I am currently seeking new opportunities in the finance sector. The field I work in is male dominated, competitive and aggressive. Not saying this as a criticism, just stating facts!

I know a lot of my colleagues play sports and put that on their CV which is something employers love. It gives them something to bond over, and also shows that they are competitive and have the 'sportsman' mentality.

I don't play sports and never have. I am trying to make my achievement section match that of the other applicants in terms of skill sets.

I went to dance school for 5 years, and undertook rigorous ballet classes. Can I put that on my cv or is it inappropriate? I can tell you ballet classes are as strenuous as any sport and require the same level of discipline, but am weary of any connotations from female dancer on CV!

If not, are there any other suitable skills you could suggest?

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    The difference between dancing and the "sports" might not be how rigorous training is, but sports on the CV I would mostly understand if they are team sports thus showing off your ability to be (literally) a team player. – skymningen Apr 17 '18 at 12:12
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    Generally speaking, unless it is common in your country to put unrelated things on your resume you should leave it off. – NotMe Apr 17 '18 at 23:57

There are two things you need to consider:

  1. Whether it's normal in your country to put hobbies in your CV at all. There are countries in which companies expect that but also countries in which this would be treated as super strange
  2. What message you want to convey with your CV. Ballet is not "inappropriate" of course, there's nothing inappropriate about it. However, the first thing people imagine when reading "ballet" is probably a girly, soft, lovely woman. That's why if you apply for a job where you need to be hard and decisive putting "ballet" as your hobby is probably suboptimal*. Whether ballet is really like that or is in fact a hard sport that requires a lot of stamina doesn't play any role. It's only about associations.

*Mind you: Of course I'm talking about the most probable scenario here. It can always happen that the recruiter loves ballet and you would score +100 points by adding that.

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    Just to add, that you might go for just dancing. It really does not matter whatever it was street dancing or ballet. The skills important in a work field (good coordination, teamwork, etc) are in my opinion already being "displayed" when you mention you went to dance school. People might still have ideas and stereotypes when you talk about dance school, but I think these will be less strong/defined. – Jeroen Apr 17 '18 at 9:31
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    The first thing I picture when thinking of ballet is a hard, cruel world where none of the weaker performers survive. And that's just the view pop culture has imprinted on me. – DonFusili Apr 17 '18 at 9:53
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    @DonFusili, interesting, are you a fan of "Black Swan" by any chance? – BigMadAndy Apr 17 '18 at 10:01
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    "It can always happen that the recruiter loves ballet and you would score +100 points by adding that"... Suits S02E06 anyone? ;) – Robert Kopeć Apr 27 '18 at 19:50

This is a pretty subjective kind of question.

Certainly there are some people (including myself) who like to see a bit of personality in CV - you want to know that you're going to work with someone you can get along with. I've included a photography side project on my CV, that the manager in the final interview mentioned was something he liked about the CV.

On the otherhand - some people are a stick in the mud and aren't going to like to see that kind of thing.

It's really up to you to make that determination about how effective it is.

If you are going to include that detail, put it in a small section of the CV where it doesn't draw a lot of attention.

What you could consider is A-B testing your CV - send some out with those details included, and some without - see how they fare.

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