How sports on a CV can enhance your employability


Ever wondered whether you should include sports on CV? Google it, and you’ll find loads of conflicting advice, some claiming you may as well leave out the ‘hobbies’ part of your CV as it adds nothing.

Well, they’re wrong! We spoke to 20 recruitment consultancies and business leaders, who all confirmed that including sports on your CV can greatly enhance your chance of getting a job.

‘Recruiters really do look at the last bit of the CV for flavour and colour,’ says business coach Zena Everett. ‘They can be so bland and full of clichés. Sports can really enhance a person’s “brand.”’

‘Whether you have much work experience or not, it is still worth including sports and hobbies on your CV. I find sports to be more valuable than work experience stacking shelves in a supermarket. Sports tell me a lot more about your personality and often demonstrate valuable skills,’ says Danielle Miller, senior recruitment consultant for Bridgewater Graduates.

‘Sheer dedication to a sport shows focus and self-discipline, which translates well to the workplace,’ agrees James Callander, managing director of Freshminds, which specialises in recruiting for consulting roles. ‘Most competitive people want to get better at what they do, and people who want to improve tend to do that in their work life as well. This appeals to managers.’

Elite sports, in particular, show a dedication to excellence that can’t fail to impress – but although potential employers may prefer you to be a medal-winning Olympian, they’ll be almost as impressed if you’re captain of your local football or netball team.

‘Team sports like football, cricket and rugby are usually great to see. They show that you are a team player and also have a competitive streak which works well in so many roles,’ says Danielle Miller.

Her colleague Dan Partington agrees, noting that your choice of sport can guide you in finding the right role for you as well as giving employers an insight into your personality. “I think it’s important to find a company that values you, your personality and what you like,’ he says. ‘If you’re a big fan of extreme sports, then you should talk about it and if the company don’t like it then why would you want to work for them? To be honest, I don’t know many companies who would be really put off by a particular sport on your CV.”

So whether you ski hard, run marathons or spend every spare moment on the golf course, your chosen sport can actively help find the right job for you. But James Callander has the final word. ‘Just be warned that there are no shortcuts: success comes from hard work – both in sports and in business!’

Here are five tips for impressing a potential employer with a sporty CV:

  1. Don’t be tempted to lie. Only include sports on your CV if you actually play them and know what you’re talking about!
  2. Research the company you’re applying to, and tailor your CV accordingly. If, for example, they run golf days or tennis courses, including those on your CV shows you’re a good fit for the organisation.
  3. Don’t just list one-word bullet points of your interests – like ‘golf.’ Always expand where possible.
  4. Think about what your sport demonstrates about you, and use this to illustrate key transferable skills. For example, commitment to running marathons demonstrates that you’re highly self-motivated far more than merely writing ‘highly self-motivated’ on your CV.
  5. Anything competitive looks good and if you have attended big competitions or tournaments do include those on your CV.


Photo credit: Neomaster/Shutterstock

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