“Hobbies and interests have no place on the resume.”
Done right, hobbies on a resume can help you stand out from other candidates, show a bit of your personality to the hiring manager, and potentially even get you the job!
That said, not every resume needs hobbies and interests, and at the same time, not every hobby belongs on a resume.
In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about hobbies on a resume, including when to list them, how to pick the right ones to mention, and more!
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- Should You Mention Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume?
- 12 Best Hobbies and Interests to Put On Your Resume
- How to List Hobbies and Interests on a Resume
- 4 Tips to Keep in Mind When Listing Hobbies and Interests
- 40 Best Hobbies and Interests to Put on Your Resume [Complete List]
Let’s dive in!
Should You Mention Hobbies & Interests on Your Resume?
There’s no straight-up answer to this question as it depends on several factors.
For example, if you’re a professional with many years of experience in your field, you could probably do without a hobbies and interests section on your resume.
As a seasoned professional, you probably have tons of skills, work experience, and certifications to fill your resume with and set yourself apart from the competition.
If adding a “hobbies and interests” section will make your resume spill over to page two, then you should definitely leave it out.
On the other hand, if you’re a recent graduate with little work experience, adding your hobbies and interests to your resume can help you stand out as a candidate, as well as help fill up your resume to take up an entire page.
But enough with the hypotheticals! Let us tell you exactly when to mention hobbies and interests on your resume and how they can benefit your job application.
What’s the Difference Between Hobbies and Interests?
First things first - what are hobbies and interests?
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same thing:
- Interests are topics, ideas, or subjects that interest you, fascinate you, and you want to learn more about. Culinary art, history, and classical music are all examples of various interests.
- Hobbies are activities you actually engage in. Some examples of hobbies may include cooking, playing basketball, or visiting museums.
Hobbies show the hiring manager how you spend your free time and what kind of additional skills you may possess. For example, if you include “basketball” as your hobby, you’re also telling the hiring manager that you have great teamwork skills.
Interests, on the other hand, indicate what topics and ideas you’re currently interested in or you’d like to explore in the future. If, for example, you’re applying for a job that requires relocation and you list traveling as your interest, you may seem like a more relevant candidate because you enjoy traveling to new places.
So, as you can see, hobbies and interests can add value to your resume if they’re relevant to the job and if they point to soft skills the company may be looking for.
Which leads us to the million-dollar question: when exactly should you include hobbies and interests on your resume?
When to Include Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume
You should include hobbies and interests on your resume when:
- You still have space after including all the essential resume sections (contact information, work experience, education, and skills).
- You have limited work experience, education, and skills related to the position you are applying for.
- The company puts emphasis on its employees’ personalities and unique traits.
- The company specifically asks to list additional hobbies and interests.
- Your hobbies and interests show that you’re good at your job. E.g. if you’re applying for a writing role, having Dungeons & Dragons as an interest might help (as it shows that you’re creative).
New to resume-making? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
12 Top Hobbies and Interests to Put On Your Resume
So here’s the takeaway: for hobbies and interests to add value to your resume, they should be somewhat relevant to the job you’re applying for.
In most cases, though, candidates list pastime activities that say nothing to the hiring manager reading their resume, like watching movies or listening to music.
To help you avoid such a mistake, we’ve listed some of the best hobbies and interests to put on your resume, based on companies’ most commonly required skills and abilities:
#1. Community Involvement
In a nutshell, volunteering shows initiative, empathy, and the ability to see beyond your personal interests. On top of this, volunteering teaches organizational skills, teamwork, and leadership.
Communication skills - both verbal and written - are some of the most sought-after soft skills by companies.
As such, having writing as a hobby can effectively show potential employers that your communication skills extend beyond the workplace and are, as such, stronger than other candidates.
Blogging is another hobby that proves you’ve got excellent communication skills, which is essential for most roles.
At the same time, blogging as a hobby also shows that you’re a self-starter that can work on independent projects, which is another very in-demand skill for most roles.
