Are you applying for a new job and wondering if you should include hobbies on your resume, and which ones? The answer is a little more complicated than it seems, so let me give you a set of clear guidelines to follow.
In a world where you can easily self-teach and upskill, hiring managers prefer candidates with interesting stories and diverse backgrounds to strengthen their teams.
- Hobbies and personal interests on your resume will help cut through the competition, catch your recruiter’s eye, and open up opportunities for you beyond the interview.
- But you can go too far. The extent to which you include them will depend on your level of seniority and the type of job you’re applying for.
Should You Have Hobbies & Interests On Your Resume?
Your resume is your number one vehicle for communicating your personal brand to potential employers. In other words…
Whether you include hobbies, and the types of hobbies you include, will depend on their ability to support your brand narrative. As a rule of thumb:
- Graduates: include hobbies. You have little career experience and need to imply that you possess certain strengths through other means.
- Juniors: include some hobbies. Ensure they’re highly relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a role as a Business Analyst at KPMG, include details of your maths society membership, but omit that you dance salsa on Tuesdays.
- Managers and executives: don’t include hobbies. The only exception to this rule is when your hobby has a positive impact on the strength of your professional network. Part of the white sock wearing brigade at the Royal Sydney Golf Club, for example? Definitely mention it.
Which Hobbies And Personal Interests To Include?
Assuming you decided that you need to include interests and hobbies on your resume, start shortlisting possible options from this list:
- Club and society memberships.
- Additional skills.
- Extracurricular activities.
- Short courses.
They paint a picture of who you are outside of work and what you can bring to the workplace. Our tips:
- Remember that your hobbies and interests still need to add value to your resume. How will you ‘sell’ them?
- Stick to 2-3 hobbies or interests.
- List them in a skills summary section (towards the bottom).
- Avoid anything particularly political or polarising.
- Tailor your interests to the job description where appropriate.
(Related: How To Show Hard Skills On Your Resume).
10 Examples Of Hobbies And Interests To Include On Your Resume.
Whilst we love unapologetically owning your uniqueness, you should carefully select hobbies or interests that reinforce your brand and fit the role’s requirements.
Consider how you will showcase to a recruiter that you can adapt skills from other environments to their company.
‘I led a camping expedition in the Blue Mountains for three days which involved hiking and cooking with limited supplies.’
This highlights your leadership skills and ability to work well under pressure. Below is a range of choices for hobbies and interests that will elevate your resume.
1. Sports Teams And Outdoor Activities.
Playing sports is the best way to demonstrate that you’re a team player. This is particularly valuable when applying for sales, management positions, human resources, and teaching positions.
Playing a sport fosters both social and academic skills, including:
- Group collaboration and communication.
- Ability to take direction and feedback.
- A willingness to challenge oneself.
- Strengthened leadership potential.
Even if you are no longer part of the team, you should still include your team sports experiences on your resume.
Sports performed outside – such as hiking, kayaking, bouldering, or camping – highlight to a company that you strive for a balanced life and can problem-solve in precarious situations. You never know when you might need a semi-professional rock climber in the office!
2. Volunteering, Mentoring, And Community Involvement.
Have you spent time volunteering for a charity or organisation? Volunteering exemplifies many skills, including integrity, selflessness, and a desire to support your community. A personal interest related to social enterprises, charity, and community projects reflects well on a person’s values.
Volunteering can look like this:
- Fostering an animal.
- Tutoring school children.
- Donating time to a neighbourhood committee.
- Working in a volunteer shelter or soup kitchen.
- Peer mentoring.
Assisting someone without expectations is a noble life skill that fosters compassion for others. Adding this to your resume is particularly vital if you apply for a job with a non-profit organisation, government agency, or local political office.
It’s also never too late to start volunteering. Reach out to local organisations in your area to get involved.
3. Gym And Endurance Events.
If you love hitting your gym each week, you can prove that you have the dedication to reach set goals. Physical endurance allows employers to see your desire to challenge yourself regularly.
Add hobbies such as:
- Your preferred style of gym training.
- Any endurance events you have been a part of.
- Team events (such as relay triathlon) you may have competed in.
- Training groups (cycling, swimming, tennis) that you are a part of.
These interests are vital when applying for jobs in the health industry, but any role can benefit from the growth mindset that comes with pushing yourself to physical limits.
4. Playing An Instrument.
If you endured years of piano lessons as a child – rejoice, as it can help you ace an interview.
Learning an instrument has been shown to increase cognitive ability through enhanced communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
It also requires time and dedication. Your perseverance in sticking with lessons or teaching yourself how to play is an attribute numerous individuals will not have.
Consider including the below skills:
- Reading or writing music.
- Performing live to audiences.
- Teaching musical basics to others.
- Cognitive development for learning multiple instruments.
