How to List Hobbies and Interests on a Resume (+Great Examples)

Stating your hobbies and interests on your resume can help in making your personality shine through, although some people think that they are better left off.

If you’re thinking of including them in your resume, here is our list of 10 experts and their helpful tips and examples on how to list hobbies and interests on a resume.

Dr. J Paul Rand, MBA, CPCN

J Paul Rand

Executive Director, RSolutions (Holdings)

For the past three years, I conducted a labor market study and discovered that over 60% of the respondents were open to a “new career” which we defined by measurements as professionals with more than ten years of experience that wished to take a position equal to or less than their current qualified role. Why?

In follow-up interviews we discovered that many people have been wearing multiple hats – whether that was doing multiple jobs under a single role (as a result of the Great Recession when employees were asked to do more to keep their role), or because due to reductions in work they developed new interests, hobbies, and skills that cause them to want to see full-time employment in that area (now that by and large most – not all – demographics have recovered from the Great Recession).

With that said, to answer this question I go back a decade ago to an evidenced-based system that was created during the recession. This system, available at Strategic Alliance, developed your career pathway. in the system, it helps you identify prosperity-motives (the focus of passion, purpose, and profitable-performance).

The system was the basis for multiple programs, specifically used by combat veterans, that developed individuals abilities to improve professional performance by creating, participating in, and conducting non-profit, hobby/recreation-based outreach programs to help them develop skills (professional, soft, and technical) for careers that required skills they would obtain in the process. Thousands were hired, so let us help identify from that data an answer to the question:

Create a charity entity

Many states let you create a hobby or recreational program as a charity, where you can charge for services or otherwise run a low-to-no cost revenue program.

Even if the project is a limited hobby, this will serve as an important step for listing the skills on your resume. If you want to list the experience in detail, this is a must.

Focus on niche outreach

Through the charity conduct your hobby or interest with participants and others, use the experience to really focus on developing skills important to the type of work you want to gain in the private sector.

Remember soft-skills, technical-skills, and business skills should be emphasized, not so much the output of your specific hobby, craft or interest.

Emphasize leadership

These steps often give individuals a chance to be a leader, an executive, and develop hands-on skills in a “Safe” start-up, one designed for fun (passion) or meaning (purpose). For many, this may be the first time to “innovate” “facilitate” and “learn” advanced business skills in a “real” business environment – something that is an imperative of modern applied professional sciences.

By following these steps, you can properly list the charity work on your resume.

If you have formally filed the company and work it as a start-up (list it under work experience), if you do but it’s truly more of a hobby and not an organization, club, charity or program then list the formalized group under “Volunteer Experience” after work experience and before education on a traditional or modern resume.

Remember that you want to list accurate soft-skills, professional skills (project management, team engagement, member communications, etc.) and technical skills.

Sometimes, however, these skills are best saved for the interview, so just having your former hobby- turned-charity listed under Volunteer/Work Experience is enough to enhance your resume and draw attention to it in an interview.

This is really great when you have not had a professional role in, say project management, where you can highlight how you have developed and cultivated your project management skills outside of your profit-focus role over the years.

Related: How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Marc Pitart Casanova

Marc Pitart Casanova

Co-Founder, Onlineresume.us

We always encourage candidates to include hobbies and personal interests on their resume. However, we realized that some candidates often get it wrong, adding a list of interests or hobbies of theirs without any explanation. Based on our experience in recruitment processes, this is not effective.

We recommend to include one or two hobbies and explain them more in-depth, providing some information that makes you stand out

It can be the years of dedication you’ve devoted to the hobby, or achievements you might have accomplished in that specific field. This way you are not only showcasing skills required for the position, but you can also demonstrate that your values and out of office passions align with company culture.

With the hobbies section, candidates can re-enforce that they hold certain required soft skills such as team-working, leadership, or commitment.

For instance, if you have been a coach for a community soccer team for 10 years, you can use the hobbies section to emphasize your commitment & leadership skills. If you enjoy surfing in your free time, you can highlight the instincts that you have developed that enable you to quickly react to unexpected events and take decisions under pressure.

Remember, it’s important to pick the right hobbies or interests, ensuring that they add value to your resume, and avoid including hobbies that are too common or that don’t reinforce any transferable skills.