#4. Learning Languages
It’s no secret that speaking foreign languages can improve your chances of getting a job.
For starters, employers are always on the lookout for candidates who can communicate with people from different nationalities and can be an asset when dealing with international markets.
On top of that, learning languages is associated with improving valuable skills like problem-solving and dealing with abstract concepts, both of which are desirable employee skills.
Some of the jobs where listing learning languages as a hobby can come in handy include social workers, human resources managers, flight attendants, community health workers, hotel managers, customer service agents, etc.
Just like all the other hobbies on this list, photography can represent you in more ways than “this candidate likes to take pictures.”
After all, photography takes creativity, interpersonal skills, and even technical skills!
This means that, in addition to all the jobs that require photography skills, there are many other positions out there that could benefit from a candidate who’s into photography.
Traveling may not seem like the best hobby to include on your resume at first sight. After all, it simply involves picking a destination and being a tourist, right?
Well, not exactly.
Someone who loves traveling is also likely to be:
- Curious to learn new things, experience new cultures, and meet new people
- Well-organized and adaptable to new situations and people
- Not afraid to step out of their comfort zone
All of these personality traits make for an adaptable and flexible employee, something that employers appreciate!
Sports - and any kind of physical activity, really - are known to improve brain health and your ability to do everyday activities.
Not only, but sports also help you develop self-discipline, teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills.
All of these are essential skills that could help you “adapt” your resume to different kinds of jobs.
Reading is one of the best hobbies to put on your resume, regardless of what types of books you like to read.
Reading exercises the brain, improves the ability to focus, increases general knowledge, can sharpen your communication skills, and helps relieve stress.
#9. Making Music
Making music not only takes creativity, but also a lot of determination, patience, and endurance. Not to mention, studies show that playing an instrument can also improve your memory and focus.
Showing such qualities can instantly make you more attractive to hiring managers.
Yoga is known to create mental clarity, relieve chronic stress patterns, relax the mind, and sharpen concentration.
And - let’s be honest - who doesn’t want an employee who’s mentally clear, unstressed, and able to concentrate on their work?
To do any kind of art, you need to be creative, which is among the most popular transferable skills companies are looking for in 2022.
According to this Adobe study, creativity has gained the most value in driving salary increases in the past five years. That’s also because creativity is also linked to inventiveness, imagination, and problem-solving abilities.
Dancing is more than just a fun pastime. It improves your cognitive abilities, and collaboration skills (especially if you’re dancing with a partner), and can help you unwind and keep your stress levels low.
How to List Hobbies and Interests on a Resume
Yep, you heard that right.
There IS a right and wrong way to list hobbies and interests on your resume.
In this section, we’ll teach you all you need to know to make your hobbies and interests section as effective as possible!
#1. Decide whether you need them
The first thing you want to do is decide whether you’d benefit from adding hobbies and interests to your resume. As we already mentioned, hobbies and interests can be a breath of fresh air for your resume, but only in certain circumstances.
If you’re a professional with many years of work experience under your sleeve, your resume can do without a hobbies and interests section.
You already have a lot of professional achievements, relevant skills, and qualifications to make your resume a full one-pager, while adding a hobbies section would mean removing some other critical section from your resume.
On the other hand, if you’re a student with almost no work experience or skills, or if you’re applying to a startup or to a company that puts more emphasis on company culture, then you could definitely benefit from listing your hobbies and interests.
The optimal length for a resume is one page.
If including a hobbies and interests section spills your resume over to the second page, that means that you can probably just skip including the section in the first place.
#2. Research the Company
So, you’ve decided it’s a good idea to include your hobbies and interests on your resume. But, which ones do you actually include?
To make the best possible choice, start by researching the company. See if they have any specific work culture, work retreats, and what qualities would complement your role.
Here’s exactly where you should look:
- The job ad. Read the job ad and identify the type of skills that they’re looking for.
- The company website and any employee profiles you can find there.
