Having canvassed many employers on the matter, you should think again about this under-used opportunity to sell your case. The comments made by employers advised:
1. Employers want to see the human behind the application
A well written anecdote about your interests is likely to engage an employer and is likely to be discussed in interview, giving you an advantageous opportunity to build rapport discussing a subject close to your heart.
2. Employers want to see enthusiasm for the role/sector where appropriate
If you want to work in a specific industry (e.g. leisure, media or temporary finance jobs) and your interests match, then construct an interesting statement to help convey your enthusiasm. This is especially true if you have no experience or are changing career.
3. Employers are keen to see how you contribute outside of the workplace or academic environment
The interests section gives you the chance to convey you are an organiser, leader, networker,? team player, competitor or whether you have any interests in your part time job.
4. Employers want to ask you about an interest, so long as it catches their attention. They want to learn about you as an individual, to assess your fit for the likely team environment you will need to work in. An emotion-less interview focussed solely on work-talk can make this hard to achieve.
5. Make sure you have substance behind what you say
Stating (e.g.) ‘reading, walking and cinema’ will not add to your case. Provide detail for each and don’t be caught out, ensure you have an interesting conversation behind each point you make.
The resounding feedback from employers is an interest section can’t harm your case, but if utilised to your advantage, can be the additional extra that rightly or wrongly gets you the interview or even the job.
Maximise your chances and put some real thought into how you can use this to your advantage.