"Never place your hobbies or interests on the resume or CV." If you ask most recruiters and hiring managers now, you'd hear this. Well, this statement is true to some extent. But did you know that if done correctly, hobbies and interests can help you stand out from other candidates?
Other than checking if you're qualified enough through your work experience, achievements, and skills, many recruiters will look at the hobbies and interests section and evaluate if they will be the perfect match for the role and the company's culture. So the questions here are, "How do they know if YOU are the candidate that suits the position AND the company culture?", and "For which vacancy should you include the hobbies and interests?".
In this article, we will answer everything related to the hobbies and interests on resumes and CVs—the appropriate circumstances to include hobbies and interests on a CV, how you should list hobbies and interests on your resumes/CVs, a list of interesting hobbies and interests to include in resumes/CVs, and more expert tips on writing hobbies and interests for CV.
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Recruiters typically spend less than a minute reviewing a resume or CV, which means it's crucial to include all necessary information within the limited space of your resume or CV.
With that being said, there are specific circumstances where you can have your personal interests on your CV.
💡 Tips: While hobbies are activities that you enjoy doing in your spare time. Interests, on the other hand, are things or subjects that fascinate and pique your curiosity. You might be interested in art, but you can't say art is your hobby.
This is the most important point to remember when considering including a hobbies and interests section on your resume/CV. Say you're applying for a position in a marketing and advertising firm and one of your hobbies happens to be painting and sketching. Those examples of hobbies on your CV are good because it shows that you understand design and visual art.
Having a "Hobbies/Interests" section in your CV is always better than an empty space. Leaving a significant blank area on your resume/CV will make you look like you don't have anything to offer on the table, and no one will perceive it positively.
For fresh-out-of-college job seekers, one of the ways to grab the hiring manager's attention is with an eye-catching field of interest in your CV.
📚 Further reading: 3 Tips to Write a Professional Resume for Freshers Just Out of College
When the job post specifically asks you to include your hobbies and interests on your resume/CV, it's non-negotiable. But remember only to put relevant hobbies and interests that reinforce your skill sets.
Some companies highly value personalities that can enrich the work environment. Thus they will prefer someone who is not only professionally qualified but also who gets the company's morals.
Having a hobbies and interests section on your CV will allow you to show recruiters that you are, after all, just a human being with different passions, likes, and dislikes. The interests, hobbies, and even other activities on your CV can also reflect qualities that the company might find valuable and help you stand out from other candidates.
Moreover, the area of interest in your CV can amplify your work experience and/or educational background. It can also be another means for you to demonstrate the characteristics and skills that the employer requires.
And lastly, another benefit of having your hobbies and interests listed on your CV is it will make it easier for the hiring manager to approach you since your field of interest has complied with the company's culture.
To understand the required skills for a job, carefully read the job description. This will help you identify the interests and hobbies that align with the job's requirements. Additionally, some companies provide an "about the company" section in their job description. By picking out keywords related to the company's values, you can include them in your hobbies and interests section and catch the recruiter's attention.
Go to their website and other social media accounts to check out what they promote (outside of their products and/or services). For instance, major corporations usually have to publish a CSR report annually, and from these reports, you can analyze what the companies value most.
Write every hobby and interest you have, go over them and examine which ones will make you look good if you incorporate them in your CV’s interests and hobbies field. Now that you've selected the interests and hobbies to be put on your CV, you might wonder, what to write for interests and hobbies in a CV?
"Can I just write 'video games' or 'a foodie' in the area of interest on my CV?"
First off, there is no right or wrong way to write hobbies and interests in a CV. However, there are always better ways to present them, let's look at the below section!
Using bullet points to list hobbies and interests in your resume and CV is the simplest way and it is straightforward. But at the same time, it is unclear and can come across as lazy. Because there is no further explanation when you opt to write with the bulleted list, whatever you put is a free interpretation depending on the reader.
Here’s an example of hobbies and interests for CV using bullet points:
HOBBIES & INTERESTS
So what's other way for you to include your hobbies and interests while provide further clarification? The answer is to adopt an expanded bullet list.
This way, you can elaborate your hobbies and interest on your resume and CV – what the hobby/interest entails, how the specific hobby/interest contributes to your skill set, or how long you have been involved in this area of interest, to name a few. However, this type of writing can take up a lot of space, so be aware of that.
Here’s an example of hobbies and interests for CV using expanded bullet points:
HOBBIES & INTERESTS
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So, we guess now you have enough information to decide whether or not you should include interests and hobbies and how to put them in your resume/CV. When do it right, this section can tell a lot about you as a person. Hence, you'll want to create an appealing narrative by choosing the right hobbies and interests for your resume and CV.
So, what are the best hobbies and interests to include on a resume and CV?
Don't worry, we've compiled a list of the interesting hobbies and interests that should be included to your resume and CV. Consider each one and think of what narrative they will say about you.
We're glad that you stick with us until the end of this article. We're almost done, just a few more insider tips for you. Then, you can start making your resume and CV complete with the hobbies and interests section.
Try to leave as little ambiguity as possible to prevent the hiring manager from perceiving your hobby or interest negatively.
Although you need to be specific, don't elaborate the interests in your resume/CV with too many words that it starts taking too much space. Work with the space you have left.
List 3-5 hobbies and interests for a CV. The hobbies and interests section on your CV might help you stand out, but it's not the main selling aspect of your CV, so it’s best to keep them short.
The list of hobbies and interests on your CV, your hobbies and interests section should always be put last as they serve more as an addition. You might even consider not including them at all if you have more important things to add to your CV.
To avoid bias and discrimination, you shouldn’t include the below types of hobbies and interests:
❌ Hobbies and interests that seem violent and dangerous.
❌ Hobbies and interests that portray signs of antisocial behavior.
❌ Hobbies and interests that disclose sensitive information such as religious affiliations, sexual orientation, political views, etc.
🔑 Key Takeaways:
Although it might seem like an easy section to fill out, the hobbies and interests section should be well-curated just like the rest of your resume/CV content
Personal interests on a resume and CV should be done attentively and intentionally because you want them to speak to the recruiter, that they strengthen your skills to fulfill the job position, and resonate with the company's culture. Ultimately, a perfect resume/CV is one that is the most relevant to the job.
--- Originally written by Teresa Edria ---