Hobbies and Personal Interests on the Resume

Should you include them or not?

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Whether or not to write a hobbies section on your resume is an ongoing debate for many career advisors. Here you’ll find the pros and cons of a resume personal interest section.

When we first learn how to write a resume, we’re often taught to include some of our hobbies or personal interests but later in life, we find that it seems less professional and are convinced to avoid them at all costs.

So, which is it?

Do we include hobbies on the resume or not?

And if so, which are the best personal interests to put on a resume?

Read on for a guide with expert advice on how to write a personal interests section for your resume and what not to include as well as ideal hobby examples for all types of jobseekers to use to make an effective resume which will stand out from other candidates.


DOs and DON’Ts for resume interests

It is vital to keep in mind that a hiring manager will be reviewing dozens if not hundreds of resumes for possibly just one vacancy and can easily get bored of seeing the same skills and qualifications over and over which is why adding some interests can be of great benefit, as long as you follow the right guidelines.

DO – The first thing that all candidates must do when adding a hobbies section to a resume is to consider at all times that there resume must represent them as a qualified, suitable applicant to the position and company in question. That means it is essential to maintain an idea of the company, sector and role you are applying to.

DON’T – The most important element to avoid throughout a resume including in the personal interest section is lying! In some cases jobseekers may be tempted to fabricate a little white lie thinking it won’t be found out and can only help the application along.

Our resume experts cannot stress enough the importance of not lying on a resume. It is not worth the risk, even in a less significant area of a resume.

DO – A must-do to ensure your resume gets noticed is to show your ‘you-ness’, think of something unique that will be memorable but intriguing to the employer, to make him or her want to contact you and have you as part of their team.

DON’T – Another aspect that you must not include on a resume in a hobbies section is anything related to religion, politics or your intimate personal interests. This is a basic rule of thumb for resumes and any professional profiles on social networks or job applications.

DO – The aim of listing hobbies on a resume is to offer a part of your personality that may not shine through in your academic and professional experience but that can allow the prospective employer an insight into who you are as a person, what drives you and in turn let them gauge whether you will fit well in their business or not.

Should you include your hobbies on a resume?

So you know what you should and shouldn’t put in a personal interest section but is it really a good idea to include hobbies on a resume?

Lots of human resource and resume experts may maintain that including a section on your resume detailing your hobbies is perhaps unprofessional or they see personal interests as irrelevant for a job application, however with the world’s business culture evolving so rapidly, it could end up being the positive edge you need to convince a hiring manager to contact you.

Your resume is your first chance at showing a potential employer what you can offer their company and that doesn’t just involve your professional experience and skills but also your expertise on a range of subjects, your passions and what makes you a good candidate for the role they advertise.

If you know you have what it takes to get the job but your experience is limited, you can use your personal hobbies in a way that demonstrate your abilities that make you the appropriate candidate.

The main purpose of including your personal interests in your resume is to stand out from other candidates in the application process, make yourself memorable to the hiring manager and show them a part of your personality that speaks to them as a human being.

This helps the company or hiring manager get to know you better as a person and not just another resume with the skills and qualifications the position requires.

Of course, if you are applying for an executive-level position in a corporate environment it may be more appropriate not to include hobbies in your resume. With each application, the candidate will have to use their own discretion after researching the business culture.

It does depend majorly on the type of job or company that you are applying to and all jobseekers should consider their individual profile before adding personal interests to a resume.

Further along the application process, such as in a job interview or even a cover letter, mentioning hobbies could also be beneficial to your candidacy as discussing personal interests often helps the body to relax and can build confidence to take the tension out of a stressful situation, thus you are able to show a more natural side when answering questions in a job interview.

If you’re still wondering whether or not to include your hobbies on your resume, why not try out an online resume builder to get a clear digital vision of how your resume looks with all the information you need to include and then decide if you want to show a little of your personal side to the prospective employer as an extra – you never know who might share your interests!

How to write a personal interest section on a resume

Having decided to include a section for hobbies on your resume, now you need to know how to write a personal interest section that will land you the interview.

The structure of a hobbies section for a resume is simple as it is not one of the principle areas like the education or work experience sections. It should be a short list or simply a few lines indicating the hobby and a brief descriptive sentence to explain some aspect of the hobby and it’s relevance alluring to the skills you’ve gained or the knowledge it has given you.

