BEST Examples of Hobbies and Interests to put on a CV - 2018

BEST Examples of Hobbies and Interests to put on a CV – 2018

By: Sobhan Mohmand, Editorial manager       Last updated: 28 Oct 2018

The hobbies and interests section is an important but optional section in your CV. Many candidates do include it in their CVs, whereas others don’t.

Which is approach should you take?

We recommend including your personal interests on your CV because it is a great way to stand out from the crowd, show the prospective employer a bit of your personality and make it a basis for conversion at the 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.”

In this guide you will find out:

  1. What hobbies and interests are;
  2. The benefits of writing your personal interests on your CV, and;
  3. Examples of many hobbies + how to add them to your CV.

Examples of hobbies to put on a CV

1. What are hobbies and interests?

A hobby is an activity that you pursue regularly for enjoyment purposes, particularly during your leisure time. These are activities that generally relieve you from stress, tension or fatigue, for example; playing sports, solving puzzles or writing content for your personal blog.

An interest is an activity that you want to do or are currently doing on an irregular basis. For example, wanting to help in your community or joining an animal rights group.

2. Benefits of writing your personal interests on your CV

Recruiters invest in people; they hire and work with human beings, not robots or minions. Consequently, recruiters look for every clue on the candidates’ CVs to find out about their true interests, skills and competencies.

The benefits of including your personal hobbies 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 indicates good interpersonal skills

3. Examples of hobbies and what they say about you:

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

What does “I play football on a regular basis” tell me about this candidate?
What does “I enjoy solving puzzles” tell me about this candidate?
What does “I like fixing computers” tell me about this candidate?

These are the type of questions that the prospective employers will be asking subconsciously when reading through the candidates’ CVs.

Many people do not realise the hobbies and interests they include on their CVs can reveal a lot of information about them and their personalities:

Hobby, interest or skill What it reveals about the candidate
Computing Is technical-minded and good with technology, may also be introverted
Swimming Keeps fit and healthy
Solving puzzles Has excellent problem-solving and analytical skills and likes to overcome challenges
Playing Football/Soccer Has team-working skills; enjoys the company of other people
Playing chess Is intelligent, a strategist and deliberates before taking action
Mentoring Is a team player (rather than loner), has good communication and interpersonal skills
Playing squash Is highly competitive and motivated
Reading Is intelligent, likes learning new things, is open-minded and analytical
Writing Is creative, artistic and/or passionate
Going to the gym Is conscious of their health, is fit and motivated to accomplish goals
Travelling Is outgoing, social and adventurous

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

4. Who should write hobbies and interests on their CVs?

People generally fall under the following two categories in this regards:

A. Candidates who should write their interests on your CVs

These include:

  • School Leavers
  • Students
  • Graduates
  • Candidates with little or no work experience
  • Candidates who have empty space in their CVs

The reason for this is because 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.

B. Candidates who shouldn’t write their interests on your CVs

These include:

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

Due to the lack of valuable space on these candidates’ CVs, relevant work experience and qualifications take a higher priority over personal interests.

5. How to write hobbies on your CV

Now, let’s get down to writing it.

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

  • Choose hobbies that are relevant to the job
  • 1-2 relevant personal interests would be ideal
  • Choose a variety of hobbies to show that you are an all-rounded person
Some additional guidelines for writing your CV interests section:

  • Keep it short and to the point (one paragraph – maximum 2-3 lines)
  • Be specific (e.g. instead of “I enjoy reading”, write “I enjoy reading non-fiction and current affairs books.”)
  • Don’t list down your interest – describe them in sentences!
  • Keep it real and don’t exaggerate

So… what interests should you put on your CV?

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

The rule of thumb is only to include activities that contribute to and strengthen the application. If you cannot draw this valid connection then do not include those activities.

  • 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).

personal-interests-cv

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 as a shop assistant at your local games shop!

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

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

6. List of hobbies and interests for different job sectors

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):

  • Team sports (football, cricket, basketball, etc.)
  • Determination activities (running, swimming, cycling, climbing, etc.)
  • 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. To get a better idea of which hobbies would be suitable for which jobs, we have developed lists of key job sectors below with their relevant hobbies.

