Hobbies and interests refer to personal pursuits that are not related to professional work. They’re often requested on a resume as a way to assess your soft skills like teamwork, personal motivation, and community-mindedness.
The hobbies and interests you list need to be honest, but you should also select ones that showcase your personality, character traits, or skills that are not immediately apparent from your professional experience (Bell, 2012).
Interests that include group participation, such as playing team sports or being a part of a group, can demonstrate that you’re a good team player. Similarly, volunteering at a local charity might convey your ethical responsibility.
However, avoid presenting interests that might raise red flags for employers. Polarizing interests – those that could cause controversy or disagreement – or interests that might conflict with the company’s vision (e.g. having a side hustle that competes with the company you’re applying to be part of) might decrease your chances of getting the job.
Hobbies and Interests Examples
Creative Hobbies and Interests
- Graphic Design: A hobby in graphic design showcases your artistic tendencies and technical skills. It speaks to your ability to visualize concepts aesthetically. This is particularly useful in roles that require creativity and tech-savvy, like UX/UI design or advertising. And fortunately, creativity is a trait that tends to lead to pay rises.
- Blogging: This hobby indicates a proficiency in written communication, digital marketing, and SEO. It can also reveal deep knowledge on particular subjects, marking you as an expert. For careers in digital marketing, journalism, or communications, this can be a sterling asset. In fact, effective communication is the most sought-after soft skill by employers
- Amateur Astronomy: This interest represents a love for science and learning, pointing to a curious and observant nature. It can showcase your patience and meticulousness in understanding and interpreting details. This can be an appealing characteristic for jobs in education, research, or scientific fields.
- Cooking Classes: This hobby signifies a willingness to develop new abilities, as well as a touch of creativity. It shows that you appreciate both the process and the pursuit of an excellent outcome. This can resonate well in careers involving process management, or roles in the hospitality field.
- Gardening: A penchant for gardening suggests a patient character, a love for nature, and an ability to nurture and grow things over time. This can indicate responsibility and planning skills. Such attributes can be appealing for jobs in project management, education, or environmental science roles.
- Homebrewing Coffee: This reveals a dedication to mastering a craft and an appreciation for details. It suggests process-oriented thinking and high standards for outcomes. Jobs in quality assurance, the food industry, or roles requiring a meticulous nature could value this hobby.
- Magic Tricks: Magic as a hobby reveals strong discipline, coordination, and presentation talents. It demonstrates an ability to engage and impress audiences. This can be a unique asset for client-facing roles or careers in entertainment and sales.
- Hiking: This displays your love for nature and an appreciation for physical fitness and endurance. It can suggest that you’re personally invested in maintaining health and wellness. Careers in the health and fitness industry, outdoor education, or environmental organisations may find this hobby attractive.
- Learning Languages: Actively learning new languages depicts your adaptability and a love for diverse cultures. It also showcases your communication skills and patience. In fields like international business, travel, or translation services, such a hobby can be beneficial. And good news for you: research shows being bilingual can increase your chances of getting a job.
- Podcasting: The production or participation in podcasts demonstrates speaking skills, technological aptitude, and confidence. It also suggests an interest in sharing knowledge or opinions. This is a useful hobby for jobs in media, education, public relations, or marketing.
- Chess: Playing chess reveals an ability to strategise, anticipate competitors’ moves, and make decisive actions. This can signal a logical, strategic mindset which can be valuable for roles in business strategy, account planning, or software development.
- Photography: Photography as a hobby showcases creative talent, attention to detail, and a good eye for aesthetics. It also requires an understanding of technique and equipment. Media, journalism, or creative roles may be particularly suited to someone with this interest.
- Bird Watching: This hobby suggests patience, keen observational skills, and a love for nature. It can be seen as a reflective, quiet pursuit indicating a thoughtful nature. Conservation, environment, or research roles may value this hobby.
- Origami: Origami showcases manual dexterity, patience, and attention towards intricate details. It reflects appreciation for the traditional arts and a meditative, focused approach. Roles in art, education, design, or therapy may find this interesting.
