BEST Examples of Hobbies and Interests to put on a CV (2024 Guide)

BEST Examples of Hobbies and Interests to put on a CV (2024 Guide)

author Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert         date 14 April 2023

Putting hobbies and interests on your CV is a great way to make your CV stand out from the crowd and impress the employer.

What you spend your free time on tells the employer a great deal about you, your values, your motivations, and in some cases, your skills and intelligence. This information can add real value to your job application and improve your chances of being shortlisted for a job interview.

David Littleford et al., (2004) in their book Career Skills (pg. 14-15) mention under “other interests”:

“You should include hobbies and other interests, especially if they involve social and community activities. These activities are important – cover membership of societies, sports clubs/teams, etc. All these activities and the extent of your involvement give the recruiter clues about the real you and your interests.”

Use the guide and examples below to find out more about hobbies and interests and how to include them on your CV – let’s begin!

Table of contents

What are hobbies and interests?

Examples of hobbies to put on a CV

A hobby is an activity that you regularly pursue for enjoyment purposes, particularly during your leisure time. These are activities that generally relieve you from stress, tension or fatigue.

Examples of hobbies for a CV:

  1. Playing sports (football, tennis, hockey, cricket, etc.)
  2. Playing chess and solving puzzle games
  3. Reading and writing books, articles and publications
  4. Travelling and meeting new people
  5. Designing, drawing, sketching and painting
  6. Cooking and baking

An interest is an activity that you want to do or are currently doing on an irregular basis.

Examples of personal interests for a CV:

  1. Volunteering at local companies, clubs and organisations
  2. Organising events in the community
  3. Participating in fundraising events for charity
  4. Joining a professional, social or environmental group

Should I put hobbies and interests on my CV?

The answer is, yes! Research has shown that adding relevant hobbies to your CV can make your CV more interesting, strengthen your job application and increase your chances of getting shortlisted for an interview. Putting your personal interests on your CV also shows the employer that you are a whole human being with a satisfactory life outside work and not a work robot.

If you lack work experience, your interests may show your suitability for the job in other ways. For example, they may give valuable information on your leadership potential or ability to work in a team.

Interviewers also use your interests to come up with ‘relaxing’ questions if the interview gets too hot or heavy; something which can help calm your nerves and improve your performance during the interview.

The benefits of including your personal interests on your CV:

  • It will give the recruiter a fuller and more complete picture of you
  • Extracurricular interests tell the employer that you are an all-rounded person who, besides just working, also enjoys having a good time
  • They form a great basis for discussion at the interview stage
  • Sporting activities indicate that you are fit, healthy and outgoing
  • Involvement in the community suggests good interpersonal skills
Candidates who should write their interests on your CVs

  • School leavers
  • College students
  • University graduates
  • Candidates with little or no work experience
  • Candidates who have blank space in their CVs that can be utilised
Corinne Mills, a well-known career expert and HR executive, writes in You’re Hired, how to Write a Brilliant CV (pg.139): “I can be helpful for a young jobseeker to put down their hobbies and interests. Given that the employer is looking for potential as much as experience, try to choose leisure activities which show your personal qualities in a good light, e.g. helping at a charity.”

Remember that your CV is your personal marketing tool, and you should make the most out of using the totality of your CV, including the interests section, to “sell yourself” to the prospective employer.

Candidates who shouldn’t write their interests on your CVs

  • Senior professionals including managers and executives
  • Candidates with a lot of work experience
  • Candidates whose CVs are overflowing to more than 2 A4 pages

It’s not always appropriate to add this section to a senior CV. The more experience you have, the less important the hobbies and interests section becomes. Managers, executives and other experienced professionals are expected to show their skills and personal qualities from their work experience, achievements and educational background, without the need to resort to outside interests.

What your hobbies “say” about you

Phrases such as ‘Playing football’, ‘solving puzzles’, and ‘fixing computers’ are not generic terms without any meaning, rather; they carry a deeper message.

Here’s what the prospective employers will be subconsciously asking themselves when reading through the candidates’ CVs:

What do statements such as, “I play football on a regular basis”, “I enjoy solving puzzles” or “I like fixing computers” tell me about this candidate and their suitability for the job?

Many candidates do not realise that the hobbies and interests they include in their CVs can reveal a lot of information about them and their personalities.

