As work/life boundaries continue to blur and cultural fit comes to the fore in recruitment decisions, experienced professionals are increasingly including their hobbies and interests on their resumes . Whisper it quietly… but if you do it well, it may even be beneficial.
Hobbies and interests have traditionally only been included by early-career professionals to flesh out their personalities, but if you have a genuinely interesting and relevant hobby (or two) to share with a potential employer, including a one-liner is worth considering.
If an employer likes the look of your work experience, they will want to build a rapport with you. Mentioning one of your hobbies is a nice way to slow the pace of any interview and show that they are genuinely interested in you as a person. Including a couple of interests demonstrates that you are comfortable in yourself, with a balanced approach to life.
In addition to our blog on listing hobbies in your resume , we thought that we would explore a longer list of hobbies and interests that you might wish to include. We consider 40+ hobbies / interests with a brief angle for each one that may interest an employer.
Since hobbies on a resume is still not standard practice, we will also explore the following:
- When should you include hobbies and interests on a resume?
- How to pick hobbies that complement your application
- 40+ interests and hobbies and how to “sell” them
- Which hobbies and interests should you avoid?
In the era of “bringing your whole self to work,” is there a place for your interests on your resume?
I am all for candidates sharing who they are as well as what they can deliver. It goes without saying that hobbies or interests should be on an early-stage resume, but if there is space at the end of a two-page resume, they are a genuine option.
When and where should you include hobbies and interests on a resume?
There are many careers which require skills that can be developed outside of the workplace.
Anything that increases your value in the eyes of the hiring manager is worth including. They will already be aware of how hobbies and interests contribute to the skillsets of their current people, so including relevant skills for the role in question is sensible.
There is no situation where hobbies and interests should be at the top of a resume, no matter how interesting they are. A simple line at the bottom of the resume or after the skills section will suffice.
How can I write about my hobbies?
Stick to the one-line rule. For mid and senior career professionals, your hobbies and interests can add a different dimension to the application, but they should not take up more than 1-2 lines. Resume real estate is precious. You should not write a longer hobbies paragraph than this, because it will seem that your work experience is lacking. Full sentences are not required. Offer a very brief description:
Swimming – 1,000m backstroke u18 record. Songwriting – lead singer in a country band.
40+ hobbies and interests for your resume and how to sell them
There are so many work-related skills that can be developed when playing sports. Whether you are playing a team or individual sport, the determination, concentration, and resilience that you learn will come in useful in many work situations. Learning from your losses is a great lesson. All sports people understand the link between hard work and improvement.
- Baseball. Anyone who plays a team sport understands the importance of doing your individual job for the benefit of the collective.
- Swimming. Certain individual sports require countless hours of training and preparation for a small window of delivery. It is also a great sport for quiet contemplation.
- Skiing. Any extreme sport that requires you to take calculated risks and push the limits of your ability will be a good fit for a business career.
- Yoga. With mental health and mindfulness at the forefront of corporate wellness agendas, yoga practitioners exude a sense of calmness during times of stress.
- Dance. It goes without saying that being physically fit brings mental benefits. Dance is an activity that demands intense concentration and often teamwork.
- Gym. Pushing yourself beyond your physical limits puts your muscles in the red zone, but you get stronger as a result. This will become useful when the going gets tough at work.
Venturing into the great outdoors means putting yourself at the mercy of the elements and dealing with whatever nature throws your way. You need to think on your feet, find creative solutions to unexpected problems, learn to take controlled risks and carve your own path. There is a reason why many corporate away days take place at outdoor pursuits centers.
- Fishing. Hours and hours of waiting for that one fish, and you only get one chance to catch it. One wrong move and it is gone. Sounds like many one-off situations in the workplace.
- Mountain climbing. Another activity that requires solid decision making and an innate trust in delivering your skills. If you climb as a pair, you place your life in the hands of another.
- Gardening. Lovingly preparing the ground for a flower that might only bloom for a month requires a patient eye for detail, dealing with elements that are often out of your control.
- Camping. Venturing into the great outdoors is great for the mind, and while camping might not be the most strenuous activity, it is a sign of someone who is at one with themselves.
- Orienteering. When you have a map and multiple options of how to get to a waypoint, every decision matters. Do you take the longer road or cut across an energy-sapping swamp?
A musician’s soul is not gifted to everyone, but a musician’s journey of creativity requires both discipline and dedication. Trying to nail a particular piece over and over again reflects the struggles of many professionals when they are attempting to master a new skill.
- Band or orchestra. The coordination and responsibility of delivering your part in an orchestra or a band cannot be underestimated. You are an individual within the whole.
- Songwriting. We all know that feeling of needing to fill a blank page with something meaningful, but when you need to set the words to music, the challenge doubles.
- Singing / gigging. Putting yourself in front of an audience (who may even be paying to be there) is nerve-wracking for even the biggest stars. Great practice for office presentations.
What is the difference between a hobby and an interest? A hobby is something that you regularly pursue for the purposes of enjoyment. An interest is less regular or maybe an activity where you are seeking to become more proficient. For the purposes of this article, we will group them together. For the purposes of your resume and eventual interview, don’t call something a hobby if you have only done it a couple of times.
Whether it is working for a charity or being active in the local community, their choice of volunteer work tells you a lot about a person. Choosing to do something for others for no financial gain is laudable, but it may also hint about their attitude to giving time, attention and knowledge to others in the workplace.
- Charity / fundraising. Your choice of charity or fundraising activity will tell a lot about you as a person. Sometimes a potential employer just wants to know what you care about.
