Your hobbies might be interesting, but are they relevant on your resume? Here’s a guide that shows you which hobbies and interests to put on your resume (and how to do it).

By: Ashley Dolar | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

Do you like pina coladas? Getting caught in the rain? 

Guess what? If I’m a hiring manager, I don’t care.

As the enduring success of this 1979 hit shows, listing your hobbies and interests might be a great way to set up your online dating profile. But, take it from the experts, listing your hobbies and interests on your professional resume is usually NOT the best use of space.

(On the other hand, volunteer work should absolutely be included on your resume. Volunteering and spending time on your hobby are two totally different ball games as far as we’re concerned.) 

What We’re Seeing…

We’re a resume writing service, so we’re used to seeing all kinds of job-seekers and resumes. Lately, we’ve been noticing that many well-intentioned clients feel obligated to include their hobbies and interests. 

However, these extra activities are often not related to the job at hand!

You might think a list of hobbies for your resume are “conversation starters” or that they “show your human side.” They’re actually just taking up valuable real estate that could be used to show off your professional experience and rock-solid qualifications. 

That’s why we believe that you should only put hobbies and interests on a resume if they are especially relevant to the job. 

For example, it’s probably just fine to include that you regularly participate in and win eSports tournaments, especially if you are applying for a job in the gaming industry. 

It’s not fine to list that you play eSports with your friends in your mom’s basement when you are applying for a job in finance. 

A composite image with a woman taking a photograph and the silhouette of a man playing golf – common hobbies and interests for a resume.

Is your job-relevant hobby semi-professional or attached to an organization? Put it on your resume! If not, don’t waste the space.

As a general rule, the only hobbies or interests to put on your resume are those that have a tangible accomplishment or organization attached. 

In fact, we recently helped a client who had some professional billiards experience and several pool shark-level accomplishments. She had listed them in a hobbies section, but we thought they were a big enough deal that we strategically moved them to the top of her resume in order to cover the large gap since her last job. So, it can be done. It just depends!

Here’s the bottom-line: your hobbies and interests are important parts of your life, and they may come up naturally in a job interview setting. However, you need a very good reason to include them on your resume. 

What You Should Do Instead…

While it might be tempting to sneak a few wayward hobbies into your resume, we have a different, truly 21st century idea. How about using social media as an extension of your resume?

Step one is to open a LinkedIn (LI) account. Not sure what that means? LinkedIn (LI) is a valuable recruiting tool for organizations, and it can be a lifeline for job-seekers. It’s like a professional Facebook.

(We can help establish one for you and/or improve your existing profile anytime!)

Next, take all of those serious but not particularly relevant hobbies and give them a new home on your LI profile. You still want to stick to participation in specific organizations and accomplishments, if possible.

Unlike on resumes,we actually encourage clients to list their pursuits outside of work on this platform. Why? Two reasons:

#1: You have the room. Unlike your resume, people can spend as long as they want on your LinkedIn, and you don’t have to keep it to 1-2 physical pages.

#2: It humanizes you and builds rapport with potential connections. If I’m a recruiter searching your online profile and I see that you play violin with an orchestra just like I do, I have an instant connection with you. I’ll probably mention it when I contact you to talk about a job!  

We know that setting up your resume can be tricky. Figuring out what to do with hobbies, interests, and volunteer work is only part of the equation. 

That’s why Let’s Eat, Grandma is here to help. Schedule a free call with us to find out how our professional writers can rework your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to land you that dream job.