How many times have you heard the advice to not include a hobbies and interests section for your resume?
For me, it’s all too many.
Time and time again, people believe this resume section isn’t worth including. In certain circumstances, it can be better to leave it out.
However, for those of you who might be lacking in areas such as education and work experience, you have the chance to turn the tide by including your hobbies and interests.
It can be difficult thinking of what’s best to include…
But fear not, because that’s what we’re going to cover in full detail.
Here’s what we’ll be going through:
- The difference between hobbies and interests
- When should you include your hobbies & interests on your resume?
- The 10 attractive hobbies & interests you should use for your resume
- How to list your resume hobbies and interests
- 5 examples from Enhancv
- Common mistakes when it comes to your resume hobbies and interests
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
OR, do you want to skip ahead and start creating your resume with prepared content and formats that you can easily re-arrange? Click here for a head start and to start building your resume right now!
The Difference Between Hobbies and Interests
Before diving into it, allow me to explain the definition of hobbies and interests.
Hobbies are passions in the form of regular activities that you enjoy doing. On the other hand, interests are something you’re curious about, want to learn more in, and start doing more often.
For example, if you say video editing is a hobby, it means you enjoy editing and you do it on a recurring basis. Whereas, if you said editing is one of your interests, it means you want to learn more about it or start doing it in the future.
Interests are what leads to hobbies.
The difference between hobbies and interests is fairly subtle, but you don’t want to get it wrong.
Some people even confuse these terms with preferences. To clear it up, preferences just means that you would rather do one thing instead of the other. E.g. you prefer playing basketball over football.
If you’re called in for an interview, employers could ask you for more details about your hobbies and interests. This way, they can learn more about you as a person and what you do outside the workforce. One clever way you can illustrate this is by including a ‘day in my life’ pie chart that represents how you spend your time – see below.
With the examples shown from Enhancv later in this guide, you’ll see how candidates incorporated their hobbies and interests creatively to express their personalities.
When Should You Include Your Hobbies & Interests On Your Resume?
You shouldn’t start writing any resume section in general without having a goal in mind. What are you trying to achieve by using hobbies and interests section?
Consider keeping these questions in mind when you’re listing your hobbies and interests:
- Are you trying to show you have further relevant and transferable skills for the field?
- Do you want to highlight your personality and cultural fit for the job vacancy?
- Do you want to take advantage of this section to emphasize your unique qualities and stand out from the other applicants?
Whatever question most resonates with you, remember it. This helps you keep a clear focus so employers can vividly consume the bigger picture you’re painting for them.
Additionally, I’ve pointed out 3 key reasons for when it’s most ideal for you to include your hobbies & interests on your resume. See below.
You Have Limited Skills and Work Experience
Are you a fresh graduate who’s just come out of university or college? If that’s the case, you most likely lack the professional experience and skills job recruiters desire.
With some level of expertise and skillsets to showcase for with limited evidence (due to limited work experience), you’re at a disadvantage compared to the other applicants who have what you lack.
One way to combat this common obstacle is to take advantage of the hobbies and interests resume section. If your inner personality and values strongly align with the job responsibilities and cultural environment, recruiters may see you as a more beneficial asset to mold for the future.
And, employers may even prefer that you have no experience. This is because they can train you the way they want to and nurture your working habits themselves.
The Job Recruiters Are Demanding Originality and Creativity
The job recruiters could be looking for something different in their work environment. They need something new, refurbished, and unique to add to their organization.
In this case, employers will look at what new, fresh value you can bring to the table that isn’t generic. And, to see if you’re a good cultural fit.
Personality-wise, they’ll be keen on looking at what you enjoy doing personally that could potentially give them a bigger return on investment in the future.
You’re Asked Specifically To Include Them
Double-check the job description. Sometimes it’ll explicitly request a hobbies and interests section on your resume.
Either, it’s labeled clearly on the job description or employers may specifically ask you via email. If this happens, it means it’s a requirement for you to include this resume section no matter how experienced you are, and even if you’re a senior.
10 Attractive Hobbies & Interests You Should Use For Your Resume
As a whole, anything that requires creativity is largely valued by the hiring managers. This includes activities such as:
- Graphic design
- Fine art
What this also shows employers is that you genuinely enjoy what you do and you’re self-motivated. You’re not doing it for the money, but rather you’re looking at the benefits long term and if it correlates with your passions.
Alongside your creativity, it also indicates critical thinking and analytical skills since you have the ability to see things from multiple perspectives.
Blogging, Writing or Reading
Anything to do with words and literature is one eye-catching way to spark the hiring manager’s interests. Especially if you’re applying for a role such as:
- Communication specialist
- Advertising manager
Concrete written communication skills are highly demanding in an interpersonal workforce like today. Copywriters for example need to be exceptional at communicating in the online space with a brand’s messaging when writing their newsletters, sales letters, or emails.
