When to Include an Interest Section on a Resume (And When Not To!)
Inside: Have you thought about adding an interest section on your resume? It could be a good idea, depending on your search. Take these tips from a career coach. Download a free resume template.
“Put my hobbies and interests on a resume? Isn’t that weird?”
The career coaching client sitting on the other side of the computer screen looks back at me both confused and a bit incredulous.
Seems like I have a bit of convincing to do.
But by the time we’re done here, she’ll have written down notes on how and when to include hobbies and interests on a resume. And in a couple of months, she’ll be saying, “Becca, you were totally right,” and we’ll BOTH be super happy about that!
How about you? Are you on Team Incredulous about including an interest section on your resume? Let’s talk.
Why to Include an Interest Section on Your Resume
The big objection to including hobbies and interests on a resume is that they aren’t relevant to your job search.
But I disagree!
Your hobbies and interests could be very relevant to your job search for a few reasons.
1. Hobbies and interests can boost your already stellar resume by showing a different and complementary side of you. You are a rocking marketer, but you also love sports and would be a great fit for this job at Nike! You’re an excellent teacher, and your love for making pottery could make you a standout candidate for a role at a school that wants to invest in the arts.
2. The people reading your resume are people! Sure, there might be a robot scan too but ultimately you’re going to get to a person and that person is going to be trying to determine if you are a person they want to work with. They aren’t one-dimensional and either are you! Make a connection, be yourself!
3. Your hobbies and interests could fill a gap that helps you pivot in your career. Hobbies utilize different skills than you might be using in your day job and just because no one has paid you for those things doesn’t mean they wouldn’t!
Read More: How to Find a Hobby You Love
How to Include Interests on Your Resume
I can feel you coming around to the idea. Let’s keep the momentum rolling! The simplest way to include hobbies and interests on your resume is with a dedicated Personal or Interests section.
On a two-column resume, that could look like a block over here, like so:
On a one-column resume, it’s a simple section that works well near the bottom of your resume, like so:
Another way to think about this is to incorporate your interests through other resume sections.
For example, if you are a volunteer youth soccer coach (raises hand over here, go Team Orange!) that could live under Volunteer and show your interest in community engagement and sports. Your interests might also show up in the Skills section if you have gotten into coding or web design on the side as a hobby. That’s an interest AND a valuable skill.
The key here is to not let your hobbies and interests take up too much real estate on your resume but not to hide them either if they are relevant.
What Hobbies and Interests to Include on Your Resume
There’s that word relevant again. Let’s dive into that.
I’ve shared a few examples above on what types of hobbies and interests to include on a resume, but that’s not an exhaustive list at all! You could be into so many more things that you want to include for particular reasons.
Some of my favorites to incorporate into resumes as appropriate are:
Travel – Great for showing your skills in languages or comfort working internationally
Improv Comedy – Public speaking, sense of humor, flexibility
Musical Instrument – Dedication, precision, and creativity
Blogging – Writing skills, social media savvy, website management
Photography – Aesthetics, creativity, technical skills
Marathon Running – Discipline, self-motivation
Baking – Attention to detail, great for office parties (I kid, kind of.)
When Not to Include an Interest Section on Your Resume
Clearly, I am on Team Interests and Hobbies. (“They’re GRRRRRREAT!” said in the Tony the Tiger voice). But not in all cases.
Think about leaving the interests OFF your resume if:
You’re tight on space. If it’s between including key accomplishments from your recent job that would make a future employer say “You’re Hired!” and talking about your love for the beach… well, the answer is pretty clear there.
Your hobbies aren’t related to your job search. Listen, I enjoy lifting dumbells in my living room while watching QVC and eating raw cookie dough. That doesn’t mean either of those things are going on my resume, for now
You don’t want to talk about it. Some of our hobbies and interests are more personal. Like perhaps my love for QVC should be instead of talking about that on the internet… If you don’t want someone to say “Hey, this is interesting, tell me more about that,” during an interview, just skip it.
Ready to Rock Your Resume?
Okay, friends. That’s all she wrote about the interest section on your resume. Key takeaways here – this section can be very helpful, just use it strategically!
And now if you want to keep rolling with your resume makeover, head over to this post on writing your resume summary. Not to be biased, but it’s a good one!
Or download one of my favorite resume templates right now to take the formatting off your plate and get right to the good stuff.
Read More on Resumes:
You Don’t Need a Resume Objective for a Resume, You Need This!
Take Your Resume from “Meh” to “We Need to Meet Her!”