List of Hobbies & Interests to Put on a Resume [Updated for 2020]

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List of Hobbies & Interests to Put on a Resume [Updated for 2020]

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Joanna Ryś

Sourcing Specialist

Joanna Ryś

Updated:

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So you’ve made it through all the other, more challenging parts of your resume — and things are looking pretty good! You would hire you if you were the recruiter! 😄 But now that you look at your resume, you notice that you have a little bit of room left over. Just a few lines’ worth. Still, it seems like a crying shame to let that room go to waste. And the entire layout would look better if you could fill that last little bit of space…So, what should you put there?

If you don’t have one already, this would be the perfect place for a Hobbies section

“Hobbies?” You ask, “Are they really relevant?”
Well, yes and no.

It’s true that the Hobbies section is probably the least important resume section, and that’s why, if you are short on room, don’t even think about skipping any skills or experience just so you can tell the recruiter you like a round of mini golf every now and then. 

But if you do have a little room left over after having listed all of the more important sections, adding a Hobbies section might actually help you.

How? Well, your hobbies tell people a little more about you, personally — the recruiter already knows all they should know about your professional life after having combed through the rest of your resume.

Hobbies and Interests to Put on Your Resume

Telling them about your hobbies gives you a more human face, and hobbies can even reinforce aspects of your personality that you were trying to drive home by listing your skills.

If you spend your free time high-fiving your teammates at basketball practice, this tells the recruiter that your claims of enjoying being a part of a team are much more than just empty buzzwords. See where I’m going with this?

So let’s work on this section together. 😄

On a side note, if you haven’t yet started writing your resume at all, the Hobbies section you may or may not include is not a priority for you right now. Check out the detailed guide I wrote on how to write a solid resume here.

If we’re on the same page, let’s do this!

What your hobbies and interests say about you

Plenty of people think fail to understand that even little things like the clothes they wear or the movies they watch say a whole lot about them as people.

And if that’s the case, how much more does the way you decide to spend your hard-earned money and hours of your free time say about you?

The answer is, a lot. And a seasoned recruiter will see the meaning behind your words immediately.

What your hobbies and interests say about you

Sports

Sports is a very wide category, with something for almost everyone, and this is why the type of sports you prefer is telling. What they all have in common, on the other hand, is that you have to be relatively for to do them at all, so the recruiter reading your resume will know you stay in shape, or rather that you can be both active and disciplined.

Individual sports, like tennis, swimming and marathon-running

You are likely quite competitive, but it’s yourself you’re competing against — beating your own personal best is motivating to you in and of itself, even if nobody is watching…and this means you are focused on and passionate about what you do.

Furthermore, in individual sports, success and failure are yours alone, meaning you are ready to take full responsibility for your choices and not hide behind others hoping they pull your weight. 

Team sports, like soccer, basketball and volleyball 

As the cliche goes, there is no “I” in team. To enjoy team sports, you need to be able to accept that you are not the best at everything, and that every team member has a part to play if you are to win.

People who enjoy team sports tend to be:

  • tolerant,
  • extroverted
  • and good communicators. 

Extreme sports, like rock-climbing, surfing, skydiving and car-racing

Oooh, so you like to live dangerously, hmm? Unsurprisingly, people who do extreme sports don’t shy away from taking risks. They also tend to deal well with high levels of stress and pressure and have few problems pushing boundaries.

Puzzles, crosswords and chess

People who enjoy such activities tend to be analytically-minded and pensive, with good, if not particularly fast, problem-solving skills — they will take as much time as they need when making complex choices, but rest assured they will have considered all of the other options carefully.

More often than not, they are listeners rather than talkers and tend to be rather introverted in general.

Art

People who like to pursue artistic activities, no matter whether it’s sculpting, painting or photography, are often sensitive and creative.

Often rather introverted, people who enjoy either creating or appreciating art may not be great with small talk, but likely have a lot of interesting observations to share once you get to know them a little better.

Cooking and baking

People who enjoy cooking and baking in their free time are both good at following instructions until they learn the ropes, and then putting their own little twist on things once they get the hang of something.

They also tend to pay attention to details — not everyone can tell cilantro from parsley at first glance!

Films

People who list cinema as a hobby tend to be perceptive and pensive, and often have something of an artsy streak themselves.

Keep in mind, however, that when a recruiter sees “Films” or “Cinema” in the Hobbies section, they are not thinking about Michael Bay’s newest 90 minute-long hyper-edited flick full of explosions and half-naked leads.

Travel

People who love to travel to new places are typically open-minded, curious and adventurous. They don’t mind making a mistake if they can learn something in the process. Keen travelers are likely to understand that there can be many points of view of equal value, and that sometimes making a small effort to understand someone can go a long way towards reaching a consensus.

Reading and blogging

People who spend their time reading and writing are usually articulate and possess a wide vocabulary. They can also be creative and passionate about the things that interest them, no matter how niche. Readers are also often patient people who value the long game over short-term gains.

Collecting things

People who enjoy collecting things, no matter whether they’re stamps, shells, coins or rare books, are also often patient and methodical — they pay attention to detail and don’t mind waiting for something to pay off. Collectors are also typically introverted, individualistic people who don’t need the company of others to keep busy.

Surprised at how much information one can glean from the simple “What do you like to do in your free time?” question? You shouldn’t be! 

What your hobbies and interests say about you

Tailoring your Hobbies section to the job offer

Now that you know how recruiters will be interpreting the hobbies you list, let’s take a moment to think about how you can make that work to your advantage

A well-crafted Hobbies section can make up for gaps in your resume, for example.

What do I mean?

Well, if the position you are applying for is, say, copywriter, but you’ve never worked as a copywriter before, mentioning how much you enjoy blogging in the Hobbies section is a great way to show you are no rookie when it comes to writing. 