Reading is also associated with learning – if you enjoy reading, it’ll form the impression that you’re an intellectual person. One thing that works well is listing your favorite books on your resume to further illustrate your creativity.
If you’re a worker looking for a position in the marketing space, employers would value marketing hobbies or interests. This includes:
Have you managed to achieve something significant in the past from doing any of these activities?
For example, you’re interested in social media. So, you’ve built a community online via a Facebook group, forum or you’ve grown your blog through keyword research skills, SEO, and content strategy.
These are strongly related to what you’re going to be doing in the marketing space. Therefore, any feats accomplished or passions in a specific area, be sure you bring them up!
The world around us is evolving because of technology. A.I is beginning to take over the world and start a new era. For this reason, having software proficiency and being skilled in technology will catch the employer’s attention.
When you’re applying for a role within the tech space and you have limited experience, consider mentioning your passions and interests. Job recruiters like it if you’re genuinely interested and curious.
Hobbies and interests in this field could include:
- Web design and development
Performing arts is another form of creativity. This involves physical, creative activities where you perform on stage in front of an audience.
- Drama and theatre
- Public speeches
Although AI and robots are taking over several jobs, they can’t replace the human mind or skills. In other words, creative activities can’t be replaced by machines – it’s too complex.
Additionally, you’re performing in front of an audience. Not only does it show employers you have a good level of self-confidence, but you’re disciplined and committed because you dedicate time to practice.
It also displays good time management, productivity, and organization skills. Especially when you have a busy schedule.
This time, I’m referring to things we see on-screen:
- Film production and cinematography
As well as your visual artistic skills, you’re also experienced in the technical aspects.
Another attractive part for employers from doing photoshoots or recording scenes is when it comes to collaborations. This is because you’re experienced in managing and organizing events, as well as taking the lead.
Language fluency shows a strong depth of knowledge and ability to learn – a skill not everyone has.
With the student mentality alongside memorization skills, (even if you lack the professional background experiences) employers can feel confident that you’re capable of learning and getting up to speed at minimal time.
Team Sports & Outdoor Activities
Do you enjoy playing any sports? Or have you ever been part of a team and took part in competitive leagues and tournaments?
Working together as a team shows employers that you have good teamwork and leadership skills. You know how to get along in a group-orientated environment where you need to work with others.
This doesn’t just have to be team sports, outdoor activities are also respectable as it shows a strong level of determination and mindset of improving.
Do you volunteer to help out in your local area? Have you taken part in any community involvement and service?
These charitable activities indicate you’re a person with good moral values alongside team ability and management skills. If you’ve helped out and served in areas such as charity shops, you may have even developed customer service skills by helping out local shoppers.
Volunteering experiences are underrated. They come with good communication skills and personal value that gives a good influence to the job recruiter when making the decision to hire you or not.
Gym & Exercising
Do you have a solid regimen or routine that you stick to?
I for sure know the struggle of sticking to a routine and constantly pushing myself every week…
And this doesn’t just have to be hardcore gym workouts. It could also include yoga and meditation.
This gives the reader a feel of your personal life. It also portrays the thought that you know how to look after and take care of yourself physically and mentally.
Not just that, but you’re showing employers you aim to push your limits and do more. In that aspect, the thought of persistence and over-delivering is what’s going to grab their attention.
How to List Your Resume Hobbies and Interests
Identify the Relevant Hobbies & Interests Aligned With The Job Vacancy
As usual, you need to do the background job research. What does the company need and what would they want to see from applicants?
Check if there’s a cultural environment that recruiters are aiming to build – could you meet those expectations? Or do you have anything to your advantage that shows why you’ll fit in better than the other candidates?
One way I find this information is by researching the following:
- Website about page
- Social media accounts (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and twitter)
Take note of any common traits, features, or characteristics that you see as desirable for employers. This will come to good use when you’re deciding which hobbies and interests are best to use.
Focus on the unique value derived from those activities and get creative
Chances are, you want to use this section to stand out. If so, what makes you a variable? And why?
Focus on being different.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your hobbies and interests resume section. At the same time, don’t force yourself to include random hobbies. It’s just as important that it makes logical sense and directly relates to your industry.
Employers prefer having a fresh perspective on board and having someone with something new to offer.
For example, you could implicitly combine your interests with your personality traits to emphasize your skills. Doing this not only makes your hobbies and interests section creative, but it’s unique compared to everyone else since it highlights the value derived from your hobbies or interests subtly that the employers would benefit from.
Implement keywords and buzzwords
Don’t forget to match the job description by using keywords appropriately and naturally. Ultimately, everything you say needs to align with what employers need.
