Your resume will certainly feature your education and work experience, but what else should you tell the hiring manager about yourself?
Depending on the circumstances, including hobbies and interests on your resume can strengthen your application – especially if you don’t have a lot of work experience.
Yes, that’s right – showcasing your passion for traveling, blogging, and even gaming on your resume can help you land your dream job. However, in some scenarios, having an interests section on your resume might be considered inappropriate – and may even ruin your chances at the role.
Before you dedicate half of your resume to discussing your recent defeat of a video game, it’s important to understand:
- When to include interests and hobbies in your resume
- Good hobbies and interests to put on your resume (and bad ones)
- How to list hobbies and interests on your resume
Before you compile a list of activities for your resume, you should understand the difference between hobbies and interests.
1. The Difference Between Hobbies and Interests
Hobbies are activities you enjoy in your leisure time. For example, you’d consider “painting” a hobby if you like doing it for fun.
Including hobbies on your resume is an opportunity to showcase skills you’ve developed outside of your education and traditional work experience.
Interests are topics that you find exciting and want to learn more about. For example, you might list “art” as an interest if you frequent art museums.
Interests can be used to highlight a topic that you have in common with the company or role you’re applying for. It goes without saying that you’d cite your interest in world cuisine on your application for a position as a food critic.
If done correctly, including a mixture of hobbies and interests on your resume will provide the hiring manager a well-rounded and memorable impression of who you are.
2. When to Include Hobbies and Interests On Your Resume
If you have enough work experience to fill one page, don’t put hobbies and interests on your resume. Instead, use the space to elaborate on the professional skills you developed and your major accomplishments from those past jobs.
Even if your application is lacking content, research the company you’re applying for to get a sense of the culture before including any interests or hobbies. If it appears that the company values individuality and work-life balance, it’s probably safe for you to put relevant examples in your resume.
Alternatively, if you’re applying for a role in a “buttoned-up” industry, citing your passion for salsa dancing might be considered unprofessional.
To help decide whether or not to include hobbies and interests on your resume, ask yourself if:
- Your hobbies and interests relate to the company and/or position
- Including a hobby allows you to showcase skills relevant to the role
- The organization prompts you to include this information
- Your education and work experience don’t fill a one-page resume
- You know the company values personalized applications
If you’re lucky, you might even share a hobby or interest with the hiring manager. So, come to your interview prepared to discuss your love of golf alongside your professional strengths and weaknesses.
3. Good Hobbies and Interests to Put on Your Resume
Once you’re confident that putting hobbies and interests into your resume will help your application rather than hinder it, the next step is to cherry-pick the right ones.
Although you might have a robust list to choose from, it’s important to be strategic and intentional in your selection.
Only list relevant activities on your resume that reflect positively on you as a candidate. Reference the job posting, and consider what skill or quality you intend to communicate with each of those listed activities. If you can’t think of one, it may be best to leave it off your application.
10 Examples of Good Interests and Hobbies to Put on a Resume
Here’s an HR-approved list of activities for your resume – and what each one tells the hiring manager about you.
#1 Endurance Sports
Engaging in an endurance sport such as cycling shows that you’re dedicated, focused, and capable of working alone. Include endurance sports as a hobby on your resume, if you’re applying for a role that requires high-concentration tasks, e.g., data management, writing, or editing roles.
#2 Team Sports
Participation in a team-based sport demonstrates your leadership skills and teamwork abilities. Cite your involvement in a team sport if you’re applying for a people-centric role such as a marketing manager, team leader, or sales associate.
An interest in art tells the hiring manager that you’re creative and have a keen eye for detail. Art is a good interest to put on your resume if your desired role is in a creative or design-focused field, like UX/UI, cinematography, or art curation.
#4 Volunteer Work
Volunteer work is a great way to showcase your civic engagement, generosity, and time management skills. If you’re applying for a role at a not-for-profit organization or a company that values social responsibility, volunteer experience is a necessity.
