How to List Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume

Posted December 15, 2020

What is a Resume?

A resume is a one page document that you send to potential employers to provide them with information on your work experience and educational background. Sharing this information with potential employers is important because it provides context on why you are the right fit for their company and the job for which you are applying.

Why Include Hobbies and Interests?

Depending on the type of position and culture of the company you are applying for, it may be appropriate to also include a section with your hobbies and interests on your resume. Including your hobbies and interests on your resume can provide employers with insight into who you are and your personality. 

For some employers, they may just want to know their candidates better on a human level. Other employers, however, may feel that knowing your hobbies and interests can help them understand if you have a personal tie to their work. For example, if you apply to work at a public relations company that represents athletes, and you regularly play tennis, including that on your resume can help show the company why you want to work in sports PR specifically. 

Hobbies vs. Interests

While hobbies and interests can be closely related, they are not necessarily the same thing. A hobby is typically an activity that someone participates in, while an interest is a subject that someone possesses enthusiasm for. If you play tennis three times a week, you would want to describe that as a hobby because you do it regularly. However, if you closely follow professional tennis, you may want to describe it as an interest.

When to Include Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume

There are certain circumstances in which including your hobbies and interests on your resume make sense. You should always research a company to determine whether or not including a hobbies and interests section would be appropriate for that company and that role. If you do not have much work experience, either at all or in the specific field you want to work in, sharing your hobbies and interests can be an avenue or demonstrating why you want to work in that field and your passion for it.  

What Hobbies and Interests to Include 

You should be thoughtful and conscientious when selecting what hobbies and interests you include on your resume. When sharing your hobbies and interests with potential employers, think about whether or not they demonstrate a valuable skill or a quality that makes you a good employee or match for their company. You also want the hobbies and interests you include on your resume to complement and make sense in the broad context of your resume.

Potential hobbies and interests you could share on your resume include:

  • Artistic pursuits
  • Athletic pursuits
  • Blogging 
  • Community service

How to Format Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume

You should list hobbies and interests last on your resume. You want to prioritize your work and educational history and skills on your resume because those are most relevant to employers. You should keep the hobbies and interests section of your resume fairly short, only highlighting a few key ones. Do not just list out your hobbies and interests; include a one sentence description for each. 

Here is an example of how to format the hobbies and interests section of your resume:

Hobbies and Interests

  • Community service: Delivers bottled water to homeless individuals once a week.
  • Running: Trains for and runs in half-marathons.
  • Photography: Takes and develops 35mm photographs.

When NOT to Include Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume

It will not always be appropriate or necessary to include hobbies and interests on your resume. If you have a lot of experience in your field, employers will likely have significantly more interest in learning about your professional qualifications than your hobbies. If you are applying to jobs in a field that requires certain hard skills or certifications, such as law or accounting, your possession and mastery of these will likely be employers’ primary concern. 

What Hobbies and Interests NOT to Include 

Even if you are applying to a job where it is appropriate to include your hobbies and interests on your resume, that does not mean you should include anything that you participate in or enjoy. 

Below is a list of hobbies and interests that you should not include, no matter the type of job or the environment of that specific company:

  • Hobbies and interests that include unhealthy, dangerous or illegal behaviors or activities. 
  • Hobbies and interests that do not require much initiative or participation on your part.
  • Hobbies and interests that indicate personal information or affiliations you may not want to share with an employer, such as political or religious beliefs.

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