Should Your Resume List Hobbies?
By Amanda Clark
It’s a common conundrum among jobseekers: You want to stand out. You want to draw attention to yourself. You want to come across like a living, breathing, real human being on your resume. You’re just not sure how to do it.
One common solution to this problem is to list your hobbies. The resume writers here at Grammar Chic see a lot of resumes that have full hobby sections at the bottom—but is this really the best way to make your case to future employers?
Our Take on the Hobby Question
Generally speaking, we’re of the opinion that hobby sections should be avoided. They take up valuable space on your resume that could be devoted to a clearer portrayal of your professional value.
Remember that, when they look at your resume, recruiters and hiring managers just want to know one thing: Are you going to bring value to their organization? A list of career accomplishments, core competencies, or key metrics might answer this question. A list of hobbies probably doesn’t. Simply put, the fact that you like to play golf or read mystery novels doesn’t really matter to potential employers, and it dilutes the power of a good resume.
How to Showcase your Hobbies—Subtly
That’s not to say that there are not a few ways to highlight your personal, out-of-the-office interests, however. Here are a few more appropriate ways to shed some light on what you like to do in your spare time.
Highlight Volunteer Experience
Voluntarism can be a way for you to hint at some of your broader interests, especially if your work for non-profits dovetails with your other hobbies—for example, if you want to show that you’re a runner, you might list your voluntarism with local charity runs.
Use Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter can be the place where you mention that your love of travel has made you more culturally literate, or that coaching your son’s soccer team has taught you a lot about teamwork and leadership. Just make sure you tie your hobbies with actual workplace skills.
Don’t Forget LinkedIn
LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to list hobbies per se, but you can certainly join up with groups that hint at your broader interests—a sly but effective way to humanize yourself in the eyes of potential recruiters.
Focus on Your Professional Value
The bottom line? Your resume is your value proposition—and hobbies don’t really belong there. You can make yourself look both valuable and relatable, though, with a complete and powerful resume.