Figuring out what hobbies and interests to put on a resume can be tricky. Not only is it wise to choose some that you can relate to the job, but it’s not always clear where you should put this section in the first place!
This guide will help you choose some good interests to put on a resume if you’re serious about getting hired.
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When You Should Consider Putting Interests & Hobbies on Your Resume
Whether or not you put an “interests and hobbies” section in your resume depends on a few factors. There’s no perfect rule for this, and what you should do depends on your experience and the job you’re trying to land.
Typically, it’s wise to leave this section out of your resume if you’re a professional with many years of experience. Focusing on your skills, work experience, and certifications is better in those instances. Those details will provide plenty of insight and take enough room on your resume to make it stand out.
It’s also wise to leave off hobbies and interests if you have a relatively long resume. Resumes should be short and to the point. Most recommend that these documents be one or two pages long.
If you already have enough material to paint a compelling picture of your qualifications with a single page, you can leave out your hobbies and interests.
So, when should you include this information on your resume?
Including hobbies and interests will benefit recent graduates with little work experience.
When you don’t have much work history to provide, including a section about your interests is a great way to stand out among other candidates. It can give hiring managers more insight into who you are and what unique skills you can bring to the position.
While hobbies and interests usually occur outside the workplace, plenty could apply to your desired job. Talking about interests also works in your favor when they relate to the company or position. Think of it as an opportunity to show transferable skills that the hiring manager may want to see from an employee.
When deciding whether or not to include information about your hobbies and interests, consider what you know about the company. Perform your research, understand the company’s values and culture, and see if any of your interests apply. If they do, putting them on your resume can reassure hiring decision-makers that you share similar values or interests.
One final point. If you have an unusual hobby or interest, including it on your resume may help you be more memorable.
Examples of Interests & Hobbies to Put on Your Resume
Of course, not every hobby or interest you have deserves a spot on your resume. If you want to leave an impact on hiring managers, you must choose what hobbies you include.
Here are examples of interests that could work in your favor.
If you’re a writer, whether published or not, consider including it on your resume. This interest puts your communication skills on full display.
Communication is crucial for any position and is one of the most sought-after skills. Seeing something like writing on your resume could significantly boost your chances of moving forward in the hiring process.
It doesn’t matter what form your writing takes. Whether you’re a published novelist or run a successful blog, it proves that your communication skills go beyond the workplace and in-person interactions. A good communicator is a major asset to any team, and including this hobby on your resume shows you have what it takes to make meaningful contributions.
Hiring managers love to see candidates with volunteering experience. In fact, data shows that managers are more inclined to go with candidates that mention volunteering on their resumes than those who don’t.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, volunteering shows that you have the commitment to help others. If you’ve volunteered with organizations that align with the company’s values, you’re set. Employers like to hire good and kind people, and those with volunteering experience typically fit the mold.
Secondly, volunteering shows initiative. No one is forcing you to take time out of your schedule to do good in the world. Hiring managers often feel that people who take the initiative to volunteer will do the same in the workplace.
Finally, listing your volunteer experience on your resume shows good organizational and leadership skills. Those are both fantastic traits that employers look for when hiring new people.
Traveling is another great interest to put on your resume. However, you must not overstate your commitment to traveling. Otherwise, hiring managers might worry that you’ll request an excessive amount of time off!
Assuming you do this, this hobby could work in your favor for a few reasons.
The first is that it implies that you’re adaptable and unafraid to step out of your comfort zone. If you love to visit new destinations and unfamiliar cultures, you’re probably willing to adapt into the new company and adjust your work style.
Traveling also indicates that you’re curious about new things. That could benefit you because employers want people who won’t hesitate to think outside the box and be innovative.
Putting this interest on your resume can also point to great organizational skills. Traveling can be challenging, and anyone who does it frequently will likely know how to keep their ducks in a row regardless of their surroundings.
Reading is a lot like writing because it highlights valuable skills employers want from job candidates.
It doesn’t matter what genre you prefer. Reading provides mental stimulation and exercises the brain. People who read often usually have a wealth of general knowledge and know how to focus on a variety of tasks that are put in front of them.
Reading can also boost your communication and comprehension skills.
Music seems like a broad interest to include. But whether you love making it or simply listening to your favorite artists, it’s a good interest to put on your resume.
When you enjoy listening to music, you benefit from good stress management. Music often makes people happier, leading to less anxiety in the workplace.
Plus, it strengthens your learning skills and abilities to memorize fine details. With how much the work environment changes, showing that you’re eager to learn can make all the difference.
If you like to make music, you bring many relevant workplace skills. Making music requires creative thinking, determination, and a willingness to work hard to get things right. Those are traits that employers love to see.
Photography is more than snapping photos on your smartphone! It’s a real art form that taps into many unique capabilities.
When you compose the perfect shot, you bring a concept to life while harnessing your technical skills. Those traits are relevant to many positions.
It’s also a creative hobby employers love to see for jobs requiring out-of-the-box thinking. Pair that with the interpersonal skills required to be a successful photographer, and this interest can paint a positive picture of your character.
7. Sports & Exercise
Sports, exercise, and activities that promote general physical wellness are all great interests to put on a resume.
If you play sports, specify what you play and in what context. For example, do you play on an official team? This distinction matters because team sports can point to many relevant workplace skills.
When you play as part of a team, you must master communication and interpersonal skills. There are also moments to flex your leadership capabilities and collaborate with others. Those traits all apply to jobs in various fields.
