Interests on Your Resume: What Can You Score Points With?
Interests in the resume give the future employer information about who is behind the application and how well this person fits into the team. By stating hobbies in the resume, applicants can positively highlight their personality and ideally leave a good impression on recruiters.
However, it is important to decide which hobbies and interests give the right signals and which should rather not be mentioned. Unusual hobbies arouse the interest of the interviewers and provide a good basis for conversation during the interview. Of course, it goes down particularly well if your interests are related to the company and highlight your versatility. Please note: You should also not fib about your interests in your resume.
We will show you which hobbies will help you score points with employers and which will give the wrong impression. In addition, we give you examples for a few interests and skills, how you can optimally apply them in your resume to bring your application to the next level.
Entry-level or Experienced Professional: What Should Be Considered?
The interests section in resumes is not mandatory, especially when applying for experienced professionals. However, for career starters, the description of interests is quite useful.
Description of Interests of Young Professionals
For entry-level professionals and graduates with no experience, stating interests is a promising way to highlight personality and complete the application.
With the correct interests, you give your recruiter information about what soft skills and knowledge you already have. It should be noted that not every hobby or interest needs to be listed on your resume, because the point here is not the number of hobbies, but the qualifications gained through them.
Description of Interests of Experienced Professionals
In the case of experienced professionals, the indication of interests is voluntary and is less decisive for the assessment of your competencies.
Here, the focus is more on your projects and positions in previous jobs. Since space is limited on job applications, you should focus on highlighting your professional accomplishments. However, if you have acquired job-relevant skills through a hobby, these should of course be mentioned.
What Personal Interests Are Generally Well Received?
Well, there are a number of personal interests that are popular on a resume. When formulating, be sure to avoid general generic terms like reading, sports, and dancing, and be more concrete. This promotes credibility and arouses curiosity. We've summarized a few interests that make a good impression:
1. Job-related Interests
The best interests and hobbies are, of course, those that relate to your desired profession. For example, if you want to apply for a job in marketing, it helps if you know about social media and can demonstrate your written communication skills a bit by writing a blog.
2. Honorary Service and Volunteering
Social engagement signals responsibility and makes it clear to your employer that you are also engaged in meaningful and helpful activities in your free time. These include, but are not limited to, working in social service organizations, participating in associations, volunteering, or helping your neighbors.
3. Physical Activities
Sporty people are considered disciplined and team players. These are qualities that many employers also look for. Be sure to only list sports activities that you actually still participate in, as regularity and timeliness are key here. If you don't like to be active in sports yourself, you can also score by promoting young talent in sports clubs.
4. Creative and Educational Hobbies
Other personal interests on your resume that highlight your soft skills are creative hobbies. These include graphic design, music production, theater acting, drawing and painting, and creative writing.
Creativity is, of course, also in demand at work and these hobbies moreover give the impression of commitment, ambition, and communication skills. As already mentioned, these should not only be mentioned, but you should briefly mention which subject area interests you in particular and include your own successes, such as an exhibition or a publication.
Educational interests also go down well, as they are equated with qualities such as care, discipline, and motivation to further your education. Here you can indicate, among other things, learning a foreign language, reading technical literature or regular educational trips.
What Hobbies Are Considered Job Application Killers?
In addition to resume interests that are considered positive, there are, of course, pastimes that trigger the opposite reaction. They are either associated with negative characteristics or could affect your availability. These include:
Very General Hobbies
If you list only nonspecific hobbies on your resume that the majority of people pursue on a regular basis, the employer will not be able to draw any conclusions about your personality and individuality. Thus, it is difficult for recruiters to decide how well you fit into the company culture. For insight into what questions HR uses to gauge this, see here.
Try even with general hobbies, to find specific areas that interest you the most. Simply traveling as a hobby doesn't seem very individual, but regular educational trips or exploring all the countries of a continent already gives more insight, about the person.
Extreme sports are more likely to cause injury and consequently absence from work, and are therefore not appreciated. Additionally, these types of hobbies signal an increased willingness to take risks. For this reason, extreme sports should only be listed if they are related to the job.
Passive interests include watching television, reading, playing computer games, or going to the movies. These signal to the employer that you lack social skills, and this affects your ability to work in a team. Make sure your resume is not all passive pursuits.
Hobbies That Take Up Too Much of Your Time
If you regularly participate in competitions, you have to prepare well enough for them, and this takes a lot of time. Companies fear that applicants with time-consuming hobbies will not be able to concentrate on their work and will miss work more often.
Hobbies such as hunting, shooting, and political interests can create a negative impression if they are not in line with the company culture.
Checklist: What Is the Best Way to Describe My Hobby?
Now that you've decided on a few interests to include on your resume, it's time to describe them. Again, there are a few points you should keep in mind:
- Don't list all the hobbies in detail, but choose four or five hobbies that make a good impression.
- Be specific about accomplishments, such as winning competitions or achieving goals you have set for yourself.
- Stay honest: Your recruiter will ask you questions about your hobby in some cases, so you should stick to the truth and not make things up.
Five Examples of Positive-valued Interests in Your Resume
The interests that should appear in your resume depends on the industry, for which you are applying. We want to give you a few examples of how you can earn plus points with hobbies.
Hobbies for Jobs in the IT or Marketing Industry
The digitization of the job market is in full swing and digital skills are playing an increasingly important role.
Anyone applying for a position in digital marketing should understand networking and social media communications. A digital affinity is essential for a job in this industry, and resume interests provide a wonderful platform to express it.
So tell them about your skills of video editing, blog writing, or passion for programming. If you can address or demonstrate your communication skills and technical expertise in this way, you'll be in good stead from the start.
Hobbies for Jobs in Finance
Hobbies for Jobs in the Fashion Industry
Hobbies for Jobs in the Fitness Industry
Hobbies for Jobs in Education
Interests on your resume round out your self-presentation and allow employers to better assess your personality. Career starters can thus compensate for their lack of experience with soft skills and score points with the recruiter. Be sure to emphasize job-relevant hobbies in your resume and describe the skills you have gained through them.
General phrases and hobbies with negative associations should not be listed. Present yourself in your resume as an active person with social contacts and avoid listing passive pursuits if they are unrelated to the job.