Do Hobbies Belong on Your Resume? How to Choose the Right Ones

by Guest Author, Miles Oliver

Rounding out your resume can be tricky if you’re new to the industry or want to leap up the corporate ladder quickly. It’s easy to feel like your resume is lackluster if you have a few short bullet points detailing your work experience and education.

However, if you’re an active, interesting person with a passion for life, you may have a trick up your sleeve: hobbies.

Hobbies look great on your resume and help you stand out from other candidates. They can help you break the ice when you enter the interview room and show recruiters that you have interests outside of work. This can be a real boon if you’re short on work experience but have developed your intangible skills outside of the workplace.

Context Matters

Every employer wants to hire folks who are authentically interesting and contribute to the culture of their business. That’s why you should never forget to include your hobbies on your resume. Some hobbies reflect well on your personality, while others show that you have technical skills that could be of real use to the employer.

However, that doesn’t mean you should include a separate paragraph for your pickleball or pottery passion. Instead, try to leverage your hobby in a way that relates to the particular job posting. This contextualizes the importance of your hobby and gives you room to prove that you’re the type of candidate that the employer is looking for.

It may be worth highlighting certain hobbies over others, too. For example, if you’re looking to land a content creation position, you probably want to highlight your passion for photography over your rec-league soccer team. This shows employers that you have the diverse set of skills they are looking for in candidates.

Even if you are not able to showcase a hobby on your resume, it could help you in your career. For instance, card games can teach you successful business skills, such as organization and the ability to negotiate with others. You can use these skills both in the interview process and when you land a new job, even if you cannot list them on your resume.

Hobbies That Impress

All passion projects and leisure pursuits are equally valid. However, some hobbies simply look better than others on a resume. For example, unless you’re planning to apply for a role in the fitness industry, your passion for bodybuilding probably won’t boost your resume.

Instead, consider picking up hobbies that are more impressive to prospective hires. This may include pastimes like:

  • Volunteering with community projects;
  • Hosting book clubs;
  • Endurance events;
  • Video production or streaming.

These hobbies are a little easy to pitch to recruiters as they help round you out as a candidate. Pastimes like marathon running and pottery show that you are disciplined and love to learn new skills, while civic engagement opportunities show that you’re a community-oriented applicant. This can make all the difference if employers are choosing between yourself and another highly qualified candidate.

You shouldn’t necessarily list your hobbies in great detail on your resume. However, you should refer to any hobbies that you mention on your resume within your cover letter. This helps you translate hobbies into workplace skills and shows recruiters that you understand your own strengths.

Starting New Hobbies

Strengthening your resume with hobbies can help you land exciting positions and will serve you well when you are asked tricky interview questions about your personal life. However, if you’re a career-oriented person, you may not have invested the requisite time and effort into hobbies yet.

Get the ball rolling and learn how to balance your hobbies and career progression by:

  • Reassess your priorities and make time for passion projects;
  • Learn to say “no” to folks who want to infringe on your free time;
  • Schedule time for your hobbies and create a routine that works for you;
  • Set time-based goals to improve your motivation and enhance your skills.

Learning to balance your hobbies and career can give you a better work-life balance, too. This is crucial if you want to pitch yourself as a passionate, highly motivated employee on your resume. Showing that you can balance your career with your personal life convinces hiring managers that you’re ready to take on responsibilities and make the most of a great opportunity.

Conclusion

Investing time and effort into a hobby can feel like a waste of time when you’re searching for a job. However, contextually appropriate hobbies look great on your resume. They can help you break the ice when in the interview room and show employers that you have a passion for self- improvement. Just be sure to align your hobbies with the personality qualities employees look for, as this shows hiring managers that you’re the right fit for the role.

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About the author: Miles Oliver is a freelance contributor whose writing focuses on professional development. You can reach him at moliverpages@gmail.com

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