Should you include hobbies in your resume? The answer is yes. Here’s what to include and what not to.
What hobbies should you include on your resume? Should you include hobbies at all? What about hobbies that are unrelated to the job for which you’re applying, like fishing or travel?
Let’s look at hobbies and resumes shall we?
Should you include hobbies in your resume? First of all, yes, you should include them. Don’t make them front and centre, but do include a section at the bottom of your resume titled “Hobbies and Interests,” and list them there. What should you list? Well, what are your hobbies?
Why include hobbies in your resume
I read an article that said, “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.”
Well, now I’m sorry. But that’s not true at all. Your hobbies are a big part of what makes you a good match for the job, and can indeed put you ahead of another candidate. Even fishing (travel is harder but it depends on the situation).
If, for example, the hiring manager is passionate about fishing, they’re going to be pleased that you are too. It gives you common ground and provides a topic on which you can connect. Note that it can also work the other way, however. If the hiring manager is a militant vegan who is super anti-fishing, well, you can probably kiss that job goodbye.
Here are six more examples of hobbies you can, and should, include in your resume.
Volunteer work. Research shows that hiring managers are impressed with candidates who volunteer and that this will increase your chances of getting a job. No matter what volunteer work you do, whether it’s mentoring youth, feeding the homeless, working the suicide hotline or building with Habitat for Humanity, list it. Hiring managers love volunteers.
Blogging or writing. If you do some writing, include it. Writing skills are among the most sought after by employers and will increase your value on the job market. One caveat: don’t include your blog if it’s in any way controversial, like if your beat is angry political rants or insulting famous people and making jokes about them. If that’s the case, leave it out.
Sports. Sports usually look good on a resume, whether you’re a league soccer player, a champion golfer, a skier, or a marathon runner. Just careful of over stating your sportiness. If you list “running” on your resume, you don’t want to be in an interview with a manager who is a serious runner and tries to connect with you on this topic, only to learn that you actually run 5k three times a month. This could look like a red flag, suggesting you exaggerate your skills.
Chess. You probably don’t play chess, but if you do, you should definitely include it. There’s something mysterious and impressive about chess. When people hear “chess” they think “Oooh chess! You must be smart.” I don’t actually know why, because I can’t play chess. But yeah, include chess.
Anything you are super passionate about and can talk about for hours. The same writer who says you aren’t going to get a job because you like fishing also says you shouldn’t list cooking as a hobby. I think that person is just weird, and may need a hobby. No, you should not list cooking if you cook like a regular person and maybe mess around with some recipes once in a while. But you should absolutely list it if you spend much of your free time creating in the kitchen and have a food blog (see No. 1 on this list) or create stunning cakes.
You should not list “wine” as a hobby if you just like drinking it, but if you are studying to be a sommelier and can identify every grape varietal in Italy and France by smell, colour, and taste, LIST IT. If you are an accomplished musician or are in a choir or a band, I think you should list it.
Anything that can spark curiosity and conversation. Are you into biohacking? Fencing? Mountain climbing? Axolotl breeding? Sward swallowing? Whittling tiny, detailed sculptures out of walnut shells? This can peak curiosity and even inspire someone to want to interview you just to meet you. I don’t think anyone is going to say “Well, this is a good resume and all, but they listed sword swallowing as a hobby. I better put it in the trash pile.” Au contraire, all things being equal between two candidates, the sword swallower is more likely to get called in for an interview.
These are the things that can make or break a hiring manager’s interest in you. It gives a sense of what type of person you are. Most companies these days are very big on hiring for “cultural fit.” This means that what you enjoy doing actually matters a lot.
A note of caution: don’t list hobbies that aren’t actually hobbies like “hanging out with friends,” and “reading.” Those aren’t hobbies. They’re pastimes. Know the difference.
Then go ahead, and list the activities that make you who you are.