Should I include my hobbies on a CV?Hays: Working For Your Tomorrowon March 7, 2024 at 11:49 am Career advice | Career tips


One of the hardest parts of a job application is getting started with your CV. This is your chance to shine. Your CV shows hiring managers what you’re capable of, what you’ve achieved and what you can bring to the company. But how relevant are your hobbies and interests?

Job seekers might be tempted to use CV templates to show off their experience and soft skills. But it’s important to remember that this is not a cookie cutter exercise. Like a well-written cover letter, CVs should be tailored to the needs of your prospective employer. Where appropriate, this does leave room for relevant hobbies.

What do we mean by ‘hobbies’ on a CV?

Your hobbies and interests are any kind of extracurricular activities that you carry out in your spare time. They could be a passion project, or something you do to bring in extra income. Some examples of hobbies include:

Creative pursuits – such as writing, reading, music or artsSports – from solo activities like marathons to team sports like footballFundraising – volunteering or holding events for causes close to your heartCompetitive – organised competitions/leagues outside of sports such as chess clubs.

Naturally, we each have our own personal interests. When it comes to writing a CV, the best hobbies to include are those that represent transferable skills.

For example, if you’re working on a novel, this might demonstrate your copywriting or proofreading skills. If you’re into theatre, this could translate to successful public speaking. Hobby painters may be inclined towards graphic design, and so on.

The key is to remember that potential employers are looking for a reason to hire you. Make sure that everything you include on your CV caters to your employers’ needs. Specify what you can bring to the company with your relevant extracurricular experience.

Reasons to include hobbies and interests on a CV

With sometimes hundreds of candidates to sift through, you might be wondering if hiring managers are interested in your pastimes. The simple answer is yes. Your hobbies section could mark the difference between you and another candidate. Spotlight hobbies that demonstrate that you’re a team player or have great technical skills.

You may also wish to include a hobbies section on your CV if:

You’re a recent graduate or have little professional experience.

Everybody starts somewhere, and there’s no shame if you don’t have years of experience behind you. Good hobbies that can show off your personality traits or working styles may very well impress your employer. Let’s say you play a musical instrument, for example. That shows you’re dedicated to practising and open to learning.

You can find out if you’re the right fit for the company culture.

Your dream job will be as appealing to you as you’re trying to be to the employer. This goes beyond the job description – it’s about the goals and values of a business. If your hobbies involve teamwork, for example, you’ll fit right in at a company that promotes collaboration and supportive mentoring.

Reasons not to include your hobbies on a CV

Hobbies are a great way to show off your personality, but they’re only one part of who you are. Remember that recruiters are looking for the best candidates with transferable skills. You don’t want to lose out on the next steps if you’ve focused too heavily on a list of hobbies.

You might want to skip the hobbies and interests CV section if:

(H3) Your interests don’t bring any relevant skills to the table.

By all means, fire eating and archery might make for great dinner party conversations – but are they helpful for project management? Don’t feel you have to pad out your CV with unnecessary fluff if there’s no way the skills you’ve learnt apply to the business.

You don’t have a lot of hobbies and interests.

Not everybody jumps out of planes, and that’s fine. Many of us love clichéd activities like socialising, going to the cinema, and playing video games. If that’s the case and there’s little value to your employer, focus on other achievements instead – such as education or volunteering.

You need to cut your CV down.

Your employer isn’t looking for War and Peace. They’re looking for succinct examples of how you can benefit their company. You might consider bullet points to demonstrate what you do in your free time, or scrapping this section of your CV altogether.

If you’ve got a lot to say, our CV help guides can show you where to cut the fluff – or optimise other channels like your LinkedIn profile instead.

How to include hobbies in your CV

If you’ve got the space and transferable skills, by all means feel free to include a hobbies and interests section. The structure of your CV should look something like this:

Personal summary and contact details – your chance to include a concise round-up of your skills and experience, with clear phone number and email address details.Skills – these are best as a bulleted list, highlighting both soft skills (like problem-solving) and tangible skills (like software knowledge).Work experience – talk about previous jobs, work experience and/or volunteering, discussing how they can be applied to new roles.Education and qualifications – you should state your highest level of education and any professional memberships or qualifications.Hobbies and interests – note how far down these are on the CV. While they can enhance a CV, they should be kept brief and relevant.

You can then round off by telling your employer that references are available on request.

What are good examples of hobbies to include in my CV?

Always remembering that your goal is to impress your employer, you can group your hobbies by transferable skills. For example:

Problem-solving skills

These skills are best lent to intellectual hobbies, like chess and book clubs. You can also demonstrate problem-solving ability by referencing fun activities, like cooking classes or escape rooms.

Communication skills

Demonstrate these skills with hobbies like volunteering for a local charity or performing on stage. If you coach a sports team or you’re learning a second language, those activities likely require communication too.

Project management skills

These types of skills can be carried over from creative pursuits such as blogging and painting, or even hosting events and mentoring team sports.

Teamwork skills

To show that you’re a team player, you could talk about your participation in local sports teams, as well as theatre groups or arts classes.

Creative skills

Any chance to showcase your art is an investment in your creative skills. Perhaps you’re an artist, writer, musician or performer. You can talk about your personal projects or your collaborations with your local community.

Find more CV writing tips with Hays

Looking to land your dream job? Put your best foot forward with career advice from Hays:

CV writing tips: Your CV questions answeredCV tips and structureYour guide on securing a job interview

The post Should I include my hobbies on a CV? appeared first on Viewpoint – careers advice blog.

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