Should You Put Your Hobbies on Your Resume?

Many people are confused about whether or not they should include their hobbies on their resume.  On one hand, it can show that you are a well-rounded person, while on the other hand, it may not be consistent with the professional image that you are trying to portray.  Hobbies can strengthen your resume, but only if:

  • You relate your hobby to your target position.  It doesn’t have to be directly related, but there should be some way that this hobby makes you a more attractive candidate.  For example, if you are applying for a position as an accountant, the employer probably doesn’t care about your stint as a cheerleader.  However, they may be impressed that you were in the chess club, because it demonstrates analytical and problem solving skills that you will need as an accountant.
  • It doesn’t raise concerns about your level of commitment to the job.  If you are applying for a marketing position at a pharmaceutical company, and your resume is full of volunteer work with children, the employer may wonder if your heart is in the job.  The employer wants to hire someone who is enthusiastic about the position, so make sure that your resume doesn’t present you as being more passionate about your hobbies.
  • It doesn’t give away your religious or political affiliations.  It is unprofessional to reveal your religious and political affiliations to an employer, and it makes many employers uncomfortable.  If you have any doubts about it, keep it off the resume.

Here are some hobbies that may make you a more attractive candidate:

  • Team sports.  If your target position includes teamwork, then any sports that you are involved in can show that you work well on a team.
  • Hobbies that show key skills or personality traits.  Volunteer work that involves working with people can help showcase your interpersonal and communication skills, and hobbies, such as running marathons, can show perseverance and commitment.  Think about what type of person the employer is likely looking for, and see if your hobbies and interests demonstrate those traits.
  • Hobbies or interests that the employer might be able to use.  Even if the hobby is not directly related to position, the employer may still be able to use it.  For example, being able to golf can be useful for networking.
  • Volunteer work that has allowed you to build a network.  While the employer is looking to hire you for your skills, they may be equally interested in your network.  If you have been a board member or a volunteer in any other position where you have been able to make key contacts, it will be attractive to potential employers.
  • Volunteer work that shows your commitment to the community.  Employers always want to see applicants who are committed to the community.  It presents you as a well-rounded person, and it makes the employer feel better about hiring you.

When the employer hires you for a position, they are not just hiring your skills and experiences, they are hiring the whole package.  For this reason, many employers will want to know about your hobbies and interests.  However, it’s important to always remember that you’re applying for a job, so you should never divulge anything that will make you a less attractive candidate.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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