Hobbies can increase your hireability and value on the job market. Here are some examples of hobbies to include in your resume.
There’s some debate over whether you should include hobbies in your resume. Some people say you should only include them if they’re relevant to the job. Others say leave them out entirely. Others still say to include them. And one study found that employers are impressed when candidates include hobbies.
I am firmly in camp “include them.” Hobbies and interests provide insight into who you are as a person and I would be wary of any hiring manager who isn’t interested in who you are as a person. Moreover, these things speak to peripheral, and potentially applicable, skills and qualifications, and may also provide some information about the type of people you know and the size of your network, all of which should matter to any savvy employer. And hobbies make great conversation topics during an interview.
Does that mean you should include every extracurricular activity in which you take part? No, it does not. Every bit of space on your resume is valuable and should only be used to showcase the best of you and what you have to offer. Be wise about the the hobbies and interests you choose to share.
Here are some examples of hobbies to include in your resume to increase your hireability and career success.
Research has found that volunteering makes you more attractive to hiring managers. A survey by Deloitte found that 82% of hiring managers prefer candidates with volunteer experience and 85% overlook resume pitfalls if the candidate includes volunteer experience. Another found that unemployed individuals who volunteer in the year after they become unemployed have a 27% higher likelihood of being employed at the end of the year than non-volunteers.
Writing skills will help you at every stage of the job search and will impact all aspects of your communication, including your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile, your other social media pages, and your email communication and other messaging. The ability to write blogs, articles, reports, and more are an added bonus to any role, even those that don’t focus on writing skills. A survey found that 73% of employers favour candidates with strong writing skills. If you keep a blog or are a published writer, include this on your resume.
Playing an instrument
Playing an instrument can increase brain plasticity and improve your memory and self-confidence, and a study even found that learning to play an instrument was correlated with a 10 point increase in IQ over six months. Playing an instrument demonstrates to a hiring manager that you possess dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline. And it’s a good conversation topic, because it can lead to genres of music and help you find common ground with the hiring manager. People love to talk about music.
Team sports or endurance sports
Participating in sports like soccer, hockey, long-distance running or cycling, can help develop and demonstrate all kinds of positive qualities, like teamwork, determination, and grit, which is said to be a major predictor of success. A survey found that more than half (52%) of female executive in five countries had played competitive sports (Only 3% did not participate in sports at any point in their lives) and 75% of those prefer to hire people with athletics in their background. According to HBR, “These executives attribute participation in athletics to qualities like a commitment to bringing projects to completion and greater abilities in motivating others … The executive women also put a premium on the discipline honed by sports, which they see translating to a person’s determination and work ethic.” And people also love to talk about sports.
If you regularly jump out of airplanes, go canyoning, or do parkour, that demonstrates that you are comfortable taking risks and probably work hard, show serious dedication, and pay super close attention to detail. It may also show you have excellent decision making skills (though some may also disagree with that) and perform well under pressure. All of these are attractive qualities in an employee, particularly for a leadership position. If you’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, put that stuff on your resume.
Anything about which you’re passionate and/or that is unusual
If you do something cool that you believe increases your intelligence or makes you more interesting – like playing chess, designing video games, or playing tournament poker – include it in a “hobbies and interests” section.
Even better, find ways to tie your hobbies to accomplishments that demonstrate desirable traits and skills. Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro is an accomplishment, obviously. If you have won a concerto competition, sold 50,000 albums, have 800,000 blog views a month, have completed the Boston Marathon twice, or are reigning chess champion, include that in your resume.
As stated above, don’t use a lot of space. One hobby/interest or two is enough. And don’t include anything you’re not truly into, experienced in, or passionate about. If you volunteered once last year at a food bank for Christmas, or like to cook for your family, leave it out. If you’ve helped raise $100,000 to address food instability or were a contestant on Top Chef Canada, include it.
Look at each of your hobbies and ask yourself which of them say something great about you.