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A lot can go wrong when listing hobbies and interests on a CV. Can you list bullfighting or Netflix for example? If you’re smart about the way you use personal interests on your CV, they’re a great way to stand out from other candidates.
This guide will show you how to use your hobbies on your CV to impress recruiters and get more interviews. Plus you’ll also get a list of hobbies and interests for a CV to get you started.
Let’s dive right in.
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1. Where Do I Put Hobbies and Interests on My CV?
Hobbies and interests are an optional section on your CV. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Put your hobbies and interests CV section last, along with any other additional sections you care to add, like projects or languages.
Here’s an example.
2. Should I List Hobbies and Interests on My CV?
The answer is a qualified yes. Putting your interests on a CV really can strengthen your job application and help you score an interview. It helps you stand out as an individual and helps the recruiter to think of you as a person, not just a work experience section.
What’s more if you have interests similar to the recruiter it’ll instantly make you a more attractive candidate. Studies have shown that opposites don’t attract and we’re actually drawn to people who are like-minded to us.
In fact, 88% of employers look to hire based on “cultural fit” over skills so showing off the attributes that make you human is a smart move. It gives the recruiter a more complete picture of you and can be a great conversation starter at the interview stage. That said it’s not for everyone.
Who should put their interests on their CV?
- Candidates with little or no work experience.
- Candidates with space to spare on their CV.
Who shouldn’t put their interests on their CV?
- Senior professionals such as managers and highly-experienced candidates.
Why? The maximum CV length is two pages. More experienced candidates tend to use more space on their CV. Best to maintain a clean and readable CV layout than force in a hobbies and interests section that doesn’t really fit.
Plus, senior candidates would be better off including extra sections that focus more on professional achievements and knowledge. But it’s not a hard and fast rule. If it fits, then by all means use hobbies for your CV.
Now let’s see how to list your CV hobbies and interests to the best effect.
3. What Hobbies and Interests to List on your CV
Don’t just go right in there and list ‘Kardashian stalking’ or ‘Daily Mail comments section trolling’. Those are both highly ‘specialised’ interests that are best kept to yourself. Don’t include anything too bizarre, unless it’s directly relevant to the job. Be relatable, not repellent.
So what are the best hobbies and interests to include on a CV?
To answer this, understand that a list of hobbies and interests for a CV isn’t just a space-filler. Different hobbies and interests can actually reveal a lot about you as a candidate. They can show off skills and strengths that are directly relevant to the workplace.
So let’s see some examples of good interests to put on a CV and what they say about you as a candidate.
List of Top 10 Hobbies and Interests for Your CV
- Chess. You have strategic planning, problem-solving and analytical skills.
- Golf. You’re patient, accurate and strategic.
- Martial arts. You’re disciplined, focused and confident.
- Meditation or yoga. You are calm, self-disciplined and have mental resilience.
- Running. You’re determined, competitive and goal-driven.
- Acting/Drama. You have strong verbal communication skills.
- Dancing. You’re disciplined and artistic.
- Playing a musical instrument. You’re focused, dedicated and disciplined. Are you in a band too? That shows teamwork and collaboration skills.
- Painting/Drawing. You have a creative mind.
- Photography. You are artistic and patient.
You get the picture. It’s also important to target your choice of hobbies to the job. Painting and drawing aren’t just about having a creative mind. These interests are a great choice for industries like marketing and advertising. They’re also two of the best CV interests for roles where they’re directly relevant, like a graphic designer CV.
Or how about Chess? It would be one of the best CV hobbies you could choose for a role in analytics. Meditation? An excellent addition to a CV targeting a high-pressure, high-stress role like nursing. Be smart about your choices and use this section to sell your skills and knowledge. Let’s take a look at some more examples.
Good Personal Interests to Put on a CV
- Volunteering. One of the best interests you can put on a CV for any career. 82% of managers prefer hiring people with volunteering experience.
- Blogging. Another great universal choice. Shows off your written communication skills. 75% of hiring managers value writing proficiency.
- Team sports. Shows you’re a team player, of course, but also shows leadership and interpersonal skills.
- Mentoring and coaching. Leadership and a willingness to improve performance in others.
- Public speaking. Shows overall confidence and skills in verbal communication. Great for sales or customer-focused jobs.
- Travelling. You’re outgoing, adventurous and broad-minded. Diversity is a popular corporate value, and this is a great way of showing you match it.
- Gaming. Surprised? Don’t be. It has powerful positive effects on the brain and boosts learning. Good for jobs in tech, particularly those involving games development.
- Reading. Shows you’re intelligent and like learning new things. But try to be specific about what you enjoy reading otherwise it can come across as too broad.
- Genealogy. You have strong research and organisational skills.
- Club membership. Demonstrates social skills and interests outside of work. Also a good way of demonstrating organisational skills if you help to arrange club events.
Pro Tip: Hobbies don’t just look good on your CV, they can also help boost your career. But there’s a catch. According to a study conducted at the University of Sheffield, pursuing a hobby can boost your performance at work, especially if it’s in a field not directly related to your career.
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4. How to Write Your CV Hobbies and Interests Section
Your CV page real estate is valuable. Restrict yourself to 2 or 3 hobbies or interests. However, don’t just list them. They’ll be much more effective if you write a brief description. For example.
Hobbies and Interests
As you can see, the first example is much more impactful. Next, let’s look at some CV interests you should definitely avoid.
6. What You Shouldn’t Include In Your CV Hobbies Section
Just like in dinner party conversation, you should avoid sex, religion and politics. They’re all sensitive topics that generate strong opinions and invite judgement. Saying you’re a member of the Labour party might not go down well with a recruiter who’s a life-long Tory.
Make sure the hobby adds value. It needs to make you look like a stronger candidate and show off positive skills and attributes. Magnet fishing, navel fluff collecting, cat meme curating, these are fine hobbies and I love a good cat meme myself. But they really aren’t relevant for a CV.
Risky or time-consuming interests
Hobbies that are likely to cause death, injury or absence from work will not work in your favour. Free climbing high-rise buildings is a highly-skilled interest I admit, but won’t get you any love from recruiters. Same goes for polar ultra-marathons. You get the idea.
Don’t try to invent hobbies and interests for your CV. Save yourself the embarrassment of being caught out at the interview stage. Lying about being a Shaolin level martial arts expert is just asking to be interviewed by a 5th Dan black belt.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
When written well, a hobbies and interests CV section makes a powerful addition. It helps make you stand out as a candidate and can highlight valuable skills and experience. Just make sure the CV interests you add are relevant and show you in a positive light.
Still don’t know what to add? Here’s a round-up of CV interests that’ll work for everyone.
The best hobbies and interests to put on a CV:
- Team sports
- Club membership
- Painting & Drawing
- Mentoring and coaching
- Meditation and mindfulness
Thanks for reading. Have you got any suggested hobbies and interests for a CV. Struggling with how to write your own personal interests on your CV? Hit me up with any questions about interests on CV or hobbies for CV in the comments section. I’ll be happy to help.