- Community events. Doing work in the community is not glamorous; but putting yourself out there to help others is an incredibly worthy trait that will be greatly valued in an office.
- Environmental work. Caring about the environment often means doing the little things that others consider unimportant – for the greater good.
- Coaching / mentoring. It is common to coach or mentor friends or family outside of the work environment. If this is something that you enjoy doing, mention it in your resume.
Although many artistic pursuits are individually-oriented, some of the most difficult moments at work are alone late at night in front of a laptop when you are trying to work through a tough problem or make a crucial decision. Finding a direction when you are not sure what to do next lies at the heart of any artistic process.
- Painting / drawing. With every brush stroke you change the nature of your creation, and it is rare that you can get it back to its original state. What will you do with your blank canvas?
- Sculpture. Sculpting is something that requires fine motor skills that are important for many roles. Each movement matters as your masterpiece takes place.
- Photography / video production. Capturing a moment in a photo or creating a compelling video is an art form that has come of age in our ever-online business environment.
- Design. In our visually driven world, an appreciation of design fundamentals could help to communicate messages, drive sales and grow brands.
Any hobby or interest that involves communication skills will come in useful in most workplaces. The ability to reach other people with the right choice of words is an incredibly useful gift, so someone who writes for pleasure in their spare time is likely to be an effective communicator. Someone who appreciates words is someone who knows their power.
- Blogging. It takes a certain amount of courage to compose your thoughts and share them with the world. You need to be able to not take criticism personally.
- Journaling. In a similar way to meditation, journaling is a way to get in touch with your inner world. Someone who is emotionally grounded will be a stable influence on their team.
- Short stories. You might not have a novel on your hard drive, but the act of strategically piecing together the plot of a short story contains many essentials of business storytelling.
- Poetry. Too many words can suffocate productivity - long emails and meetings are the bane of many working lives. Poetry is often the art of keeping it short but sweet.
- Journalism. Many people enjoy the challenge of writing amateur journalism for online or print publications. Researching an interesting story is a challenge in itself.
With the constant march of technology , coding knowledge and an appreciation of the possibilities of A.I. are driving technological change in many industries. Employees with interests in these areas will be more likely to notice opportunities to harness new technologies in the workplace. They will also be evangelists for those around them.
- Stock trading. Many people have been dabbling in the stock market recently, but when you are investing your own money, you need to develop an appreciation for risk management.
- Coding. Anyone who can master a programming language is investing in a future where a certain amount of coding expertise will be universally required in so many areas.
- Artificial intelligence. It might seem decades away, but artificial intelligence is all around us. Those who understand its impact will bring a unique perspective to work discussions.
A stunning website or authoritative social media presence are essential for most modern companies, and while employees with these interests might not work in marketing, they can become advocates to support social media activity and offer valuable feedback in terms of new ideas and creative approaches.
- E-sports. Competitive gaming is no longer a niche activity. Playing together in an e-sports environment requires intense cooperation and split-second decision-making skills.
- Vlogging. Being comfortable talking to others on a video is something that is useful as offices become virtual and communication moves onto a screen. Not everyone enjoys this.
- Social media. If you have managed to build up a significant social media following you will have many prized skills – networking, communication and strategic marketing.
The ability to captivate a crowd with compelling oratory or sway them with convincing acting is not only for the theater. Anyone who has a fine appreciation for anything performance related will likely pick up a few behavioral tips for the office, meeting room or conference hall. We all play a part at work to some extent.
- Acting. We all put on a mask at work to a certain extent. No one is fully authentic, so the ability to play a part and act in a certain way is important for team unity.
- Theater. Working in a broader theater team involves being part of a smooth operation where everyone needs to do their job at exactly the right time.
- Stand-up comedy. Comedians need to be some of the bravest people out there, and making others laugh is a valuable asset to any team. There is a role for humor in an interview, too.
The desire to broaden horizons, absorb different cultures and learn different languages is the sign of a curious mind. The desire to venture out into the unknown and discover something new is the trait of someone who will lead a team to new heights. International experience is increasingly valued in our globalized and multicultural world.
- International experience. The experience and cultural awareness that comes with international travel cannot be underestimated in a multicultural workplace.
- Language learning. Learning a language demonstrates a keen memory and an ability to piece together the building blocks of speech.
Whether you are giving your mind a workout with a game of chess, experimenting with flavors in the kitchen or trusting your DIY skills with the latest project, many of the simplest hobbies can offer a future employer a window into your personality. They might not be the most impressive interests, but if you are passionate about them, shout about it.
- Board games. While they might not be the first hobby that you mention, the intellectual challenge of chess or various other board games can hone vital workplace skills.
- DIY. Many of us would love to be better at DIY. Home improvement projects mirror many of the skills of running a project in the workplace, so tell them about your kitchen renovation.
- Mindfulness. Lastly, in a similar way to yoga, adopting a daily practice of mindfulness will help when you get to work. Let your employers know how you prepare for your day.
Which interests and hobbies should you avoid?
- Anything illegal or dangerous – your judgment should not be questioned.
- Anything related to religion or politics – don’t risk polarizing opinions.
- Vague or unusual interests that require a detailed explanation.
- Avoid a long list. Include a couple with some additional depth of detail.
- Don’t exaggerate your proficiency. You never know what an interviewer is into.
- The best interviews contain a mix of personal and professional insights.
- Including a line with a couple of hobbies or interests will guide the interviewer in the desired direction.
- Make sure your hobbies are relevant for the nature of the role that you are applying for so the interviewer will understand the added value.
- Times are changing – bring your whole self to the interview by adding this extra dimension.