Below is a list of some personal interests and activities and what they tell employers about the candidate:

List of hobbies and interests for a CV

Hobby, interest or skillWhat it reveals about the candidate
ComputingIs technical-minded and good with technology, may also be introverted
SwimmingKeeps fit and healthy
Solving puzzlesHas excellent problem-solving and analytical skills and likes to overcome challenges
Playing Football/SoccerHas team-working skills; enjoys the company of other people
Playing chessIs intelligent, a strategist and deliberates before taking action
MentoringIs a team player (rather than a loner), has good communication and interpersonal skills
Playing squashIs highly competitive and motivated
ReadingIs intelligent, likes learning new things, is open-minded and analytical
WritingIs creative with excellent written communication skills
Going to the gymIs conscious of their health, is fit and motivated to accomplish goals
TravellingIs outgoing, social and adventurous
BabysittingIs good with children
DIYIs practical and hands-on
PaintingIs creative
Taking part in charity workIs socially conscious and has excellent influencing and persuasion skills
Making/decorating cakesHas baking skills and an interest in food
Positions of responsibilityIs trusted by others, can take charge of tasks and has leadership potential
Helping at eventsGood at dealing with the public

Ask yourself: how do these interests add value to my application? Try to highlight your ability to interact, help and/or communicate with others.

What kind of hobbies should I put on my CV?

Answer: Those that are relevant and add value to your application!

When deciding which interests to include, the golden rule to apply is;

Will it help me get the job?

Only include relevant hobbies, sports and leisure activities that display you in a positive light and strengthen your application; for example; interests which show that you are active, sociable and responsible.

Martin Yate, a best-selling careers author, outlines three broad categories of leisure activities to include on your CV in his book The Ultimate CV Book (Pg.35):

  1. Team sports (football, cricket, basketball, etc.)
  2. Determination activities (running, swimming, cycling, climbing, etc.)
  3. Brain activities (chess, reading, etc.)

However, not every one of the above categories may be suitable for your situation and the job that you are applying for. Only select the hobbies and interests that are relevant to the job and add value to your application.

  • Bain activities (such as playing chess) are a good match for jobs which are technical or analytical in nature (e.g. jobs in IT or science).

  • Team sports (such as playing football) are a good match for jobs which require working with people on a daily basis (e.g. jobs in business or marketing).

Example of relevant and irrelevant hobbies for a web developer:


NOTE: Different activities can be interpreted differently depending on the job you are applying for. For example, “playing computer games” as a hobby is irrelevant to most jobs and may sometimes portray you as a self-absorbed individual living in their own little cyber world. However, the same hobby can add tremendous weight to your CV if you apply for a job as a video game developer, graphics designer or shop assistant at your local games shop!

How to match your interests with the job you are applying for:

There are thousands of hobbies and interests that people include in their CVs. Selecting the correct hobbies to include will depend on a number of factors, including the job sector and the job role/specifications.

Use the guidelines below to select the correct interests for your CV:

    1. Check out the job specification and look for clues.

      For example, if the job holder must have “excellent people skills”, you could mention your volunteering, team sports or socialising activities – all of which develop your communication, interpersonal and people skills. Don’t mention playing chess or jogging as that would be irrelevant.

      If, on the other hand, the job specification states that the person must possess “outstanding technical skills”, you would mention playing chess, building computers and upgrading computer networks – things that indicate that you are technically competent and analytical-minded. Don’t mention socialising events because that would be less relevant.

    2. Researching the company’s culture.

      Many companies have a ‘culture’ in the way they operated and how employees of that organisation behave. Google, for instance, is now famously known for allowing employees to play games, take a walk or do sports in order to relieve stress or become more productive during working hours. When applying for a job at a company like Google, there is no harm in showing a little bit of your fun, playful and human side because that fits in nicely with their company culture.

    3. Make a list of your skills and abilities

      It is always a good idea to write down the list of skills and abilities that you possess and see which of these would add value if you include it in your CV. Skills and abilities are closely related to your hobbies and interest; therefore, you may include them in this section too.

    List of interests and their relevance to different jobs

    Hobby or interestRelevance to job or industry
    Coding and programmingTechnology jobs
    DIYManual workers; builders, contractors, plumbers
    Writing and bloggingJournalists, copywriters and marketers
    SportsJobs in sport; a coach or personal trainer
    Elected leader of a society or clubManagement and leadership positions
    Cooking and bakingJobs in the hospitality and catering industry
    Organised a charity eventEvents management

    Examples of good personal interests to put on a CV

    Interests enhance your CV because they show the employer that you are an all-round person with a passion and determination to undertake activities outside work.

