Should I include a hobbies and interests section in my CV?
So, you’re typing up your CV. You’ve included your education, experience, and references, but one section has you stumped: hobbies and interests. What should you mention? What should you avoid mentioning? Should you include a hobbies and interests section at all?
If this situation sounds familiar to you, don’t worry – you’re not alone! Many job seekers struggle with the hobbies and interests section of their CV.
Should I include a hobbies and interests section?
There is much debate around this question. The honest answer is that it depends. If you are an experienced candidate going for a mid- to high-level position, then you probably won’t need a hobbies and interests section. Your CV will already be packed with quality content, and you will most likely need the extra space.
However, the following types of jobseeker generally benefit from its inclusion:
- Less experienced jobseekers (school leavers; university graduates; etc.)
- Jobseekers whose hobbies display key skills that they have not yet demonstrated professionally
- Those applying for jobs directly related to their hobbies
Why include a hobbies and interests section?
A hobbies and interests section personalises your CV. It sets you apart from the other candidates for the job, highlights key skills you possess, and increases your chances of being able to talk about them during the interview.
In short, a hobbies and interests section offers employers a window into your personality. They can learn, for instance, that you are passionate about self-improvement, capable of leadership, or comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
Where should I put the hobbies and interests section on my CV?
While they add personality, hobbies and interests are typically nowhere near as important as your education and experience. They should be placed at the end of your CV, just before the references.
Note: Hobbies and interests can also often be listed under the heading Additional Skills, where they can be included as supporting examples for key skills.
Tips for writing your hobbies and interests section
The hobbies and interests that you include must be tailored to each specific job you apply for. Here are 5 tips to help you choose the right ones:
- Be truthful. Under no circumstances should you lie about your hobbies and interests. You may be caught out in the interview, and it could end up costing you the job.
- Pick hobbies that have relevant transferable skills. For instance, if you are applying for a job that requires public speaking, mentioning that you are an active member of a Toastmasters club is a good idea.
- Avoid references to religion and politics. Revealing these affiliations on a CV is generally frowned upon.
- Avoid hobbies with potentially negative associations. Singing in a heavy metal band, doing taxidermy, collecting children’s toys… Hobbies like these may take dedication and skill, but mentioning them will probably cause more harm than good!
Only mention 2-3 hobbies and interests. You don’t want it to seem like your hobbies will distract you from your work.
Which hobbies and interests are the best choices?
While some hobbies and interests develop skills that are job-specific, others can be beneficial across a range of professions. Here are a few popular examples (click on the links for more information):
- Tech skills. Anything that displays computer skills can be a great choice as many employers will be delighted to have a techie or two on the payroll.
- Charity work shows initiative, dedication, kindness, and community spirit.
- Travel can suggest an open mind, adaptability, communication skills, and an awareness and appreciation of different cultures.
- Sports club membership demonstrates commitment, loyalty, and teamwork.
How can I phrase my hobbies and interests section?
Rather than simply listing your hobbies, it is better to highlight the valuable experiences garnered through your hobbies. Here are a few examples:
Charity work: Successfully organised a series of charitable events raising over €1,000 in total for cancer research, including booking venues and entertainers, contacting local businesses for raffle prizes, and hosting the events.
Travel: Traveled extensively across South America and lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 2 years, immersing myself in the local culture and raising my Spanish proficiency to C1 level (advanced).
Coding: Successfully created a range of Java Android apps including a chatbot and a simple music maker.
Blogging: Set up, wrote, managed, and marketed a popular blog about educational apps, programs, and websites.
What do you think? Should you include hobbies and interests on a CV? And if so, what other hobbies and interests make good choices? Let us know in the comments section below.