How to Create a Winning Hobbies and Interests Section on Your Resume

By Natalie Severt

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Many candidates never consider that their hobbies and interests could be assets during a job hunt.

In reality, they’re missing out on something that could potentially give them a serious competitive advantage over other candidates.

Companies aren't looking for professionals who mechanically do their jobs these days. They're searching for individuals who share their values and match their culture.

Putting a few smart examples of your hobbies and interests on your resume will help you demonstrate that it's not only your qualifications that make you the right fit for the company.

Here are 6 tips to help you tailor your hobbies and interests section so that you stand out from other candidates with your personality.
 

1. How to Research Company Culture

To learn whether your hobbies and personal interests could benefit you during a recruiting process, you need to get a sense of a company’s culture first.

Does the employer you're targeting have a well-developed culture? Would they consider your interests and hobbies valuable?

Scan the job description. It usually includes a selection of traits companies wish new employees to have.

Check out the company’s website as well. Are there any employee profiles available? Browse them to learn more about workers’ interests.

Be sure to check the company's social channels too. Many organizations use them to promote their work cultures and share behind-the-scenes content presenting office life.

Did the employer ever receive press coverage? Have a look at Google News and you might find some valuable insights about the company's mode of operation.

Finally, go to Glassdoor and browse employee reviews – they're an excellent source of insider information.


2. Pick the Right Personal Interests to Add to Your Resume

The personal interests listed on your resume should match the personality traits valued by the employer.

For instance, if you're applying for a job that requires you to be a team player, choose hobbies that show you're a team player.

So, sports are a good pick. A solitary activity like stamp collecting won't work in your favor.

At the same time, don't focus on one category of hobbies. Show that you're flexible and can easily relate to different personality types by listing various personal interests.
 

3. Where Should You Put Your Hobbies on a Resume?

Recruiters don't have time to read through long, complicated resumes. How to make a resume that will help you get a job? Make sure all parts of your application are short, on-point, and relevant.

Your hobbies section needs to fit the same criteria if you want to make a lasting impression on recruiters.

Put your hobbies and interests section at the bottom of your resume. Don't include more than two or three relevant hobbies.
 

4. Create Smart Descriptions for Your Hobbies

Now that you know where to place your personal interests on your resume, it's time to consider how to format the section.

When you talk about your hobbies you probably list them like this: reading, hiking, traveling.

But it’s going to sound better on your resume if you add more detail like this:

I enjoy backpacking and remote camping.

Sounds more interesting, doesn't it?

Brief, specific descriptions make your hobbies more genuine for recruiters who want to get a full sense of your personality.
 

5. Create Attention-Grabbing Descriptions, Here's How

To make an impression, you need to write descriptions that instantly draw attention.

Here's how to write top-notch descriptions of your hobbies:

  • Be Unique - At the same time, try not to cross the line into “weird.” You want to attract recruiters, not make them worry about you.
  • Be Honest - Avoid writing about hobbies just because they sound cool. Let’s say you write that you're interested in Belgian fashion designers, then the recruiter says “Wow, me too!” You better be able to talk about your favorite collection this season or things will get ugly fast. Tell the truth about your hobbies. It's your best strategy.
  • Be Specific - General interests won't help you stand out from the crowd. If you're an avid reader, you probably have a favorite genre. Instead of writing “Reading” as your hobby, pick something like “Reading Science Fiction.”


6. Use Hobbies to Fill Gaps in Your Skills

Few candidates realize that a well-crafted hobbies section can help fill a gap in their skill sets.

Knowing how to put skills on a resume is key to tailoring a resume to a job post. But if you don’t have all the skills you need, hobbies can occasionally help you compensate.

If you have little experience in a particular area, pick personal interests that clearly show that you've got the skills for the job.

Let’s say you’re applying for a position in an office, but you’ve never worked behind a desk. One of your tasks is to answer phones. You’ll need to have good communication skills for that.

Does one of your hobbies reflect your stellar communication skills? Can you match it to the office culture?

For example, you’ve noticed that the company also promotes employees who run marathons for charities on their website.

So, perhaps you’d do best picking a team sport that requires good communication skills like Basketball or Volleyball.
 

Key Takeaway

An average job opening can attract around 250 resumes. But only 4 to 6 candidates will get called in for an interview. 

A hobbies section gives hiring managers a glimpse of your personality before you ever show up for the interview.  So, show off your personality and skill set by adding attention-grabbing hobbies to your resume.

That way, recruiters will notice you and see that you're a great match for the company’s culture from the start.

 

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