The hobbies section should be clearly titled to ensure it is not encompassed with volunteer work, honors and awards or another of the optional resume sections. It could be simply named ‘Personal Interests’ or could include other important facts or certificates that you are relevant to your job application under the heading ‘Extracurricular’.

This part of a professional, student or entry-level resume should be the last thing for a hiring manager to see therefore the hobbies section should always be put at the end.

It is essential to remember to list the hobbies that illustrate how your character will harmonize with the company and their work ethic.

After writing this section, review the hobbies you choose to include in your resume to ensure that any meaning construed from them is positive and speaks of you as a strong candidate for the specific role and company you are applying to.

How to find good hobbies to add to a resume

Some personal interests are not appropriate for a professional profile and should not be included in your resume. Follow these steps to find the best hobbies for your resume.

Before getting into how to write a hobbies section on your resume, you must prepare the types of personal interests or pastime activities you will list. The best method for finding good hobbies to add to a resume is by researching the sector, company and role you are applying for.

The following steps will show you how to make a list of the most suitable interests to have on your unique resume:

  1. Firstly start with the information you have to hand: the vacancy ad and the job description. Find the characteristics that are required or desired for the person specification. Think of your hobbies in terms of the abilities you have learnt and match them with these personality traits.
  2. Next you should start your standard research of the company in question by taking a look at their website, paying special attention to an ‘about us’ or employee profiles pages. You may find you even share hobbies or passions with one or more of the current staff members.
  3. Thirdly, check any other webs or social media sites that the company manages to find out how they interact with partners, clients and customers. Take note of their company culture through their online activities and what they choose to share to be inspired to find similar interests.
  4. Finally, look up the company on third-party websites, news sites, forums, review sites etc. for extra information which could bring something to your application or even for the interview.

Some of the best hobbies to include on a resume are those that help you to develop transferable skills which could be beneficial to your sector or position for example blogging for a marketing firm giving you existing knowledge of social media and internet publicizing or team sports for sales positions proving leadership skills or outgoing characteristics.

Tips for adding your hobbies

For a winning resume with a personal interest section that attracts attention for all the right reasons, take a look at these tips for adding hobbies to a resume.

The following expert advice for including extracurricular interests on your resume will help you make the most out of a hobby section to optimize your resume for the industry and role you are seeking.

  • Be honest about your hobbies within reason, do not overshare and do not lie but you can relate your interests to the company or position offered.
  • Remember to consider the various skills you will have gained through your freetime activities and include these to show your suitability to the role.
  • Choose a few, select hobbies that match the company culture or work ethic.
  • Do not be too specific or peculiar as you want to be able to relate to a variety of people.
  • Use your hobbies to demonstrate skills that you have mentioned in your resume objective or qualifications summary.

Examples of hobbies and interests to put on a resume

Still struggling to find good hobbies to put in your personal interest section? Check out these expertly chosen examples.

As mentioned, it is ideal to include a variety of hobbies or interests in your resume if you decide that it is appropriate. The following examples of hobbies are optimized to show certain skills or abilities that will be advantageous to different profiles.

  • Individual Sports such as running marathons, swimming, skiing, tennis, training for triathlons etc. are great hobbies to showcase to demonstrate a personality who likes to challenge themselves and has a strong will power.
  • Team Sports such as football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, water polo etc. are also good examples of someone who already knows how to work well and communicate in a team, persevere for common goals and possibly possesses effective leadership skills in appropriate cases.

Also, sports are a good addition as they are a clear example of being physically fit which is beneficial if it is necessary for the position or if the company is dedicated to the health or exercise industry.

  • Technological hobbies such as video editing, blogging or computing shows a clear passion for the IT sector and extracurricular expertise.
  • Puzzles or certain game-playing such as crosswords or chess demonstrate an analytical profile with problem solving or strategic planning skills.
  • Social hobbies such as mentoring, volunteering or being part of a club establish the candidate as a person with interpersonal or communication skills.
  • Interests that involve collecting objects exhibit passion for a product and an acute attention to detail.

Whether you enjoy translating poetry, designing your own clothes or practising an extreme sport, it might be worth including your interests as an extra section on your resume because you never know where it might lead.

This is a great way to end a winning resume but if you’re struggling to get started, you could try using a resume template to get the basic structure and launch yourself from there. Or take a look at some of ResumeCoach’s guides to writing an effective resume section by section.

Last modified on October 30th, 2020

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