Searching for the job you want at a company you actually want to work for can be hard enough. Even when you think you’ve found a good fit, there’s the trouble of the next step: securing the position. Resumes are integral to demonstrating not only your qualifications but also separating you from the pack of other applicants.
If you’re looking to show off your special skills, putting hobbies and interests on your resume adds personality to your job application. Even if other applicants have similar work experience, your hobbies and interests will differentiate you and show how you can uniquely contribute to the work environment.
Why should you put hobbies and interests on your resume?
Hobbies and interests can give your resume a boost from typical and traditional to individual and forward-thinking. Depending on what kind of position you’re applying for and what company you’re looking at, you can frame your hobbies and resumes to the tone of your career. Listing your hobbies can not only add to your qualifications but also demonstrate unique passions and well-rounded character.
You want to show you’re a team player.
If the company is focused on a team environment, you can frame your hobbies as a way to network and connect with other employees. List interests that require team effort or even a leadership position. These should be hobbies done with others, such as team sports or volunteering.
You want to separate yourself from other candidates.
Including your hobbies and interests is a great way to show off your unique personality. Do you have a hobby that’s a guaranteed conversation starter? What’s something that you love that’s uncommon and original? Including hobbies like these will pique the interest of your employer and make your application even more memorable.
You want show off extra industry knowledge.
If you’re applying for a digital marketing position and have a passion for graphic design, including a hobbies section will only advance you in the job application process. Hobbies that relate to the field — even if not the job position directly — can help develop your persona as a well-rounded candidate who goes above and beyond.
When to include them.
While hobbies and interests are a great way to distinguish yourself in job applications and show off extra skills, it’s important to consider how and when to include them. As you tailor a resume to a specific job or company, you should also tailor what hobbies and interests you include. For example, if it’s a more traditional company, you might not want to include “extreme adventure sports” or “food blogging”; rather, you can include an analytical skill like “crosswords” or the technological skill of “graphic design.”
Hobbies don’t have to be directly related to the job you’re working on but still should be somewhat related to what you’re applying for. If the interest doesn’t immediately translate to the company’s mission, include a short sentence or description of what skills you’ve taken away by doing this hobby. Being a good runner shows that you’re fit, driven and goal-driven; loving to skydive means you take calculated risks; being a board game champion can show you’re competitive, intelligent and strategy-oriented.
Example hobbies and interests.
So what hobbies should you put on your resume? First, it’s important to examine what kind of role you’re applying for and what the company wants from you. Are they more technical? Artistic? Focused on team-building? All of the above? Make sure to pick hobbies that fit the role and the company culture.
While there’s a multitude of hobbies to choose from, once you’ve nailed down what the company’s looking for, pick hobbies that you love and you’re excited to talk about. While you should focus on who and what you’re applying for, it’s inauthentic to pick something you’re not passionate about. The hobbies and interest section is a place to show off more about you — so pick a few that truly show you off!
- Video production
- Graphic design
- Sound editing
- Playing a musical instrument
- Sports teams
- Book club
- Event planning
- Debate/public speaking
- Extreme sports
- Model building
- Stand-up comedy
When to leave hobbies off your resume.
Even though hobbies and interests can help separate you from the pack and develop your application, not every hobby or interest should make your final resume submission. Be careful and critical with what you choose to make sure you’re using your precious resume space to its full potential.
They don’t match up with the job you’re applying for.
When including hobbies on your resume, make sure to check the job description of the position you’re applying for. If there are recommended skills that aren’t immediately apparent in your work experience, your hobbies section is a great place to demonstrate your ability. Make sure you include interests that are relevant not only to the field but also the company’s culture.
They aren’t meaningful to you.
It’s not worth your effort to include hobbies that you aren’t passionate about. Your resume should be an accurate representation of your character, even down to the extra interests. If you haven’t played the trumpet since college pep band or only took an introductory design class, don’t list these as hobbies. Choose activities that you care about.
You aren’t able to talk about them.
The hobbies and interests section of your resume is a great way to connect with an interviewer outside of the formal job talk. If you’re not able to share exciting stories and relevant information about your hobbies, then this talk will most definitely be cut short. Your hobbies should be an opportunity to flesh out your character and show off a bit of your personality.
While picking what hobbies and interests to include is a specific, selective process, listing ones that apply to the company mission and your own passions is a great way to boost your resume. You’ll not only make yourself a memorable, standout candidate, but you’ll also be able to put a little bit more “you” into your application — and who wouldn’t want that!
Zoë Kaplan is an English major at Wesleyan University in the class of 2020. She writes about women, theater, sports, and everything in between. Read more of Zoë’s work at www.zoëkaplan.com.