- Archery: Practicing archery exhibits your focus, control, and precision. It reveals your discipline and an ability to aim for specific goals. Roles requiring focus and precision, such as quality control or risk management, may value this hobby.
- Stand-up Comedy: Pursuing stand-up comedy speaks to your ability to engage an audience and think quickly. It hints at confidence, a sense of humor, and excellent communication skills. These traits can be beneficial in roles within public relations, customer service, or advertising.
- Music Composition: If you enjoy composing music, it discloses your artistic talents and your ability to amalgamate different elements into a harmonious whole. It can denote patience, creativity, memory and focus, and deep understanding of the intricate aspects of music. Careers in the music industry, multimedia production, or creative direction can find this hobby advantageous.
- Pottery: Engaging in pottery shows your capability to mold raw materials into beautiful artifacts, demonstrating your creativity and patience. It suggests a hands-on approach and a focus on producing tangible outcomes. Careers involving craftsmanship, design, and teaching arts can appreciate the skills associated with this hobby.
- Calligraphy: Calligraphy can highlight your precision, patience, and admiration for aesthetic beauty. The practice demonstrates a dedication to mastering a meticulous and traditional craft, suggesting a detail-oriented character. Jobs in design, event planning, or jobs that require handwritten presentations may value this hobby.
Sporting Hobbies and Interests
- Running: Choosing running as a hobby suggests discipline, commitment, and the enjoyment of personal challenge. It can reflect a goal-oriented mindset and, since running is also a solitary activity, it can imply an independent and self-motivated personality. Suitable for roles requiring focus, resilience, and individual motivation.
- Yoga: Practicing yoga regularly indicates a dedication to personal well-being, patience, and control. It can also signal a preference for a balanced lifestyle and suggest a calm and focused temperament. People who do yoga also have heightened mental clarity. Useful for roles that demand patience, flexibility, and balance.
- Hiking: Hiking as a hobby points to a love for nature, and often links to determination and adventurousness. It also shows a commitment to physical fitness and resilience. Particularly relevant for roles requiring physical endurance and a strong connection with the outdoors.
- Tennis: Playing tennis portrays a love for strategic sports, as well as agility, speed, and hand-eye coordination. It could indicate that you thrive within a challenging, rapidly evolving environment. Suitable for roles that require quick decision-making and strategic planning.
- Swimming: Regular swimming indicates stamina, discipline, and a love for solo sports. It can highlight your ability to continuously improve and push your limits. Relevant in roles where persistence and self-motivation are key.
- Rock Climbing: This hobby shows daring, strength, and a desire for personal accomplishment. It can showcase your ability to face and overcome fears, highlighting determination and problem-solving skills. Rock climbing can be a valuable hobby for high-risk management or problem-solving roles.
- Cycling: For those deeply into cycling, it can demonstrate a love for speed and endurance sports. It may signal a strong competitive streak, with a side of environmental consciousness. Useful in roles that require endurance, commitment, or eco-friendly awareness.
- Badminton: Playing badminton regularly suggests agility, hand-eye coordination, and strategic thinking. It is a fast-paced, competitive sport that can be both singles and doubles, indicating you are comfortable both in teamwork and individual competition. Applicable to roles requiring strategic thinking, agility, and teamwork.
- Chess Boxing: This unique sport combines the mental challenge of chess with the physical demands of boxing. It implies resilience, strategic planning, and adaptability skills. Useful for jobs involving high-pressure decision making and strategic assessment.
- Martial Arts: Practicing martial arts depicts discipline, resilience, and respect for tradition. It shows that you can focus on long-term goals and respect others’ boundaries. Relevant for roles requiring discipline, respect, and self-defense knowledge.
- Sailing: This hobby shows a love for water sports, along with navigational and survival skills. It exhibits decision-making skills under unpredictable circumstances. Noteworthy for roles that involve navigating complex situations and strategic thinking.
- Rowing: Rowing displays physical strength, endurance, and a preference for group sports. It is a demanding sport that requires synchronization and fluid cooperation. Especially relevant in roles requiring teamwork, strength, and cooperative skills.
