What hobbies and interests should I include on my CV

When a potential employer sees a candidate's hobbies, it provides insight into personality traits, industry knowledge, and can make you more attractive for a role. But remember, anything you include on your resume is fair game during an interview, so make sure you can really talk about your passion for the hobby and why you included it.

Though it’s not always necessary to include, some employers like to get a better understanding of who it is that they are talking to and what they do in their own time. Listing your hobbies and interests on your CV may actually be a good thing.

What do your hobbies and interests actually say about you?

  • Listening to music’ – Be prepared to be asked what kind of music. If, like us, you have an extensive iTunes collection, you might find it hard being put on the spot, but make sure you can you list a few artists and albums that you’re currently listening to.
  • Playing a sport’ – Make sure you are specific as to what sport it is that you play. And don’t lie, because you never know, your boss might play Rugby at country level also.
  • Travelling’ – Whilst travelling allows you to grow as an individual and have amazing life experiences, no employer wants to hire someone whom they think will get cold feet after a sort time. It is always best to say that you have spent time travelling and learnt a lot through your travels – food, culture etc. Keep it all in the past tense.
  • Reading’ – The key here is not to lie. Make sure you know what titles and authors you are going to talk about when asked what it is that you read. And be careful – your boss might have just read the same book and want to have a friendly discussion about it.
  • ‘Playing an instrument’ – Be more specific on the instrument and to which level - for leisure, or are you a pro?
  • Current Affairs’ – If you tell your employer that you keep up with current affairs, try and make sure you have 2-3 stories that you understand completely and can offer your opinion on.
  • Socialising’ - Always a tricky one, but can be very valuable when played right. You don’t want the person reading your CV to think you’re at bars and clubs every night and will turn up to work hung-over, but showing that you can keep a strong work-personal life balance will show traits of an organised and well-rounded person.
  • ‘Yoga’ - Yoga demonstrates your ability to stay calm and in control. If you're seeking a role in very busy, high-energy environment it can make you more attractive because you can better handle pressure.
  • ‘Extreme adventure sports’ - Extreme sports like ultra-marathons, racing mountain bikes, or sky diving can show potential employers that you're comfortable pushing boundaries, you're disciplined, you don't fear the unknown, and you are a calculated risk-taker. "These traits are desirable for any leadership role, especially in younger, growing organisations.
  • ‘Video production’ - Video production as a hobby can make you an appealing candidate for an event planning or production role. Broadcasting and live streaming are often components of events/conferences, so your knowledge/interest in video production can be helpful in the job.
  • ‘Food’ - be clear if this is the predication and creation of, or eating. List details of which cuisine you like and if this is first-hand experience on the ground where the cuisine originates.
  • ‘Endurance sports’- Competing in endurance sports like marathons, triathlons, or cycling show drive, tenacity, and dedication. These qualities are desirable for business development, account management, and sales roles, among other jobs, and may boost your candidacy in the hiring manager's eye.
  • ‘Captain of a team sport’ - Not only does playing a team sport like water polo, soccer, or volleyball help you look like a team player, it adds leadership ability to your list of skills. Studies show that those who play competitive sports usually do very well in corporate environments.
  • ‘Blogging’ - If you're on the hunt for communications or marketing jobs, showing off your blogging skills can enhance your candidacy: make sure your blog is current, entries are well-written and mistake-free, and the topic is a positive reflection of your personal brand.
  • ‘Gardening’ – A passion for gardening can be good for potential employers to know when you're seeking roles in sustainability and clean energy.
  • ‘Photography’ - photography can be a valuable hobby. It shows communication, creativity, positioning, and patience. If you have a current, well-curated website, be sure to direct potential employers there with a link to your site to show them your work.

If you’re finding yourself nodding along and have a few of these on your CV, we’re not suggesting you remove them, but expand and develop on them and be specific. No one wants to hire a robot - you need to be able to talk about them.

General advice related to inserting hobbies & interests in your CV:

  • If you decide to insert hobbies and interests in your CV, then make sure that you keep to the truth and don’t lie about them.
  • Hobbies in the CV are more useful for fresh graduates and people lacking working experience (some of your hobbies might attract the interest of the recruiter or employer, despite your lack of relevant working background)
  • Mentioning hobbies is useful when you apply for roles which are directly related to your hobbies
  • Avoid including too many hobbies in your CV
  • Ward off stereotypes
  • Be cautious with risky or time-consuming hobbies
  • Try to translate your hobbies to a job skill
  • Abstain writing about weird or very unusual hobbies