Even if you don’t play sports, you can provide details about exercise and physical fitness.
Staying fit and active requires self-discipline. It’s also a masterclass in patience, seeing results, and bouncing back after disappointment. You say a lot about your personality when you include sports and exercise on your resume, and they’re all good things that employers want out of new hires.
8. Outdoor Recreation
Outdoor activities can include a myriad of things. For example, you might enjoy long hikes on the weekend or camping excursions a few times a year. Even something you can do in your backyard, such as gardening, applies.
This is a good interest to put on your resume because it shows you’re well-balanced.
While employers like to see people showing dedication in the workplace, they understand the importance of having a healthy work-life balance. When employees put all their focus on work, they can experience too much anxiety and face the risk of burnout.
Spending time outdoors is a great way to unwind. Having it as your hobby indicates that you understand how to achieve that all-so-important balance, separating your work and personal life to achieve better mental and physical health.
Dancing is a combination of physical exercise and artistic skills like music. You get the best of both worlds and including this hobby on your resume puts this all on display.
Dancing is a great way to alleviate the workday’s stress, showing that you can maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s also inherently collaborative. Don’t be afraid to mention the type of dance you do to give hiring managers a better idea of what skills you’re bringing to the table.
For example, dancing as part of a troupe shows that you have great collaboration skills. It also highlights your ability to communicate, work with others, and deliver an amazing final product.
Dancing is a complex activity that requires great concentration. Dancers often have higher cognitive performance while flexing their creativity whenever they hit the dance floor.
10. Making Art
Last but not least, we have the hobby of making art.
This is another general interest you can go into further detail about to help employers learn more. There are many art forms out there, and what type you perform can clarify your unique skill set. For example, you can mention doing still-life paintings or making pottery.
Whatever the case, hiring managers like to see this hobby for a couple of reasons.
The first is that it’s the epitome of creative thinking. In the workplace, you may have to think outside the box to come up with unique solutions to everyday problems. If you’re in a creative field like marketing, there are transferable skills that directly relate to the job.
Art also requires critical thinking, which can help you in any position. Artists employ their critical thinking skills to make thoughtful decisions about their work. That can benefit you in the workplace, no matter what industry you’re in.
The creativity you tap into while making art also points to difficult-to-learn traits like inventiveness, imagination, and problem-solving. While people can develop those skills over time, employers often prefer to bring creative people in to harness those skills from day one.
The Right Way to List Interests & Hobbies on a Resume
Knowing what hobbies and interests to put on your resume is only half the battle. There’s a right and wrong way to include them.
What you don’t want to do is make this section overshadow the rest of your qualifications. While hobbies can paint a picture of what you’ll bring to the company, hiring managers will prioritize your skills, experiences, and qualifications. Putting interests at the forefront isn’t a good look.
It goes against standard practices and may even frustrate hiring managers wanting to get to the core of their qualifications. Some employers may think that putting interests and hobbies at the forefront means that you’re trying to mask the fact that you don’t fit the job requirements.
Think of your hobbies and interests as more of a supplement. They shouldn’t be the main focus, but they can add a little extra value to your resume if needed.
Adding a section for hobbies and interests is easy.
Create a separate section titled “Hobbies” or “Interests.” You can also call it “Personal Interests” or another variation.
Whatever you decide to call it, move this section down to the bottom of the resume. It should come after contact information, work experience, and education. This section should never trump those important details.
When it comes to formatting, simplicity is best. How much information you provide depends on what you want to say about the hobby and how lengthy your resume already is. If it’s packed to the brim with information, it’s generally better to keep it straightforward by listing each hobby or interest with a bullet point.
You can provide additional details if you need to use this section to compensate for your lack of professional work experience. Keep the bullet points but add a brief one-line description.
In this description, you can offer additional details. Focus on your achievements with the hobby.
If possible, quantify the interest with a number. For example, you can include how many hours you’ve put in, how many shows you’ve competed in, first-place positions in competitions you’ve won, etc. Quantifying the hobby adds credibility and makes this section more scannable.
Don’t go over the top with the hobbies and interest section. These additional details can help you get further in the hiring process, but they can also work against you if you focus too much on your interests. Keep it short and scannable.
The Value of Choosing Interests That Relate to the Job You Want
Before you consider putting interests and hobbies on your resume, think about how they relate to the job. Listing a few unrelated off-hours activities doesn’t provide much value.
If you want this section in your resume to benefit your chances of moving forward in the hiring process, the best thing you can do is choose interests that relate to the job in some way. When you do that, you’re proving to hiring managers that you’re a better fit for the job. It goes beyond basic qualifications and shows that your true passions can help you see success in the role.
For example, say that your favorite hobby is creating digital art in your spare time. If you’re applying for an ultra-technical job like accounting, where art isn’t needed to succeed, that tidbit of information can show that you bring critical thinking to the table. However, it doesn’t say anything about your actual work performance and what you have to offer.
However, the hobby is directly transferable if you’re applying for something like a job in digital marketing. A hiring manager would see that and think you have unique skills that can help the company from day one.
Research the organization, read the job description thoroughly, and learn more about the company’s culture. Use that information to connect the dots to your relevant hobbies. Your research will help you understand what employers want out of job candidates, empowering you to tailor your resume perfectly.
Now that you know some good interests to put on a resume, it’s time to brainstorm which ones apply to you. Once you have some candidates, pick ones that relate to the job you want.
While it’s not always the right move to include your hobbies on a resume, doing it properly can benefit you!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.