- Archery: Practicing archery implies precision, focus, and consistency. It suggests you have an eye for detail and steady hands. Suitable for attention-to-detail roles or positions requiring steady hand-eye coordination.
- Soccer: Playing soccer indicates teamwork, coordination, and strategic abilities. It shows your competitive spirit and your ability to work within a diverse group. This is especially relevant for roles requiring team coordination and strategic planning. Furthermore, research shows sports like soccer can increase brain health!
- Skiing: Skiing suggests a sense of adventure and outdoor sports passion. It can imply risk management skills and physical fitness. Especially relevant for travel, tourism, or fitness-related roles.
- Gymnastics: Engaging in gymnastics points to physical fitness, flexibility, and discipline. It can show your dedication to mastering complex routines. Useful in roles that value precision, agility, and performance under pressure.
- Polo: Playing polo can highlight team spirit, coordination, and a love for traditional sports. As it is considered a luxury sport, it also signals interest in high-society community. Particular suitable for roles in luxury goods marketing, social interaction, or team-coordination fields.
- Kickboxing: Regular kickboxing indicates high energy, discipline, and self-defense skills. It reflects a resilient spirit and readiness to compete. Suitable for roles requiring high energy, self-defense knowledge, and resilience.
- Volleyball: Playing volleyball shows a dedication to team sports. It suggests quick reflexes, strategic skills, and an ability to collaborate. Especially relevant for roles that demand teamwork and quick decision-making under pressure.
Team Hobbies and Interests
- Team Sports (e.g., basketball): Playing team sports signals working well with others, leadership skills, and competitive spirit. It demonstrates your ability to collaborate effectively towards a common goal, and can show that you thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. Particularly noteworthy for roles requiring teamwork, quick thinking, and adaptability.
- Drama Club: Being part of a drama club underscores your ability to collaborate, communicate, and react adaptively in performing a role. It also exhibits your creativity and presentation skills. Useful for roles involving communication, creativity, or public relations.
- Orchestra or Band: Playing in an orchestra or band showcases your talent, dedication, and ability to synchronize with others. It suggests an understanding of harmony and team dynamics. Good for roles that involve teamwork and creative expression.
- Debate Team: Engaging in a debate team shows your ability to present arguments convincingly and process information quickly. It demonstrates strong teamwork, analytical, and public speaking skills. Especially relevant for roles in public relations, law, or policy-making.
- Relay Races: Participating in relay races reveals your speed, endurance, and teamwork skills. It also demonstrates your pass-the-baton mindset – the ability to trust team members and work cooperatively. Suitable for roles requiring teamwork, coordination, and endurance.
- Volunteering Group: Active involvement in community volunteering groups displays your commitment to social issues and teamwork skills. It showcases your empathy, responsibility, and management skills. It is relevant for roles in social services, healthcare, or community development. Furthermore, research shows that volunteering and community involvement can increase your chances of employment by 27%.
- Quiz Team: Being part of a quiz team exhibits your general knowledge, your ability to think quickly, and work effectively under pressure. It also reflects your ability to collaborate proficiently in a group. Applicable to jobs requiring fast thinking, information recall, and team participation.
- Dance Troupe: Participating in a dance troupe illustrates your appreciation for arts and performance and the ability to work in sync with others. It showcases your expressiveness, teamwork, and dedication. Useful for roles requiring creativity, coordination, or teamwork.
- Rowing Crew: Being in a rowing crew demands physical strength, endurance, and excellent teamwork. It’s a symbol of your perseverance, synchronization, and cooperative skills. Particularly relevant for roles that require teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness.
- Chess Club: Partaking in a chess club can demonstrate your strategical thinking, patience, and ability to work in a group. It shows your enthusiasm for intellectual stimulation and competition. Suitable for roles requiring strategic planning, problem-solving, and logical thinking.
- Book Club: Active participation in a book club displays your love for reading, discussing ideas, and respecting diverse viewpoints. It also suggests good listening and analytical skills – plus, it relieves stress. Particularly useful for roles in literature, education, or discussion moderator.
