Hobbies and Interests to Put on a Resume

A lot of jobseekers disregard the small details, such as hobbies and interests in their resumes. They limit themselves to generic phrases just to fill in space on the CV and they might be passing by a wonderful opportunity where their hobbies might play a huge role. We have created a detailed guide to help you grab the employer’s interest with your activities and how to complete the hobbies and interests section.

Make the best of the hobbies and interests section on resume

Hobbies and interests add an extra touch to any resume and help add personality to your professional skills.  Memorable activities can help your application stand out among the rest and the luckiest candidates might even have an interest in common with the hiring manager. Adding your hobbies to your resume also lets the potential employer see that you are willing to go one step further to let them know more about you, your personality and your social skills. A recent LinkedIn study says that 41% of hiring managers consider the information listed under “Hobbies & Interests” equally as important as the work experience. Make the best of it.

Interests and hobbies say more about you than you might think

Your CV tells your future employer why you are a good match for the job. Some say that including hobbies on the resume is useless. It is true if you decide to include generic hobbies, without tailoring them according to the job description. However, if you phrase and highlight your relevant interests and hobbies correctly, it might be just the way to make your personality shine through your technical skills and career achievements.

For example, if you simply list your daily activities in the hobbies section, it won’t give the employer much information about you. Hobbies and interests such as “reading, traveling and sports” appear on every other resume and don’t reveal anything about your extra skills. We have selected several examples on how to elaborate on a hobby or an interest and give the future employer more details about you. Here are some of our ideas.

‘Reading’ is a very vast and generic topic. Pretty much everybody reads and even those who don’t will never admit it. Simply stating that you enjoy reading on your resume is not enough. However, if you are a member of a local book club, it says that you are a social person who likes to take his interests outside of the comfort of their home. State what genres, authors, and books you prefer and make sure this information is relevant to the job and not too pretentious for it. For instance, you might be a huge fan of the romanticism poetry but if you are applying for a job in the sports industry, it won’t play a big role for you as a candidate. In this case, it is better to save the space for something more relevant.

‘Sports’ is also a very broad topic. If you are an athletic person and your physical activities are a huge part of who you are, don’t hesitate to give more details. Mention the exact sports that you like to do, personal records, runs that you have completed, clubs that you have joined – it can help highlight your skills as a team player, a leader and a goal-getter. Make sure your sports achievements are recent; there is no need to include your high school and college activities unless you are looking for your first job right after college.

Listing ‘volunteering’ among your interests is a wonderful way to show your potential employer that you are a charitable person who cares about certain causes. Include your volunteering activities or organizations that you are part of; it gives away a lot of information about you as a person to your interviewer.

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Don’t hesitate to look up your potential employer on LinkedIn. You never know, you might both share a passion for scuba diving and both have a PADI license, which can give you an extra reason to bond during the interview. Do some research, take a look at the team building exercises the company usually offers – your excellent badminton skills might be just the detail that will make you different from the rest of the candidates.

RIGHT

Mention interests and hobbies relevant to the qualities the company is looking for. Use the right wording and highlight the necessary achievements. Even though « hobbies and interests » is not the most important part of the resume, it is the one that shows who you are as a person.

Examples of good personal interests for a resume

Including hobbies and interests on the resume depends on the hobbies and interests, as well as on the job you are applying for. A right hobby may become a great finishing touch to the interview that will help you leave a pleasant impression. Different companies are looking for different sets of skills – it all depends on the industry and area of work, the size of the company and your future job.

Applying for a job in a start-up

Start-up companies are full of young and ambitious people who are ready to work 24/7 in order to make it. If you are applying for a position in a start-up company, it is best to show how active and persistent you are in achieving your goals. Team-building and social skills are crucial in a start-up environment. In this case, point out your interests in sports, clubs and other activities that will show how your build relationships and achieve goals outside of your work activity.

Start-ups are looking for active players and those who won’t stop in front of any obstacle in order to achieve their goals – and there are a lot of obstacles when you are building a business. Accentuate the long-term goals you have achieved throughout your hobbies and don’t hesitate to mention if you finished the “War and Peace” by Tolstoy in a week.

WRONG

Don’t lie about your hobbies and interests in order to impress your employer. The truth will come out one way or the other and the only thing you’ll do is embarrass yourself. Including hobbies and interests on your resume usually means you absolutely want to be asked about them and you can keep a conversation about them.

Applying for a job in a large company

A lot of big companies often have well-crafted and set guidelines that the employees follow once they become part of the company. If you are applying for a job in a large company that has been on the market for a while, it is best to show your skills as a team player and somebody who quickly adjusts to the outside environment through your hobbies & interests section. Team sports, extra-curricular classes and other group activities will show you as a team player outside of the office too.

