Should you include hobbies in your resume?
Many people are firmly against that, claiming that your job resume and hobbies are two separate things, never to be mentioned in the same breath. After all, one is for job hunting, and the other - to unwind.
But that’s not always the case.
Why would the HR manager care about your love for 18th-century Russian literature, you might ask.
Well, your resume hobbies and interests section can really set you apart from a sea of job seekers and shine some personality onto your resume.
Though, only if it’s done right.
Traveling and watching Netflix?
Everyone likes that, sure, but it doesn’t really set you apart from others, does it?
The key is to include attractive hobbies that are valuable to the company. Something that demonstrates clear qualities about your personality, and ideally, is relevant to the job as well.
Because, no matter what your list of interests looks like, you’re still saying something specific to the hiring manager with them.
You coach the local high school basketball team? Then you might excel at teamwork and leadership.
You’re into technology and computing? You might make a great coder, but might not necessarily excel at a social job.
Of course, this is a brief generalization.
But if the company you’re applying to has some form of a work-life culture, chances are, they will be interested to see if you’d be the right fit with their team.
And how will they check this?
That’s right! The hobbies and interests section of your resume.
So, should you include hobbies and interests on your resume?
Do they reflect your personality, work-ethic, and self-discipline?
In that case, you might want to.
So, read on to find out:
- Should You Mention Hobbies & Interests on Your Resume?
- How to List Hobbies & Interest on Your Resume
- 40+ Best Hobbies and Interests to Put on Your Resume [Complete List]
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Should You Mention Hobbies & Interests on Your Resume?
You already have limited space on your resume as is.
So, as a general thing, you should ONLY mention your hobbies and interests on a resume if you have the space for it.
And if you are going to mention them, you should also know that certain hobbies say specific things about you.
As a rule of thumb, your hobbies and interests should show your good side and how you’d make the perfect fit for the job you’re applying to.
For example, if you like to speak at local conventions, chances are, you might be an extrovert and good at public speaking - which might come in handy at a sales role.
Applying for a gaming company? Makes sense for your interests to be related to tech.
But what if you’re applying for a job where your hobby isn’t as directly related?
In that case, you might want to think about how your hobby is perceived and what kind of association the HR manager might get from it.
Consider if the job you’re applying to requires a lot of teamwork and thinking on your feet.
How will your interests come in handy here?
- Do you coach the local basketball team in your spare time? That just might transfer to your new job.
- Watching a sport from afar? Not as much.
If your hobbies are not relevant to the job, and don’t have a lot of transferable value - don’t bother with taking up valuable space on your resume.
Though situational, your interests can be what might end up getting you the job.
How Your Interests Can Save Your Resume
Consider the following scenario:
The HR manager has discarded all but 2 resumes. They’re near identical, except for one thing - one of the resumes has a detailed “interests” section.
Now, when the hiring manager is faced with selecting from 2 equally qualified candidates, the deciding factor tends to come down to them being a right fit culture-wise.
If one of them volunteers at the local soup kitchen, while the other resume appears to be devoid of personality, the one with the list of hobbies and interests is most likely always going to come out on top.
If done right, your hobbies could be the icing on the cake for the rest of your resume.
The section likely won’t make or break your resume, but it can make a difference during the interview.
You might be qualified, but are you the right fit personality-wise?
If done right, your interest section could improve your job attractiveness as a potential candidate to the HR manager. They might remember the person who does archery in their free time, compared to the other lifeless resumes, and even bring it up during the interview.
If that happens - that’s your time to shine and dazzle them with your unique hobby and intriguing personality.
Ready to start listing your hobbies and interests on your resume?
Here’s what you need to know:
How to List Hobbies & Interest on Your Resume
As mentioned above, your hobbies and interests belong at the end of your resume.
But how exactly do you list them? And more importantly, how do you know which interests are relevant to that one specific company?
For the actual section, you can go with “Interests” (safe choice), or “Personal activities”.
“Hobbies” imply a personal interest and that there is no real relevance to the career position, which shouldn’t be the case.
Now, what interests do you actually list in your resume?
To figure that out, start by researching the company. See if they have any specific work culture, work retreats, and what qualities would complement your job role.
You can then tailor your resume interest examples accordingly.
Start with the job ad. Most job offers already list some qualities and skills they’re looking for in candidates.
Now, think about how those soft skills might transfer to a specific hobby or interest.
For example, if they’re looking for someone with good verbal communication skills and someone quick on their feet - it might be a good idea to include a sport-related hobby that includes those specific qualities.
When mentioning hobbies or interests, you might also want to flesh them out a bit.
After all, some hobbies require a bit of explaining.
You can, in one sentence, explain why that hobby is relevant, or what it involved. For example “Basketball - created a local team and played in creational league for 5 years.”
