This article will explore the important additional information that you will need to make your CV even more attractive to employers – and address some of the common pitfalls to avoid.
Should you include details about your hobbies or clubs you belong to? It is a controversial area and opinion is divided over this. Some careers advisers believe that, these sorts of extra activities have no place on a professional CV and that you should concentrate on your work experience and qualifications.
Others argue that they should only be listed if they can answer the question ‘why am I perfect for this job?’ These interests can also make a good talking point in an interview, so if you include them, be prepared to talk about them.
Another bonus is that these sorts of activities can illustrate that you have a creative and rounded personality. So, they don’t just relate to particular skills, such as accounting if you are the treasurer for the local tennis club, but also show that you would be a nice person to have around the office. Don’t forget the recruiter is a human too and will be more likely to want to work with people they can get along with.
What to include:
- hobbies that show you are a team player
- hobbies that show you have a particular responsibility, eg secretary or treasurer or that you have taken on a leadership role
- as with your work experience, when discussing your extracurricular activities, include examples where you have been innovative or creative and turned round the fortunes of a club or society
- give specific examples: if you love films, say which genre or which director
- this can be an opportunity to give a nod in the direction of humour – for example supporting a less than successful football team can be used to highlight resilience and commitment!
What not to include:
- hobbies that are divisive (for example religious or political interests, unless expressly relevant to the role)
- anything that might give an unprofessional representation of you
- lies or exaggerations of the truth: if you are challenged about them at interview you will be made to look very foolish
Should I include a photograph?
No, not unless you have been specifically asked to do so. Obviously in some careers, such as modelling or television, you will be required to submit a photograph. But for the vast majority of jobs do not do so. You do not want to include anything that could give an overall negative impression to the potential employers. People judge very quickly on appearance, whereas they take longer to consider your profile as shown on the written part of the CV.
You can simply write that ‘references are available upon request’ but adding in specific people can be quite convincing of your confidence and abilities. Remember to give the name, postal address, email address and phone number of at least two referees – and do make sure you ask the person for his/her permission before using their name and let them know to possibly expect to be contacted. Most companies will contact these either just before the interview or when you have been verbally offered the job.
Choosing the right referee is important. He or she must be able to comment on your work in detail and of course it is crucial to choose someone who is going to be sympathetic to you.
For a detailed description of how to pick your referees, please see this article: How to choose your referees