- Film-Making Group: Being a member of a film-making group underscores your ability to work as part of a multifaceted team. It also showcases your creativeness and understanding of storytelling. Apt for roles in the arts, digital media, or storytelling fields.
- Chorale Group: Singing in a chorale group evidences your musical appreciation, vocal skills, and team cooperation. It showcases your capacity to harmonize your part with others’. Suitable for jobs in the music industry, volunteering, or team-based roles.
- Tech Club: Being part of a tech-oriented club, like a robotics team or coding club, shows your ability to collaborate on technical projects. It denotes strong problem-solving skills and a passion for technology. Particularly relevant for technological, engineering, and educational roles.
- Competitive Gaming Team: Involvement in a competitive gaming team reveals your strategic thinking, teamwork, and adaptability in dynamic environments. It reflects your capability to coordinate with others in high pressure, fast-paced scenarios. Applicable for roles that involve quick decision-making, teamwork, and digital technology.
- Environmental Conservation Group: Participation in an environmental conservation group shows your commitment to nature preservation and effective teamwork. It illustrates a strong sense of responsibility and eco-consciousness. Suitable for roles in environmental science, outdoor education, or community outreach.
- Innovation Lab: Active involvement in an innovation lab highlights your teamwork and problem-solving skills in an innovative setting. It indicates your inventive thinking and collaborative nature. Relevant for design, engineering, or creative problem-solving roles.
- DIY Crafting Club: Being part of a DIY crafting club indicates your creativity, patience, and attention to detail. It underscores your enjoyment of hands-on work and collaborative projects. Good for roles requiring creativity, precision, or craft-based abilities.
Unique Hobbies and Interests for a Resume
- Storm Chasing: This unique hobby demonstrates your adventurous spirit and interest in meteorology. It implies a somewhat daring nature and an appetite for hands-on learning about extreme weather phenomena.
- Beekeeping: Beekeeping showcases your patience, commitment, and a fascination for the natural world. It also reflects a concern for environmental issues and ecosystem balance.
- Falconry: Practicing falconry indicates a close connection with wildlife and an understanding of animal psychology. This hobby suggests a sense of adventure and an unconventional interest.
- Underwater Hockey: Playing underwater hockey highlights your love for unique sports. It combines swimming skills, teamwork, and strategic game playing all in one.
- Bonsai Cultivation: Cultivating bonsai plants requires patience, precision, and a deep respect for nature. It can be seen as artistic and therapeutic, reflecting a meticulous and patient character.
- Capoeira: Engaging in this Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music suggests a love for cultural exploration, physical fitness, and artistry.
- Ice Sculpting: Creating sculptures out of ice shows your artistic skills, resilience, and ability to work under challenging conditions. This unique hobby can reflect a high level of creativity and patience.
- Parkour: Engaging in parkour – the intense art of traversing obstacles swiftly and fluently – suggests that you’re physically fit, agile, and adventurous. It’s indicative of an active, risk-taking personality.
- Astro-Photography: This hobby indicates a fascination with the universe and a dedication to capturing its beauty. It demonstrates endurance, patience, and technical abilities.
- Ghost Hunting: This unusual interest shows your adventurousness, curiosity about supernatural phenomena, and perhaps a passion for solving mysteries.
- Acrobatics: Engaging in acrobatics reveals physical strength, flexibility, discipline, and daring. It can be indicative of a dynamic, performance-oriented character.
- Competitive Eating: Participation in this hobby suggests your competitive nature and possibly an unusual culinary fervor. It can reflect a keen spirit of competition and tolerance for physical discomfort.
- Sand Sculpting: Building sand sculptures shows a creative spirit, patience, and a unique way of expressing artistry. This suggests meticulousness and a playful attitude towards art.
- Aerial Silks: This form of aerial acrobatics showcases physical strength, control, and a love for high-flying artistry. It indicates fearlessness, discipline, and a readiness to see the world from a different perspective.