Traditional companies might not be very keen on quirky and fun aspects of your personality if they are looking for someone to simply follow the guideline. They can also consider that a very time-consuming hobby may become a distraction from work. However, don’t hide your fun assets if you are applying for a job in a fast-growing and modern environment!

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Always analyze the company’s environment and culture before going further with the hobbies and interests section.

We have also selected several industries popular among job seekers as an example and made a list of hobbies and interests to include and omit on the resume.

Applying for a job in the travel industry

Travel industry is one of the most sought for industries these days and the competition is very strong. However, with the arrival of AirBnb, Booking.com and low-cost airlines, and special software allowing easy browsing and , a lot of people can travel these days. Writing ‘traveling’ on the resume is not enough.

Show what kind of a traveler you are. Have you completed your goal of visiting 50 countries by the time you are 35? Are you into doing long-distance runs in a different city every year? Have you climbed the highest peaks of 10 countries? These are just examples that can show how you can go deeper than simply ‘traveling’ and showing your possible future employer what kind of traveler you are and that traveling for you is not just a way to make a paycheck, it is a way of life.

One more example of showing that tourism is more than just a word for you is to emphasize how you contribute to the tourism in your own city. Are you a 5 star-rated Airbnb host? Do you own a blog on the best recommendations to do in your town? Maybe you have a Flickr account with incredible angles of your city? The employer will be thrilled to know your contribution to the travel industry doesn’t just stop at booking a summer vacation.

Applying for a job in a wellness/ fitness industry

Sports, well-being, and wellness companies are extremely growing in the big cities these days. Amidst the traffic jams, rush hours and liters of coffee, a lot of us are looking for our own “zen” moments in the chaos. There are a lot of opportunities in the wellness and fitness industry and there is a way to show the interviewer how you are different from the others passionate about a healthy lifestyle.

It doesn’t matter if you are applying for a job that requires actual performing or if you are trying to fill in an administrative position. Employers love when their recruits share the company’s lifestyle after the work hours. DIY activities, meditation, yoga, sports and lifestyle blogging will fit perfectly into the hobbies and interests section here. Don’t hesitate to elaborate – maybe you have traveled to a different city in order to meet the Dalai Lama because you are very passionate about his teachings? Perhaps you have been following this company for a while and its activity inspired you to practice transcendental meditation or bring the recycling in your neighborhood to a new level? Do you own a blog where you share the recipes made with the latest finds in a farmers market? Companies, especially in the wellness industry, appreciate employees who are ready to go an extra mile for their passions – it shows that you are willing to go further to share the values of the company.

Applying for a job in the marketing industry

Marketing is a social industry with an endless variety of job possibilities, from design to public relations and further. This is why it is crucial to take into consideration what kind of information your hobbies will tell about you to your employer. If you are aiming for a creative position, include passions such as photography, drawing, painting, pottery, etc. – it will show that you are working on your artistic pursuits all the time.

In marketing, it is also crucial to mention interests and hobbies that disclose your social and communication qualities. Club memberships, fundraisers, social gatherings and various group activities are a huge plus when you are looking for a position in marketing. On the other hand, reading and writing activities, as great as they may be, can make you seem as a solitary person – make sure your interests are playing in your favor!

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Always analyze the job you are applying for. In a high-risk environment, it is ideal to highlight that you are a risk-taker, so don’t hesitate to mention your experience with extreme sports if that is the case.

However, if you are applying for a job that requires focus and money managing, it is better not to pass as an adrenaline junkie – some companies don’t want risk when it comes to their finances.

What if my interests are not interesting enough for my resume

 It might happen that while you have all the requirements for the job in question, what you like to do outside of the office doesn’t exactly fit the job description and is in no way relevant. If you are not willing to let go of this extra opportunity to let the employer notice you, there are some good activities to put on a resume.

If you have just recently started learning a skill or a language, put it on your resume. Be ready to discuss it but don’t worry if you are far from being advanced in the field – the fact that you have picked up a new activity shows the employer that you are open to learning new skills.

Regardless of the position or the industry, volunteering work is most of the time a big plus on a resume. Companies encourage involvement in charity projects and this type of information also reveals some of your personal qualities.

Anything that shows your dedication and persistence is a good activity to put on a resume. If you don’t feel confident enough about listing your hobbies and interests on a resume, skip this section and let your personality and professionalism shine during the interview. It is better not to say anything than to make it look like you were trying to fill in the extra space on your CV.

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Including one unique hobby might be way more interesting than listing several hobbies in a generic way. Do you collect The Little Prince book in all the possible languages? Do you enjoy building dollhouses from matches? Is there an unusual science project you are working on? This type of information will mark the employer’s memory more than reading, photography and jogging.

