Hobbies can have a big impact on your career. A 2014 study showed that people who explore a creative outlet outside of work often do better at their jobs. Creative activity generates fresh energy that feeds back into your work, and some activities can even help you secure your dream job. Here’s how hobbies can enhance your career.
1. They Help You Discover Your Passion
Figuring out which activities motivate you can help you find your direction at work. This knowledge can motivate you to take on new projects or seek out a promotion that puts you closer to the type of work you find exciting. Passion projects, like volunteering at an animal shelter or organizing a charity fundraiser, can also provide networking opportunities. Pick an issue you care about and get involved in a way that works for you.
2. They Foster Professional Relationships
Having shared interests is a great way to make connections with people. Whether you play a round of golf or take a class, you’ll network in more natural and relaxed settings than industry meetings. Shared hobbies may also help you connect with potential employers during job interviews. Maybe join a community garden or a recreational sports league.
3. They Promote Personal Growth
The skills required for success in your career – resourcefulness, commitment and dedication – can also be honed through a side hobby. Hiring managers might be impressed by a well-rounded candidate who, for example, participates in novel-writing competitions or builds homes for needy families.
4. They Ignite a Creative Spark
Using your imagination beyond the 9-to-5 day makes it easier to incorporate creative thinking at work. Colleagues and supervisors appreciate innovative problem solvers, and interests that help develop artistic skills can foster creativity. An activity like improv comedy encourages you to think on your feet and play off your collaborators, which can improve your teamwork and presentation skills.
5. They Promote Critical Thinking
Taking up a new hobby can change the way you think. Learning new activities – especially ones where your brain needs to work out a solution – broadens your mind and forces you to focus. Joining a chess league or engaging in strategic board games can sharpen your mind and increase your social connections.
6. They Teach Leadership Skills
From leading a dance team to managing a social advocacy project, hobbies can give you the opportunity to practice leadership and decision-making. If you want to prove that you can be a leader at work, start by being a leader elsewhere. According to Fast Company, 80 percent of employers think that volunteering is an effective way to increase your leadership skills.
7. They Boost Your Confidence
Confidence is a must-have if you want to advance your career. When you finish a difficult hobby project, like completing an elaborate woodworking piece, the boost you get from that achievement follows you to the workplace and can improve how you present yourself.
There are so many reasons to have fun and learn new skills through hobbies. Choosing to spend your time outside of work exploring your interests shows initiative, determination and positivity – qualities that appeal to hiring managers and supervisors everywhere. Enliven your life and your career by committing to a hobby today!