How to invest in yourself with your hobbies
When I tell people about my story of how I wanted to be a writer until I was 15-16, they are not too surprised to learn that I still, in fact, love to write. (Well, Hello there, blog readers!)
Still, people are quite surprised to learn that I do, in actuality, have a lot of other hobbies too. From cooking, baking, writing, laser cutting to even painting and working out. I quite like to keep myself busy. However, what they often don't realize is that by having so many hobbies, I am investing in myself. Not only mentally but also in my skills. Thereby making me a better aspiring engineer, researcher, and employee too. It's something I have learned over the years, and now you can, from this post!
You are not a paper cutout
The number one lesson to realize is here, is that you are a human being. Unlike that creepy paper cutout you saw in the store when you were 10, you are multidimensional. Not solely in the sense that you are existing as a multidimensional being but also because you have a brain that produces a personality for you. One that is much more than just a black & white drawing on a sheet of paper.
You have a variety of colors and dimensions to who you are and can be. Embrace this & use it! Cooking may sound widely unrelated to research, but it isn't. Cooking teaches patience and a focus on detail. Research is all about learning, staying patient, and making sure you can understand and analyze the details! Highlight this in interviews, and learn to reflect on your seemingly unrelated skills!
Mirror, mirror, on the wall...
Remember who you are through this process. Don't pick up these hobbies because you want to add something to your resume. Think of it as something that is for no one but you. Never let your personality equal your work. The point of learning how to reflect on your hobbies as skills are to ensure you keep doing them because you love them!
Don't do them because you are outstanding out them, but because you enjoy them. And don't make goals with them that are about being good compared to others. I don't game to be the best at it. I do it because I truly enjoy it. It is an activity for me and only for me. Try everything you might enjoy, and take shots at finding things that make you happy. Let it be candle making, meme drawing, or anything!
Notes on my hobbies
As I mentioned previously, the main goal is to learn ways in which you can reflect on your hobbies, on the level of skills. There is quite an easy way to do this. After finding the things you enjoy and have done them for a while. Open your phone, and start a little list of the things you are doing, and reflect with a lense of skills.
Measuring precisely: Attention to detail
Working out consistently: Persistence
And so on!
I speak the language you want to hear!
Lastly, the most important step is learning how to now phrase these skills, in a way that will sound great in an interview. Quite clearly saying: I love to cook some burgers, won't make it sound like you are a wonderful expert in engineering.
However, saying: My hobby of cooking has provided me with an attention to detail, that allows me to complete tasks that need a high level of precision, making me a perfect candidate for doing the X task you listed for this position. Will receive the nods and wows you are looking for! Of course, this is not to say that you should build your entire skillset on hobbies outside of your field. However, taking time to find hobbies that make you happy, and adding them as a bonus to your professional skills can be quite nice!