- LARPing (Live Action Role Playing): This hobby points to your creativity, teamwork, and love for fictional narratives. LARPing requires imagination, quick thinking, and adaptability.
- Puppetry: Creating and animating puppets requires creativity, craftsmanship, and performance abilities. It suggests a love for storytelling and theatrical flair.
- Cryptozoology: Having an interest in cryptozoology – the search for and study of creatures whose existence or survival is disputed, such as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster – shows your fascination with mysteries and untapped areas of science.
- Fencing: Engaging in fencing shows a love for traditional sports, discipline, and precision. It can indicate quick reflexes, strategic thinking, and an appreciation for the arts of dueling.
- Pyrography: Practicing pyrography – the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks – demonstrates your artistic inclination, patience, and a unique take on craft making.
- Skydiving: Going for skydiving displays your adventurous spirit, thrill-seeking tendency, and physical fitness. This high-adrenaline hobby can reflect a love for the exhilarating and extraordinary.
Analytical Hobbies and Interests
- Chess: Playing chess indicates your analytical, strategic thinking and foresight. It shows your capability to anticipate opponents’ moves and adapt to changing scenarios, making it excellent for strategic planning or problem-solving roles.
- Sudoku: Solving Sudoku puzzles displays your application of logic, pattern recognition, and decision-making skills. It suggests your enjoyment of challenging your brain and concentrating on complex tasks.
- Programming: Engaging in programming showcases your problem-solving, logical thinking, and technical skills. It’s also indicative of your enthusiasm for creating systems or finding solutions to technical issues.
- Data Analysis: Pursuing data analysis as a hobby reveals your ability to make sense of complex information. It can highlight your attention to detail, logical thinking, and quantitative skills.
- Reading Scientific Journals: This interest demonstrates your love for learning, reading comprehension, and ability to understand complex scientific reports. It could be essential for roles in research, science, or academia.
- Cryptozoology: The study of creatures whose existence is disputed, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, shows your curiosity and willingness to question established beliefs. It can suggest a meticulous nature and strong research skills.
- Philosophical Debates: Participating in philosophical debates exhibits your logical thinking, open-mindedness, and verbal communication skills. It reflects an appreciation for deep thought and analytical discussions.
- Cryptography: Decrypting codes or cryptograms evidences your love for solving complex problems and applying logical reasoning. It might suggest capabilities in mathematics, computer science, or security.
- Economic Forecasting: Forecasting economic trends as a hobby indicates your understanding of the economic landscape, analytical prowess, and predictive abilities. Valuable for roles in finance, economics, or market research.
- Astronomy: Hobbyist astronomy showcases your observation skills, understanding of scientific principles, and patience. This pursuit is relevant for roles in research, analysis, or academia.
- Birdwatching: Observing and identifying different bird species demonstrates your patience, attention to detail, and data recording. It may suggest a meticulous and patient personality with a keen eye for detail.
- Genealogy: Tracing and studying family lineages highlights your interest in history and detailed research. This shows a capacity to analyze relationships and trends over time.
- Bridge: Playing Bridge – a complex card game – requires strategic thinking, problem-solving, and cooperation. It showcases your analytical skills and ability to work within a team.
- Model Building: Engaging in model building – from model trains to miniature figurines – requires detailed work, patience, and a systematic approach. It suggests precision, concentration, and an eye for accuracy.
- DIY Electronics: Building electronic devices, like radios or robots, highlights your technical understanding and troubleshooting skills. It shows a systematic and practical approach, together with problem-solving abilities.
- Numismatics: The collection and study of coins and currencies can show your attention to detail and research skills. This hobby can indicate your analytical capabilities, patience, and interest in financial history.
Technical Hobbies and Interests
- Coding: Participating in coding projects showcases your problem-solving abilities, along with your technical acumen. It also suggests an interest in technology development and programming languages. This hobby suits roles in IT, software development, and data analysis.
- Robotics: Building or programming robots demonstrates your skills in applying engineering and coding concepts. It exhibits your technical knowledge and uptake of futuristic technologies. This can be valuable for careers in robotics, engineering, or tech education.