Tips for listing hobbies and interests on the resume

DO:

  • Research the company and its values before sending in the application.
  • Pay attention to whether the organization is modern or traditional, it makes most of the difference when you try to word your hobbies and interests.
  • Be specific and stay away from generic wording.
  • Make sure you can elaborate on your hobbies and interests during the interview.
  • Add links to your resume that prove you are dedicated to your hobby. For example, if you are keen on photography, a link to an online portfolio is a plus.
  • Analyze your passions before writing them down. What does your hobby say about you as a person and as a professional? Would you be willing to recruit someone with the same interest if you were in the recruiter’s shoes?
  • Look deeper. Even if your hobbies seem entirely uninteresting to you at the first sight, there must be something that will grab the company’s attention.
  • Another tip is to keep it relevant. Coin collecting won’t help you land a job in the fashion industry.

Don't do the following things:

  • Hobbies and interests are like a dessert after a great meal but they are not the meal. Don’t make them the center of your resume.
  • Don’t repeat yourself in the hobbies section. For example, if you are applying for a job in the music industry, the interviewer already assumes that your interest in music goes beyond listening to the “Top 50” in your car. There is no need to list “Music” under “Hobbies and Interests” in this case.
  • Only add your personal blog link if it is something that adds an extra touch to your application. If you blog about your Tinder dates and personal drama, it is better that you future employer doesn’t know that much about you. 
  • Even if your hobby or interest is unique, there are certain boundaries that may apply. For example, it is better not to mention that you are a member of a certain political movement and definitely don’t disclose your political affiliation or opinion on guns.
  • If your hobbies are very extreme and may be frowned upon, for example, hunting, it is better to not mention anything at all.
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Take it one step further if you can. In the case of the music industry, it is a huge plus if you are in a band or if you write your own songs. If you can, show the interviewer some interesting numbers – for example, if you have visited an impressive numbers of gigs and festivals in the last year, let him know that you live and breathe your passion for music.

Where do I include my hobbies and interests on the resume?

Recruiters and companies will read about your hobbies once they have made sure you fill in all the other requirements for the job. As stated before, your extra-curricular activities are a dessert, not the main course. They should come at the end of a resume and they should never take more than several lines. Additionally, it can also depend on the resume template and the layouts you are using. Some formats allow for space for your hobbies in the two-column format. Be mindful about how it looks on your computer.

Your key selling points are your experiences, education and skills. Perfect the hobbies and interests section once you have finished the other parts of your resume. This is your closing statement that can contribute to the whole application but it is not the main one.

Stick to two to three perfectly worded hobbies, don’t include too many. A large hobbies section will make the employer think that you won’t have any time to get any work done with all these activities and that you are having a very hard time focusing on one thing.  

Good and bad examples of hobbies and interests on a resume

We have selected several general examples of the best ways to put your hobbies into your resume. Even though these may vary according to the company, there are some examples that are going to work for most of them. 

WRONG

Hobbies & Interests: Writing, Traveling, Reading

RIGHT

Hobbies & Interests: Creative writing. Member of the Active Travelers Club. Reading on the latest trends in the organic industry.

The first example doesn’t reveal any extra information or interests. Every other resume lacks soul when it comes to the hobbies section. The good example shows more details about the causes the candidate cares for, dedication and specific interests.

WRONG

Hobbies & Interests: Going out, socializing, and discovering new places in town.

RIGHT

Hobbies & Interests: Discovering new fusion restaurants. Member of the local “Running and Socializing” club.

You absolutely have the right to have a life outside of your job but don’t make the interviewer think that you will be counting minutes until the end of the workday in order to hit the happy hour bar with friends. If you would like to show off your social skills, stick to the interests and hobbies that will make your outgoing personality an asset and not a liability to the company.

WRONG

Hobbies & Interests: Volunteering

RIGHT

Hobbies & Interests: Volunteering at a soup kitchen. Organizing monthly cleanups at the local beach.

Just “volunteering” doesn’t say a lot is a word that may only make it seem as if you are showing off and want to look like a charitable person. Someone who really cares for a cause will definitely elaborate on the cause that is close to their heart.

A lot of good and bad examples depend on the industry and the job itself. Solitary activities, such as collecting, might be an advantage to your application for jobs that require focus, concentration and working alone. However, for jobs that require social skills, you might seem as a loner. Again, analyze, tailor and make your hobby translate into skills.

What role do the interests and activities play among other information?

Most recruiters generally care whether you can complete the job assigned to you. If you don’t have the necessary skills, experience and education, the chance that your experience in extreme sports or DIY projects will make a difference to the employer is very small. However, the job market is incredibly competitive today. Employers are looking not only for someone with excellent education and career achievements but also someone whose personality will bring something extra to the company.

If you are applying for a job and you fit in with the description, your hobbies and interests can show your creative, sporty and adventurous side. Another good idea is to tailor this section to your resume and with the right approach, your hobby might be just the deciding detail in your job application, together with a thank-you note and professional qualifications.

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