Tag Archives: Football

Strangling Animals? Golf? What your hobbies say about you…

Paul Simon began “have a good time” with “yesterday it was my birthday…”. Well that was in the 1970s and you couldn’t get your LED watches to work properly, the batteries kept running out.

So we can forgive Mr Simon for being a day late with his birthday…probably waiting for Arty’s card to arrive. Anywhere where was I, yes, well, um, today it is my birthday, and I am still far younger than I look. I thought my age would one day catch up with my looks, but I have to take my hat off to my looks, they are doing a creditable impression of a 1970s kenyan long distance olympic runner – miles ahead of the pack before collapsing in an undignified heap shortly before being passed by the whole field – story of my life… How where was I? Yes,…well… everyone needs a hobby don’t they? They say that idle hands end up in front of the magistrate, or at least that was what my probation officer said, or was it my psychiatrist, I can’t remember… I am getting old you see. Anyway enough of channelling Frankie Howerd and on with the piece for today…no don’t, I thought of it too!! It’s on hobbies…enjoy. I will be in Melbourne when this gets published, I wonder if Jimmy Watson’s wine bar is open tonight…

If you want to get shortlisted for your next job, can I suggest that you take up Touch Football? However if you like camping or waterskiing, do not bother applying. These odd sounding recommendations come from some work that myself and a colleague in the recruitment industry, Kate Day undertook looking at the different hobbies that candidates had listed on their resumes and whether or not they were subsequently shortlisted for the job. We looked at a total of 999 candidate resumes that were submitted to a recruitment company for a variety of different jobs. Around 50% of the resumes listed hobbies, but it appears that there are differences across industry sectors in the tendency to include hobby information. For instance, Sales people obviously love their hobbies with 57% listing them on their resumes. In contrast only 32% of the Human Resource people those listed hobbies. Maybe the sales types have more spare time, or perhaps the Human resource people follow their own guidelines and stick only to the job relevant information.

A total of 159 different hobbies were listed across the resumes. The top ten most frequently listed were: 1st reading, 2nd travelling, 3rd Golf, 4th Tennis, 5th Swimming, 6th listening to, music,7th family ,8th rugby, 9th snowsking, = 10th fishing and going to the gym. Some of the least frequent included collecting cigarette cards, washing the car, tap dancing and keeping reptiles.

When it comes to getting shortlisted not all hobbies are equal. The ten best hobbies that were associated with resumes that got shortlisted were: Touch football, Squash, Cricket, Cooking, Wine, Rugby, Motor racing, Tennis, Socialising and Biking. When these hobbies were included, the chances of being shortlisted was increased by between 24% and 147%.

The worst ten hobbies to include turned out to be (from least worst to worst): Golf, Walking, listening to music, theatre, movies, art/craft, bushwalking, entertaining, camping and water skiing. Including those suckers on your resume was associated with a reduced chance of being shortlisted by between 28% and 73%.

So perhaps Monty Python were right and golf (along with strangling animals) is not that popular around here. Before the Camping Water Skiers Association of Australia confront me with a tent pole or “goofy feet”, I should point out that the survey although reasonably big may not be totally representative.

Interestingly, the desirable hobbies were on average slightly more likely to be included on resumes generally (average ranking 21) compared to the undesirable hobbies (average ranking 28). However, the most commonly listed hobbies such as reading and travelling were associated with only negligible impacts on shortlisting (+1% and -3% respectively). In other words, you are probably wasting your time listing these hobbies.

What are hobbies for? Are they an escape from the stresses of our day jobs, a coping mechanism to provide the rewards that our work cannot give us? Alternatively are they a dry run for a future radical career change, a try before you buy, or are they a means to an end? The answer is probably all of the above, and there is no straight answer to whether you should turn your hobby into work. For some it is likely to be a dream come true, and for others, it is a sure fire recipe to turn your escape into drudgery. As for whether you should include them on the resume or not, we found that overall including hobbies made no difference to your chances of getting shortlisted, but if you do include hobbies, some seem to be more popular for whatever reason than others.

A recruiter once told me, you should do a lot with your life to ensure that you have something to put on your resume. Maybe we should just aim to do a lot with our lives and not worry about putting it on the resume!

World cup careers, fine lines, hands of God and all that chaos

Sometimes a career can be blighted if you get in arms way.  So Harry Kewell, a footballist who plays for Australia is dismissed from a South African field for a handball offence in the World Cup. Temporarily then, poor Harry whose hand and arm were in the wrong place at the wrong time had his career aspirations thwarted. Indeed at the time of writing this, it may be the moment a nation’s world cup dreams are thwarted. Who knows, for these moments never reveal their real meaning at the time.

Generally speaking in the game of Association Football, hands are only used to thump other players, grab large amounts of cash for endorsements, and to hold the manicured hands of teamate’s wives and girlfriends, or should that read “hands of teamates, wives and girlfriends”. An apostrophe and a comma radically alter the meaning. Two of the tiniest grammatical devices can make all the difference between a team player and a player of the field. Small things matter.

When it comes to hands and football, big things matter too. Like God and his hands. Those who hold long grudges will recall that long before Argentinian hoofer Maradona allegedly got more interested in bottoms link , he had the hand of God, at least he claimed it was the hand of God that saw him punching the ball into the net to score a goal in a previous World Cup.  Now aside from the interesting theological point about whether God knows the rules of football, whether God cheats, or whether the referee who awarded the goal possessed the eyes of the Devil, we witness a small difference between a head and hand held close to the head changing the course of a World Cup.  Maradona’s teammates subsequently had very different experiences in their career compared to the hapless English players by winning the World Cup.  Something those English players never experienced.

Decisions made rightly or wrongly in the flash of a second can and do alter lives and therefore careers and sometimes profoundly so.  One of the joys of sport is that these life-defining moments are played out in real-time for us.  Fortunes are made and lost by line-ball decisions, “brain snaps”, and being in the wrong place or right place at the wrong or right time. The plans for the game go out of the window in the face of the unexpected.

Perhaps the reason sport can be so engaging, compelling, worth arguing over, worth recalling is that despite all attempts to capture the play within the strict perimeters of the lines and the strict parameters of the rules, the players and officials being human cannot always restrict themselves to such idealised closed systems.  They do go outside the lines and sometimes rules – sometimes deliberately and sometimes unintentionally.  I am sure that the tension between the ideal sporting performance and the more messy reality that most sport entails is why it can be such compelling drama. Sport like careers is chaotic, open, non-linear and inherently unpredictable.

So we can deconstruct Harry endlessly henceforth, and maybe Harry himself would give his right arm to have that moment over again. If he had self-deconstructed his right arm, the ball would have missed him, and the result would have been a goal. Instead the ball hit his arm, and the result was a goal from a penalty.   In Virgil’s Aeneid he wrote  “Arma virumque cano” (Of arms and the man I sing), Harry’s unplanned event makes sport more chaotic, interesting and relevant. Relevant to the reality of our careers as lived and not as planned. So this blog is my song of arms and the man.