Hobbies to Jobs: Spend Your Free Time Enhancing Your Career Skills

Published on June 5, 2017 by arothstein

Fishing.  Dancing.  Reading.  Sewing.  Ask anyone to name their favorite hobby, and they’ll gladly describe it.  Most college students treat hobbies as distractions to procrastinate that looming assignment, but the clever ones quickly learn that their hobby can actually enhance their career skills and maximize their employability.

To determine whether you have marketable hobbies, you’ll first need to assess your hobby’s compatibility with your academic and career goals.  

Start by Listing Your Career Skills

For instance, if you’re enrolled in Broadview University’s business program, you likely complete many school projects by processing complex information and applying it toward desired outcomes.  Later, as a business professional, you’ll be valued by your ability to communicate, negotiate, and strategize effectively.  With that in mind, consider which of your current hobbies best complement the skills you are seeking to develop.

Sometimes, those connections are readily apparent.  If your hobby is public speaking, and you participate in Toastmasters, you’re already leveling up those career-relevant skills during your free time.  The link between other hobbies — let’s say, knitting — and a future career might not be so obvious, though.  They likely still exist; it simply requires a closer look.  In knitting, for example, you:

Consult the Experts

Most pastimes are each associated with a set of well-known experts.  Reach out if they’re accessible.  Ask what they wish they would’ve known from the outset.  If you’re considering painting, take a class or ask an especially artistically-inclined individual for a few pointers.  Always wanted to explore fishing?  Charter a boat and (figuratively) learn the ropes.  The expansion of online videos and apps also offers an almost limitless array of tutorials that provide a taste of whatever pastime you’re considering.

Ask your Friends

Almost everyone has a hobby or collection, perhaps something that you haven’t yet considered that may pique your interest.  Send out an all-call that you’re looking for a new pastime.  You may be pleasantly surprised by all the available options, not to mention the willingness of your friends to spend time acquainting you with the basics.

Consider More Practical Factors

After all, kayaking might not be your best option if you live two hours away from the nearest body of water.  Think about your budget and compare it against the potential costs of a hobby.  You wouldn’t want to select an expensive one when you know financial constraints may limit your ability to devote yourself to it for the next few years.  You don’t necessarily have to select an inexpensive one either; simply recognize the financial and time factors associated with the hobby of your choice.  If your funds are limited, for instance, you’ll need to weigh whether to wait and save for high quality tools or simply grab the first inexpensive set and dive right in.

Employers seek well-rounded individuals.  By highlighting a hobby about which you are passionate, you send a powerful signal to them that you’re open to new experiences that demonstrate the consummate work / life balance.

For more information on how Broadview can help you plan out your career:

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