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Leave your hobbies at home

A reader writes: 'In preparing my CV, should I include some 'other interests'?' Well, John MacNamara of Stalybridge, the answer is 'No. Are you nuts?' Unless your interests are 'working really long hours'and 'introducing my relatives in property development to my boss'prospective employers couldn't give a monkey's.

The idea of including interests comes from industries where one does not have a portfolio, and employers struggle to get an impression of a candidate's character. Thus, QSs and accountants routinely include parts of their life as interests - cooking, cinema, reading - as if doing these was more interesting than not doing them; the only pursuits less interesting are what they do do in their spare time.

Some interests might actually be of interest. But if you speak Spanish, for example, include it as a 'skill' not an interest. As a skill it says 'I am adaptable and familiar with foreign climes', while as an interest it says 'I like hirsute sexual partners and oily food' which may be true, but no-one else needs to know.

Craft interests are counterproductive. Professing an interest in 'restoring stained glass' is like shouting from the (handmade clay-tiled) rooftops 'I'm not comfortable with any building technology developed after 1870' and being a 'keen calligraphist' does not suggest that Microstation J was developed just for you.

If you have an interest in an elitist so-called sport requiring lots of equipment this says 'I was always picked last in school sports, and have been trying to compensate ever since by exploiting my near-autistic affinity with inanimate objects.' You can say this if you want and it won't stop you getting a job, it just won't get you the therapy you so badly need.

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