Should I add my hobbies and interests to my CV?
Will they help me to land a job interview?
If I do include my interests… Where should I put them?
I hear these questions from candidates all the time, so I’ve written a post to help you decide whether or not you should include your hobbies in your CV, and how to go about it.
- Arguments for and against adding hobbies to your CV
- Who should add hobbies to their CV?
- 8 example hobbies to add to your CV
- Hobbies to keep out of your CV
- How to add hobbies to your CV
Arguments for including your hobbies
Firstly, there isn’t a yes or no answer to as to whether hobbies should be included in a CV – it depends on your individual situation and the roles you are applying for.
There are arguments for and against adding hobbies to your CV, so let’s take a look at them.
Some of the arguments for including hobbies in your CV are:
- They can help you to get some of your personality across in what can sometimes be a fairly boring document
- Some hobbies demonstrate valuable skills (e.g. writing a personal blog can demonstrate writing skills)
- Interesting hobbies can help you to stand out from the crowd when there is lots of similar competition
Arguments for excluding your hobbies
Some of the arguments for leaving hobbies out of your CV are:
- Your hobbies aren’t often relevant to your work, and therefore will not interest employers
- Weird or unusual hobbies can put recruiters off and potentially ruin your applications
- Hobbies and interests waste valuable space on your CV that would be better used with career history or education
As you can see, there are valid arguments for both causes.
I personally feel that you need to make a decision as to whether or not you include hobbies and interests in your CV, based on your own circumstances.
Many factors will influence your choice, such as your industry, level of experience, roles you are applying for, and more.
Use the following sections to help you decide.
Who should not add hobbies and interests to their CV?
Broadly speaking, the following people probably would not benefit from adding their hobbies to their CV:
If, for example, you have 10 years of IT project management experience and you’re applying for IT project management roles – you should focus on detailing your experience and qualifications. Adding your interests in poetry and line dancing isn’t likely to add much value to the CV in most cases here, and will waste space.
People with common interests
There’s nothing wrong with liking television dramas or football, but writing about those things on your CV is unlikely to make a big impact on recruiters – because most of the other candidates they are screening will probably have the same interests.
To put it another way, in my years of working as a recruiter – I never heard a hiring manager say, “find me somebody who likes going to the cinema and socialising with friends”.
So, in 99% of cases, you should probably leave common interests out of your CV
You can also check out my CV video hobby guide if you prefer to learn through video:
Who should add hobbies to their CV?
So, who should add their hobbies to their CV then?
Broadly speaking (again) the following people can sometimes gain an advantage from adding their hobbies and interests to their CV.
Junior or inexperienced candidates
If you have little or no work experience, it can be difficult to demonstrate your skills and abilities. To compensate for this, adding some detail around your hobbies and interests can be very beneficial for junior candidates.
In this case, detailing some of your hobbies (perhaps sports, games clubs, travelling, martial arts etc.) Can present you with the opportunity to demonstrate a wide range of skills, such as teamwork, communication, leadership, planning and more.
Check out our example school leaver CV
People with hobbies that are highly related to their work
If your hobbies are directly related to the roles you are applying for, then you can derive plenty of content from them that will impress employers.
For example, if you are applying for web developer roles and you happen to run a personal website in your spare time, this is a great way to highlight not-only your skills in web development, but also your passion for the field.
People making a career change
Making a career change can be tough, because you will often will have no direct work experience in the field you are applying to. But if you have some personal interests in the new field, it’s worth mentioning them in your CV to prove your skills and motivations.
For example, a doctor who is looking to become a travel writer may struggle to land interviews if his/her CV is only focused on their medical experience. However, if they add some details about their personal activities in travel and writing, they will have more relevant info in the CV, and get more responses from recruiters.
People with impressive hobbies and achievements
If you have some impressive hobbies or have made some big personal achievements, they can sometimes be worth mentioning in your CV (especially for junior candidates). For example, you might have run a marathon, or maybe you run a fund-raising event for a good cause. These types of interests can add value to your CV because they can demonstrate real skill and determination.
Which hobbies should be added to your CV?
Hopefully the above sections have given you a good steer on whether or not you need to include your hobbies and interests in your own CV.
If you are going to add some hobbies, here are some I would recommend:
Involvement in a fairly serious sports team or individual sport involves dedication, teamwork, and shows you have the ability to commit yourself to a cause.
If you play in a chess league or similar equivalent, this can be a good way of showing recruiters that you are bright and tactful.
Writing is a great communicative skill that is required in plenty of jobs, so if you have any personal writing hobbies (such as a blog or writing classes) then it can be worth mentioning them.
Any volunteer work is normally a great addition to your CV, especially if t’s for a good cause, or it directly relates to your target roles. Either way there should be plenty of work-related skills you can highlight from volunteer work.
If you have any involvement in the organising and planning of events in your spare time, it should definitely get a mention in your CV. Maybe you help to run an after-school club, or support the promoting of a local music event – lots of workplace skills can be drawn out of event planning hobbies.
Marathons or similar physical endurance tasks require an extreme amount of dedication and training, which will certainly show your ability to work hard and get things done – great for employers to see.
Some employers really love to see travel on a CV, especially the more modern trendy employers like Google and Facebook. Travel involve lots of planning, bravado, and teaches you a lot about different cultures and lifestyles.
This one applies mainly to candidates applying to engineering or trade roles, but if you have any hobbies that involve building or fixing things, it can be a great way to prove your ingenuity and technical know-how.
Which hobbies should be kept out of your CV?
The following hobbies probably aren’t going to make a huge difference to the success of your CV…
Common pastimes are essentially hobbies that 99% of the population take part in. Things like eating out, going to the cinema, reading or socialising. These hobbies will not set you apart from other candidates, so there’s no need to waste space on your CV by writing about them.
Anything that could be considered a sensitive subject
If you have hobbies that involve any subjects that could be considered sensitive (topics such as politics or religion) then I’d advise leaving them out to be safe and ensure you don’t encounter any discrimination.
Hobbies such as supporting a football team or watching television don’t require much input from you personally, so it’s not worth mentioning them.
Where should hobbies and interests appear in your CV?
For most people, your hobbies should appear at the very bottom of your CV structure, underneath your education.
The reason for this, is that they usually won’t have a bigger impact on a hiring decision than your work experience or qualifications
You can check out some of our example CVs to see how this works in practice.
Keep your hobbies section brief and try not to take up too much space with them.
However, if you are in a rare situation where one of your hobbies is actually more important than your work experience, then you might want to also include a quick mention of your relevant hobby at the top of your CV, in the profile or personal statement.
For example, if a newly graduated person with no work experience is applying for graduate football coaching roles. In this instance it would be worth mentioning his Sunday league football career in his profile briefly.
Quick tip: If you struggle with written English, try using our partner’s CV builder to eliminate the risk of making mistakes.
Should you put your hobbies in your CV? Conclusion
Hopefully this post has provided you with everything you need to make up your own mind about including your hobbies (or not) when writing your CV.
Ultimately, your decision will come down to relevancy.
You have to ask yourself, “Will including my hobbies make a positive difference to my applications?”
If the answer is yes, then include them.
If not, exclude them and save space for something that will.