A lot can go wrong when listing hobbies and interests on a CV. But, if you’re smart about how 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 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.
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Should I list hobbies and interests on my CV?
The answer is a qualified yes. Hobbies and interests are an optional section on your CV. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Putting your interests on a CV can really help you score an interview. It helps the recruiter 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 drawn to people who are similar to us.
In fact, 91% of employers say it is essential to find candidates who are a good cultural fit, 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 CVs. It’s better to maintain a clean and readable CV layout than force in a hobbies and interests section that doesn’t fit.
Plus, senior candidates would be better off including extra sections focusing 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.
Read more: Find out everything there’s to know about making a CV that impresses any recruiter in our guide: What Should a Good CV Look Like?
List of 20 good hobbies and interests for your CV
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 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 hobbies and interests to put on a CV and what they say about you as a candidate:
- 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.
- 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 game 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.
It’s 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.
Read more: Find out everything there is to know about professional skills in our comprehensive guide: 99+ Key Skills for a CV [+ Examples]
What you shouldn’t include in your CV hobbies section
Some things are better to avoid when it comes to picking the hobbies and interests for your CV:
- Controversial interests—just like in dinner party conversation, you should avoid sex, religion and politics. They’re all sensitive topics that generate strong opinions and invite judgment.
- Irrelevant hobbies—a relevant hobby should 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.
- Lies—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.
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How to write your CV hobbies and interests section
Now, let’s see how to list your CV hobbies and interests to the best effect:
1. Stick only to relevant hobbies and interests
Scan the job ad once more and look for skills that are required. Pick hobbies and interests that reflect them—for example, if they’re looking for strong communication skills, you can mention playing a team sport or writing a blog.
2. Pick 2–3 best examples of your hobbies and interests
Don’t go overboard and limit yourself to just a few selected examples of the best hobbies and interests for your CV. For example, if you’re an architect writing a CV, limit yourself to mentioning your passion for sketching, model building, and architecture photography instead of making this list skyscraper-long.
3. Add a short description
Make an even bigger impact by adding a few sentences describing each of your interests and hobbies. A copywriter’s CV could include something like in the example below:
Hobbies and interests on a CV—example
Hobbies and Interests
- Book club leadership. A devoted leader of the "Prose Pioneers" book club.
- Blogging. Founder of the InkUniverse blog, which analyses the intricacies of language and best storytelling practices.
4. Present them in a separate CV section
Carve out a section in your CV devoted just to your hobbies and interests, and name it accordingly. Keeping things in order is crucial—you don’t have to be a cleaner writing a CV to know that.
5. Put your hobbies and interests CV section last
Place it at the end of your CV, along with any other sections you want to add, like projects or languages. Even if you’re not writing a chef’s CV, you can think of the hobbies and interests section as a cherry on top of your CV.
It’s time to see some real-life examples of putting hobbies and interests on a CV:
Hobbies and interests CV examples
Hobbies and Interests
Hobbies and Interests
As you can see, the first example is much more impactful because it contains relevant details that can catch the recruiter's attention.
Pro Tip: To make picking relevant hobbies and interests for your CV easier, you can start with creating a master list of all the things you like doing in your free time. All you have to do is pick 2–3 positions from the list each time you tailor your CV to a particular job offer.
Sample CV with a hobbies and interests section
To see how to write about hobbies and interests in a CV, take a look at the example below:
When you’ve mastered your hobbies and interests section, take care of the rest of your CV:
- How to Write a CV: Complete Guide
- How to Start a CV: 20+ Actionable Tips
- How to List Language Skills on Your CV?
- How to Write a CV Summary [+ Examples]
- Best CV Structure: Complete Guide
- Work Experience CV Section: Examples + What to Include
- CV Education Section: Examples + How to Write It
- What to Include in a CV: Essential Sections for Your CV
- 100+ Best CV Examples & Sample CVs for All Jobs
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your CV 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 and drawing
- Mentoring and coaching
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Playing an instrument
- Language learning
- Playing chess
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 a CV in the comments section. I’ll be happy to help.
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