Add a section with the title “Out of the Office”

The content is very important, but if the format of the hobbies section is not maximized, it will go unnoticed. The idea is to capture the attention of recruiters & display relevant skills for the position.

Therefore, within a PDF resume, we normally recommend adding a section with the title “Out of the Office” and list below one or two hobbies, along with an eye-catching icon that helps recruiters identify the section. This also provides a visual break in the document, which tends to get overcrowded with words.

Here are some great hobbies section examples:

Tara Orchard

Tara Orchard

Career Transition and Business Coach and Consultant, Career Coach Canada |
Trainer | Freelance Writer | Former Recruiter

Adding “hobbies and interests” to a resume has been a topic of ongoing debate among Career and HR professionals for many years. There remains no one size fits all answer to whether or not you should include hobbies and interests on your resume and if you do, what should you include and how do you present the information.

However, if you do include hobbies and interests on your resume my advice is that you consider why and then how you want to present your hobbies and interests such that adding the information adds value to your application.

When it comes to adding hobbies and interests, some hiring managers may appreciate reading information about a candidate that showcases elements of a candidate’s personality and ‘extra-curricular’ activities, whereas others may see it as unnecessary fluff or possibly find the information unappealing.

It is feasible that an employer could reject a candidate based on something listed on the candidate’s hobbies and interests section. I advise candidates to be cautious when listing hobbies or interests that may be controversial or stray too far from the mainstream unless the job or organization itself lives at the edge or outside of the mainstream.

Presented well, a hobby or interest may garner the attention of a hiring manager who shares the same interest or finds the interests, well, interesting. I have heard from hiring managers who were intrigued enough by hobbies and interests that they were motivated to bring in a candidate for an interview, even though there were other candidates who may have had slightly better qualifications.

Hobbies and interests on a resume offer an opportunity to showcase elements of your personality and personal life and may even demonstrate that you actively take steps to maintain a healthy life/work balance.

In some instances, hobbies and interests are well covered by the information in volunteer and community activities sections. For example, an interest in a sport may be communicated if you list coaching a sport as a volunteer in a ‘Volunteer Section’ and or an interest in the arts presented when you list participating as a board member with a local arts organization.

In these instances listing ‘Sports’ or “Arts’ also as a hobby or interest would be redundant. Unless you are able to expand on your interests in the interest section if they ideas are covered elsewhere you may not want to repeat them again. However, if you can add more information that adds more value then you may want to expand on an interest first presented elsewhere.

For example, if you were on the board of an arts organization and also an artist you may want to expand on information about your artwork in the interest section or elsewhere.

Figure out which ones make sense to include and then present them in a way that makes them sound interesting

By adding interesting details or even aspirational information that helps paint a picture of your personal self you may increase your chances of gaining positive interest from the person reading the resume.

This means that you should not just slap individual words on your resume that says ‘Reading’ or “Dancing’ or “Hiking”.

If you are going to take up space with your hobbies then make them count by putting time and effort into considering why you are adding them and how they can add value.

Take as an example having an interest in reading. Instead of saying “Reading’ consider adding insights into what and /or why you read. One of my clients loved reading and had a playful personality. Instead of saying his interest was ‘reading’ he shared this as his hobby:

I have read every book Dr. Seuss wrote, first as a child, then an adult. Not for the glory, not for the fame, just for the whimsy that comes with the Seuss name.

Another one of my clients told me he was an avid hiker and always listed hiking as a hobby on his resume. I suggested that instead of just listing the word hiking he thinks about what makes his hobby interesting. This is what he then choose to write as his interest in his resume:

Hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, all 2,189 miles, from Georgia to Maine because I like to start what I finish.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Often heard laughing loudly at comedy clubs and festivals.
  • Frequently seen knitting: I spent many hours knitting with my grandmother.
  • Attended Adult Space Camp at NASA because I admired the astronauts and engineers who helped rocket humans to space.
  • I love baking with fruit and chocolate and creating new recipes to test out on my friends and co-workers.

Brian Snedvig

Brian Snedvig

CEO & Co-Founder, Jofibo

Your hobbies and interests should be a priority on your resume if they align with the job you are applying for

Don’t be too generic with listing your hobbies, like “Love to walk”, “swim two times a week” and so on.

To be more specific, if you work with marketing, you ought to be extremely interested in new trends and how to use them. A good way to do that is to apply some testing on your own project in your spare time, which will directly build your knowledge and skills.

