If you came here to find out which hobbies and interests to put on a resume to show recruiters how astonishingly erudite you are, you’re in the wrong place. If you want to know how to list hobbies in order for hiring managers to like you, I’ve got bad news — it’s not going to happen.
The “hobbies and interests” section on a resume is totally skippable. It’s there simply to tell recruiters a word or two about any meaningful ways in which you spend your free time. But listing football as a hobby won’t convince anyone that you value teamwork and will be a great collaborator. Sorry! 😅
In this guide, we’ll debunk the most common myths about the hobbies resume section.
- Whether or not to even put hobbies on a resume
- Which hobbies and interests to list and why
- How to list hobbies and interests on a resume
Stick with us and you’ll learn the truth.
What You Need to Know About Hobbies and Interests on a Resume
First, let’s cover elementary things.
Hobbies vs. interests
Although you would list them in the same section on a resume, hobbies and interests are not the same thing.
Interests are wider concepts, topics, and subjects that you’re fascinated with and want to learn more about. They are usually related to life-long learning, and some common topics include history, physics, language, culture of a nation, etc.
Hobbies, on the other hand, are activities you enjoy in your free time. Most commonly, they include playing sports, writing blogs, pottery, stamp collecting, and similar.
So, both interests and hobbies take up your free time and are not paid; people do them for fun and fulfillment, not as a way of earning money.
Common interests and hobbies
Below is a list of common interests and hobbies that might look good on a resume.
However, if you need a list for inspiration, it probably means you’re forcing it. If you’re only trying to fill in some space, feel free to skip the hobbies section altogether.
- Jewelry making
- Film critic
- Wine sommelier
- Food blog
- Beer tasting
- Cake decorating
- Playing an instrument
- Music critic/blogger
- Music classes
- Horseback riding
- Amateur geology
- Amateur astronomy/stargazing
- Video editing
- Language learning
As you can see, there’s plenty to choose from. The lists above can serve as a reference point but, in themselves, are useless. And in a moment you’ll know why.
Why put interests and hobbies on a resume?
Many career experts say that the interests and hobbies resume section can help you get a subliminal message across. You know, by listing a hobby, you’ll be able to hint at your skills and show how great you’d be in a position you applied for.
Sadly, that’s often not true. Your hobbies and interests won’t let you game the system.
They might perhaps help if you’re applying to a youthful start-up and they might serve as a casual ice-breaker during the interview, but nothing more than that.
As you can see, their purpose is to “decorate” the resume and show a human being behind the document. But even the coolest list of hobbies won’t give you an edge over anyone if you don’t have relevant experience or your resume sucks.
That’s why this section on a resume is entirely optional and you should never prioritize it.
When should you put interests and hobbies on a resume?
There’s no straight answer.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience and you’re struggling to fill in a page, then adding interests and hobbies will come in handy. It will also work if you’re applying to funky workplaces or for very creative roles.
If you’re a senior candidate, so experienced that your achievements fill the entire page, or if you’re applying for a stiff corporate job in a conservative industry, do not include this section on your resume.
However, if the company asks you to share your hobbies or interests on a resume, you’ll obviously need to play by the rules.
Where to put hobbies on a resume?
If you checked out our How to Create a Resume article, you know that the bottom of your resume page is reserved for additional sections, such as certifications, languages, awards, projects, volunteer work (all of these take priority over hobbies!), and hobbies.
So place interests and hobbies at the end, below all other sections.
But before you do it, think about what you’re trying to achieve.
If you feel the need to make up for the lack of substance in other resume sections, maybe what you consider a “hobby” can actually be more meaningful elsewhere. “Photography,” for instance, can easily go to the skills section.
If you think that a given hobby will hint at a soft skill you have, you’ll likely be better off just listing that skill verbatim in your soft skills section.
If volunteering somewhere is your hobby, it will make more sense to create a separate “Volunteering Experience” section below your work experience and mention it there. It’ll give you more space to highlight this potentially important factor (hiring managers loooove candidates with volunteering experience).
How to list interests and hobbies on a resume?
1. Be concise.
Don’t feel the need to be too witty and creative.
2. Be specific.
If you’re reading, mention your preferred type of literature or favorite authors. If you’re into sports, list your favorite sport and achievements. Generally, try to think of details and qualitative or quantitative achievements to list in order to be as specific as possible.
Take a look at some bad examples below. Notice how empty and meaningless the section looks.
Now, check out good examples.
Sample Hobbies and Interest sections on a resume
3. Be genuine.
Don’t dig through a company’s website or hiring managers’ social media to find what their personal interests are and then include them in your resume so they’ll like you.
Don’t change your personality just because you want to get that interview. Be sincere and list your real interests and hobbies. But also be cunning and choose the ones that are not super basic (bye-bye, Netflix&chill).
4. Be smart.
In this context, it’s best to stray away from bringing up hobbies that seem violent, dangerous, or reveal too much personal information (so no gun rights activism, no religious associations, and similar).
Debunking interests and hobbies on a resume myths
Although we had fun reading them, here are a few widely shared pieces of advice we certainly wouldn’t recommend to you.
Hilariously bad (real) piece of advice on putting hobbies on a resume:If you’re applying for a job at a young, energetic company, don’t list “Stamp Collecting” as a hobby because it will make you look introverted.
Uhm, no. If it really is your hobby, mentioning it will do you no harm. We promise.
Hilariously bad (real) piece of advice on putting hobbies on a resume:If you’re applying for a software engineer job, mention “exploring new methods of building websites” in your hobbies section.
Again, no. It’s part of your job for goodness sake, listing it as a hobby will make you look desperate. Plus, it might raise some red flags. Why can’t you enjoy your free time, boo?
Hilariously bad (real) piece of advice on putting hobbies on a resume:If a hiring manager sees two solid resumes of similarly-qualified candidates, they’ll decide to interview the one with a more interesting list of hobbies.
Oh really? We’re pretty sure they’ll interview both. Even if they’re hiring for a cultural fit, a face-to-face conversation is a much more reliable vibe check than a list of interests written on a piece of paper.
Summary of the Key Points
- On your resume, list meaningful hobbies and interests, but don’t lie in order for people to like you.
- If you don’t have much experience and your resume looks empty-ish, definitely list your hobbies.
- If your hobby is volunteering, create a separate section for it.
- If you’re experienced, no need for hobbies to take up space on your resume.
- When listing hobbies and interests, be specific: include as many details as possible, and quantitative and qualitative achievements (if applicable).
- Be careful about who you take advice from.