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Writing an effective CV: Part 4 – Hobbies and skills

Published on: 7 Apr 2017

As the average recruiter takes just six seconds to make an initial decision on a CV, deciding what to include can be difficult. How can you make sure yours makes the right impact?

In this four part series, The Planner's Matt Moody talks to a variety of people to pin down the perfect planning CV.

Part 4: Hobbies and skills

Including a small section about your life outside of work is a good way to inject some personality into your CV. That said, it’s important to consider your audience, says Eleanor Gingell.

  • “It’s helpful to get a bit of personality across, but always consider what your hobbies might say about you. I run regularly, but mainly because my other interests are eating chocolate and watching box sets… a friend of mine has completed the Snowdonia marathon three times, so that definitely shows perseverance! Would I include running on my CV? Probably not, but my friend may well do.”
  • Taylor’s advice is similar. “Hobbies are very important because they give an indication of the type of person you are,” he says. “But you need to be aware of less positive stereotypes, too.
  • “Tech-related interests may suggest someone who is forward-thinking, and taking part in sport can illustrate commitment and resilience. On the other hand, some recruiters may consider that video games suggest reclusiveness.”
  • Although your skill set should be evident from your experience, there are some skills worth drawing special attention to. Which deserve a mention can vary depending on the area of planning in question, says Bainbridge. “Development management will involve different skills than a policy-focused role, for example. Try and reflect the job description where you can.”


David Bainbridge [square]David Bainbridge is a planning consultant and partner at property consultancy Bidwells LLP.


Eleanor Gingell has recently taken up a new role as a planner with the Eleanor Gingell [square]Department of Communities and Local Government. She is a former recipient of the British Empire Medal for services to planning. Eleanor’s views are her own and not those of her employer.

CJ Obi [square]CJ Obi (left) and Henry Taylor (right) are recruiters at Osborne Richardson, a recruitment consultancy that specialises in Henry Taylor [square]planning.