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Andrew Arkley|April 2, 2021

Hobbies & Interests On Your CV: A Guide

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Wondering whether to, or how to, put hobbies and interests on your CV?

For a long time it’s been a subject of debate in the CV writing field, with many agreeing there are advantages to including them – if done right.

For new graduates and entry level candidates, as well as experienced workers entering a new field, skills for your CV developed from hobbies and interests – whether team sports, a musical instrument, or anything else – might be the key to landing your new job.

Read on to find out more about CV hobbies and interests!

What are CV hobbies and interests? Is there a difference between a hobby and interest?

Before we look at a potential hobbies and interests section on a CV, we have to explain the difference between them. 

According to Merriam-Webster a hobby can be defined as: “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” 

Meanwhile an interest is: “a feeling that accompanies or causes special attention to something or someone.”

So, an interest is more a feeling or emotion towards something while a hobby is when the interest becomes an actual physical activity.

You devote regular time to it but skills you learn do not always aid you in the development of your job.

A firefighter, for example, might have an interest in baking because it appeals to them – but it only becomes a hobby if they do it regularly. 

Why mention hobbies and interests on your CV?

With this all in mind, you might be asking yourself, ‘shouldn’t a CV be strictly professional? Why would I include a list of my hobbies and interests on my CV?’. You might even wonder ‘who cares?’.

As Careers Consultant Edith Karinthi-Durnez explains, listing your hobbies and interests can help you stand out from the crowd. 

“Featuring your activities outside of your studies and work… can actually be quite compelling and make you stand out during the recruitment process – if you do it right.

“Whilst most of your CV tells the story of your education and work experience, skills and achievements, your interests reveal a little more of your personality and values. 

“They can show how passionate, open-minded, playful, voluntary, patient, persistent, entrepreneurial, driven, risk-taker, or community-focussed you are.”

Including hobbies and interests on your CV can be beneficial in making you stand out from the crowd, however you must showcase hobbies and interests which have developed any transferable skills which you might use in that specific job role.

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Examples of the best hobbies and interests to put on your CV

  • Sports team member – outline activities which show you have been dedicated, for example how many matches you have taken part in over a period of time
  • Studies – did you take external studies in a college or university part-time? This shows you are proactive and keen on developing yourself
  • Computer programming – have you learnt to code outside of an educational setting? This shows someone who can take the initiative and learn practical modern skills
  • Social media designer/coordinator – did you start a social media page for an interest you have? Did the page do well? Include stats which will hopefully reflect how much effort you put in
  • Volunteering activities – this shows you are likely not motivated by money but rather are just keen to help people, which is an important trait in an office environment
  • Health – do you actively run 10KM or even marathons in your spare time? Most people dread the idea of exercise, so actively pushing yourself health-wise is always an admirable trait which shows commitment 

Anything that promotes a valuable skillset will stand out to hiring managers. Leadership skills, soft skills, interpersonal skills, technical skills, communication skills – the list goes on. Try not to include any irrelevant hobbies or personal interests that add nothing to your profile as a potential employee.

Please note – make sure that whatever hobby or interest you mention on your job application, you do not lie

This could lead to you getting caught out in a very embarrassing way when, for example, the interviewer asks you for more detail about the equipment you use when you go rock climbing.

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When should you mention your hobbies and interests on a CV?

So you’ve decided to mention some of your hobbies and interests on your CV – but are unsure where to list them.

Generally speaking, you list hobbies and interests towards the end of your CV.

First outline crucial information: contact details, education history and any previous employment that highlights relevant experiences and relevant skills.

Then turn to the personal interests section. Showcase your personality more through your interests and hobbies, outlining the transferable skills you have gained which will help you in the potential job.

Here is our comprehensive guide on how to write a CV.

Example of a hobby and interest on a CV

Now, let’s imagine someone is applying for a team leadership/management position. 

This role demands someone be confident, comfortable dealing with workers’ personalities and able to handle any arising conflicts. The hiring manager will be on the lookout for indicators of these attributes both on the CV and in the job interview.

What might be some relevant hobbies that add to a candidate’s value? Here is an example of some hobbies and interests being listed on a CV for this job role. This candidate mentions team sports and volunteering.

As captain for my local Sunday League football team for the past three seasons, I am responsible for all those involved in the team. If a teammate is out of line it’s my duty to step in and calm things down. I take full responsibility for my teammates’ actions and so have to be a leader on the pitch, setting the right example from the start.

I volunteer at my local library on a Saturday where I oversee the functioning of the whole library’s operation whilst managing four fellow volunteers. Having started as a volunteer a year ago assisting customers behind the counter, I was soon given more responsibility over the entire operation due to my commitment to the library where I did not miss a single day’s volunteering for 50 consecutive weeks.

Good personality traits, written communication skills and collaboration skills are all conveyed in this hobbies and interests section. 

The hobbies and interests section should demonstrate specific skills and valuable traits.

Hobbies and interests CV section: Summary

The best CV hobbies and interests are therefore completely subjective. One hobby might suit one role perfectly, but not another. Emphasise universally valuable skills, like management skills, communication skills and analytical skills, if you are unsure.

The best CVs have to be tailored to each specific job role you apply for and likewise the hobbies and interests you mention must be tailored too. Remember, be honest and stay true to your real personal interests –  hiring managers want you to stand out from other candidates!

Looking for more help finalising your CV which mentions your list of hobbies and interests? Let PurpleCV professional CV writers create a tailored CV for you – please get in touch.

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