Listing hobbies and interests on your CV (With examples)
Updated 16 May 2023
When an employer looks at a CV, your employment history and education record tell them what you've achieved, but a section about hobbies and interests tells them who you are. A section on hobbies and interests aids recruiters in discovering what motivates you, what you're passionate about and what areas you excel in outside of work. Including this section can help you showcase your personality and stand out from other candidates. In this article, we explain when to include a hobbies and interests section and how to create one that can help you secure an interview.
Hobbies vs. interests
Though these can be similar and often overlap, there are some difference between hobbies and interests that can help you best create this section.
What are hobbies?
A hobby is something you enjoy doing regularly on an amateur basis. If you're part of a group or team, or if you regularly set aside time to work on it, then it's likely a hobby.
Here are a few hobbies that often appear on CVs:
Team sports: Football, rugby or cricket
Solo sports: Golf, running or swimming
Tech hobbies: E-sports or attending coder dojos
Wellness practices: Yoga or weightlifting
Knowledge-based hobbies: Quiz teams, local history groups or attending lectures
Creative practices: Writing, blogging or painting
Outdoor activities: Cycling, hiking or gardening
Craft hobbies: DIY projects, sewing or woodworking
Musical activities: Choir, playing an instrument or composing
Community activities: Volunteering for local organisations or charities
What are interests?
An interest is something that you are passionate about. You may not pursue interests in the same structured way that you pursue a hobby, but you still care about your interests very deeply.
Common examples of interests listed on CVs include:
Travel: Going places or a specific interest in the language and culture of particular countries
Culture: Cinema, literature, art and music
Academic topics: Interest in topics like psychology, sociology and politics
Social causes: Local and international causes
Technology: Programming, building hardware or social media
Nature: Growing your own food, exploring the outdoors, or helping to preserve nature
When should I include a hobbies and interests section on my CV?
Your CV is a brief overview of your professional life to date and gives recruiters an idea of whether you're someone that they should bring forward to the interview stage where you can talk about yourself in more detail. There are a few scenarios in which a hobbies and interests section can improve your CV, including:
Limited work experience: If you're applying for your first job, a hobbies and interests section can supplement a small employment history section. The hobbies and interests you include can showcase you as active, dynamic, curious, outgoing and/or resourceful, which may be winning qualities for a role.
Relevance to the role: Some hobbies and interests involve very valuable skills or knowledge that can be applied in the workplace. If you're treasurer of your club, you likely have experience with cash handling and accounting, which can be helpful when applying to a position that deals with finances. If you enjoy creating mods for video games, you understand programming, software design and creative problem-solving. The technical skills can be beneficial in a computer development role, and creative problem-solving is a transferable soft skill used in nearly every role.
Switching careers: You might choose to switch to a functional CV that focuses on your skills and abilities rather than your work experience, which might not be relevant to the role you're applying for. Hobbies and interests work well on a functional CV to complement your skills and abilities section. If your hobbies and interests are also relevant to this new career, emphasising them can also demonstrate your expertise or passion.
Extra room on your CV: Your CV should be one to two pages, depending on your level of experience. If you have space at the end of a one-page or two-page CV, it might be better to include this section rather than have white space.
How to choose what to include in the hobbies and interests section
Everyone has a diverse list of hobbies and interests, but some are more suited than others to your CV. To make this section effective, focus on the most relevant information. When trying to decide, remember the following rules:
Highlight the skills your practise
Emphasis transferrable skills
Relate a hobby or interest to the role
1. Be specific
While you can include brief phrases that reflect each hobby and interest, you can also explain in more detail how you practice a hobby or interest, how long you've been involved with it and if there are any organisations you're associated with. Some ways to do this include highlighting:
Study: If you're taking any online courses, it shows that you're serious about pursuing this interest. If you follow blogs or publications related to your interest, you'll show that you're keeping up to date on recent developments.
Projects: Mention it if you've pursued a project that's relevant to your interest, like building your own gaming PC.
Attending events: You might regularly attend lectures, public meetings or discussion groups related to your interest.
Travel: Perhaps you travel to festivals or conventions to meet like-minded people or make presentations that relate to your interest.
Being a member of a club: Instead of saying 'films' is a hobby or interest, consider writing 'Watching and critiquing films with my local cinema club'.
2. Highlight the skills you practise
Hobbies and interests can showcase how you're dynamic and professional. When being more specific, you can also phrase each hobby and interest using active verbs. This can promote the idea of hard work and effort that goes into having hobbies and interests. For example, instead of 'Video games', you could write 'Organising online teams', 'Writing mods and patches' or 'Competing in e-sport leagues'.
3. Emphasise transferrable skills
Hobbies and interests can involve skills that are highly transferrable to employment. Be sure to mention any of the following if they apply:
Leadership: You demonstrate leadership skills if, for example, you act as captain of your five-a-side team or organise the local walking club.
Communication: Communication skills are highly valued in almost every job. Be sure to mention if your hobby involves public speaking or writing.
Technological skills: You might have these skills if you have launched a website, manage social media channels or built an app.
Organisation: If you're responsible for coordinating club meetings or planning the event calendar, you have valuable organisational skills that could enrich your CV.
Finance: Many clubs and societies have treasurers that handle finance responsibilities like membership fees or donations. These hobbies show that you're good with money, can do basic accounting and are considered trustworthy by the people who know you.
Commitment and focus: If you've climbed a mountain or composed an opera, it shows that you are committed, dedicated and focused on completing projects.
4. Relate a hobby or interest to the role
Some activities complement relevant work experience. They can relate through the setting or workplace, the industry or the skill set. For example, if you're applying for a nursing position, you could list your volunteer role at a local nursing home. Another example would be if you are applying for a role in social services, you can include experience volunteering in community or civil service as well.
Example CV with a hobbies and interests section
Here is an example of a CV with a hobbies and interests section:
1 Big Street, Birmingham, B1 1BB • +44 07981 123456 • email@example.com
Bargain World, Retail Associate
October 2019 - Present
Assist customers to create a convenient and welcoming retail experience
Manage stock levels and shopfloor tidiness
Process sales at till with cash handling and end-of-day reporting
Birmingham Comprehensive, 2017 - 2019
English - A
Computer Science - B
Hobbies and Interests
Football: Captain of local u21s side. I lead weekly practices and coordinate matches.
Blogging: Content manager on The Young Foodie, my gourmet cooking blog. I design the website, organise a content calendar and promote on social media to 5,000+ followers.
As you can see, this section helps to highlight the additional skills this candidate has outside of their limited retail career, including leadership, organisation, writing and social media management.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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