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Resume Tips

Should You Include a List of Hobbies in Your Resume?

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Many people will tell you that a list of hobbies should not be on your resume. They’ll say that it’s fluff and a waste of space.  After all, shouldn’t you keep work and play separate? Nope, not when it comes to your resume!

Most companies now strive to recruit “cultural fit” candidates. In other words, they are not just interested in hiring folks with specific skills; they are also after certain personality traits. And that’s exactly what your hobbies can hint! 

The key is getting it right. Not every hobby or interest is worth including on your resume (e.g., “Netflix and chill”). So here are some pointers to help you figure out what interests and hobbies you should add to your resume.

How Can Hobbies and Interests Add to What You Have Included On Your Resume

Let’s say that you are applying for a position that involves lots of coding (aka a software engineer).

Your work experience may show you know several programming languages and can build products. Now, imagine that you include the fact that you develop video games and build Raspberry PI systems from scratch as a hobby. That makes your depth of experience quite a bit more impressive and shows that you are truly passionate about coding.

Your hobbies and interests can also suggest that you have more skills than you’ve highlighted in the respective resume sections. For instance:

  • Art (Painting) suggests that you are creative and a visual thinker.
  • Writing shows that you have good written skills.
  • Photography also speaks to your visual abilities.

Bottom Line: Your hobbies and interests should say something extra about you. They should provide an extra glimpse into your personality, personal attributes, and skills.

How to List Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume

First, your hobbies and interests should be at the end of your resume. Next, you have to give that section a title. You can use ‘Hobbies’ if you are applying to a more modern organization. Or consider ‘Personal and Community Activities’ if you are forwarding your resume to a more “corporate” employer.

The main rule about listing your hobbies and interests is to keep things brief.  A bullet list will work fine here. If you need to add some detail for clarity and relevance do so, but avoid long paragraphs.

Here’s a quick list of hobbies example: 

  • Secretary-Treasurer and Membership Records Keeper, Monroe County Lions Club
  • Rock Climbing And Bouldering
  • Toastmasters Public Speaking And Debate Coach
  • RPG Game Developer: Python And Ruby on Rails

If you keep this short and simple, you just may pique the interest of the hiring manager so that you have something to talk about during the interview.

Now let’s get a bit more specific!

Determine Interests That Pinpoint to Personality Traits

Your goal is to determine which interests can resonate with the hiring manager and make them stop and think, ‘Wow! This person will really fit in on the team!’ 

How do you do that? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Head to the company’s Career page. You’ll likely find some general pointers to what kind of values the team shares. For instance, Webflow says that they practice several core behaviors:
    • Customer-centricity
    • Extraordinary kindness
    • Radical candidness
  1. Browse the employer’s social media. Most companies share updates from their corporate initiatives, retreats, etc. Again, this gives you a good idea of what the culture is.
  2. Connect the dots between your findings and your interests. Here are some examples of hobbies and interests that could show you have personality traits or practical skills that are valuable in the workplace.
    • Your interest in recreational sports could show that you are a team player, motivated and that you live a healthy lifestyle.
    • If you participate in toastmasters, you’ll be seen as a good communicator and public speaker.
    • Leading a scout troop could show that you are committed to your local community.
    • An interest in robotics could show that you have the electronics skills required for an engineering job.

Borrow Ideas from Our List of Hobbies and Interests for Resume

Feeling stuck? Well, here’s another tip from Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, about choosing the best hobbies for your resume:

“Overall, the best policy is to bring up leisure pursuits that speak to your team orientation, good people skills, tenacity, and thirst for knowledge in the areas in which you are passionate about.”

And here are several examples of hobbies that hit that mark:

  • Yoga and personal wellness activities
  • Photography/videography
  • Team sports
  • Endurance sports
  • Volunteering and community involvement
  • Writing/blogging
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Language learning

Can Your Hobbies Save Your Chances at a Job?

Imagine the following case. Your resume and one other is on the HR manager’s desk. You and the other applicant have similar qualifications. Your experience and education are nearly the same. In other words, it’s a tie between the two of you!

Now the hiring manager has one thing left to consider: Who is the best fit when it comes to the company culture?

The other applicant hasn’t included any interests or hobbies on their resume. Personality-wise, they are a blank slate. You’ve included information about community volunteer work, a sport you play, and that you enjoy backpacking.

And you did that for a good reason: you know that the company values community service and that the culture is very active and outdoorsy. In such a case, your list of hobbies could give you the edge over another candidate.

Wrap Up 

Just like other elements of your resume, the hobbies section should serve a clear purpose. That is to showcase your attractive personal qualities, prompt for additional skills and demonstrate that you are a “fit”. If it meets all of these three criteria then you should definitely add it to your resume!

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