June 14, 2023
When you want your CV to stand out from the crowd, you need to give the hiring manager a glimpse of who you are as a person. CVs can typically be very dry, focusing only on the professional achievements of an individual. But you have so much more to offer than this.
Including your hobbies and interests on your CV can show that you are a well-rounded individual and that you have interests that are related to your chosen field of expertise. This is also an excellent way to demonstrate the soft skills that employers are looking for, like teamwork, communication and compromise.
If you want to improve your chances of landing an interview, finding a way to establish a personal connection with the hiring manager will also help. If you have shared interests, they’re more likely to remember your CV.
Including your hobbies and interests on your CV needs to be done carefully. Get it right, and you could be painting a strong picture of yourself as the ideal candidate. But it’s also very easy to get this simple step wrong, and this can be off-putting for hiring managers.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the essential pieces of information you need to know before you add your hobbies and interests to your CV.
First things first, what exactly is a hobby and what is an interest? Hobbies can be defined as anything you do regularly. They are the activities that fill your leisure time in the evenings and weekends. This could include things like:
On the other hand, an interest is something that you might do on an irregular basis, but something that you are keen to pursue. Examples of interests for your CV could include:
While you don’t need to include hobbies and interests on your CV, it certainly helps to do so. Updating your CV with hobbies and interests is an easy way to strengthen your application by highlighting additional skills you might have.
It’s also a great way to connect with the hiring manager and make them see you as a whole human being. If they are looking for a particular culture fit, including your hobbies and interests may be the difference between getting shortlisted for an interview or not.
It’s also an excellent way to show that you are genuinely interested in the work that you do, particularly if your hobbies are related to your field. For example, if you’re going to a job in the architecture field, they will be keen to know that you’re interested in design outside of your professional work.
Including your hobbies and interests also gives the interviewer a chance to ask some lighter questions to help you relax. They will often use the hobbies and interests section to formulate some light questions that will allow you to relax and feel more at ease.
In general, the following candidates should definitely include hobbies and interests on their CV:
And the following professionals should not include hobbies and interests on their CV:
Your hobbies help to paint a bigger picture of who you are, what you enjoy, and what you hope to achieve. Something as simple as “playing football” can say an awful lot about your personality and what you are like to work with. The same goes for hobbies like computing, going to the gym, mentoring, playing squash, writing and baking.
Here are just some of the assumptions employers may make about you, based on your listed hobbies and interests.
|Hobby or interest||What it reveals about you|
|Swimming||Likes to stay fit and healthy, highly motivated|
|Playing football||Enjoys competition, likes working with others|
|Reading||Likes to learn new things, may be introverted and enjoying working alone|
|Playing squash||Is highly competitive and motivated to succeed|
|Writing||Is creative in their communication, likes to solve problems alone|
|Travelling||Is confident, outgoing and sociable|
|Charity work/fundraising||Is socially conscious and has good persuasion skills|
|Computing||Is technical and keen to learn new things|
|Mentoring||Is a team player and has excellent interpersonal skills|
|Baking||Is interested in food, has good attention to detail|
Before adding any skills or interests to your application, think about how they might be interpreted by a hiring manager. For example, if you are stating in your application that you are an outgoing team-player, consider how you can match this sentiment with your interests and hobbies.
When deciding what to include and what to leave out, always focus on what is relevant and what strengthens your application. Everything else is irrelevant. If the hobby or interest doesn’t say anything new about you, consider leaving it out and focusing on more relevant information.
The hobbies and interests should also be relevant to the application. For example, an interest in computer games might not be relevant to everyone, but if you’re applying for a role as a videogame designer, this information is essential. Likewise, growing your dog’s Instagram following wouldn’t be relevant for most jobs, but it would be relevant to a social media manager role.
When deciding what to include, context is everything. Match the hobbies that you mention with the key competencies and skills they are looking for in the job description.
For example, you might not have any management experience in your professional work, but you might be used to taking on management roles in your volunteer work. In this case, mentioning your hobbies should help to strengthen your application and highlight your enthusiasm.
If you’re worried that your CV is lacking and you need to spruce it up a little, here are some hobbies and interests that you can consider adding. We’ll also explain why these particular categories of hobbies and interests stand out to employers.
All of these categories of interest will enhance your CV and help to support your education and work experience. They’ll also show that you have the soft skills that employers often want to see, such as interpersonal skills, leadership skills and compassion.
Remember that hobbies are different to interests, and these should be included in a different way on your CV. You might simply list them under “other interests” at the end of your CV. This is a common tactic to help bolster a shorter CV if you don’t have much work experience to talk about. Here are some of the best hobbies to include:
If you want to include your hobbies on your CV, there are a few ways you can achieve this.
Remember that including your hobbies and interests on your CV might leave you open to prejudice. Recruiters might make assumptions about you based on the information you provide. With this in mind, make sure that you stick to relevant information only. For example, your preference of music genre is likely to be irrelevant to a job application.
You should also avoid mentioning religious, political or sporting affiliations, unless these are relevant to the role. You should also avoid mentioning any hobbies that might be hazardous or likely to result in regular injury.
For example, hobbies like boxing, motorbike racing and base jumping might set alarm bells ringing for employers. They don’t want to think about you being injured and unable to work because of your weekend hobbies.
And finally, never lie about your interests or hobbies. You’re likely to be found out very quickly, and this will reflect poorly on you in the application process. Most employers will reject any applicant that is found to be lying.
Adding hobbies and interests to your CV is a great move if you want to offer a more complete picture of who you are. This often overlooked section of the CV can help to strengthen your main points and build a connection with the hiring manager.
It will also give them some easier question prompts in your interview, which is an ideal opportunity for you to relax and show them who you really are. Just remember to keep things relevant and honest if you want to stand out from the crowd.Back to Blog