Preparing for a job interview can be challenging. Ideally, you want to anticipate potential interview questions and craft a resume highlighting your skills.
But how do you know what skills to emphasize? You aren’t the first person to wonder that. If you find yourself agonizing over the best hobbies to put on a resume and why they’re effective, we can help.
- Should You Put Hobbies on a Resume?
- Why Put Hobbies on a Resume?
- When to Put Hobbies on a Resume
- What Are Good Hobbies to Put on a Resume?
- Hobbies and Interests Examples
- How to Put Hobbies on a Resume
- Where to Put Hobbies on a Resume
- How to Write Hobbies in Your Resume
- Wrapping Up
Should You Put Hobbies on a Resume?
The short answer is yes. Hobbies are an excellent way to showcase your talents and give prospective employers an idea of your skills and personality.
Why Put Hobbies on a Resume?
Hobbies prove especially effective on student resumes and first-time job applicants.
More advanced professionals have the work experience to display their hard and soft skills, but that’s not true of people with no career behind them. That’s where hobbies come in.
Helps You Stand Out from Other Candidates
Another reason to include hobbies on your resume is that they help distinguish you from other candidates.
Interviewers inevitably talk to many candidates, and remembering the specifics of each one can be challenging. That’s doubly true when everyone aspires to tick the same boxes for the interviewer.
Shows Your Personality to the Hiring Manager
The other reason hobbies are an important part of your resume is that they offer insight into your character.
Interviews serve many purposes, but one of the primary functions they perform is that they allow hiring managers to get to know you. Where your interests lie is a substantial part of that.
It’s possible to tailor your hobbies so that you show yourself in the best possible light, and it’s equally true that some hobbies make better interview answers than others.
Helps Them See How You Fit Into the Work Culture
Hobbies can also help hiring managers to assess how you might fit with a potential team or work environment.
For instance, ongoing participation in a team sport or a choir suggests you are a team player. Alternatively, someone who enjoys jigsaw puzzles might exhibit strong lateral thinking and the ability for self-motivated projects.
Most people have a variety of hobbies, so you want to choose the hobbies you put on your resume carefully. What do you want your interests to tell an interviewer about you? How you answer this will help you curate your list of hobbies for your resume.
Highlights Transferable Skills
Another reason it’s worth mentioning hobbies on your resume is that it provides an opportunity to highlight transferable skills.
An avid reader naturally contributes an extensive vocabulary to their job, and people who tackle the cryptic crossword over breakfast offer their peers the advantage of an analytical mind.
If you have never had a job before, then you won’t have many opportunities to highlight transferable skills. Dedicating a section to what you do in your spare time is a creative way of circumnavigating this problem.
Can Be a Conversation Starter
As discussed, one of the functions of interviews is for hiring managers to get to know their candidates.
It presents an opportunity for the interview question, “What do you like to do for fun?” That allows you to discuss what you enjoy and why while demonstrating you are the right candidate for the job.
When to Put Hobbies on a Resume
Earlier, we said the simple answer to “Should I put hobbies on my resume?” was yes.
But it’s not always necessary, especially if you have substantial work experience demonstrating your skills.
So, when should you put hobbies on a resume?
When You Have Limited Work Experience
The ideal time to put hobbies on your resume is when you have minimal work experience.
Hobbies help demonstrate you use your spare time constructively while also showing off a specific skill set.
The other advantage of mentioning your hobbies when you have minimal job experience is that they provide you and the interviewer with something to talk about.
When It’s Required or Requested
Sometimes an employer will specifically request information on your interests outside of work.
In that scenario, you must put your hobbies on your job application for it to be considered.
When You Have Limited Relevant Skills
Maybe you have some work experience, but the skills it gave you aren’t directly applicable to your prospective job.
In that situation, putting your hobbies on your resume can be beneficial. Employers value hard and soft skills.
Hard skills are things that you need education to pick up. They might include:
- Computer programming
- Foreign languages
Not all of these are obviously or directly applicable to all jobs. But soft skills, the kind of skills you can’t always demonstrate on paper, are. These include things like:
And while you can’t always showcase these things on a resume, you can often use hobbies as concrete examples of soft skills that apply to the job you want.
When Your Hobbies Are Relevant to the Job
You should also put hobbies on your resume when they are directly relevant to the job.
We discussed how hobbies showcase soft skills, but sometimes the relevance is more obvious. For instance, if you are applying for a copywriting position and spend your spare time writing for a local newsletter, that information belongs on your resume because it proves you have the skills your prospective employer wants.
When the Employer Values Individuality and Personality
Another time it’s helpful to mention hobbies is when an employer makes it implicit that they want a sense of their prospective employer’s individuality or personality.
