Listing Hobbies & Interests on Your Resume – Should You Or Shouldn’t You?

I frequently come across resumes that include a section for “hobbies and interests” or something similar. Many people think it’s necessary to include something like this, however I can assure you that it’s probably best to avoid doing so. There is a limited amount of space for content on your resume and just a small amount of time for the reader to look over your information. That being said, you should use it strictly to highlight your professional qualifications and achievements, not your personal hobbies and interests.

Hiring managers are looking to see how you can specifically help them and their companies, not whether you enjoy skiing or bike riding. This sort of information is often times seen as “fluff” – in other words, irrelevant information that is used solely to take up space on a resume to make it seem longer. If you’re concerned about your resume looking too short, there are lots of ways to increase the content without having to lists your hobbies and interests. Think about substituting them for something more work-related, like a section for your professional qualifications or computer-related skills. Or maybe try adding some achievements onto your professional experience section.

While I feel I make a strong point against listing these on your resume, people are always going to be adamant about using them. So, if you absolutely must include your hobbies and interests, try to at least make them pertain to the job you are applying for. Do any of your hobbies involve using your leadership skills, for example? Do they show a pattern of long-term commitment? The most important thing to remember is to keep the content on your resume professionally relevant.

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Laura is the Marketing Coordinator for RedStarResume, a business that provides resume and cover letter writing services for students, graduates and young professionals.

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Comment by Elise Reynolds on February 18, 2013 at 11:38am

I would not urge people to leave off the hobbies and outside interests unless they are hobbies that create prejudice.  For instance sometimes church or religious involvement is a source of bias.  I personally would leave off being a member of MENSA (makes you sound pretentious).  But running marathons, being a member of the PTA or Civic club, volunteering with certain organizations typically is going to paint the candidate in a positive light. 

I agree if you don't have any interesting or appropriate interests there is no reason to make some up, just don't include that section.  No reason to feel pressured to add that to the resume.

Sometimes it is a good thing to put on your resume and can help get you the interview.  I know people in management with the big accounting consulting companies and they are supposed to be involved in organizations like the Jr. League, the PTO, (in places like Texas) the Rodeo committee . They want people that know how to network and like being out in society. 

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