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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