby?
A hobby can be defined as a “pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.”
“hobby.” Merriam-Webster.com. 2019. https://www.merriam-webster.com (11 August 2019).
If an activity is not part of your regular job / work, and you do it mostly to relax and enjoy yourself, you can call it a hobby.
An example is Maj. Kenny Weiner. Maj. Weiner has two day jobs in the U.S. Air Force. He trains pilots to fly the C-17, a large military transport aircraft. Maj. Weiner also works as a transportation planner at the U.S. Transportation Command.
His hobby? He flies hot-air balloons. Anytime he is not at his regular occupation, you can find him planning the next hot-air balloon flight. His occupation and his hobby go well together. His hobby involves skills that would look good to a hiring manager. In fact, Weiner’s ballooning hours helped him get a C-17 training spot in the Air Force. https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2015/01/07/an-early-love-of-flying-c-17-pilot-got-his-start-in-hot-air-balloons/
Many hobbies provide skills that can advance your career. If your application for a job at a piano store lists your piano playing hobby, the hiring manager could see it as a valuable asset. Even if you never worked in a piano store before, your hobby would increase chances of getting the job.
Many businesses want you to fit their workplace culture. They know you will be more able to interact well with other employees if you bring skills and interests to your work. They are not looking for slaves or gofers. If you help advance their business, they are willing to advance your career.
Hobbies that Can Advance Your Career
Let’s look at a few other skill-boosting hobbies that could advance your career.
Where to Begin
If you do not already pursue a hobby passionately, or even if you do, what comes next? Where do you begin to be sure an employer will see that hobby’s value to your career?
- Research the business and job position you want. Learn about the company’s workplace. Do they maintain an atmosphere of fun and playfulness such as Google chose? Do you find the environment a right fit with your personality?
- Go to the Internet. Look at the company website and social media links they offer. Take time for a quick look at their competitors’ websites. Any available employee introductions they give will help you know if you would fit.
- Study the job description for the specific position you are considering. Look for a list of character traits the company desires in the new employee, i.e., things such as integrity, responsibility, self-control. What kind of work ethic do they want?
- Think about the personality demands of the job. Which of these do they want?
- An extrovert / team player – one who likes going outside self, talking freely, exhibiting super-friendliness, but not hogging the spotlight. If so, you might list a team sport such as mentioned in the table above.
- An introvert –prefers being alone, pays close attention to details, and can carry the load alone without close supervision. If so, you would turn to a quiet hobby such as stamp collecting or creative writing.
- Now invite a few people who work at the company to meet over coffee and share helpful information from an insider’s viewpoint.
- Finally, select appropriate hobbies you love and place them on your résumé – but not in a mere list. You will not be at the hiring manager’s side to describe each one, so provide a brief and very specific description of each hobby.
- Twice a week, I teach advanced rock-climbing at scenic outdoor locations.
- I just completed building and furnishing a 1:48 scale Victorian dollhouse.
Can a hobby advance your career? Yes. Whether you want to branch off into a new pathway, get a promotion in your current employment, or open yourself for greater responsibility, the right hobby can show an employer that you offer important skills that fit you for that career move.