    The following personal interests will make your CV shine:

    1. Involved in local clubs, classes and groups. Involvement in clubs and student societies demonstrates that you have excellent interpersonal and people skills, traits that are highly valued by employers. Don’t forget to make mention any professional bodies you are a member of.
    2. Volunteering at local companies and organisations. Research has shown that the most important part of a candidate’s CV is their work experience section. If you don’t have any relevant work experience, it is highly recommended to take up some voluntary work to improve your skills, gain exposure to your industry and give your CV a great boost!
    3. Attending events, shows and exhibitions. Attending events, whether they are for business or pleasure, demonstrates to the employer that you are keen to learn about the latest trends in an industry or on a subject. It also shows that you are confident and enjoy meeting new people; two personal traits that are highly desired in almost all jobs.
    4. Organising events in the community. Employers love candidates that show initiative and take on additional responsibilities to further their skills and experience. Having experience in helping with community events is particularly useful if you want a job in events management, marketing or business management.
    5. Involved with charities (including campaigning and fundraising). Employers value charity work because it shows that you are socially conscious, compassionate and caring. It also demonstrates that you have great people skills and are capable of dealing with the public.

    These interests enhance your CV because they inform the employer that you possess excellent interpersonal, organisational and communication skills which enables you to undertake these activities. It also confirms that you are motivated and determined about the things you are passionate about.

    Examples of best hobbies to put on a CV

    The following hobbies will give a boost to your CV:

    1. Exercise and sports. Adding sports to your CV will portray you as a healthy and fit individual. There are two types of sports; individual sports such as running, swimming and cycling, and team sports such as football, basketball, cricket and tennis. Individual sports portray you as a determined, passionate and strong-willed individual whereas team sports show that you have excellent interpersonal and teamwork skills.
    2. Playing brain games. Brain activities are great hobbies to add to any CV, especially if you pursue a career in computing, mathematics or science because they demonstrate excellent problem-solving and analytical skills. Playing chess or puzzle games also tells the employer that you are intelligent, thoughtful and capable of overcoming challenges.
    3. Writing. Writing as a hobby indicates that you have excellent written communication skills, a key requirement for copywriters, editors, public relations professionals, marketers and journalists. You don’t necessarily have to be writing voluminous books to mention this hobby on your CV! You can also include writing poems, short articles and blog posts.
    4. Mentoring and coaching. Employers highly value mentoring because they understand that teaching, advising or supervising someone requires great skill, patience and determination. This hobby is particularly useful to add to your CV if you’re applying for a job as a teacher, tutor, mentor, teaching assistant, sports coach or fitness instructor.
    5. Computing and IT. If you’re applying for a job in the information technology (IT) industry, you can add the following activities to your CV to enhance it; coding and programming, building and fixing computers, designing and developing websites, setting-up computer networks and keeping up with the latest developments in technology.
    6. Designing. Designing is an essential requirement if you’re looking to apply for a job in a creative industry such as marketing or design. Activities that you could add to your CV include designing art, drawing, sketching and painting by hand, and using computer-aided design (CAD) software to create 2D drawings and 3D models.
    7. Cooking, baking and eating. Who doesn’t like food, right? Cooking new dishes and baking cakes are great hobbies to add to your CV if you’re applying for a job in the hospitality and catering industry. You could also mention things like, ‘going out and eating at restaurants’ or ‘watching Food Channel or other food-related TV programmes (e.g. MasterChef)’. Passion for food goes a long way in this industry!

    How to write hobbies on a CV

    Below are the guidelines for writing a perfect hobbies section of your CV:

    • Keep this section short and to the point as it is an extra/optional section; one to three interests are usually sufficient.
    • Only include interests that are relevant to the job. For example, what value does “stamp and coin collecting” as a hobby add to the application of someone who applies for the logistics manager position? The answer: none. However, stamp collecting would be a very valuable hobby to mention when applying for a job as a stamp appraiser.
    • Don’t use the usual lines about enjoying walking, reading or swimming; be more specific and describe them in sentences. For example, change “I enjoy reading”, to “I enjoy reading non-fiction and current affairs books”), or change “Travelling” to “I have visited most major European cities,” etc.)
    • Try to list interests that show a balance. A healthy interest in sports and the outdoors should be counterbalanced by other, more intellectual pursuits.
    • Keep it real and don’t lie or exaggerate.

    Location of the hobbies section on a CV

    The interests section should be placed at the end of the second page, just before the CV references section:


    Remember: This section is optional so placing it higher up on your CV will give the prospective employer the impression that you do not understand how to prioritise things. Think about it, how can your personal interests be more important to the employer than your work experience or qualifications?

    Examples of different CV hobbies sections

    Example 1 – Economist

    In my spare time, I enjoy meeting up with my friends and family, and I currently volunteer as a guest columnist for my local paper, The Daily Herald. I also enjoy reading business and economics magazines such as the Economist and Financial Times. [Economist CV template]

    Example 2 – Teaching Assistant

    Note: The example below is a bit long because the candidate had blank space in their CV and utilised it accordingly.


