Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Point Of Interests In Your CV Sections

The Point Of Interests In Your CV Sections, education and work experience are the pillars of a strong CV, but are you neglecting your 'interests' section? If so, you may be missing a trick. Use this section to give your CV that extra edge, and adhere to these definitive dos and don't!

DO...
Include an interests section! This is a rare opportunity to show your individuality. An intriguing or impressive interest will make your recruiter remember you after a long and laborious session of screening CVs. Employers also want to be assured that you have a work-life balance and won't crack under pressure.

Focus on interests that attest to your suitability. Cite activities that demonstrate qualities such as creativity,
interpersonal skills and teamwork where desirable.

Compensate for weak points elsewhere in your CV. If you lack work experience, have gaps in employment or frequently changed jobs in the past, there may be doubts about your commitment or reliability. Prove your reader wrong by telling them about captaining your local football team for three years, or how you've worked hard to master a new language.

Show a different side of you. While other sections of your CV should focus firmly on fitting a person specification typical of your role without distracting the reader, here you are free to paint a more diverse picture. So if you're a data analyst who is also multilingual and knows how to code, let the reader know here.

Research your audience. Be resourceful and identify what your interviewer or prospective employer likes to do (Google is your friend here). Common interests can be used to strike a chord. Does the organisation go on regular away days? Find out what they get up to and list any leisure activities that make you compatible. Particularly amongst creative start-ups, there is often a company culture that you will be expected to engage with - inside and outside of work - so be sure demonstrate your social side.

DON'T...

Bore your reader. This is not just another perfunctory list to bulk up your CV - rather, it is an opportunity to entice your audience. Simply naming interests without elaborating will only make you more anonymous. No extra points for feigning an interest in everything and anything.

Court controversy. If in doubt, play it safe. You may be proud of your family history of fox-hunting, but how will the vegan recruiter in HR react? This also works in the opposite direction - you might be passionate about a particular cause or movement and that is admirable, but beware of isolating those who don't share your view. Mention politics at your peril!

Disclose anything you're not comfortable with. You may prefer to keep your work and personal life separate, with good reason. It's your call. So if you have an alter ego in a rock band and mention this in your application, don't get upset when you're expected to sing a tune at the Christmas party. Explain truly condition.

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