Time spent away from work on hobbies is immensely valuable — it connects us with friends and family, gives us a sense of purpose and meaning, and allows us to relax, all while developing important skills. Even better, some of the skills our hobbies impart can benefit us in the workplace. Here are three hobbies that help us develop important, resume-boosting skills, without even trying.
When you apply for a job, there's a good chance your would-be boss, or someone from the human resources department, is going to Google you. One of the best ways to increase your chances of landing an interview — and, eventually, the job — is to differentiate yourself from other candidates in the search results. Setting up and maintaining a professional blog and social media accounts is a great way to boost your image, show off your skills and accomplishments and communicate that you have an interesting, active life outside the office.
Plus, bloggers have a better chance of getting noticed and hired by employers because they are showcasing skills that can immediately be put into use in an office setting — from search engine optimization and social media management to writing and design. But your blog might also offer a peek into your personality. That's important, too, because, in many respects, employers are hiring as if they are choosing between candidates to be their new friend as well as their new worker.
While your blog should be professional — no party pictures or political rants — it should also offer flashes of your love for cooking or affinity for backgammon. The goal is to come across as a smart, motivated, well-rounded person — not a boring, one-dimensional robot.
2. World Travel
So you just got back from a trip around the world, or a summer spent teaching English in Nepal. Maybe you spent a month solo backpacking through South America. Wherever you were, now you're home — and you're ready to find a job. Rest assured, there's no need to try to conceal how you've been spending your time. While carving time out to travel was once considered by many employers to be frivolous, it's now more often seen as an asset. Translation: Your time spent hiking in the mountains, touring war-torn cities, and befriending the inhabitants of remote villages boosts your hireability.
Employers need experienced workers who are comfortable with other cultures, aren't afraid of stepping outside their comfort zones, and have a thirst for familiarizing themselves with the unknown. Did you plan, finance, and budget your own travels? Then you probably picked up some budgeting, finance, and organizational skills. Did you befriend a child in Vietnam using only body language? Well, then, you're skilled at overcoming communication and language barriers. People who travel are often motivated, able to speak another language, and willing to relocate — and these are highly sought qualities in the working world. No two travelers have the same stories to tell, so be sure to use your most awe inspiring ones to differentiate yourself in your cover letter.
3. Team Sports
Participating in a team sport or activity, like club soccer, gives you a deepened sense of self-worth, purpose, and meaning. And it means you know how to play well with others — both on and off the field. Sports can teach you how to work toward a team goal while also chipping away at personal ones. They're a great way to polish your time management skills and learn the importance of commitment. They teach you how to overcome setbacks and learn from your mistakes.
These are the qualities you build while dribbling up and down the court, making strategic passes to members of your team. And it's the stuff your future boss is looking for from new hires. The best place to list sports involvement on your resume is under an "activities" subhead. It's all about the keywords and phrases. Coachable. Dedicated. Accountable. Team player. Expressed properly, any job interviewer will see how your on-the-field skills will translate in the workplace.