The lists contain many examples of good hobbies to include on your CV, depending on your job. Please note that these lists are not exhaustive and is only intended for illustrative purposes.

A. Business and marketing jobs
Roles: Business advisor, manager, supervisor, marketing consultant, etc.
  • Following business and financial news
  • Reading business and financial magazines
  • Member of a professional business or management body
  • Playing chess and puzzle games
  • Involved in local clubs, classes and groups
  • Working as a volunteer in companies
  • Organising events in the community
  • Playing team sports
  • Travelling
  • Mentoring
B. IT and technology jobs
Jobs: web developer, network engineer, first-line support, IT manager, etc.
  • Building and fixing computers
  • Designing and development websites
  • Setting-up computer networks
  • Playing chess and puzzle games
  • Member of a professional body
  • Keeping up with the latest developments in technology
  • Maintaining a personal blog
  • Read non-fiction books
C. Retail jobs
Jobs: sales representative, customer service advisor, shop assistant, etc.
  • Playing team sports
  • Volunteering at local companies, clubs and organisations
  • Organising events
  • Volunteering
D. Creative jobs
Jobs: graphic designer, photographer, artist, etc.
  • Designing
  • Drawing, sketching, painting, etc. by hand
  • Using computer programs to design
  • Completing DIY projects
  • Attending events, shows and exhibitions
  • Photography
E. Energy and environmental jobs
Jobs: recycling officer, environmental consultant, activist, etc.
  • Member of social, environmental and animal rights groups
  • Being involved with charities
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Playing team sports
  • Travelling
  • Participating in fundraising events
  • Participating in campaigns
F. Catering and hospitality jobs
Jobs: catering assistant, chef, cook, etc.
  • Cooking and baking
  • Going out and eating at restaurants
  • Creating new dishes
  • Preparing food for events
  • Watching food channel or food-related TV programmes (e.g. MasterChef)
  • Volunteering
  • Socialising
G. Administrative and information jobs
Jobs: admin, librarian, information officer, etc.
  • Reading (fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, etc.)
  • Writing (blog posts, articles, poems, books, etc.)
  • Volunteering
  • Playing team sports
  • 7. Five good examples of interests section of a CV

    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 empty space in their CV and utilised it accordingly.

    teaching-assistant-hobbies-examples

    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

    hobbies-on-cv-example

    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 to stay fit and healthy. I also enjoy keeping up to date with the current affairs, both national and international events, which helps me to get inspiration for the stories that I produce when I am working.

    8. 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:

    hobbies-personal-interests-cv-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 you work experience or qualifications?

    9. Things to avoid when writing your hobbies section

    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.

    Keep clear of exposing your political, religious or sporting affiliations

    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 very good ideas.

    Avoid mentioning risky or time-consuming hobbies

    It is in the employer’s best interest to have you healthy, fit and able to work. Any leisure activities that put your life at risk (or are too time-consuming) will be looked unfavourably upon. Therefore, please remove “regular rock climbing in the Himalayas” as one of your hobbies from your CV. Thanks.

    Irrelevant hobbies

    Only make mention of your personal interests if they add value to your application. What value does “Stamp and coin collecting” as a hobby to the application of someone who applies for the Logistics Engineering 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.

    Senior-level CVs

    Managers, executives and directors should entirely omit this section of their CVs. Their personal interests should be clear from their achievements and experiences in the workforce.

    Including too many hobbies

    Adding too many (3+) 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 Hobbies section with too many hobbies:

    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?!”

    Lying

    Remember that whatever you put on your CV, including your personal interests, may be asked about and scrutinised at the interview stage. Save yourself the embarrassment and do not lie about your hobbies.

    Weird interests

    Performing witchcraft and frog dissections for fun shouldn’t be the hobbies of anyone, let alone mentioning it on your professional CV!

    weird-hobby-avoid-examples

    Yes, believe it or not, people have actually used these hobbies on their CVs…

    Conclusion

    You should now know how to write the hobbies and interests section of your CV like a pro! Need any help on other parts of your CV or looking for a template? Check out Download CV templates (Word) and How to write a CV (guide) where you will find more tips, information and examples.

    Good luck!