WORKSHOP: PERSONAL TRAINER - I am told I need "hinterland" on my CV. What's that all about and why?

STEPHEN BUBB, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo)

"Hinterland

is jargon for those areas of personal and professional interest outside of your main job.

Denis Healey famously used the expression in his autobiography to argue all politicians need hinterland to stay in touch with the realities of life for people. He had his photography, which he took very seriously and believed helped him stay connected.

Personally, I always look for hinterland when I review someone's CV.

I get irritated when I see job application forms that have a tiny paragraph for hobbies or interests as though these are not important. I want to see three-dimensional people who are not so tied up in their job as to make them unreal. For example, school governors or trustees, volunteers, non-executive directors, magistrates, or people involved in a political party.

Some people believe that all of your time should be devoted to your job.

They are wrong. My experience is that people gain knowledge, contacts and ideas from outside activities. Such activities are a sign of a broad and cultivated mind. They show abilities that may not be apparent from a list of jobs. As a sector we are keen to encourage volunteering, so we should ensure that our staff are broadening their own horizons too.

Hobbies and interests are also important. And by this I don't just mean gardening and reading. An interest in the arts, Aikido, collecting Ming Dynasty porcelain or early reggae records, for example, demonstrate a more rounded personality. This might be particularly important when looking at a CV from someone with a seemingly humdrum job.

It is important that people at work have a healthy regard for a right balance between work and life. In Japan, Samurai warriors were instructed to develop an interest and involvement in the arts, in addition to their combat training, so as to create harmony between their Ki (the spirit) and Ai (their body) that let them perform at their peak.

And to end with some literary advice, let me quote George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman: "This is the true joy of life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live."

- Send your questions to: stephen.bubb@haynet.com.

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