As a marketer, I’ve always wanted to stand out from the droves of CVs an employer gets. Eventually I tried out putting cross stitch on there. I never looked back. Since it went on my CV I’ve had 200% more interviews; its come up in every interview, and frankly, I think I owe my job to it.
But why did it work?
In short; I stand out.
As a professional I’ve gone through the employment process from both sides, and I’ve seen hundreds of colleagues go through the same. As I want to be clear here; its always the same.
The CV’s either come flooding in, or they trickle at a rate which makes you want to give up. Regardless of the situation, the need to stand out against the crowd.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, not that many people know what cross stitch is. It sounds simple, but they just don’t know. The likelihood is whoever is reading it will look it up online straight afterwards. And whilst going away from your CV might sound bad; they will now always associate cross stitch with you.
Well done, you stood out from the crowd, your future employer read the whole of your CV instead of skimming it. You just massively increased your chances of getting an interview.
CVs are roughly split into two camps; the visual (normally marketeers) and the written. In both situations you’re likely to have a quick 2 sentence bio at the top. That’s the place to put it.
But you need to make it obvious. As people skim past the page it needs to stand out. Put it on a new line, and make it snappy “My main hobby is cross stitch”. That’s enough. Interest has been peaked.
I’m of the personal believe that cross stitch can show proof of any skill. I’ll go into more detail on how in a moment, but lets first talk about additions to your CV you can make without directly referencing your hobby.
Do you have a website? Etsy? Maybe you write for a blog? Put it on there. Put it under voluntary work (otherwise it looks like you have two jobs at once), and you can push a whole new set skills.
So you got the interview. Well done.
But cross stitch doesn’t stop there. Firstly, if brought up, I can guarantee they will ask what is it. You can find a good description here, but if you don’t take my advice, at least have an answer up your sleeve.
So now you have a choice. And I would personally play this by ear. Do you bring it up, or should they?
Bring It Up
The first choice is you being it up.
They’re likely to ask you to go through your CV. This is opportunity number 1. Mention it towards the end, and, if its part of volunteering in your CV, you can tack it on the end “And I also volunteer blogging for a cross stitch website”. Instant engagement. This is where they’ll ask you what it is.
The second opportunity is the safer bet. Every interview contains competency based questions. I said earlier that cross stitch backs up every skill; well I wasn’t joking. Detail oriented, logical, creative, devoted, understands a small impact can change the end product, the list really goes on. This is where I usually bring it up, you can’t go wrong…
Let Them Bring It Up
So maybe you’re a little unsure about bring it up; that’s OK. They’re also likely to bring it up. Once again, you need to know what to say once they do, but remember; back up your skills with it, you are still in an interview after all.
And that’s it. why I bring up cross stitch. It makes me stand out from the crowd, it increases likelihood of an interview, it increases engagement in the interview…
But there is one last piece of advice I would give you: bring a business card. I can guarantee that at one point in the process, they’ll check your website out.