Roy Munk

Roy Munk

President and Founder, Global Healthcare Services

When deciding if you should list hobbies and interests on a resume, you need to ask yourself if they will help you get an interview.

After all, that is truly the only objective of your resume. So, ask yourself, does this hobby relate in any way to the position I am applying for? Will this interest impress someone who is viewing my resume? Furthermore, will it potentially turn off an employer? When is doubt leave it out!

Make sure your listed hobbies are relevant

If you are applying to be a Park Ranger, then absolutely list your interests in fishing or cross country skiing. However, if applying for a IT Director role, then no need to add your square dancing or archery hobbies.

Keep it short

No one needs to know your top 10 activities on the weekend. List the top 2 or 3 most relevant. Will the position require strong writing skills? Then keep your hobby writing a tech blog on there!

Place the list near the end of the resume

Where on the resume should you add your interests and hobbies? Near the end of the resume makes the most sense. But don’t force it. If nothing seems like it will be pertinent or helpful with getting the interview then leave it off.

Title the section as ‘Activities and Interests’ as opposed to ‘Hobbies’

This title works even if you have groups or memberships listed in this section such as volunteer or community organizations (noting political or controversial!)

In summation, be conservative when adding activities and hobbies to a resume. Only when they will help “sell” you as a candidate should they be added. If you are unsure, leave it off.

Joe Bailey

Joe Bailey

Business Development Consultant, My Trading Skills

List hobbies that are relevant to the position you are applying for

For instance, if you blog during your free time, and are applying for a writing or an editorial job, then this hobby should be included in your resume. If you are going to include hobbies, just ensure they demonstrate your devotion, enthusiasm, and interest in the job you are applying to.

Translate your hobby into a necessary job skill for the position you are applying for

For instance, if you are a coach for the local swim team, highlight your ability to plan, organize, lead, and inspire those around you. This will definitely strengthen your candidature for the job.

Bottom Line: List hobbies that are relevant to the job description, and that highlights the fact that you possess skills that are critical for that job.

Sarah Boisvert

Sarah Boisvert

Founder, The New Collar Network | Author, The New Collar Workforce

Talking about how your hobbies develop skills like problem-solving would indicate your level of competency in this sought-after capability

My research with 200 employers on the skills needed for today’s jobs, indicated that problem-solving was one of the most critical skills they are seeking.

For example, if you are a hiker, you could describe how you deal with unforeseen situations like losing the trail, coming upon wild animals or needing medical care.

Or you could describe volunteering for a non-profit and how you recognized and solved an issue for the organization. Your activities outside of work can expand insight into your problem-solving skills.

Nicki Degrassi

Nicki Degrassi

Partner | Team Leader of Technology, WinterWyman

Showcase a peek of your personality, so don’t be afraid to let it shine

Recently, employers have been using hobbies or interests to identify candidates that align with their corporate culture. It’s also a great way to connect with potential employees on a more personal level. There are a variety of hobbies or interests you can include on your resume including volunteer work you are passionate about, a personal blog you’ve written or a sports team you belong to.

It is also a great way to showcase your personal skills and achievements. Maybe you are tech-savvy and taught yourself to code. Or maybe, you are an analytical thinker and enjoy doing sudoku puzzles and crosswords in your free time. Or maybe you enjoy challenges and recently completed a marathon.

William Taylor

William Taylor

Career Development Manager, Mint Resume

Choose your hobbies wisely to include on a resume

Instead of just putting a separate section based on hobbies and interests, I recommend mentioning any volunteer experience that’s relevant to your interest.

Also, make sure that you carefully choose which hobbies to mention based on the culture of the company you are applying to.

For example, if you are applying for a position that involves physical work or requires an outgoing personality, you can mention sports to show your physical strength and/or that you are a team player. Similarly, for a strategic position, you can mention your interest in chess.

Igor Avidon

Igor Avidon

President & Chief Strategist, Avidon Marketing Group

It’s a big bonus if the applicant’s resume can tie the hobby into their professional experience

Unfortunately, applicants have been led to believe hobbies are a waste of space.

Listing your hobbies shows me your potential fit for our company culture, as well as an opportunity to diversify our existing team’s interests. Listing your hobby and/or interests is a significant bonus for applicants. A brief mention of their favorite hobby in the resume (either below or above school education) can only help the applicant’s candidacy.