- If they’re looking for a team player in a communication-valued job role - founded local basketball team, which I’m playing and coaching to this day.
Employers are typically looking for healthy, well-rounded individuals that offer diversity and well, being a unique member of the team.
So, you shouldn’t list your hobbies just for the sake of standing out. You need to recognize the power hobbies can have on your personal development, as well as on your career.
- If they’re looking for a developer who can think ahead and quickly adapt to a new environment - joined the underwater basket-weaving class in college in which I created the most baskets in record time.
Taking time away from work to focus on your personal interests can lead to personal growth. You’re building your creativity, and developing a new skill set all on your own.
If you’re passionate about traveling and exploring new cultures, for example, this can contribute to building your creativity and help you see things in a different light.
Employers value this. And it also contributes to the team morale and the overall work culture.
Finally, when listing your interests, make sure they’re short (1 sentence per hobby), and the list doesn’t exceed 3-4 relevant hobbies.
Your complete resume shouldn’t exceed 1 page, so, if you’re running out of space, know that it’s the first place you might want to take out.
By now, you should have a general idea of what kind of hobbies you should include and when.
Take the time to find what you actually enjoy and can talk about during the interview, if needed.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t make up an elaborate hobby just so you seem interesting and self-driven.
Instead, here’s a list of some good and bad interests you can list at the end of your resume if you’re looking for some inspiration.
40 Best Hobbies and Interests to Put on Your Resume [Complete List]
Adding your hobbies and interests at the end is a great way to end up your resume on a high note and help form a lasting impression.
Regardless of the hobby you’re listing, first, make sure it’s an honest representation of you.
Don’t over exaggerate something that can come back and bite you later on during the interview.
Just because you like to go on walks sometimes, doesn’t mean you’re “passionate about hiking”.
It won’t be as fun if the interviewer starts asking you questions about it later on.
On that note, if there’s anything that might be considered “weird” or controversial that you do - you might want to list that off your resume as well, just to be safe.
Anything that has to do with politics, or your love of collecting old baseball cards might help you stand out - but not in the good way.
Remember, you want to be relatable and likable.
Looking for inspiration?
Here’s a number of hobbies you can include, by category, based on your personality type.
Sports Interest and Hobby Examples
Generally speaking, there are two types of sports you can include on your resume - individual and team-oriented.
Depending on the sport, they either show you work well with others, or that you have the self-discipline and perseverance to work alone (or both!)
Endurance sports (like jogging) show your drive and discipline.
Team sports (like football, basketball, etc.) show that you’re comfortable working with others.
Which one you might want to include depends on you and the job. Here are some sports hobbies you could list that will paint you in a positive light:
- Marathon running
- Mountain climbing
Most of these sports are outside and physical activities. They show that you’re comfortable with working with other people and that you have discipline. Therefore, they’re relevant for most job roles that require you to be communicative and self-driven.
Analytical Thinking Interest and Hobby Examples
What’s a thought hobby?
Anything that points to your creative skills and imagination.
If you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, you can list the following hobbies:
- Playing a musical instrument
- Blog writing
These all point to your analytical thinking and that you’re a creative person.
Possibly more calm and self-composed, and also that you think before you speak.
These qualities can be relevant depending on the job.
Though, your interest section doesn’t necessarily have to consist only of sports.
Unique Interest and Hobby Examples
Do you have a particularly unique hobby that not a lot of people are into?
This can work in your favor and help you stand out, as long as it’s still in the unique area and not in the weird one.
The HR manager shuffling through a stack of resumes can remember your unique hobby and come back to your resume later. Or they could even ask about you during the interview, so be prepared to talk about it.
Some unique hobbies that can speak about your character may include:
- Stand-up comedy
How do these hobbies help?
Archery implies you might be a precise and focused person. And yoga shows that you can be calm and don’t lose your cool in stressful situations.
Though, just how effective those hobbies will be in your resume may depend on the job.
But as long as it’s not too weird, a unique hobby can help you get your foot in the door and show that you’re not afraid of being different.
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All in all, your list of hobbies and interests say a lot about you. Both, professionally as well as about your character.
Assuming you have space on your resume and it’s still going to be 1 page, feel free to include any list of hobbies and interests only if they work in your favor.
Here’s how to decide that:
- Does the job require you to be social and work well within a team? Look for any specific skills and qualifications in the job ads, and think how your hobbies can reflect that.
- For example, being the shot-caller of your local basketball team also means you’re quick at thinking on your feet and work well within a team.
- Work backwards: first, look at some of the qualities required for the job. Then, consider how your hobbies might communicate those traits.
- When listing your hobbies and interests, you can simply include a section called “Interests” (or “Personal activities”) at the end.
- Not sure which hobbies and interests to mention on your resume? Check out our list of 40+ above!
Interested in further personal and career development advice?
Be sure to check out our career blog for more actionable advice.