The most effective way to list hobbies and interests on a resume

By Zipjob Team on September 13, 2016


Many job seekers have trouble figuring out what hobbies and interests to include on a resume. Should you even include hobbies and interests on your resume?

The answer is that it depends on where you are in your career and what your hobbies or interests are. This section could be an excellent way to show the employer you’re a good fit outside of the experience section.

By the end of this article you will know whether or not you should include them on your resume and how to include them effectively.

Should you include hobbies or interests on a resume?

Okay, so here you are trying to write a resume that will land an interview. Would someone looking at your resume be impressed by what your hobbies or interests are? Is it relevant in anyway to the position you’re applying for? If the answer is no, then you might be better leaving this section off.

Sorry to break it guys, no recruiter is going to hire you over someone else because you like travel or fishing. This isn’t a Facebook profile, your resume is a document that tells the employer why you’re a good match for the job.

What if you have trouble coming up with hobbies or interests that would be relevant or effective? . Don’t worry, later in this article we’ll show you how to easily find hobbies or interests that will be relevant and effective.

What hobbies or interests should I include?

Include the hobbies or interests that help show the employer why you’re a good fit for the job. Say you’re a recruiter or employer looking to hire a web developer.

Which candidate comes off as a better pick for the position?

A) Hobbies & Interests — Fishing, Playing guitar and Travel

B) Activities & Interests — Blogging on web development, Solving complex coding issues, and volunteering to help develop and maintain a website for a non-profit group.

You can clearly see what that candidate B has the more relevant and effective hobbies and interests. When deciding on what hobbies and interests you could include in your resume, look at it from an employer’s perspective.

Examples of good hobbies and interests to include on your resume:

  • Blogging on a subject or published writings (whatever industry you’re in).
  • Part of a group or association — (i.e. Member of the New York web development conference).
  • Activities that show leadership in something — (i.e. — Organized and lead a nonprofit aimed at feeding the hungry).
  • Social/Charitable — (i.e. — Mentor for Big Brother program, Volunteering at the local soup kitchen).
  • Anything else that could be of relevance to the job. You can use both hard and soft skills to show an employer you’re the right fit for the job.

Examples of hobbies and interests NOT to include on your resume.

  • Anything that’s vague or irrelevant — (i.e. — Fishing, traveling, cooking, movies etc).
  • Anything regarding political associations
  • Controversial issues — (i.e. — Member of a pro abortion group, gun rights advocate).
  • Dangerous/unusual — (i.e. — Base jumping, UFC, sword swallowing) — Lol, you’d be surprised!

Exception — If you have interests and activities that are relevant, you could also include travel and list out some of the countries visited. Almost every human being enjoys traveling so simply just writing travel is too vague and should be avoided.

What if I have no hobbies or interests that are relevant?

Okay, you may be reading this and thinking “I can’t think of any hobbies or interests that would fit in with my resume”. Relax! If you can’t find anything that would be of relevance, it’s just fine.

But if you dig a little deeper and hustle, you can easily find something that could be of use. Look for local organizations or associations in your field you can join.

You can even set up a website and blog on any topic in your industry. Showing some interests and activities outside of your work experience could really give you a leg up over the rest of the candidates.

How many hobbies or interests should I list?

Keep this section small and towards the very end of your resume. You can put in 2–3 of the ones you feel are most relevant. Avoid too many words or overcrowding this section. This should be just a small piece that helps the overall message you’re conveying to the employer, that you’re a good fit.

Bonus Tip — Should I call it hobbies and Interests?

Here is where you may want to change it up. When you think of hobbies, you think of crafts, fishing, sports, music etc. You may want to change the label of this section to be more professional. You can label this section activities and interests or even other information. You can change the labeling a bit depending on what you’re putting in.

Take a look at this good example and hows its listed:

So to wrap it up, this section could really provide a boost to your resume effectiveness. Keep it relevant and avoid “fluff” on your resume. If you have trouble coming up with supporting interests or activities, follow the advice above and you should be able to come up with a few. If you’re still unable to find anything that’s relevant, no worries, focus on making the other sections of your resume effective and relevant!

Good luck with your job search and don’t forget about our Free Resume Review!