Have you ever thought about listing your hobbies on your resume? While it seems like “scuba diving” or “baking” may have no place on a resume, your hobbies can actually show that you're a strong candidate for the job by revealing hidden skills.
For example, let’s say you’re applying for a writing position and you keep a personal blog in your spare time. Mentioning this hobby on your resume shows your passion for writing -- you do it even when you aren’t at work! -- your ability to manage time, to research, and to keep your creative juices flowing.
Similarly, if you’re applying to work as a waiter and you’re an avid baker, you should add your love of cookies to your resume. It shows employers that you enjoy the food environment and have an understanding of the time and diligence that cooking requires.
But before you start listing everything you’ve ever done on your resume, let’s break down a few do’s and dont’s.
Hobbies impart some sort of skill, whether it’s implicit or actively learned. They can show a company what you have to offer. Your goal is to list your hobbies in a way that conveys these skills.
In other words, think of your “hobbies” section like a more interesting “skills” section on your resume.
For example, if you enjoy an endurance sport like running, it shows that you have diligence, determination, and patience -- all skills that cannot be taught through any job or educational opportunity. Skills like these are called “soft skills” because they are implicit in your personality.
Soft skills convey your communication and relational abilities. Some soft skills include:
In contrast, if you enjoy a hobby such as designing art using a software like Adobe Illustrator, this is considered a “hard skill.” Hard skills are those that are learned and gained through a degree, certificate, or another form of education. These include trainings and technical knowledge, such as accounting or software acumen or medical expertise.
Examples of hard skills include:
Not all resumes should include hobbies, and it depends heavily on the company to which you’re and its culture. For example, if you’re applying to a firm on Wall Street, it’s best to skip the hobby section. But if you’re looking to work for a local mom-and-pop store or for a more artistic company, then jot down a few hobbies.
Let’s break it down a bit more below.
Only include hobbies if they are relevant to the position to which you’re applying. Ask yourself, what skills does this hobby require, and how does it fit with this job?
For example, don’t include “drawing” on your resume if you’re pursuing a managerial position at an accounting firm, since the two have no common denominator. But, if you’re seeking a job as an event planner, a talent for drawing could help show that you are adept at bringing your ideas to life and communicating them to clients.
A lot of companies today are concerned about their image -- they want to be a fun place for employees to work. If you feel that one of your hobbies shows that you “fit” right in, then list it.
For example, if you’re applying to be a blog writer for a magazine, feel free to note that you love watching films. This could open the door for you to write movie review articles, or it may show that you fit right in with the entertainment-focused atmosphere of a magazine like Cosmopolitan or The New Yorker.
The best way to determine if you should list your hobbies on your resume is to research the company beforehand. Read their “about us” section on their website and browse what former employees have to say about their experience on sites like Glassdoor.
Interviews are pretty awkward, and it’s hard to stand out when the tired interviewee has already seen dozens of hopeful job applicants. Listing an interesting hobby on your resume can make you memorable. The person interviewing you may even enjoy the same hobby, which will help break that awkward interview tension.
Even if you don’t get the job, having a conversation with a company employee about a common interest is a great way to expand your network. They’re more likely to remember you if you happen to reach out in the future about another opening.
Brainstorm the hobbies that you enjoy and think about the skills they impart. Now, how well do they match the job that you’re applying to? Be sure to only include hobbies that are relevant to the job description or to the company’s culture.
Good luck and happy writing!