A resume is often the most important factor in deciding whether or not you will get the opportunity to interview for a job. Your resume must be concise and must be targeted to the specific position you want. If you are a job seeker, you may be wondering if you should include hobbies in your resume.
The answer to this question, however, is not as simple as it appears to be. If you are uncertain about whether or not to include hobbies, you should consider the following factors.
Are the hobbies relevant?
For the most part, you should only list hobbies if they are professionally relevant. For example, an interest in blog writing is an advantage when applying for a writing or editorial position. An interest in drawing and art could be seen as a positive when applying for an opportunity at an architectural firm. Make sure the hobbies in your resume show an interest or devotion to the job that you are applying to get. The point is this: don't create a long laundry list of all the hobbies that you like to do in your free time. Tons of people enjoy watching sports, but that won't help in obtaining employment at most companies. Keep your list of hobbies relevant to the job you're applying for.
Does the hiring company want hobbies in your resume?
A job description or ad typically doesn't call for hobbies to be listed in your resume. Before putting hobbies down, aim to get a handle on whether or not the company would appreciate seeing them on the document. For example, if you're applying for a job at a prestigious, buttoned-up law firm, maybe consider leaving hobbies out. If you're applying for a job at a company where the job ad explicitly states they're looking for someone who can inject new ideas into the office, consider including some of your creative-minded hobbies. If you are not sure what to do, it's best to err on the side of caution and simply stick to your educational and work achievements, and not list any hobbies in your resume.
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Does the hobby translate to skills?
Hiring managers typically don't care to read through what you like to do in your spare time, unless it is something truly of note. Being a high school baseball coach, for example, may prove to an employer that you have leadership skills and the ability to organize a group of people in order to achieve a common goal. Volunteering abroad may prove to a company you're able to work with people who may be different than you, and that you are comfortable in uncertain situations. If your hobby does not offer anything useful to the job, listing it could potentially have a negative impact on your chances of being hired.
Do you want to rebrand yourself?
If you want the hiring manager to see you in a new light, sharing your outside interests may help. I started my career with a Bachelor of Science in computer and systems engineering. Soon after receiving my degree, I wanted to apply to jobs in other fields, such as marketing. Unfortunately, hiring managers thought of me primarily for roles related to computer programming and electrical engineering. To share another side of myself, I added interests and hobbies. Most were not related to the work I would do, but they did add new dimensions to me as a person. I selected hobbies that were general but relatable, such as travel and photography. Adding these interests helped to rebrand me, and I eventually did land that marketing role.
Talk about your hobbies at the interview
Resumes are meant to show you have what it takes to do exceptional work in a given position. Generally speaking, hobbies have nothing to do with this. However, hiring managers may ask about your hobbies during an interview to better understand you as a person (which in turn helps them figure out how you would fit within their work environment). Therefore, the job interview can often be a good time to share more about your hobbies. After all, people hire people. And, they want to hire people they can relate to and would like to work with.
What to avoid in the interview
Interviewing for a job is very similar to going to a dinner party. You will meet many new people for the first time. There are a few key topics that most people generally avoid when meeting others for the first time—religion, politics, and money are the big three. If your hobby involves coaching a church basketball team, and you're interviewing at a company or organization that is affiliated with your religion, feel free to share this detail in the interview. But, if you are interviewing at a business or organization that is not affiliated with a religion, you may want to simply say that you coach a youth basketball team (and leave the religious denomination part out).
A Final Thought
Most resumes must be concise and catch the attention of the human resources department immediately. With that being said, it is usually best to not list hobbies in your resume unless they are targeted to/relate to the job.
Take a look at LiveCareer's Resume Builder for help in making this decision; the tools here will allow you to craft a great resume and make choosing which hobbies to include and not include much simpler. There's also a collection of resume examples (arranged by industry and job title) that you can check out, too. Just be sure to consider each job application individually, and consider if the hobbies actually bolster your resume and make you a more attractive candidate.