Listing the right hobbies can also support your claims about what kind of employee you will be.

Anyone can say they are a team player, but if your Hobbies section shows you are exactly that — in your free time and on your own dime, to boot — your case will be much more convincing.

Tailoring your Hobbies section to the job offer

Similarly, anyone can claim to be well-organized, but backing this up with examples of, say, charity events you have run shows that you actually are. You get the picture.

So take another look at that job offer and think about who the company is looking for — not only in terms of hard skills/qualifications, but in terms of soft skills/personality. And then decide which hobby you have that can demonstrate your fitness for the position.

Mix things up

If you enjoy a variety of recreational activities, think about which different ones you can list to showcase your flexibility and versatility. Not to mention that the more relatable you seem to the recruiter, the more likely you are to get invited in for an interview.

However, let me be clear on one thing: you should be telling the truth.

Humans are complex creatures, so chances are you are some mix of intro- and extroverted, and enjoy both long solo hikes AND a good game of football with your friends. If, however, that’s not the case, don’t pretend it is. There are plenty of jobs that are perfect for introverts, so if that’s who you are, own it.

Things you should never, ever do in your Hobbies section

With all that said, let’s take a moment to look at this list of mistakes people make in the Hobbies section of their resume way more often than you’d think.

Things you should never, ever do in your Hobbies section

The Hobbies section may seem somewhat irrelevant at first glance, but getting it right can really score you some points. Completely botching it, on the other hand, can land your resume right in the trash can, along with all the hard work you put into it.

Don’t:

Lie…or even exaggerate

I can never stress this enough — lying about anything on your resume is going to come back to bite you right in the butt sooner or later. Listing something you think sounds super rad in your Hobbies section might seem like a good idea at the time, but pulling a Costanza when applying for a job is likely to end in embarrassment. 

Do you want to end up stammering your way through an utterly nonsensical answer when the recruiter decides to ask you all about that the shipwrecks you’ve scuba dived into?

Because that’s exactly what might happen.
And do you really want to start off any relationship, in this case a relationship with a potential future colleague, with a lie? 

Not everyone’s life is exhilarating.  You’re you, and that should be enough. For both you and the recruiter.

Don’t:

List a whole bunch of things you did once and/or years ago

Doing something once doesn’t make it a hobby, and adding random things to your resume just because you’ve tried them is a waste of space. And what would this really tell the recruiter about you if they decide to ask about one of these things?

Either that you are a quitter who backs down the minute things get tough, or that you are a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. Or, alternately, that your life is so boring you have to bring up stuff from forever ago to seem the least bit interesting.

Long story short, better your resume not have a Hobbies section at all than one like this.

Don’t:

Say you like traveling when you haven’t really been anywhere

If the furthest you’ve been from home is the capital city of your state, or something equally unimpressive, don’t bother listing traveling as a hobby.

The recruiter is bound to be massively disappointed when they ask about your travels just to hear “Me and the boys spent a week fishing at Lake Erie a few months back, so yeah!” And the person interviewing you is the last person you want to leave feeling disappointed, right?

The same goes for that one time you and your girlfriends decided to party it up in Cancun for spring break. You probably had a great time, but that is NOT traveling. Sorry to break it to you.

Don’t:

Say you like reading when all you read is the news or Perez Hilton

Recruiters like to ask about books you’ve read recently, as this gives them yet another window into your personality. Was it a biography? One of the great classics? Oh, it was a 250-word blurb on CNN.

Talk about underwhelming. Again, hate to break it to you, but reading editorials on Donald Trump’s tweet du jour is not reading worth mentioning.

Don’t:

Get political

Speaking of Donald Trump, your resume is not the place for politics. As I mentioned in my resume guide, very personal details, including but not limited to political affiliation, sexual orientation and religion should never be brought up on a resume, as they could potentially influence the recruiter’s decision and turn into a lawsuit.

So no matter how passionate you are about fundraising for [insert politician’s name here], this is decidedly something you should keep to yourself.

Don’t:

Bring up really weird stuff

Look, I’m not trying to be judgy. You do you, boo. But sometimes there are things better kept to yourself, at least during a job interview. I have seen people list all sorts of wacky stuff on their resumes — I assume in an effort to stand out and be interesting. 

But there is such a thing as TMI, so you should really refrain from listing BDSM and stalking celebrities as your hobbies. The same goes for anything animal-related that could be a huge turn-off to an environmentally-conscious recruiter, so cross taxidermy and bullfighting off your list as well. Jeez.

Don’t:

Bring up really basic stuff

Everyone does silly stuff like play FarmVille or Candy Crush on a long bus ride. Putting that on your resume, however, is pretty much the literal definition of a waste of space.

And that’s it! That’s all you need to know about making your Hobbies section make you look good.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? If you have questions about other sections, say the skills section, which can be a little tricky too, check out my guide on how to do it write a good Skills section here. 

Good job and see you in the next one! 😄

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Joanna Ryś

Joanna Ryś

Sourcing Specialist

Joanna Ryś

Sourcing Specialist

Joanna has 8 years of experience in the recruitment industry, and currently works as the Chief Strategist for Sourcing in the EMEA area at HAYS. Microsoft, Rolls Royce Aerospace, Abbott, AB Inbev are several companies from the...portfolio of clients with whom it has cooperated, and its tasks include defining strategies for obtaining candidates in Europe, independent management of recruitment tools, monitoring the rate of return on investment, implementing initiatives from the area of Employer Branding into processes recruitment and data analysis. Sharing knowledge and discussions about working with candidates is her passion, which is why she eagerly creates new training programs, conducts postgraduate classes, organizes workshops with students of Krakow universities, employees of her company and free students from various social organizations. Passionate about computer games and socioeconomic issues.