Five ways chess can boost your CV

Posted by Roline Pretorius on

Chess is a great hobby. But did you know it can help you outshine other candidates in the job hunting space? Chess might just be the factor that sets you apart.

Here's are five skills you've gained from chess to showcase on your CV.


1. Critical thinking
Employers value employees who know how to think critically because these employees bring creative solutions to the table and help businesses to innovate and remain competitive.

Most people naturally think “uncritically,” making decisions based on personal biases, self-interest or irrational emotions. As a chess player, you have an edge. Chess reinforces critical thinking and requires calculating tactics, evaluating variations and coping with a new situation when your opponent plays a novelty.

2. Problem-solving
Managers don’t like employees who will come running every time they’re out of their depth. If you can step up with a solution, you stand a better chance of getting and staying hired. 

Your chess playing experience has given you extensive experience in problem-solving. This includes everything from figuring out piece placement, exploiting weaknesses and creating advantages.

3. Decision-making
The ability to making and sticking to a decision is the cornerstone of good leadership skills. So, if you're keen to move up the ranks, you'll need to show that you have solid decision-making skills.

Chess players use a combination of pattern-recognition techniques and understanding to decide on the best course of play. Sometimes there isn’t enough information to make an informed decision, requiring you to lean on your principles and process to guide your decision-making. The idea is that you quickly make a decision to improve your position.

When you're faced with a problem at work, you gather information and define the problem - much like establishing a position on the board. You improve that position by developing a concept, adding constraints and working toward unified goals.

4. Time management
Time management affects your performance and productivity in the workplace, and if you want to get yourself noticed or take the next step in your career, it's an important skill to demonstrate.

In chess, proper time management is an essential skill for every chess player. To successfully manage time, a player must identify which moments require less thinking, like an opening line, to preserve time for the critical moments.

Additionally, the evaluation of the position in a game is based not only on the placement of pieces and personalities - but also on time. By looking at the clock, it might show whose chances are higher.

5. Cross-culture competency
Experiencing various cultures is an asset to the increasingly global marketplace - not to mention the diverse South African labour force. 

If you’ve participated in tournaments, you’ve most likely travelled and met players from various cultures. Use the fact that tournaments take place in little-known cities to your advantage; you weren’t merely a tourist in Istanbul or Athens, but a witness to the true culture of the country. And, if you also speak a foreign language, then you can use this to market yourself as a qualified candidate to global companies.

Interviewers are tired of discussing the usual bland issues with candidates. The goal is to let chess to become a talking point in your interview. Once you have the chance to raise chess, make sure to present it the right way.


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