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Phoenix Forward

Boost job skills with these fun hobbies

Showcase your hobby’s transferable job skills.

Ever chuckle at those job seekers who add hobbies to their résumés? Well, don’t. Many hiring managers actually welcome insight into candidates’ avocations, says Dr. Kyle Steadham, EdD, SPHR, a University of Phoenix School of Business instructor and a human resources professional.

“Here’s the catch,” explains Steadham, who teaches courses in human resources. “If you are going to include hobbies on your résumé or within your cover letter, then you need to tie in how the learned skills translate and impact the job.” Adding this detail in the hobby section of our résumé, for example, is one of the most effective ways to showcase your competencies to a hiring manager, says Steadham. Otherwise, he adds, “just seeing the words tennis, gardening or church choir [for example] in a separate section called ‘hobbies’ is irrelevant.” Here are some common hobbies and their transferable job skills:

Volunteering

Steadham notes his personal interest in the aesthetics of his Texas neighborhood led him to join his home owners’ association. In the process, he quickly worked his way up to become president through leadership and diplomatic skills as he helped the association’s various committees effectively market and apply customer-friendly and town-approved policies that met the neighborhood’s vision.

If you are going to include hobbies on your resume or within your cover letter, then you need to tie in how the learned skills ... impact the job.

Shopping

Being cost conscious, he says, shows a potential employer you understand the analytical and fiscal skills necessary to meet budget constraints. Haggling also shows you possess the self-confidence and logic useful during business negotiations.

Reading

Some jobs require pre-employment reading comprehension tests and those who read frequently are more apt to score higher, says Steadham. Reading further shows hiring managers a penchant for a high-level vocabulary and an ability to absorb copious amounts of information, which are key skills in some fields, including public relations and journalism.

Party planning

This hobby offers a number of valuable skills, says Steadham, including fiscal responsibility, strategic planning, customer relations, business deliverables, and presentation skills, as well as effective time and stress management skills.

Collecting

“People who find rare objects or other unique items have to conduct a lot of research and break through red tape,” says Steadham. Such self-directed investigative skills are especially helpful for paralegals, police and politics.

Blogging

A blogger or web designer who effectively adapts language or HTML coding to attract a large audience showcases both business communications and information technology skills. Human resource departments are especially interested in those individuals with social media competency because it can help companies internally communicate policies and procedures, as well as boost employee morale, says Steadham.

Sales

What may have been a fun side gig to make extra pocket money — such as Avon® or Mary Kay® — can also show employers your ability to boost sales and attract and retain customers. “The more you can quantify the outcomes of your hobbies and present that to a potential employer, the better,” says Steadham.

Avon® is a registered trademark of Avon Products Inc.
Mary Kay® is a registered trademark of Mary Kay Inc.

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