Incorporating Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume
Some experts advise against putting hobbies and interests on resumes, but is that a hard and fast rule? Adding resume hobbies can add a lot to your application and make you stand out from the crowd. Interests help showcase your personality and can help you display role-relevant soft and hard skills. So when should you list resume hobbies and interests? And which ones are the best to show off? Let’s talk about it.
What are Hobbies and Interests?
Hobbies and interests aren’t the same thing and they both bring something different to your resume.
Hobbies are activities you do for leisure, self-improvement, or charitable causes. Interests, on the other hand, are more conceptual and usually involve subjects that attract and intrigue you.
This means that skydiving is a hobby because it’s an action, but an interest in extreme sports may simply involve watching TV shows about skydiving.
Interests aren’t as involved as hobbies, but they still help position you as a good candidate in many circumstances as they show you have a passion for a certain subject.
Why Include Hobbies and Interests on a Resume
The primary reason to include hobbies and interests on resumes is to show you have knowledge of a subject that you lack certification or experience in.
For example, you might write as a hobby or have an interest in Spanish culture, even though you don’t speak the language or live there.
Resume hobbies are great ways to show you have skills in a field or industry unrelated to your current career path, which makes them helpful for making a career switch.
Hobbies and interests also showcase soft skills, like communication, along with personality and culture fit.
Traditionally, hobbies have a large impact on an employer knowing whether or not you fit the company culture. For example, some companies would be thrilled to find another music enthusiast because most of the workers play instruments.
"The primary reason to include hobbies and interests on resumes is to show you have knowledge of a subject that you lack certification or experience in."
Different Categories of Hobbies and Interests
Let’s be frank – there are countless personal interests in the world. But there are only so many that are appropriate and helpful for putting on a resume.
Here are a few categories of hobbies and interests and some examples for each one:
- Creative: These topics include things like art, dancing, writing, and design.
- Technical: Technical interests include coding, programming, and mechanical work.
- Scientific: A broad category that can include interests from chemistry to gardening to cooking.
- Cultural: This covers a passion for culture and language, whether it’s domestic or foreign.
- Physical: This category covers physical interests, like sports, yoga, and weight lifting.
- Philanthropic: This encompasses charitable interests like being a part of community events and volunteer work
Strategic Inclusion of Hobbies and Interests
We believe resume hobbies and interests are a valuable addition to your job application, but that doesn’t mean we think that salespeople should talk on and on about their stamp collection.
Your hobbies and interests need to be relevant and say something meaningful about you.
This means you need to be strategic when building your hobbies section. Consider the soft skills needed for the role you’re applying for. Sales professionals need communication and negotiation skills, so it would be a great idea to include your interests in speaking and debate.
It’s also smart to include interests that are relevant to research-heavy roles. For example, a writer applying for a medical writing role should list their interest in medicine and health.
Listing Hobbies and Interests on a Resume
Now we’re going to discuss the essential information to list for each hobby or interest.
First, highlight what you love about your hobbies and interests and avoid being generic. This shows you really are passionate and you aren’t just tacking something on.
This might even tie into our next tip: add relevant details that help you connect to the employer.
You might have seen on the company’s “About Us” page that they love Indian takeout, so go that extra mile and don’t just list “Cooking.” Try adding “Cooking and eating Indian cuisine, specifically chicken biryani and naan.”
We encourage you to add unique aspects, but don’t feel pressured to be too creative. If you don’t have too much to say, it might end up sounding forced.
Another great tip is to add how long it’s been an interest or hobby of yours. If this is a longstanding passion of yours, add it in!
For example, “I’ve been reading classical literature since I was fifteen.”
Formatting strategies for a polished appearance
When listing hobbies for resumes, it’s crucial to follow correct formatting to ensure your application looks professional.
Here are our top tips:
- List them at the bottom of your resume: Hobbies and interests on resumes are valuable, but they still aren’t more important than skills and experience.
- Keep it short: Make sure each hobby or interest is only one sentence long.
- Don’t let it extend your resume: If the addition of hobbies pushes your resume onto a new page, they aren’t worth including
Let’s expand on that last point. Resumes should ideally be one page, or two if you have a lot of experience and education to list.
To see a collection of excellent one-page resumes, check out our resume templates.
How to decide on the number of hobbies and interests to include
We understand – people don’t simply have a handful of hobbies and interests. But restrain yourself from adding too many.
A resume should first and foremost be a document detailing your work history, education, and skills, so don’t distract the hiring manager by adding too many interests.
A good rule of thumb is to not add more than five hobbies and interests, and keep them relevant to the exact job you’re applying for.
This means you should consider which hobbies display relevant soft skills and culture fit qualities, and choose a couple for each category.
Here’s an example:
Rebecca is applying for a job at an energetic tech company as a marketing manager. She decides to list her hobby as a marathon runner to display her drive and discipline but also adds her interest in anime because of the company’s openly quirky culture.
Hobbies and interests on resumes are helpful, but if you have extensive experience and education in your professional history, don’t bother. Your work history, skills, and education are more important and if you have a lot of valuable information to list, focus on those first. If you have room at the end, list a few – but if you don’t, then leave them off.
Practical Examples of Hobbies and Interests
Need a few examples? Let’s go over a few great hobbies for resumes and how they align with specific career fields.
|Hobby or interest
|Professional skill it aligns with
|Careers it aligns with
|Persuasion and charisma
|Sales representative, leadership
|Social media and blogging
|Managing an audience and understanding engagement
|Marketing, content production
|Dedication and curiosity
|Jobs with any multinational company
|Attention to detail
|Innovation and creativity
|Creative industries, jobs with startups that thrive on innovation
|Teamwork and leadership
|Team management, coaching, HR roles
|Strategic thinking and problem-solving
|Analyst, strategic planner, management consultant
|Empathy and community engagement
|Non-profit sector, community outreach, social work
|Discipline and creativity
|Music industry, sound engineering, event planning
Every hobby has at least one base skill that contributes to its success. We recommend you give it some thought and see if any of your hobbies provide you with relevant capabilities or competencies.
Dos and Don'ts of Listing Hobbies and Interests
Let’s take a look at a few great strategies for adding resume hobbies, as well as some common pitfalls.
First, here are our recommended tips:
- Research your target company to find common ground and try to list hobbies and interests you share.
- Add just enough information to get the hiring manager interested – it’s a great conversation starter.
- If your hobby has resulted in large personal achievements, list it in your “Achievements” section instead. For example, yoga is a hobby, but being a certified yoga instructor is an achievement.
- Do some research or ask a friend for advice on which skills align with your hobbies
Now, let’s take a look at the “don’ts” of listing resume hobbies and interests:
- If your hobbies aren’t relevant to your career path, don’t list them unless you’re trying to switch careers.
- Keep each hobby and interest to a single sentence, but keep it interesting and informative.
- Ensure you don’t frame your hobbies as an “all-consuming” distraction. After all, companies want you to focus on your work.
Final Take: Balancing Hobbies and Professionalism on Your Resume
Putting hobbies and interests on resumes is a great tactic to show employers your soft skills, personality, and cultural fit. They help display skills you don’t have certification for and give you common ground with your future colleagues.
Just remember to keep each hobby relevant to the job you’re applying for and follow our tips on proper placement and formatting.
If you need any help with formatting, try CVWizard’s Resume Generator to make a clean, professional resume.