Employers search for reassurance that you will cope well in high-stress environments – performance skills are a testament to that.
Many careers require confidence in presenting to groups of people. Playing an instrument is particularly relevant in applications for teachers, lawyers, and personal trainer roles.
5. Book Clubs.
Your love for literature is highly desirable on a resume, particularly if you belong to a local book club.
Participating in a book club ensures:
- You are well-read.
- You enjoy learning about multiple different social and cultural topics.
- You enjoy connecting with others.
- You are up to debate differing points of view.
- You hone your writing skills.
If the job you’re applying for requires communicating in a group setting, such as a department head, supervisor, or manager – be sure to add this to your skills summary.
Literature skills are terrific to include when you seek employment as a nurse, journalist, publishing coordinator, or marketing manager.
Gardening is a skill often lost on young people. It can be highly valuable in cultivating patience, observation, and decision-making skills.
It also teaches you to slow down and appreciate nature’s life cycle.
Tending a vegetable or flower garden requires the following:
- Attention to detail.
- Research into different seasonal requirements.
- A systematic process of cultivation and care.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Gratitude for nature.
Hiring managers will value your commitment to completing a task successfully and with patience, mainly if you can showcase your willingness to overcome challenges.
Adding this hobby is an excellent choice on a resume when applying for a health services position as a firefighter or psychologist.
7. Home Improvement And DIY Projects
If you love completing Do-It-Yourself projects, you should start documenting your creations and adding the best of them to your resume.
Completing your own projects showcases:
- Autonomous work ethic.
- Goal-focused attitude.
Candidates who can replace their kitchen cabinets or build a new gazebo show hiring managers they are competent in learning new skills and sticking with a project to completion.
Creativity and analytical thinking skills are transferable to almost any job but particularly valuable if you apply for a project manager position, financial advisor, or defence force leader.
8. Painting, Drawing Or Other Creative Hobbies.
Creative minds elevate team performance in many ways. It ensures you approach problem-solving with out-of-the-box capabilities. Candidates with creative minds are in high demand.
If you love:
- Creative Writing.
Consider adding them to your resume. They will grab an employer’s attention.
Artistic hobbies foster skills that many companies seek. Your creative pastimes are an excellent way to display yourself as someone who can see things from different perspectives.
They will be looking for candidates who fit in with their company culture.
If you sell your art or run a small business with your creative pursuits, include this. It will exemplify your drive, motivation, and willingness to juggle multiple plates at once.
Artistic skills are particularly valuable when applying for positions like a creative director, museum curator, advertising executive, social media manager, or writer.
9. Playing Chess, Card Games, Or Other Board Games.
If you were a chess club nerd in school (like me) or participated in community tournaments, be sure to highlight this on your resume.
Chess is a challenging skill that can improve your logical reasoning and decision-making.
It also shows:
- You are an out-of-the-box thinker.
- You rely on analytical skills.
- You have strategic social skills.
- You can work with others to reach a common objective.
If you seek a job as a robotics engineer, air traffic controller, or biochemist, this hobby will help to impress your recruiter.
10. Learning Another Language.
If you know more than one language, it is beneficial to include it on your resume, regardless of whether the job is bilingual.
Although many positions will only require you to know English, having the option for a candidate that can communicate with others of different backgrounds is a highly sought-after skill.
Learning any language demonstrates a range of skills, including:
- Your willingness to challenge yourself.
- Your understanding of global cultures.
- Your ability to learn quickly.
- Your decision-making abilities.
- Your memory retention and level of detail.
Some jobs that use exceptional communication and memory skills include language interpreters, paramedics, not-for-profit managers, and customer service representatives.
Have You Considered Using A Resume Builder?
If you’re struggling with choosing hobbies for your resume, use a resume builder. They’re tools that generate a resume based on the information you input.
Some are customisable and allow you to tailor your resume to the specific job ad.
(Related: What Are The Best Resume Builders For 2023?)
Mention hobbies that demonstrate soft skills.
Hiring managers don’t want to hear about how you enjoy going for long walks on the beach in your spare time and how you binge-watched Breaking Bad in less than a week.
Use your hobbies section to demonstrate an aptitude and your interests related to the job you’re applying for.
Don’t mention more than five hobbies. Keep your personal interests section succinct. Just because you find something interesting, doesn’t mean to say others will. List the salient points, and don’t be overly descriptive.
Final Words On Adding Hobbies To Your Resume.
Your interests and hobbies are transferable to the workplace and should be included in your resume.
Be wary that not all pastimes will make an impression, so choose ones that align well with the position.
Personal interests on your resume can make you more relatable and act as an icebreaker at an interview.
Personality can significantly impact your ability to excel in an interview. Your resume should showcase the type of person you are in and out of a work context, so don’t be afraid to highlight your individuality alongside your technical skills. Good luck!