- Computer Building: Building computers from scratch demonstrates your understanding of hardware and your problem-solving skills. It exhibits your specialized technical knowledge and hands-on skills. Helpful for roles in IT support, hardware engineering, or tech consulting.
- Web Development: Creating websites showcases your coding abilities, design sensibilities, and understanding of user experience. It’s an embodiment of technical and creative skills, highlighting your versatility. Particularly useful for roles in IT, digital marketing, and web design.
- Amateur Radio Operation: Operating a ham radio indicates your mastery of specific technological tools and your ability to communicate effectively. It shows your technical proficiency and adherence to regulations. Applicable to roles in telecommunications, signal operating, or electronics.
- Photography & Photo Editing: Engaging in photography and mastering photo editing software shows your operational knowledge of technical equipment and software. It indicates your eye for detail and appreciation for aesthetics. Suitable for digital media, graphic design, and communication roles.
- Software Beta Testing: Beta testing new software applications highlights your strong understanding of user interface, debugging, and programming. It excels at exposing anomalies and faults, refining your detail orientation. Relevant for software development, product management, and user experience roles.
- Video Production: Creating and editing videos shows your technical skills in operating video equipment and editing software. It depicts a blend of creativity and technical expertise. This hobby is useful for careers in media production, cinematography, or digital marketing.
- Advanced Excel: Mastering and utilizing advanced Excel functionalities highlights your data processing, financial reporting, or problem-solving competence. It exposes your strong analytical prowess. Particularly relevant for roles in finance, business analysis, or data management.
- Game Development: Developing video games illustrates your skills in coding, design, and storytelling. It reflects your understanding of game mechanics and creativity. Valuable for roles in game design, software development, and graphic design.
- Home Networking: Building and managing home networks underscores your abilities in network configuration and management. It shows your understanding of network principles and troubleshooting. Relevant for networking, IT support, and systems administration roles.
- Linux Administration: Proficiency in using the Linux operating system indicates strong technical skills and versatility. It demonstrates your open-source software knowledge. Highly beneficial for roles in IT, systems administration, and software development.
- Building Drones: Constructing drones displays your understanding of aerodynamics, electronics, and often coding. It exhibits your ability to handle complex, multidimensional projects. Useful for roles in engineering, avionics, or technology education.
- 3D Printing: Creating 3D printed objects shows your grasp of 3D modeling software and understanding of design principles. It showcases your innovative spirit and practical application of advanced technology. Adequate for roles in product development, manufacturing, or design.
- Data Analysis: Data analysis as a hobby underscores your comfort with large amounts of information and your analytical skills. It reflects your logical thinking and precision. Particularly applicable for roles in data science, market research, and strategic planning.
- Cryptocurrency Trading: Trading cryptocurrencies shows your understanding of blockchain technology and your risk assessment skills. It demonstrates your up-to-date knowledge of digital finance trends. Appreciated in finance, business, or IT roles.
- Machine Learning Projects: Engaging in machine learning projects depicts your grasp of complex programming constructs and algorithms. It reflects your foresight in next-generation technology applications. Relevant for AI development, data science, or technology consulting roles.
Incorporating the right hobbies and interests in your resumes should be considered a strategic move. You need to keep them associated with the job you’re applying for, portray a multi-faceted personality, and avoid potentially divisive hobbies. Above all, remain genuine and honest about the hobbies and interests you list. Assessors appreciate humility and honesty, and it’s always easier to discuss something you genuinely enjoy in an interview rather than a fabricated interest.
References and Further Reading
Clay, D. (2018) How to Write the Perfect Resume. Independently Published.
Littleford, D., Halstead, J., & Mulraine, C. (2017). Career skills: opening doors into the job market. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Sher, B. (2006). Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams. Rodale Books.
Timotheou, S., Fitzgerald, C., & Dahlitz, R. (2014). Resume writing: Stand out from the crowd. Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker, (609), 106-107.
Wallwork, A. (2019). English for academic CVs, resumes, and online profiles. Springer.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]