2018 Best Hobbies & Interests to Put on a Resume [+Examples]

April 25
6 min read

A while back, we reminded you how important hobbies are for your professional development. We highlighted the advantages of being a well-rounded person when it comes to finding a job, and how hobbies might prove useful in your daily work.

But even if you think your hobbies are valuable to a company, that doesn’t mean you should automatically include a list of them on your resume. Now we’re going to explain why.

In this guide, we will cover the following:

  • The difference between interests and hobbies
  • When and why you should include interests or hobbies in a resume
  • Best interests or hobbies to include in a resume (+ the ones you shouldn't)
  • How to expand on the skills section of your resume with interests/hobbies
  • What to call the interests and hobbies section of your resume

How to List Hobbies/Interests in a Resume

interests for resume

Interests VS Hobbies in a Resume

Yes, interests and hobbies are different. No, you should not have a section for each on your resume.

Interests are more vague, while hobbies are more specific. For example, you may be interested in a sport like basketball, which means you watch games on TV, follow statistics, and perhaps even play for a team. But basketball itself is not a hobby. Watching basketball and/or playing basketball is.

When and why should you include interests or hobbies in a resume?

Let’s stick with the above example: basketball. Under what circumstances would you include such a hobby on a resume? Well, that depends on a lot of factors.

If you are going to include hobbies and interests, then they had better be there to improve your attractiveness as a job candidate. It goes without saying that you should list basketball as a personal interest on your resume if you are applying for a job with a local basketball team.

But what if you are applying for a job where the connection between your hobby and the position aren’t so obvious? Here it’s important to think hard about how your hobbies or interests might be perceived as valuable to the role. 

For example, maybe you are applying for a job in a dynamic, collaborative work environment. In this case, playing for a basketball team for several years demonstrates teamwork, and can be perceived as an asset by recruiters. Watching basketball on TV regularly does not project the same value to the employer.

The point is that unless the interests or hobbies are relevant to the role, don’t list them. Space is precious since the best professional resumes are one page. Use that space wisely, and avoid talking about your love for cat GIFs.

Finally, keep in mind that resume interests require a bit of explaining. Don’t include items like basketball, reading, etc., without proving why these are relevant to the position or company. Keep your explanation to one sentence, and try to be as specific as possible. E.g. “Basketball – Have played for the same team in a creational league for the past 12 years.”

8 Great Examples for hobbies and interests to put on your resume

  1. Endurance sports - sports such as swimming and running show that you have perseverance and drive.
  2. Creative hobbies - such as painting or writing which suggest you are have a creative mind and can come up with new solutions to complicated problems.
  3. Team sports - football, basketball, volleyball, etc. suggest that you are good at working together with people in order to achieve a common goal.
  4. Strategic games - chess for example will show that you enjoy thinking strategically.
  5. Community involvement - which demonstrates that you are a person who is comfortable to collaborate with others.
  6. Archery - shows that you are a precise and focused person.
  7. Gardening - demonstrates that you care about the environment and nature.
  8. Yoga - shows that you are a calm person and have control over your actions.

Best hobbies or interests to include in a resume (+ the ones you shouldn't)

By now it should be clear that the best hobbies or interests to put on your resume are the ones that are going to improve your chances of getting hired. Figuring one how your interests might be useful in your job search takes careful consideration on your part. 

Here are some ideas of good and bad interests or hobbies to help spark your thinking, along with an explanation of why it may or may not be useful to include them on your resume.

Good examples of hobbies and interests for resume

Blog Writing - Shows creative ability, written communication skills

Good for jobs in: Marketing, journalism, and other roles involving large quantities of written work.

  • Example: Blog writing – Have managed a personal cooking blog for three years, producing on average two posts per peek.
Source: giphy.com

Travelling - Shows curiosity and an understanding of different cultures

Ideal for roles involving: travel or engaging with international stakeholders.

  • Example: Travelling – Recently visited South Africa to attend an international conference on human aid
Source: giphy.com

Reading (include subject matter) - Demonstrates focus and background knowledge in a specific field

Good for jobs in: Depends on the relatedness of reading the subject matter.

  • Example: Business and financial literature – Have read several books exploring the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.

These are just a few of the possibilities for resume interests/hobbies and how to use them. On the flip side, there are some hobbies that you should avoid listing under certain circumstances. 

Examples of when to avoid listing hobbies on your resume

  1. Extreme skiing: Demonstrates risk-taking, which is undesirable in fields like accounting, teaching and health care.
  2. Stamp collecting: Can be perceived as outdated and solitary, which is unattractive to more creative industries.
  3. Watching TV series: Only relevant to positions in film or media.

How to expand on the skills section of a resume with interests/hobbies

As you write your resume, you may feel like you lack proof of certain skills. Or maybe you want to reinforce an item included in your resume skills section because you know it is essential to the role. This is where hobbies come in handy.

Keeping with the logic of ensuring your resume hobbies are used strategically, try to think of ways in which you can prove certain skills through your hobbies. A computer programmer who has only ever worked as a freelancer and wants to prove teamwork skills would then want to highlight his/her participation in a local team or club. 

And even an experienced journalist with plenty of published work may want to include reference to his/her own personal blog when applying for a different writing job.

What to call the interests and hobbies section of your resume

So far we’ve talked about hobbies and interests as being combined in one specific section of your resume. But what to call it? The easy answer is to call this section “Interests,” but you can also opt for other labels, such as “Extracurricular” or “Personal Activities”. You may also choose to use “Hobbies,” but our view is that this word can lead employers to think that the content only has personal rather than professional relevance.

The other thing to consider is what is listed under your interests/hobbies section and whether it overlaps with other potential sections. For example, our resume builder allows you include a variety of section headings for “Organizations,” “Awards,” “Volunteer,” “Personal Projects,” and “Interests”. 

You won’t have space for all of these sections on a one- or two-page resume, so you will need to think about whether your hobbies and interests deserve to stand-alone, or be included under different sections.

This last point echoes the main message found throughout this article: be strategic when it comes to hobbies and interests on your resume. Whether you use them, along with how, when and where, will impact the overall effectiveness of your resume.

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