You’ll spend approximately four years in college preparing for a career. If you choose to pursue a graduate degree, you’ll have a bit longer before you begin to look for a job in your chosen career path. During this time, you want to do all you can to give yourself a competitive edge over others who will also be competing for your next job. This is where hobbies come into play.
Why are Hobbies So Important for Employability?
Hobbies are a resource that employers now use to determine personality type. Involvement in hobbies also shows that you’re well-rounded, and the activities you participate in may well be a defining factor that compels them to choose you over your peers for a given position.
Taking part in activities that look good on a resume or job application is a good strategy. More and more companies are hiring for cultural fit to find employees who’ll perform well in their work environments. A two-year study from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Studies indicates that approximately 51.2% of employers used hobbies and interests to select suitable candidates. Some employers even felt that hobbies were as important, if not more important, as experience and qualifications when selecting applicants. This means you may want to take up a hobby or two to boost your employability and make you more attractive to prospective employers.
Choose Hobbies You’ll Enjoy
As you decide which hobbies you’d like to pursue, be sure to choose hobbies that you find interesting and fun. Let the activities you choose reflect who you are and the aspects of life you enjoy.
Don’t try to fake it. It’s liable to backfire on you. Let’s say you indicate you enjoy playing softball. When you’re asked to join the company’s softball team, and you’re not so keen on softball ... well, you get the picture. Or if you say you like to skydive. When they ask how you prefer your parachute to be packed, what will you say? That’s a disaster in the making. Choose hobbies that interest you and those you’ll enjoy. Then, when you’re asked about them, you can talk about them with a genuine passion and interest.
11 Hobbies for College Students That Will Make You More Employable
With the advent of COVID-19, some hobbies that once looked good as far as employability, such as team sports, may no longer be possible. So, with all the free time COVID has made available to you, which hobbies should you focus on to outshine the competition in your next interview?
Fortunately, there are plenty of fun activities you can take part in that will make you more employable when you fill out your next job application.
Blogging demonstrates that you’re organized, creative, and self-motivated. A blog also gives you a unique opportunity to show employers you’re able to juggle commitments, manage your time effectively and get the job done. Plus, as a blogger, you have examples of your writing prowess to show off to prospective employers. Although these qualities are valued by all companies, blogging is especially useful for someone interested in becoming a copywriter, technical writer, aspiring journalist, editorial positions, or social media-type roles. This site offers a list of blogging courses (free and paid) as well as resources to help you get started. And here’s a list of website builders, some of them free, which will assist you in getting your site up quickly and easily.
2. Creative Writing
Creative writing such as poetry and storytelling, are additional writing hobbies that demonstrate good communication skills, both verbal and written, and can highlight your strengths as a writer or editor. As with blogging, you will have written examples you can share with prospective employers. A creative writing hobby can be especially beneficial for someone who is seeking a career in public relations, marketing and design, journalism, editorial positions, or social media roles. TCKpublishing has put together a list of the best free online writing courses for creative writers, fiction and nonfiction to help you get started.
Volunteer activities tell employers you can work on a team, you care about others, and you may not be in it just for the money. Teamwork is an important skill that many employers seek but can be especially useful for someone who wants to work in sales and advertising. VolunteerCrowd is an app for students that will allow you to track volunteer opportunities and build a volunteer transcript that will highlight your character and leadership. Volunteering is one of the best ways to meet new people, learn new skills and gain valuable experience you can use in a future career. This Student Volunteering Guide will answer many of the questions you may have about volunteering. These volunteer resources will help you choose opportunities that align your major with a volunteer position to gain experience, network and, potentially, even earn college credits—undergraduate and graduate—or you can pick an opportunity based on your interests.
This hobby indicates patience, an ability to concentrate for long periods, and great attention to detail. Photography can be an especially handy hobby to have if you want to go into fashion or journalism. Meetup offers lots of opportunities to meet other shutterbugs and talk about the latest gear, share your images and stories, swap tips and techniques and have fun with others who enjoy photography. Udemy offers a reasonably priced photography course for beginners. YouTube offers a great deal of free photography video tutorials including this class by Wolf Amri and this one by Chris Bray Photography.
5. Learning a new language
A new language will most definitely increase employability. More than that, however, the right language can be especially important for certain jobs. If your dream job, for instance, would entail working in Canada, learning French could be beneficial. If you wanted to work in some of the southern states, such as Texas, Florida, New Mexico, or Arizona, knowing Spanish could be helpful. Knowing sign language can also be very helpful all across the US. Being bilingual is often a plus for many employers. According to Investopedia, the languages that will give you the best chance of broadening a career include Spanish, French, Mandarin, Arabic, American Sign Language, Russian, German and Portuguese. Many free online sites, such as Duolingo, Open Culture, Babbel and Learn a Language, can help you learn a new language. If you want to learn sign language, StartASL.com and ASL Connect offer free online lessons.
6. Singing and/or playing an instrument
These talents demonstrate creativity, especially if you’ve written your own music. These two hobbies also suggest discipline, dedication, focus, and some level of confidence since you’re willing to perform in front of an audience. If you’re interested in learning how to sing, Singwise shares tips on finding the right singing teacher. If you want to learn how to play a musical instrument, JoyTunes offers a variety of resources that will help, from learning how to read music to picking the right instrument to tutorials. Additionally, you could contact a local music teacher, music store employees or a church choir director to see if they teach or know someone who teaches singing or music lessons in your area.
7. Arts and Crafts
Hobbies such as drawing, painting, pottery, quilting, knitting or sewing suggest that you love to experiment and try new things, you’re able to come up with new and innovative ideas, and you’re open-minded as well as creative. Opportunities to learn these types of hobbies abound—online and in-person. Check out sites like Craftsy, Creativebug and Udemy. Don’t forget to check out YouTube and your phone’s app store.
8. Cooking and/or Baking
Cooking and baking look especially good for someone who is pursuing a career where creativity and attention to detail are a plus, such as in marketing, engineering, or design; although, most careers require some level of creativity and finesse. These hobbies show future employers that you can stay focused, follow instructions, are resourceful, and above all, enjoy experimenting. Plus, who doesn’t love to have a co-worker who brings in treats?!
9. Strategic Mind Games
If you enjoy games such as chess, backgammon and Sudoku, it says a lot about you. These types of activities indicate you’re patient, cunning, analytical, logical and enjoy thinking strategically. Strategy games also indicate you don’t hide from unexpected challenges or tire easily from repetitive tasks. These are all good traits for someone who is pursuing a career in areas such as engineer, lawyer, doctor, banker, teacher and strategic planner. These hobbies also often indicate a high level of intelligence. Chess.com offers training to learn or improve your chess game. Play Sudoku here. And don’t forget to check out apps on your phone.
10. Extreme Sports
Skydiving, bungee jumping, cliff jumping/base jumping, scuba diving, and mountain bike racing such as demonstrate that you like to take high, yet calculated, risks and don’t mind pushing the boundaries. These traits are desirable for individuals who will serve in thought leadership roles, product/department leadership jobs and management positions.
11. High-Endurance Activities
Although many group sports are unavailable due to COVID-19, other sporting opportunities for individuals still exist such as cycling, running and swimming. High-endurance activities such as these reflect traits of perseverance, drive and tenacity—characteristics suited to goal-driven jobs such as business development, marketing and sales.
This list offers a wide array of hobby types. There should be one or two you’d enjoy. Perhaps you’re already involved in some of these, and maybe, you see one or two others you want to try. Either way, you’ll have hobbies to mention on your resume and talk about in an interview that will help you to stand out from the crowd.