You can’t put this information in a cover letter, because its job is to highlight as many skills and qualifications as possible.
The hobby section of a resume gives you the ideal place to spotlight those interests and values that make you unique from other candidates.
When the Job Posting Mentions Responsibilities Relevant to Your Hobbies
Some hobbies are more involved than others. It’s one thing to sing in a choir, but if you conduct that choir, then you automatically have more responsibility than the choristers.
That kind of responsibility can prove transferable, even if you aren’t necessarily applying to be a professional conductor, because you bring a sense of leadership and responsibility to your potential job.
What Are Good Hobbies to Put on a Resume?
The best hobbies to include on a resume are hobbies that are:
That means the hobbies you choose to highlight may vary from resume to resume. That also means it can be tricky to tackle the question of what are the best hobbies to put on a resume since it can vary from job to job.
The best hobbies tell the interviewer something about your personality while also showcasing transferable skills. Ideally, they also leave the interviewer with an impression of you that they can use when deciding whether or not to hire you.
Let’s look at some of the best hobbies to put on a resume.
What is the Most Useful Hobby?
There are many interesting things to put on a resume, especially when discussing hobbies. But some hobbies are more useful to you in job interviews than others.
What’s most useful depends on the job. But some of the best examples of useful hobbies include:
- Volunteer experience
- Community outreach projects
- Team sports
These activities can be especially beneficial when answering the question “What are your hobbies” because they demonstrate transferable skills and experiences you can integrate into your new job.
What Are the Smartest Hobbies?
Similarly, what constitutes a smart hobby depends on the job you apply for. Typically, when people want to showcase hobbies that present them as smart, they focus on activities that highlight critical or analytical thinking.
These include activities like:
- Crosswords and jigsaw puzzles
- Playing an instrument
- Blog/vlog writing
What Are Positive Hobbies and Interests
Some hobbies have more obvious positive value or benefits than others.
One of the best examples of this is singing because it releases endorphins that make you happier. But positive in this context can also refer to the impact you have on the people around you and may include activities like:
- Cooking meals
- Volunteer work
Hobbies and Interests Examples
So, that’s when and why to put hobbies on your resume. Let’s explore some of the ways you can effectively include hobbies on a job application or personal statement.
Examples of Hobbies and Interests in Personal Statement
As discussed, the key is always to be specific about your hobbies. In and of itself, “Fishing” doesn’t tell anyone anything about you.
But anyone who has been fishing recognizes the extreme patience the skill requires. Here are some examples of how to discuss your hobbies in personal statements.
If this is one of your hobbies, you might say something similar to, “I enjoy the challenge of tackling 1000-piece puzzles and working collaboratively with friends to overcome them.”
Reading is another popular hobby that doesn’t give much away about who you are. In a personal statement, you might say, “As an avid reader, I enjoy discovering new information or unfamiliar words.”
Professional Interests Examples
As discussed, some hobbies showcase professional interests. Let’s look at how to put these hobbies on your resume.
Volunteering is an ideal way to showcase job-relevant skills. The applicable skills will vary depending on the job and the volunteer project.
For instance, if you edit a newsletter, you might say something like, “As a volunteer editor, I have a thorough understanding of copywriting and grammar, as well as a working knowledge of programs like Adobe Suite and Microsoft Office.”
A less-likely hobby with obvious professional benefits is musical involvement.
For instance, a musician in an orchestra could succinctly justify the inclusion of their hobby on their resume by writing, “As an active member of my local orchestra, I not only take instruction well but work effectively with others to create a successful performance.”
How to Put Hobbies on a Resume
When it comes to putting hobbies on your resume, remember you want them to be:
Always include a separate section for your hobbies headed “Hobbies” or “Interests.” Keep these to a maximum of five hobbies, and curate them so that they reflect skills your employer could benefit from.
Where to Put Hobbies on a Resume
But where do you put your dedicated “Hobbies” section on a resume?
The best place for it is toward the end of the resume. That allows you to prioritize the existing job and volunteer experiences. You can then end on a more creative and memorable note by discussing your hobbies.
How to Write Hobbies in Your Resume
When describing your hobbies, the key is to be:
- Demonstrate relevant skills
- Display passion
Don’t overlook this last point. You include hobbies on your resume in part to give insight into your personality. You can’t do that by sounding robotic.
Should you put hobbies on your resume? Yes, especially if your employer asks for them. What’s more important is the hobbies you choose.
Think carefully about what each hobby says about you and how you can use it to demonstrate a skill your employer will appreciate.
Finally, remember that while hobbies are important, they shouldn’t be the centerpiece of your resume. Put the relevant section towards the bottom and never go above five hobbies.