    Example 3 – Civil Engineer

    Due to my enduring passion for engineering, I enjoy building upon my knowledge of various computer programs that I can utilise to further my career in the industry. I also enjoy playing a number of sports, including tennis and indoor hockey. [Civil engineer CV template]

    Example 4 – Credit Controller


    Example 5 – Journalist

    In my spare time, I enjoy going to the gym and regularly partake in charity runs around the UK in order to help the community and stay fit and healthy. I also enjoy keeping up to date with current affairs, both national and international events, which helps me to get inspiration for the stories that I produce when I am working.

    Things to avoid when writing your hobbies section

    1. Avoid falling victim to stereotypes

    It is best to avoid putting anything controversial or sensitive on your CV. Humans are by their nature very judgemental, so be wise about what you disclose on your CV. For example, some recruiters may judge you negatively if you included heavy metal as your favourite music genre.

    2. Don’t reveal your political, religious or sporting affiliations

    Avoid mentioning interests that could reveal your private beliefs.

    Stating that you are an “active member of the local church” may harm your chances of being invited to an interview, especially when the potential employer reading your CV is a strict atheist. Similarly, stating that you “volunteered on a number of Labour election campaigns” or that you are a “huge fan of Manchester United” is also not a very good idea.

    3. Avoid mentioning risky or time-consuming hobbies

    Don’t mention very risky, dangerous or time-consuming hobbies such as rock climbing, deep sea diving, bungee jumping, parachuting and boxing. It is in the employer’s best interest that you are fit and well when you’re working for them!

    One recruitment expert commented, “Personally alarm bells go off for me when I read about people jumping out of perfectly good aircraft or hanging off tall buildings on the thinnest of ropes!”

    4. Avoid creating a conflict of interest with the employer

    Interviewers use the interests section of your CV to identify any conflict of interest if your hobbies demand too much of your time that could interfere with your ability to do your job or meet deadlines. A potential conflict of interest could arise, for example, if you state that you run two part-time businesses alongside your day job.

    5. Don’t lie about your interests

    You may think it’s a good idea to make up some hobbies to impress the employer but this is not a good idea.

    One unfortunate applicant had put ‘theatre’ as one of their interests but was left speechless and embarrassed at the interview when they were asked about the kind of theatre they liked and the name of the last play they saw.

    Make sure that you know enough to talk about every interest you list on your CV at the interview. Don’t include “Karate” as your hobby if the nearest you ever got to karate was watching a martial arts film! What if the interviewer is a black belt and asks you about the style of karate you have studied?

    6. Don’t include any weird and inappropriate interests

    Over the years, recruiters have documented the many weird and inappropriate interests that they have seen on CVs, including:

    • Eating pizzas
    • Handling guns
    • Witchcraft
    • Frog dissection
    • Swimming with saltwater crocodiles

    Needless to say, none of these candidates was invited for a job interview!

    7. Don’t include too many hobbies

    Adding too many hobbies to your CV fills up valuable space that could be used for more important information. The following is a sample of a CV’s interests section that contains too many activities:

    Having too many hobbies on a CV

    At this stage, the prospective employer will most likely be wondering: “Gosh, when will this person have any time to do some work?!”


    Putting hobbies and interests on your CV is an excellent way of enhancing your CV and improving the chances of being shortlisted for a job interview. Regardless of your job or industry, you should only include hobbies or interests that are relevant and add value to your application.

    If you’re still undecided on what to include, have a look at the great examples below to see which of these you can add to your CV.

    The best personal hobbies and interests to put on a CV:

    • Sports such as football, basketball and swimming.
    • Exercise such as walking or going to the gym.
    • Volunteering and participating in the community.
    • Reading books, magazines or publications.
    • Writing books, poems, articles or blog posts.
    • Designing or drawing by hand or computer (CAD).
    • Building things such as computers and product prototypes.
    • Coaching, teaching, tutoring or mentoring someone.
    • Organising events/activities for local charities or organisations.
    • Learning a new skill such as public speaking or new technology.
    • Cooking and baking when applying for food-related jobs.
    • Playing brain games, puzzles, riddles and solving quizzes.
    • Travelling to experience new cultures and meet new people.
    • Learning a new language.

    Good luck with your job search!
Written by Sobhan Mohmand
Sobhan is a qualified Careers Advisor and Professional CV Writer with over 10 years of experience in helping job seekers get a job. He is a Member of the Careers Development Institute (CDI) and is listed on the official UK Register of Career Development Professionals. He holds a Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development (QCF).