- Their social media accounts. Specifically, their LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
#3. Choose the Right Skills
Once you’ve done this, you should think about how specific skills or requirements may transfer to a hobby or interest and tailor yours to the job accordingly.
You may have dozens of exciting hobbies and interests, but your resume isn’t the right place to list them all. Just to reiterate - you want your hobbies and interests to be as relevant as possible.
So, for example, if the job ad mentions the company’s looking for someone who’s “outgoing” or a “great team player,” then any kind of sport is a good hobby to list on your resume.
Meanwhile, anything that involves you sitting alone and being introverted (e.g. reading or knitting) is not very relevant.
An alternative approach to choosing the right hobbies and interests is to use them to fill your skill gaps.
Let’s say that you’re an entry-level professional and you’re applying for your first job as an illustrator. Chances are, you lack some of the technical skills required for the job, simply due to your lack of professional experience.
In such a case, choosing a hobby that proves you’ve got an eye for design and aesthetics can help your application. Anything art-related, including photography, painting, drawing, etc., will show the hiring manager that you’re passionate about this line of work.
#4. Create a Separate Section (and Push It Down)
By now you should have a clear idea of what hobbies and interests to add to your resume.
The rest is fairly easy.
Simply create a separate section titled “Hobbies and Interests,” and place it at the end of your resume. It’s crucial that this section doesn’t overshadow the more important parts of your resume, like your contact information, work experience, education, or even any volunteer work or internships you’ve completed.
Ultimately, adding a “Hobbies and Interests” section at the end of your resume is a great way to wrap up your resume.
It can help you make an impression that extends beyond the professional aspect and give the recruiter a little extra something to remember you by.
Want to start your resume in a way that will grab the hiring manager’s attention? Learn how to write a resume summary with our guide!
#5. List Up to Four Interests or Hobbies
Last but not least, it’s important to list the right amount of hobbies and interests on your resume.
We recommend listing 4-6 total, at most. Anything less, and your hobbies section will look too empty. Anything more, and it’ll look like you’re just trying to fill in space.
4 Tips to Keep in Mind When Listing Hobbies and Interests
Here are some additional tips you should always remember when you’re creating the “Hobbies and Interests” section of your resume:
#1. Find out what you specifically enjoy about your hobbies
People enjoy hobbies for different reasons.
For example, someone might enjoy photography because they love being outdoors and capturing beautiful landscapes, while someone else might enjoy it because it gives them an opportunity to remember every place they visit or every person they meet.
By identifying exactly what it is that you enjoy about your hobbies, it can be easier to describe them on your resume and talk about them genuinely in case the hiring manager asks about them during the job interview.
#2. Be honest
Just like with everything else on your resume, you should be honest about the hobbies you list.
Meaning, don’t lie about hobbies just because you think they sound cool, and don’t over-exaggerate something that can come back and bite you later on during the interview.
Just because you like to go on walks sometimes, doesn’t mean you’re “passionate about hiking”. Imagine the hiring manager’s also a hiking enthusiast and they ask you about the latest trail you hiked, but the only thing you can mention is how you enjoy taking a one-hour walk around your neighborhood daily to clear your mind.
In such cases, it’s better to be honest and write this:
- Physical exercise: exercising daily for 45 minutes by taking a walk in nature.
Instead of this:
#3. Be specific
The more specific you can be about your hobbies and interests, the higher the chances to stand out from other applicants and make an impression on the hiring manager.
Here’s what we mean by that:
- Learning languages: studying and practicing some of the most-spoken languages in the world, such as Mandarin and French.
#4. Keep these hobbies OUT of your resume
A very thin line separates unique from weird, and you want to make sure not to cross it.
To be on the safe side, avoid listing hobbies and interests that might be considered weird or controversial, such as any of the following:
- Hobbies that signal antisocial behavior or activities.
- Hobbies and interests that could be misinterpreted, even if you meant them as a joke (e.g. partying like there’s no tomorrow).