If you’re a well-traveled individual, you’re likely open-minded, adventurous, and tolerant. Make sure to include travel as a hobby on your resume if you’re applying for a role that requires international travel, working in multicultural teams, or knowledge of different cultures.
#6 Blogging / Video Production
A blog or YouTube channel is a great way to show-off your creativity, organization, and technical skills. If you’re applying for an advertising or marketing role, link to this relevant hobby on your resume to display your personal brand.
#7 Foreign Languages
Cultivating foreign language skills conveys perseverance, initiative and of course, communication skills. It’ll benefit you to include them on your resume if the role you’re applying for involves international travel, multinational sales, or is in the tourism industry.
Believe it or not, the video game you’re playing can be used to demonstrate your problem solving and remote collaboration abilities. If you’re applying for a role in the technology industry, citing gaming as a personal interest could enhance your application.
Playing or creating music requires discipline, innovation, and dedication. Add music as a hobby to your resume if you want to demonstrate your ability to be creative as well as diligent.
#10 Club Membership
A membership in a club or association shows hiring managers that you’re an active member in the community who enjoys socializing. List a club membership, like your fraternity or sorority, on your resume if you’re applying for a people-focused role such as a customer service representative or team lead.
3 Examples of Hobbies and Interests NOT to Include
When considering which hobbies and interests to fit into your application, remember that discernment is key.
It’s okay to enjoy skydiving and watching TV in your spare time; however, it might send the wrong signal to the hiring manager if the role is for a job at your local library.
To avoid making a negative impression, consider how the hiring manager will interpret each personal interest on your resume.
In general, don’t list activities on your resume if:
- Your hobby or interest hints at antisocial or alienated behavior
- Participation in the hobby may be considered dangerous or violent
- You know the hobby or interest conflicts with a company’s culture or values
- Your hobby or interest may be seen as inappropriate or discriminatory
- Listing a hobby or interest divulges personal information such as political or religious affiliations
Here are a few hobbies and interests not to include on your resume – and what they signal to the hiring manager.
|Hobby / Interest||Why You Should Leave it Off Your Resume|
|Extreme Sports||Shows risk-taking, impulsiveness, which are unattractive traits in industries, such as teaching, accounting, etc.|
|Political Clubs or Activities||Jeopardizes your chances if you happen to be on the opposite side of the political spectrum from your employer.|
|Watching TV||Exhibits passivity and inactivity. Doesn’t showcase any unique skills or attributes about yourself.|
4. How to List Interests and Hobbies on a Resume
Once you’ve got a shortlist of activities for your resume, it’s time to think about the best way to feature them.
Never shoehorn your hobbies and interests into sections they don’t belong. Instead, naturally integrate them into your resume in one of the following ways.
#1. Create a Resume Interests section
Although your hobbies and interests may be compelling, in most circumstances they shouldn’t distract from your formal credentials.
To avoid this, add your resume interests section to the bottom of the page – after your education and work experience.
Group your hobbies and interests together in one section, and add a title such as “Personal Interests” to separate it from the rest of your application.
Include a brief one-line description that explains how each hobby or interest is relevant to the role. If possible, quantify each point by adding a number, percentage, or time.
Make sure that you’re not repeating information that is already listed in other sections of your resume, such as Extracurricular Activities or Volunteer Experience.
Here’s an example of a resume interests section, if you’re applying for a role as a Journalist.
#2. Fit into Your Resume Objective
The average hiring manager will only look at your application for 6 seconds. So if you’ve got a hobby or interest that is highly relevant to the job you’re applying for, add it to your resume objective.
In case you don’t know, a career objective is a short blurb at the top of your resume meant to convince the hiring manager that your skills, knowledge, and abilities can help the company reach its goals.
Therefore, if you have an impressive hobby or interest that could influence the success of your application, make sure to list it front and center.
For example, if you’re applying for a role as a marathon coordinator, you’d want to draw the hiring manager’s attention to the fact that you’ve run 20+ marathons by including it in your career objective.