When it comes to writing a high-quality CV for a legal role, one of the grey areas which tends to confuse people is whether to include hobbies.
There are arguments both for and against including your hobbies, so check them out below and use them to inform your decision:
Hobbies should be included on your CV if…
You are a recent graduate or career changer and do not have a great amount of experience that you can refer to in your CV.
If you have no experience to draw upon, then you may be able to draw upon transferable skills you’ve demonstrated through your hobbies instead.
For example, if you were part of a sports team, you can use this to show that you have great teamwork skills, which are essential in any legal team. If you have learnt to play a musical instrument to a high grade, then you could refer to this as an example of how you are committed to learning and developing your skills.
If you have a fairly unusual hobby, it might even help you to stand out from other applicants. This is especially the case in legal CVs, where it can be hard to convey personality, as the CV is a highly professional, formal document.
Hobbies which show that you have talents or skills that not many other people have can intrigue a recruiter and make a great talking point to break the ice in the interview.
Hobbies should not be included on your CV if…
They are irrelevant to your work or do not show you in a professional light.
For instance, describing that you are very sociable and like to go out a lot won’t add any value to your application, and might even put a recruiter off and ruin your chances.
Whilst unique hobbies can help to make your application stand out, there is a thin line between unique hobbies and weird hobbies. So, if your hobby is one that might seem a little strange to some people, continue it in your spare time – but do make sure to leave it off your CV!
Any hobbies which are generic and shared by the majority of the population will not give you any advantage over other applicants, so will be a waste of space on your CV.
Examples of hobbies which give your CV a boost:
- Sports teams (teamworkcc) or a marathon run (commitment)
- Drama/performance (demonstrates confidence)
- Musical instruments (personal development)
- Languages (could potentially be used on certain projects)
- Technology related e.g. web development
- Creative e.g. blog writing, photography
Examples of hobbies to leave off your CV:
- Generic hobbies that many candidates will share e.g. watching football
- Going to the cinema
- Socialising with friends
- Religious or politically sensitive hobbies
- Eating out
To conclude, there is no definitive yes or no when it comes to whether to include hobbies on your legal CV. You should evaluate the hobby that you are considering including and decide whether it adds value to your application, is of interest to others and reflects you in a positive way.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.
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