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Should you add Hobbies and Interests to your CV?

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Even though it is your experience and role skills that are the main reasons that make a recruiter or hiring manager decide if they want to interview you, your personality and your cultural fit are also significant.

While your CV tells the story of your qualifications and your career, the hobbies and interest section reveals a little more of your personality.

Interests and hobbies can be a big part of your life, and they could also help you get hired for a new job. But trying to put your pastimes down on paper can be far more of a challenge.

Benefits of including hobbies on your CV include:

  • In this new COVID era, the job market is very highly competitive, so having hobbies and interests listed on your CV can go a long way in helping you stand out from other candidates. Listing your interests and hobbies, makes your CV more individual.

  • They can help in demonstrating your relevant skills for the role.

  • They allows you to show voluntary and community-focused projects that you are involved in and have worked on and show a more caring side to you.

  • They are also a great way to give you something to talk about during your interview

  • They can also help if you are a recent graduate and you don’t have much in the way of employment history, you are just starting out.

It is difficult for anyone to gain an understanding of your personality from a brief, work focused, CV, so by including a hobbies and interests section, it makes it much easier for the recruiter or hiring manager to get to know what you are like. This could help them to decide between you and another candidate, as the best fit for the job. Adding your interests and hobbies is also a great way to show off.

Where should you list them on your CV?

It is difficult fitting a career’s worth of information onto a few pages, and your personal statement, your skills and your experience need to take priority, so place the ‘Hobbies and Interests’ section after these towards the end of the CV.

But keep it brief and bullet point your hobbies and interests, with a brief description of each.

Use them to seal the deal, rather than as your key selling point.

Do Recruiters read them?

This is very subjective, some recruiters use them to gain a more rounded picture of the candidate, whilst others may see them as value, if it’s a close decision, or if company fit/culture becomes a factor. As a general rule, most recruiters will only be interested in your hobbies if they’re relevant to the role and, crucially – if you’ve ticked all the other boxes.

What hobbies and interests should you include and which you should leave off?

You need to be selective about which hobbies you should list on your CV. If they could be construed as being offensive or contraversial, then it is best to leave them off. Only include hobbies and interests which could add value to your application.

Good hobbies and interests that make a hiring manager take notice

Here are a few hobbies and interests that you could mention on your CV and they could help you get an interview.

  • Playing a team sport, shows you’re comfortable being part of a team. A skill that’s valued by employers. Playing an individual sport, proves that you have determination and motivation to achieve your goals.

  • DIY (like woodwork, renovation, restoration etc.) shows you have attention to detail and focus.

  • Reading books, magazines, trade papers, online content demonstrates that you like to broaden your knowledge, keeping up to date with current affairs and are always learning to improve yourself.

  • Travelling - shows that you are interested in new cultures and new experiences and could be more flexible in a diverse working environment.

  • Community and Charity work is always good to point out as it shows you have empathy and consideration for others.

  • Amateur dramatics demonstrates that you are confident and have good communication skills which would be great for public-facing roles.

  • Coding or programming, great if you are going for a technical role.

  • President of a society or club (for management positions)

Your hobbies don’t even necessarily need to be related to your role directly, as there are many transferable skills which may come across in your hobbies and be applicable to the role you are applying for.

What to do if you don’t have any real hobbies worth mentioning.

Leave them off your CV if you do not know what to say, or feel they aren’t relevant, or you have none worth mentioning. Socialising with friends, eating out and going to the cinema may be accurate, but are all unlikely to add value to your application. So it’s far better to leave out the section completely.

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