Your hobbies and interests make you, well, you. But that's not the only reason to put them on your resume.
Sure, they can say a lot about what makes you tick. But most importantly, they can help an employer decide whether they'd like you as a person or not — and have you on their team. What's more, your hobbies are a great indication of whether you fit a company culture or not.
In this how-to guide, we'll show you how to list your hobbies on a resume and leverage them to your advantage.
This guide will answer the following questions:
- What is the resume hobbies section?
- Why include hobbies on your resume?
- What's the difference between hobbies and interests? And why does it matter?
- What hobbies to include on your resume?
- How to list them on your resume?
Too long, don't wanna read? 60sec Video Guide
What is the resume hobbies section?
The hobbies section is an important but optional part of your resume where you can mention your interests and hobbies.
Many people leave it out it because they think it ultimately won’t make any difference. But whether you’re a student, a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional, it can be useful both for you and your future employer. If you do it right.
It usually sits at the bottom of your resume and includes 5 interest or hobbies, either described in few sentences or simply portrayed as an icon.
Why include hobbies on your resume?
In general, the main purpose of a resume is to show that you have what it takes for a given job. Your hobbies and interests have little to contribute to this goal. For this reason, it’s never a mistake NOT to include hobbies in your resume. But still, there are some benefits to including them.
- You show that you fit the company culture. You may ask: Why would employers care about your love for reading complicated novels? Well, many companies today aren’t looking for faceless corporate minions anymore. Instead, they’ll want to know whether you’re going to fit their company culture.
- You show that you’re an actual person, not just a name.It’s always nice to let recruiters know you’re a human being, too. It makes them think of you in a different way. All of a sudden, you become an intriguing human being with their own hopes and dreams, things they like or don’t like, etc.
- It sets you apart from others. If done right, your hobbies section can increase your chances of scoring a job. There is a chance the hiring manager will remember you as the person who has an interesting hobby, compared to other candidates who only listed their work achievements. However, only include hobbies on your resume if you consider them instrumental in supporting your job-related skills and qualifications. Listening to music and watching Netflix? Everybody likes that. Try to come up with something that really sets you apart from others.
All right, then. Where should you place your hobbies? At the bottom of your resume. As we’ve already said, your hobbies are not the most important part of your resume. More important sections, like work experience or skills, should precede them.
Still, you can make this section look a bit fancier. The little icons can give it a nice artistic touch, but do everything in moderation. Sometimes less is more.
Of course, don’t make stuff up just to seem more interesting.
Do you feel like you don’t have any hobbies that are relevant to the job or the company, or they don’t have a lot of transferable value? Then don’t mention them. After all, a resume should be exactly one page long. You’ll easily find better ways to utilize this space.
What’s the difference between hobbies and interests?
Hobbies and interests are related but are not the same.
Interest is something that you have a liking for and you may or may not do it. If yes, you enjoy doing it just from time to time.
A hobby is something you practice or do regularly. You usually do it during your free time for enjoyment. So, your interest can become a hobby if you do it everyday and make it the part of your life.
You paint from time to time but don’t have sufficient time to practice it regularly. That’s an interest. Do you meditate and do yoga daily? Good! That means you have a hobby.
Finally, and this is important, nobody cares about your interests. Being interested in something is no achievement. But taking time to practice something regularly, that's impressive!
Because of that, your resume should (ideally) only include your hobbies.
What hobbies should you include on a resume?
Avoid being vague. The point of listing hobbies on your resume is NOT to mention everything you like to do. For example, saying that you like music isn’t going to help you make a stronger case for your candidacy. Everybody likes music. It’s vague. It doesn’t say anything about you.
Do you only listen to music or do you also write your own music? Do you like dancing to music? You get the idea.
Moreover, you especially want to mention those of your interests that are interesting or impressive. Do you enjoy running? Don’t forget to mention that you finished a marathon. Do you love traveling? Tell them how many countries have you visited already.
Yet again, if you want your hobbies to work as icebreakers and conversation starters, be REALLY specific. After all, a “fervent golf player” or “contemporary American documentary novel lover” sounds much more engaging than vague statements “playing every kind of sport” or “getting lost in a good book.”
Finally, always highlight those of your interests that are in any way related to a desired position. Start with scanning the job description. You can find there what kind of qualities and skills they’re looking for. Write them down, think about them and try to transfer them to a specific hobby.
Let’s say that you are looking for a job that requires analytical thinking. What do you think will impress them more? Your passion for solving the Rubik’s cube or your love of good food?
Or let’s say you’re applying for a managerial position at a travel agency. Being an avid hitchhiker can help you a lot. Or perhaps you’re applying for a job at a vinyl shop. Playing an instrument will help you look like you have a deep connection to the industry. See the point?
You can also research the company to find out about their company culture and tailor your hobbies section to it.
How to list hobbies on a resume?
- You can name the section simply as “Hobbies”.
- Instead of listing too many of your hobbies and interests on a resume, pick 4-5 based on the criteria described in the section “What hobbies and interest should you include”. Think about a skill or an achievement that best illustrates your passion for an activity and put it right next to it.
- Depending on a company, you can also follow up by simply listing some of the quirkier hobbies you have. The point is to give them a peek of your personality. At the same time, don’t go all out with companies that have a very formal company culture.
- Finally, keep your hobbies section short.
Pablo’s two cents of advice
- Be professional. Don’t include any sensitive subjects such as politics, any controversial issues, religion or sex.
- Don’t mention risky and time-consuming activities. Your future employer wants to have you fit and able to work. Any activities that put your life at risk or are too time-consuming may scare them.
- Don’t use buzzwords.Football, reading, traveling, music, social media? Nope. If you really like reading so much that you want to mention it, at least be specific. Reading is not a unique interest. Reading 55 books a year is.
- Don’t overdo it. Adding too many hobbies and interests to fill up more space isn’t a good idea. Keep it simple, list only the best ones and leave the valuable space on your resume for more important information.