How to Decide Which Hobbies to Include on Your Resume

Including hobbies on your resume can help show employers that you’re a good fit— but they can also distract from your experience and skills. Here’s advice from a recruiter on how to figure out which of your hobbies to list on your resume in order to get the job you want.

5 months ago   •   6 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
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Crafting a resume isn't just about listing your work history; it's about showing that you’re the BEST candidate for the job you want.

That’s why, when choosing hobbies to put on a resume, you must pick ones that show you’ve done your research and you’re a great fit for the job— then leave everything else off.

When you apply for a job, your resume is often screened by AI before a human ever sees it. If you make it past that initial screening process, hiring managers are looking for one thing only: Do you seem like you are a good fit for this position?

So, every section of your resume needs to tell the story of how you are the best candidate.

If your hobbies can do that, fantastic! We’ll guide you through the nuances of including hobbies in a way that will help you stand out in the job market.

If your hobbies can’t, you may need to skip putting them on your resume and opt to use the space for other information instead. (If you need help knowing how to add value to your resume, we have an article about that, too: (

Assuming you get the job, there will be plenty of time for your future coworkers to get to know you. What you don’t want to do is make a bot or an overworked HR person take you out of the running because you have unimportant information on your resume.

In this article, we’ll help you navigate the nuances of talking about your hobbies and interests on your resume. Let's start by asking: should you put personal interests on your resume?

Key advice from a recruiter to keep in mind when deciding which hobbies (if any) to include on a resume
Key advice from a recruiter to keep in mind when deciding which hobbies (if any) to include on a resume

Should you mention hobbies and interests on your resume?

Short answer: You can include hobbies and interests on your resume if they’re related to the job you want to get. But if they’re not, it’d be best to leave them off.

Let’s look a little closer at what that means:

When to include hobbies on your resume

Emphasizing skills and professional experience is always going to beat listing your hobbies in a hiring manager’s eyes.

However, hobbies can still find a place on your resume when they serve a specific purpose. Here are some signs it’s a good idea to put a hobby on your resume:

  • It’s relevant to the role: Hobbies that directly relate to the job you’re applying for can be powerful. For example, if you're eyeing a position in digital marketing, having a blog with a large following proves you know what you’re talking about.
  • It shows your achievements: Hobbies that involve significant achievements or leadership experiences speak volumes. For instance, if you’re an active runner and recently raised $5,000 for a charity marathon, including running on your resume would be a great addition (just be sure to also mention your fundraising achievement alongside the skill!).
  • It proves you’re a cultural fit: If you’re applying to a company known for its adventurous spirit, mentioning hobbies like mountaineering or rock climbing could show you’d fit in well with the company culture.
  • It’s related to your personal branding/digital influence: Hobbies that demonstrate skills like building a social media following are valuable in today's digital age.

If you’re uncertain about which hobbies to include or exclude on your resume, upload it to the tool below — it scans your resume sections and offers suggestions on which ones to enhance or remove altogether.

Why you should not to include hobbies on your resume

Including hobbies can be a double-edged sword. It's crucial to consider their relevance and potential impact:

  1. Distraction from core qualifications: An irrelevant hobby can distract the focus from your essential skills. For instance, mentioning a hobby like 'coin collecting' when you're applying for a software engineering position might distract the hiring manager from seeing all the hackathons you’ve won.
  2. Risk of bias: Some hobbies might inadvertently trigger biases or controversies. For example, though vegan activism may be something you’re passionate about, seeing this on your resume may lead hiring managers to dismiss your application. Similarly, If you enjoy bungee jumping or other high-risk hobbies, don’t give the HR department an excuse to assume you’ll take risks with their business.
  3. Wasted space: Remember, every inch of your resume is prime real estate. Filling it with hobbies that don't scream, “This is the right person for this job!” is a missed opportunity to highlight what truly makes you a great fit.

Special cases when it’s ok to put hobbies on a resume

  1. Unconventional Roles: For creative or non-traditional jobs, personal hobbies can illustrate creativity and innovative thinking. For instance, indie filmmaking might catch the eye of a startup or creative agency.
  2. Aligning with Unconventional Job Requirements: In roles like environmental advocacy, relevant hobbies like wildlife photography can underline your passion.
  3. Demonstrating Shared Interests: If you share a hobby with the hiring manager, mentioning it can create a personal connection.

How and where to list hobbies and interests on your resume

If you want to add hobbies to your resume, here are some best practices:

Evaluate their relevance

Every hobby listed should serve a purpose. Scrutinize each one against the job description. If it doesn't clearly support your application, it's better left off.

Balance professionalism with personal interests

The hobbies you choose should enhance, not detract from, your professional image. If you’re going to include hobbies on your resume, consider hobbies that imply desirable traits:

  • Reading: Suggests a thirst for knowledge and continuous learning.
  • Chess: Indicates strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • Team sports: Reflects teamwork and communication skills.
  • Volunteering: Demonstrates empathy and commitment to community.

Tailor your hobbies to each job

Make your hobbies resonate with the job you're eyeing:

  • For a creative role: If applying for a graphic design position, mention hobbies like painting or printmaking. This not only shows your artistic flair but also your hands-on experience in the field.
  • For a leadership position: Hobbies like coaching a local sports team can illustrate leadership and team management skills.
  • For analytical roles: Emphasize hobbies that showcase your analytical skills, like winning chess tournaments.

Be specific and use quantifiable achievements where possible. Instead of saying "Photography," say "Award-winning nature photographer featured in local galleries." Unless it can be spruced up like this, keep it off your resume.

Choose the right location on your resume

Most hobbies should be left off entirely. But if you choose to include them, the placement of hobbies on your resume is crucial.

Consider a dedicated 'Hobbies and Interests' section, or place them at the end of the resume in “Additional Information.”This positioning subtly communicates that while they are an integral part of your persona, they don't overshadow your professional qualifications.

An example of a resume with a dedicated Hobbies section, demonstrating leadership and accomplishment with each hobby
An example of a resume with a dedicated Hobbies section, demonstrating leadership and accomplishment with each hobby

Get a professional’s help

As you navigate the delicate balance of including the right hobbies on your resume, why not get a helping hand? Resume Worded’s free Targeted Resume tool offers an AI-driven analysis to ensure your resume, including the hobbies section, is perfectly aligned with the job description. Give it a go and make every detail of your resume count.

You can also use the keywords tool below to tailor your resume to the job. It’ll help you find a list of skills and job-related keywords relevant to the position. Plus, it's a good way to see if any of your hobbies are considered relevant keywords for the job you’re interested in.

Interests/hobbies to avoid on your resume

While hobbies can add a personal touch to your resume, some can distract from your qualifications— or worse, send red flags to hiring managers. It's essential to know which hobbies could detract from your job application and why.

Let's dive into the types of hobbies to avoid:

Irrelevant and generic hobbies

In the quest to appear well-rounded, many people fall into the trap of listing generic hobbies that add little value to their professional profile. Here are examples of the types of hobbies to reconsider:

  • Common activities: Commonplace hobbies like ‘music' are so widespread that they fail to set you apart. They don't provide insight into your skills or character.
  • Non-transferable hobbies: Mentioning hobbies unrelated to the job or the company's culture doesn’t benefit you. For example, mentioning 'extreme sports' on a resume for an accounting role might make the hiring manager wonder why you included something random.

A good rule of thumb: if you’re not sure if your hobby is irrelevant or generic, leave it off.

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