Hobbies and Interests belong on your resume

Ange Connor

What does what you do in your spare time have to do with the job you are applying for?  Turns out, quite a lot actually.  It’s a hot topic when applying for a job.  Do you or don’t put your hobbies and personal interests on your resume?

Plenty of people will tell you hobbies and interests have no place on a job application but I disagree.  Many people miss the opportunity to use their hobbies and interests to their advantage when submitting their application for a job.  Generally people simply list their hobbies on their resume, exactly like this:

Hobbies & Personal Interests

  • Running
  • Football
  • Reading
  • Gardening

Listing your hobbies and interests like this really isn’t going to add much weight or value to your application.  Yeah the reader might find a common link, maybe they like running or football as well. Or maybe they’ll use your interests to make small talk with you at interview to break the ice.  But as far as helping you win points with your application and getting you that step closer to securing an interview or winning the job, simply listing your hobbies and interests like this isn’t going to do much for you.

It’s not the specific hobby or interest that we are interested in when reviewing your resume.  It’s what goals you have set in relation to that hobby, it’s the commitment you make to that hobby, it’s the role that you play in the broader network of people that you engage with through that hobby.

Here’s an example.  If I simply list running as a hobby it means nothing much at all.  The reader has no idea, how often I run, how far I run, if I run on my own or in a team/club.  They have no idea if this is a new hobby or how I measure my running success.  Instead of simply bullet pointing running, what if I detailed my hobby like this:

Hobbies & Personal Interests

  • Running: I commenced running with a running group in Ballarat in November 2015.  I train two nights per week for approx. an hour with a group of 5 others, plus I run on my own regularly on weekends.  I am currently in training to complete the 14km Run for the Kids where my goal is to smash my personal best time of 70 minutes by 30 seconds.

After reading that blurb about my running, have I painted a completely different picture in your mind about my running?  Absolutely!  As the reader I’m now seeing your drive, self-motivation, time management skills, commitment, team player and juggling of priority skills and abilities first hand.  I’m seeing a common thread of skills and abilities; from what you stated your skills and abilities were and now I’m seeing them demonstrated through the employment history section of your resume and also your hobbies and interests. And that gives your application more weight and value  because no one is making you run 14km, no one is paying you a wage to go to running training twice a week, and you don’t get a promotion or a bonus for achieving your personal best.  You are doing all those things because you want to and you choose to.  As a recruiter that tells me a lot about you as a person.

Space is precious on your resume. If you are going to list your hobbies and interests; stand out from the crowd and make the most of that piece of the paper. Don’t simply list them, make them add value and support your application. Show the recruiter or hiring manager another side of who you are.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

Hand drawn outline of mobile phone, laptop, cup of tea and book from a birdseye view.
Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to get in touch

What would happen if you spent just one hour focusing on your people strategy? Contact us to book your free one hour Inspire HQ People Hour; we’ll help you assess how to build a better workplace.
Megan and Ange are sitting in the Inspire HQ boardroom talking to a man and showing him a report with DiSC in the background.
Contact Us