Including hobbies and interests on your resume can help you demonstrate a variety of your relevant job skills and show employers you’d be a good culture fit.
But in some cases, having an interests section on your resume might be considered inappropriate. Before you start listing hobbies and interests on your resume, make sure you know when it’s the right time to do so.
Should you put interests on a resume?
Yes, you should put interests on a resume if you lack work experience and want to give employers a better idea of what you’re like outside of work (which often translates to what you’d be like in the office).
Interests and hobbies help show that you’re a well-rounded applicant, and in many cases demonstrate important soft skills. For example, being part of an amateur football league shows that you’re dedicated and capable of working with a team (or a “team player”).
However, if you already have a few years of work experience and can fill a one page resume with relevant professional skills and qualifications, don’t put hobbies and interests on your resume.
25+ job-relevant hobbies and interests to use on your resume
Once you’re confident that putting hobbies and interests on your resume will help your application, the next step is to choose the right examples to list.
To help you get started, here are over 20 interests to put on your resume that reflect positively on you as a candidate
Sports are one of the best hobbies for your resume. Playing a sport shows that you’re energetic, healthy, and if it’s a group sport, capable of working with a team. Additionally, being the captain of an amateur sports team demonstrates leadership skills and interpersonal skills, both of which are highly valuable in any professional setting.
Some great sports to list on your resume include:
2. Outdoors activities
Putting outdoors activities like hiking or camping on your resume is a great way to show employers that you lead a balanced life and stay healthy. Not only that, but getting into nature in your spare time is helpful for mental health and avoiding burnout at work.
Some outdoors activities to put on your resume include:
An interest in art tells the hiring manager that you’re creative and have a keen eye for detail. Artistic interests are especially good to put on your resume if you want to work in a creative or design-focused field, like UX/UI, cinematography, or art curation.
Some examples of artistic hobbies to put on your resume include:
4. Volunteer work
Putting volunteer work on your resume is a great way to showcase your civic engagement, generosity, and time management skills. If you’re applying for a role at a not-for-profit organization or a company that values social responsibility, volunteer experience is a great addition to your resume.
If you like to travel, you’re probably open-minded, adventurous, and tolerant. Travel is a great interest to include on your resume if you’re applying for jobs that require you to travel internationally, have knowledge of different cultures and business customs, or involve working within a multicultural team.
6. Blogging / Video production
If you maintain a personal blog, podcast, or YouTube channel, mentioning it on your resume is a great way to show-off your creativity, organizational skills, and technical skills. Blogging and vlogging are especially relevant to jobs in marketing or advertising. However, only mention these interests if your media is work appropriate.
7. Foreign languages
Including foreign language skills on your resume shows perseverance, initiative and of course, communication skills. An interest in learning foreign languages is especially beneficial if you’re applying for jobs that involve international travel, multinational sales, or tourism.
Video games aren’t the niche interest they used to be. Today, many employers recognize that video games can help demonstrate problem solving and remote collaboration abilities.
However, you should still be mindful of the job you’re applying to before listing your interest in video games anywhere in your application.
For example, if you’re applying for a role in the tech industry, citing gaming as a personal interest is likely to get a positive response, and may even be relevant to the position. However, mentioning your interest in gaming when applying to a law firm could be seen as unprofessional.
Playing or creating music requires discipline, innovation, and dedication. Additionally, being a member of a band requires collaboration and people skills. Adding music as a hobby on your resume is a safe choice for any industry, and demonstrates a variety of valuable soft skills.
Some specific musical interests for your resume include:
10. Club membership
Membership in a social club or association shows hiring managers that you’re an active member in your community and enjoy socializing. Listing membership in a local sports, social, or academic club as an interest on your resume is a great way to showcase these skills to potential employers.
Now that you’ve got a shortlist of activities and hobbies for your resume, here’s how to list them properly.
Create an interests section on your resume
The best place to list interests on your resume is in a dedicated section title “Interests & Hobbies.” This way, they’re easy to separate from the work experience on your resume.
List each interest or hobby in a bulleted list, similar to how you’d format your resume’s skills section. Here’s an example of what that looks like:
If you lack work experience, consider making your resume interests section more detailed. For instance, you can include a brief one-line description for each interest that explains what you do or how it’s relevant to the role. If possible, quantify each point by adding a number, percentage, or time.
These short descriptions are a great way to make up for a lack of professional experience because they showcase some of your achievements even though they were outside an office setting.
Here’s an example of a detailed resume interests section:
List interests at the bottom of your resume
You should always place your interests section at the bottom of your resume or off to the side, depending on your resume layout.
While listing interests on your resume can make you look more appealing as a candidate, it’s ultimately the least important information to include. Listing such information at the bottom of the page helps you avoid distracting employers from the more essential information on your resume, like your work experience and skills.
Tailor your interests list to the job advertisement
Before you start putting interests on your resume, you should make sure that they’ll be well-received by the company you want to work for.
The best way to keep your hobbies and interests relevant is by doing a bit of research on the company. Take note of anything you can find out about their office culture, or what kind of work retreats or team building outings they’ve done in the past. These details can often tell you a lot about what sort of activities the company values, and what the current employees are interested in.
Once you’ve found out more about the company culture, tailor your resume interests section to primarily highlight the interests or hobbies that would be most relevant to that specific office.
For example, if you’re applying to a company that recently brought their team on a company-sponsored hike, you should list outdoors activities like hiking or camping on your resume to make a good first impression and show them that you’d be a good culture fit.