Today, this post is going to be about something I have been thinking about for a long time – qualifications and skills, both of these things have been on my mind since I decided to update my C.V a few weeks ago.
We all have qualifications, G.C.S.E’s, A-Levels or the equivalent, some of us have N.V.Q’s or City and Guild’s qualifications, some of us have degrees and these are things that employers look at when we apply for jobs.
The other thing that we all have, that prospective employers are super interested in are the skills that we have obtained through different job positions we have held, these are listed under our “Work Experience” section on a C.V and often will be a brief description of what we do on a day-to-day basis in our employment.
But what about other skills that are self-taught and we have learned on our own? Those skills that have no qualification tied to it, nor any referee that can vouch for those skills? I have a “Hobbies and Interests” section on my C.V and have several things listed there but no real explanations of anything as, not only would it take up space but I have always been taught that professional qualifications and skills are the things that most (if not all employers) are most interested in.
I have always given a list of hobbies and interests on every C.V that I have ever handed out, but in the interviews that I have attended have never really been questioned in any depth about these topics.
It has all got me thinking…I have gained some really valuable skills that have been learned and self -taught because of my hobbies and interests, shouldn’t these skills be as important as those gained in work or educational establishments? In fact, in some ways, shouldn’t these skills be even more important and nurtured by employers?
We spend a great deal of time with our hobbies and interests, they are things that have piqued our interests and things that we want to spend time doing, learning about and honing our skills in, and that we have taught ourselves these things should be an added bonus.
For example, through blogging, I have learned a lot about WordPress, websites, SEO, layout, design, content creation, content writing, time management, scheduling, attracting and engaging readers, social media, Canva…the list goes on.
Every single hobby and interest has its own unique skill set which should be given the opportunity to be showcased and shown off to prospective employers. A covering letter used to be the go-to thing for being able to explain why you are interested in certain positions and any other relevant information that may be of interest to the employer when considering you for the job. Unfortunately, many companies don’t even want a C.V any more, everything is done by generic application forms which give no space to list any other skills you may have outside of the work environment.
And that, the lack of interest in any other skills, is where my frustration lies. I am more than just qualifications and stats that can be proven, used in a massive game of “Top Trumps” in order to single out the best candidates for the job. There is more to my skill set than I am ever given the chance to say, and I think that goes for most people. How can employers know that they have the best person for the job without taking into consideration us as whole people with skills that come from our “Hobbies and Interests”?
And more to the point, how can we detail our skills and experience outside of the jobs that we have had?