- Hobbies and interests that reveal personal information such as your political or religious views.
- Hobbies that could be considered violent or dangerous (e.g. lighting things on fire).
- Hobbies and interests with little or no interactivity.
40 Best Hobbies and Interests to Put on Your Resume [Complete List]
Looking for inspiration?
Here are several hobbies you can include, by category, based on your personality type.
Sports Interest and Hobby Examples
Generally speaking, there are two types of sports you can include on your resume - individual and team-oriented.
Depending on the sport, they either show you work well with others, or that you have the self-discipline and perseverance to work alone (or both!)
Endurance sports (like jogging) show your drive and discipline.
Team sports (like football, basketball, etc.) show that you’re comfortable working with others.
Which one you might want to include depends on you and the job. Here are some sports hobbies you could list that will paint you in a positive light:
- Marathon running
- Mountain climbing
Most of these sports are outside and physical activities. They show that you’re comfortable with working with other people and that you have discipline. Therefore, they’re relevant for most job roles that require you to be communicative and self-driven.
Analytical Thinking Interest and Hobby Examples
What’s a thought hobby?
Anything that points to your creative skills and imagination.
If you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, you can list the following hobbies:
- Playing a musical instrument
- Blog writing
These all point to your analytical thinking and that you’re a creative person.
Possibly more calm and self-composed, and also that you think before you speak.
These qualities can be relevant depending on the job.
Though, your interest section doesn’t necessarily have to consist only of sports.
Unique Interest and Hobby Examples
Do you have a particularly unique hobby that not a lot of people are into?
This can work in your favor and help you stand out, as long as it’s still in the unique area and not in the weird one.
The HR manager shuffling through a stack of resumes can remember your unique hobby and come back to your resume later. Or they could even ask about you during the interview, so be prepared to talk about it.
Some unique hobbies that can speak about your character may include:
- Stand-up comedy
How do these hobbies help?
Archery implies you might be a precise and focused person. And yoga shows that you can be calm and don’t lose your cool in stressful situations.
Though, just how effective those hobbies will be in your resume may depend on the job.
But as long as it’s not too weird, a unique hobby can help you get your foot in the door and show that you’re not afraid of being different.
Looking for tips on writing a CV instead of a resume? We've got you covered! Head over to our in-depth guide explaining how to write a CV!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions about hobbies and interests on a resume? Check out the answers below:
1. Should hobbies and interests be on a resume?
If you have the extra space to list them, then yes, you should include hobbies and interests on your resume.
Hobbies and interests can help you stand out from other candidates by shining more light into your personality and can also highlight skills you may have that employers seek, such as creativity, organization, problem-solving, etc.
2. What are some good hobbies and interests to put on my resume?
Some of the best hobbies or interests you can put on your resume are community involvement, writing, blogging, learning languages, photography, traveling, doing sports, reading, and art.
3. What are some hobbies and interests for a student resume?
Some hobbies and interests you can put on your resume as a student include creative writing, blogging, volunteering, learning a new language, and singing and/or playing an instrument.
And that’s a wrap on everything you need to know about hobbies and interests on a resume!
Before you go and start applying what you learned to your own resume, let’s go over the main points we covered in this article:
- Hobbies and interests can help shine a light on a candidate’s personality and get them to stand out from other applicants with similar work experience and skills.
- Include hobbies and interests on your resume if you still have space after listing all the essential sections, if you have limited work experience and relevant skills, if the company specifically requires it, or if the company puts emphasis on its employees’ character traits.
- Some of the best hobbies to add to your resume include community service, writing/blogging, learning languages, traveling, doing sports, and reading.
- Before creating a separate section for your hobbies and interests, first make sure that your resume would benefit from them, then research the company, and choose the right skills that could complement your skills and qualifications.
- Four things to remember when you’re compiling your hobbies and interests are, to be honest, be specific, and keep hobbies that may be considered weird or antisocial out of your resume.