Mentioning hobbies and interests on your resume is common in most countries but is always optional. They can give a bit of insight into a candidate’s personal life and can even be leveraged to demonstrate interest in a job or career. In addition, they can provide topics for conversation during a job interview.
If you choose to list hobbies or interests on your resume, think carefully about what you will or will not include. Here’s some guidance on the subject.
Should I include hobbies and interests?
Keep in mind that this is an optional part of a resume, and opinions can be divided. Additionally, it is rare to see hobbies and interests on U.S. resumes, but it’s common to have an activities or volunteer section. For many employers, hobbies and interests are seen as an interesting addition, but others may view them as irrelevant.
First and foremost, do not include all of your hobbies and interests on your resume. If included, it should be a carefully curated list that contributes to your overall image. Our advice is to include them if they pique interest, evoke a positive image, or fit well with the position. If they are very generic (i.e. spending time with family and friends), it’s probably best to leave them off.
If you are already short for space on a resume, this should be the first section to get cut so you can focus on more important content. As a reminder, we recommend a maximum of two pages.
Hobbies and interests that align with the position
The most important hobbies and interests to include are those that align with the job function or company culture. These interests will help fill out your profile and could give you an advantage in getting a specific job.
For example, if you are applying for a sales job that requires attending events and networking, it could be useful to mention group activities that you participate in, like team sports or fundraising committees. For more technical jobs, hobbies like woodworking, graphic design, or app development might be advantageous to list.
Other hobbies and interests to include
Here are samples of other hobbies and interests than can create a positive image or intrigue an employer.
- Sports: Include any sport that you play, particularly if you’ve received any recognition for it (i.e. PADI certified scuba diver, IronMan triathlete)
- Organizations: Make sure to mention any committees, events, or special involvement in addition to general membership
- Creative hobbies: Painting, drawing, photography, music/video editing, etc.
- Technical hobbies: Drones, programming, woodworking, fixing up cars, etc.
Be careful with generic hobbies like traveling, cooking, reading, spending time with family, music, etc. Only mention these if you have a unique or personal spin on it. For example:
- Reading Dutch literature (especially Herman Koch & Harry Mulisch)
- Backpacking, with 3 trips completed throughout Asia & South America
Hobbies and interests to avoid
Hopefully it goes without saying, but some hobbies and interests should be excluded from your resume. You don't want include anything that may bias an employer against you or form a negative association. Consider, for example, the following:
- Exotic pets
- Illicit activities like drugs or streaking
- Matters that show a political preference
- Violent video games
- Playing poker or other forms of gambling
Where should I put hobbies and interests?
If you decide to include this section, it should go at the very end of your resume. It is best to only list a few key activities that add to your skills and competencies.
Below is a good example:
Hobbies and interests
- Coach youth hocky team on weekends from November-March
- Treasurer and occasional actor of community theater
- Travel enthusiast who has visited over 60 countries.
What not to do:
Reading, cooking, fitness, traveling, theater, museums, photography.
Be honest and don't overstate things
As with every section of your resume, be honest. Don’t exaggerate your interests or involvement in a particular hobby. You don't want an employer to uncover the truth during an interview – or even worse, after you are hired – and perceive you as a deceptive or untrustworthy person. Always be honest, always be realistic and if you don't have any noteworthy hobbies or interests, just leave this part out.
As a recruiter, I have been helping candidates find a new job for over ten years. On this website I share my knowledge to help you make a good resume.