Is it really necessary to list your hobbies and interests on your CV/resume? You’re not going on a date! When you're preparing a professional CV, including your interests and hobbies may not be the first thing that springs to mind; after all, it should be professional. However, doing so may actually help to strengthen a CV in a number of situations, even (or especially) when you have little or no professional experience.
Some recruiters or employers even prefer resumes with hobbies on them since it paints a more complete picture of the candidate as a person. But, what exactly are your hobbies and interests, how can it help you to achieve your career goals, when is the right time to do so, and how can you list them to stand out of a crowd of competitive candidates? We’ll be looking into all of that and more here!
Hobbies are pastimes or activities that you do on a regular basis in your spare time generally for enjoyment, but they may also be a wonderful way to supplement your income. It could be anything a person chooses to spend their time doing when they are not working like engaging in creative and artistic passions such as music, dance, art, reading, pottery, or any kinds of sports.
Interests are subjects or topics that pique your interest and make you want to jump down the rabbit hole to uncover all there is to know about them or spend your free time participating in activities related to them. They have more to do with exploring ideas, knowledge, and different concepts. For instance, you might know some people with an interest in social work, pop culture, history, or even conspiracy theories. As you can see, both hobbies and interests are things that you like to do for fun outside of work. So why do employers want to know about them?
Your CV tells the tale of your education and profession, while your hobbies and interests section shows a bit more about your personality. They inject some colour into your CV and demonstrate how you would be a good cultural match for the company. It could also offer some great talking points during the interview, which could lead to bonus points and your interviewers will certainly remember you. Other candidates will have the same professional and academic sections, but we bet you may be the only stamp collector!
Candidates lacking adequate job experiences such as fresh graduates should include a hobbies and interests section so that the potential employer can have a better idea of who you are outside of work. It paints a more complete image of yourself and may even display certain soft skills that would be a good fit for the organisation. For instance, if you enjoy spending weekends doing social work, it’ll show that you are an empathetic person who can work well in a team (organisations love team players) and do not mind dedicating your free time to helping others.
On the other hand, if you’ve already accumulated a long list or a few years of job experience that can adequately demonstrate your professional abilities and credentials, and your one-pager CV is almost filled to the brim, you can definitely skip this section!
Generally, recruiters will take your hobbies and interests into account once you’ve ticked all the other boxes. You should include them to supplement your other information and seal the deal, instead of being your main selling point. What this means is you should include this section towards the end of your CV for a good flow. To prevent boring your reviewers with even more words, present them in a bulleted list of short phrases.
You can also elaborate a little bit more on every point, but keep it short – something like a headline that your interviewer may ask you about if they want to know more. You can also choose to leave it out altogether, but be prepared to elaborate in person! Here are some examples:
It is also crucial to make sure that the hobbies and interests you list on a resume are relevant to the particular job description and organisation’s culture. Yes, this means that you should avoid using a generic section to apply for every role. You can find this out by going through the job description a few times and doing more research into the company you are applying to. It also goes without saying that you should be authentic rather than fabricating a slew of anecdotes just to impress your future employer. There’s nothing worse than being caught in a lie! Having said that, you don’t need to be an expert on the topic, as long as you have a conversational grasp so that you won’t get caught off guard during the interview.
When it comes to relevance, the things you do in your spare time do not have to be a perfect match for the job you're looking for. There may also be other transferable skills that could be relevant to your application. Let’s say the particular job description requires a team player and you play dodgeball competitively in a team every weekend, letting your potential employer know this will show that you can excel working in a team. Here are some examples:
Stating your personal hobbies and interests on your resume isn’t a common requirement for most job applications, which is why you should put it at the very end as something extra that your potential employers can consider. If you do decide to display them, remember to first find out more about the particular organisation, its culture and its people, so that you only include the most relevant ones that would let them know instantly that you would be a perfect fit.
Success at your workplace may be influenced by a variety of elements, including how you choose to spend your free time outside of work. After all, if you want to live a balanced and fulfilled life, you must devote your time to both professional and artistic pursuits. Hobbies and interests can spark new interests, drive inspiration, promote networking, and encourage new ways of thinking. Learning new and interesting things make you a far more fascinating person, which can do wonders in fuelling your growth in other aspects in life, including your career.