What they’re looking for is value. So, you can amplify the meaningfulness behind your hobbies and interests by including buzzwords. This works particularly well when you’re talking about something you’ve managed to achieve or an outcome you’ve actively contributed towards.
To further highlight your skills, knowledge, and expertise, use examples whenever you can.
Generally speaking, storytelling is a better experience for listeners when examples are used.
Because it creates a better understanding and gives the audience the key takeaways in a clear, easy way that doesn’t require intense deciphering. It gives the impression that your hobbies and interests are credible since you’re giving examples from your experiences.
So, if you can include an example to make your description more straightforward and easier to understand for employers, include them. But, don’t be vague or as complicated as the universe – keep it simple and specific.
Use visual representations
It’s true that employers may not be satisfied when seeing a resume section labeled as hobbies and interests. So, what you can do instead is get creative. Instead of making yours the same as everyone else, be unique.
Since Enhancv is focused on designing formats that impress recruiters, we recommend you use a resume icon to highlight your hobbies and interests. This shouldn’t just stop there though – this concept can be applied to your other resume sections too.
As mentioned earlier, rather than using text to portray what your daily routines look like, you can use a pie chart with a clear heading to illustrate this. E.g, “a day in my life”.
Another example of expressing your personality is by including a “life philosophy quote” you strongly connect with.
The main point is to incorporate your hobbies and interest section through visual representations with more specific headings – e.g. a day in my life, books, life philosophy, passions, etc.
Interested to see what a striking hobbies and interests section looks like? Check out the examples below made with Enhancv that helped candidates secure their new career opportunities!
5 Unique Examples From Enhancv
Substitute Teacher Resume
Like we discussed, using visual representations is effective when it comes to your hobbies and interests section.
From this example, we can see that this candidate is an outgoing, extroverted person who enjoys tech and education. Rather than having a description of it, we can come to the same conclusion just by seeing the pie chart and passions listed. It’s a great example that demonstrates the saying, “less is more.”
This hobby section is very subtle in his resume. It doesn’t take up a large space but instead, it’s kept minimal.
Using resume icons improves the overall experience for employers when they start reading your resume. They’ve made it easier for them by highlighting their hobbies with complimenting colors and a brief description specific for what they like about it.
Freelance Web Developer Resume
Similar to what I mentioned in the second step of this guide, this applicant subtly incorporates their interests to highlight their personality. Ultimately, the employer can conclude that their traits can be used to their advantage to enhance their skills when put together.
Although it’s not labeled as the generic “hobbies and interests”, we can still see what this person’s interests are. They like to study and understand the world and are confident in self-change. Both of these pieces of information suggest this candidate is quick to adapt and a fast learner.
Police Officer Resume
Quite a few things to look at here – but one thing we recognize is the unique content ideas this police officer applicant has used. We can clearly see how he spends his time which also shows us what he’s skilled at (e.g. “building trust”, “syncing with the team”).
On top of that, he uses a life philosophy he strongly resonates with. Walt Disney is an inspiration to many. With this quote alongside his passions listed, we can conclude that he’s a hard worker who’s determined to make the world a happier place.
Social Media Manager Resume
In our last example, I chose something very simple. If your resume already has lots of specific information that’s pretty much covered everything it needs to, then that’s all that matters.
However, you can use a minor section like this if you still have white spaces on your resume that you want to cover. Even keeping it as simple as this showcases your personality positively and gives insight to employers to your life outside the workforce. In this case, we can see this applicant is an active, outgoing type of person.
Were any of our examples above the same as your job profession? If not, don’t worry! We have a list of over 530+ resumes for different jobs in different industries, one which is sure to be yours – you can check them out here.
Common Mistakes When It Comes to Your Resume Hobbies & Interests
- Low productivity or engaging activities – don’t mention you enjoy watching Netflix and taking 4-hour naps in the middle of the afternoon. Including activities where little to no interaction or concentration is required is an awful mistake. It shows employers you’re lazy and have no extra value to add to their company.
- Including controversial beliefs – e.g. political interests will put employers off and it’s not exactly professional. So, avoid bringing them up.
- Hobbies & interests that convey negative information – don’t include any antisocial and dangerous activities. Or jokes which employers may not understand.
- Avoid being generic – this section is mainly about being different and creative. Try to avoid writing something dull and the same as everybody else.
Your hobbies and interests are a reflection of your personality. And, this can be a positive asset if it accurately mirrors the cultural environment of the company you’re applying for.
Try starting off with our ready-made templates with visual formats by clicking here. We make the technical aspects of creating your resume less stressful by handling it for you. If you want to, you can rearrange and change different elements depending on the resume sections and details you need.
Do you have any questions you want to ask? Did you find any of your hobbies and interests in our list? Comment below – I read and respond to every message!