Your CV tells potential employers about your work experience and skills, but it says nothing about your personality. That’s where the supplementary hobbies section comes in.

What you do in your past time, paints a picture of you as an individual. When written properly it can show you as a sociable person who is passionate about things and excels outside of work.

It can not only round off your job application by revealing more about you as an individual, but also answer the age old question:

  • What do you do in your spare time?

By: Iejaz Uddin – Updated 20 May 2024


Page overview

  • What are hobbies?
  • What are interests?
  • Why include hobbies and interests in your CV?
  • How to write hobbies into your CV
  • Where to put Hobbies and Interests on a CV
  • Hobbies and interests you can list in your CV
  • Hobbies and interests to avoid


What are hobbies?

They are unpaid leisure activities that people regularly do in their spare time to unwind, make friends, or meet new people. They are also a popular way to learn new things and gain a sense of achievement from them.

They can be anything from taking part in sports to less physically strenuous ones such as reading, yoga or painting. People commit different level of time to their hobby depending on how devoted they are.


Examples of solo and team hobbies:


Hobbies and Interests on a CV



What are interests?

These are taken slightly more seriously than hobbies. For instance, learning about a particular subject through an online course can be considered an interest. Mentioning something like this in a CV will suggest to employers that you are committed to enhancing your personal development and knowledge.

Like hobbies they can create either a positive or negative impression of you.

Some interests can morph into hobbies. This happens when an individual discovers more about their interest and start to like it. This leads them to pursuing it more regularly and actively.


Difference between hobbies and interests

Although like hobbies, there is a subtle difference. Interests are seen as a personal desire to learn more about a particular subject or topic. Whilst hobbies are activities a person undertakes for their amusement, relaxation, or enjoyment.

Hobbies are also more likely to be hands on activities, whereas interests tend to be more intellectual pursuits.

Where they are both similar, is that they can provide a source of enjoyment and fulfilment to people outside of their work.


Why include hobbies and interests in your CV?

Hiring managers are curious creatures who want to know more about the people they are employing. One way to do this is through their social life.

What you do in your pastime reveals more about your personality and the real you to them. This helps to complete the picture of you as a candidate.

Written properly they can make you appear more human.

Also note that the skills you acquire through them can be just as beneficial to your job application as those gained through your work experience, education or training.

If tactfully included into your CV, they can help you to stand out from competing equally qualified candidates. This is achieved by showing that you not only have the necessary skills but personality as well.


Do recruiters read hobbies?

If everything else you include in your CV matches with the employers’ requirements and if you catch their eye, then the answer is yes. That’s because, if you get past that initial CV screening stage, then they want to know more about you.


Who uses them the most

Mostly school leavers, graduates, and people with little work experience. Having said that they are also used by highly talented applicants who want to stand out from others by showing their individuality, charisma, and temperament.


Entry level job seekers

They are very useful for candidates who do not have a lot of work experience or skills. They can help to compensate for a young person’s shortcomings in other departments and are an excellent way of showing of one’s communication skills.


Fill up your CV’s blank space

After finishing your CV, any job seeker can sometimes have a large blank white space at the end of it. This can make a document look half full, desolate and convey to a reader that you have nothing to say. A good way to fill it up is by writing about your hobbies.


Something to talk about at the interview

If you get to the face-to-face interview stage, then this is a great was to break the ice and get a formal conversation onto a more casual footing.


Not sure whether to put it in?

If you’re not sure whether to include it, then think before you list.

Ask yourself if they’ll help or hinder your application. If they show you as immature, unprofessional or a dangerous thrill seeker, then avoid them. However, if you have the space and they put you across as a someone who is not only an achiever, but also sociable, determined and a team player, then it may be worth listing them.


Advantages of including hobbies on a CV

Both hobbies and interests are great for an individual’s personal growth, skill development and social skills. They can also help demonstrate sought after transferable soft skills like communication, collaboration, and time management. All valuable traits that a recruiters look for in a candidate.

Furthermore, they can;

  • Distinguish you from other candidates, especially those who may be equally qualified but have not written about their hobbies.
  • Show you as being aligned with the company’s culture and someone who can easily fit into an existing workplace set up.


Disadvantages of including hobbies on a CV

The ‘wrong’ type of hobbies can create an impression of you being anti-social, a loner, unprofessional or a risky thrill seeker. Hiring managers are not to keep on these types of personalities.

Additionally, they could indicate that you may always be asking for time off. For instance, if you say you enjoy travelling to faraway places, an employer may worry you plan on vacationing a lot more than others.

Other reasons not to list them:

  • They take up valuable CV space that can be used to list more job relevant competencies.
  • Are irrelevant to the position you are applying for.


When not to list hobbies in a CV

There are certain circumstances when there is no need to include any in your CV. Below are a few reasons.


Short of space

If you are short of space in your CV and need more room to add extra text, then it’s advisable to dispense with them.


Senior positions

Do not insert your hobbies on your CV if you are applying for senior level positions. Seasoned professionals with lengthy careers usually have lots of relevant experience and skills, meaning a less important section like your hobbies is not required.


You have no hobbies

In this case do not lie and make any up, instead add nothing.


Extreme hobbies

At all costs avoid ones that may raise concerns about your attitude.


How to write hobbies into your CV

Focus on those hobbies that are relevant to the vacancy, align with the job requirements and will add value to your job application. The best way to do this is by prioritising activities that align with the job’s duties and company culture.

Also, go for the ones that reinforce your personal strengths and signal positive motivations that will show you’ll be a good addition to any existing team.

The perfect ones to disclose are those that create a favourable image of you by demonstrating qualities such as leadership, teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving.


Mention achievements

When explaining what you do, also stress any accompanying achievements such as awards you won, how you coached others, were a team captain or won a competition.


Relevant to the role

If a hobby or interest can be associated to the job you are applying for then include it. A good example is if you are a book keeper for a club and are in charge of handling its cash. This can boost your job application if you are applying for any bookkeeping, financial or accounting positions.


Research the employer’s company culture

If possible, try to fit your hobbies around the company’s values. Get an idea of what they’re about by looking at their website or social media posts. This will give you an idea of what they do individually or as a team, then try to match it. For example, if they have a company 5 aside football team, and you are also a good footballer, snap.


Similar interests to the recruiter

By nature, people are drawn to those who have similar tastes to them. If by chance you have the same hobby as the hiring manager, then it could be easier to bond with them, resulting in your application being favourably looked upon.


What not to reveal about yourself

Steer clear of mentioning hobbies that may divulge aspects of your private life that you’d like to keep hidden. It’s also wise not to talk about those activities that may be interpreted as being dangerous, weird or antisocial.


Keep it short

Do not write lengthy descriptions of what you get up to. Keep everything short and sweet, so that it takes up as little space as possible.


Include keywords

If possible, applicable, and acceptable try to include keywords from the vacancy’s job description in your hobbies section. They can help get you past any ATS (Applicant Tracking System).


Where to put Hobbies and Interests on a CV

This section is always at the bottom of a CV. Because of its perceived lack of importance, its below everything else where it can avoid overshadowing the other main sections.


Where to put hobbies and Interests on a CV



Hobbies and interests you can list in your CV

Below is a list of some popular and widely used hobbies you can include in your CV.



An activity that shows you are an individual who is intelligent and disciplined enough to sit down for long periods to read books or manuals to learn or be entertained. When mentioning be specific and say exactly what you read whether its act or fiction.


Drawing and painting

These types of activities show an individual’s creative side, ideal for sectors where you have to think outside of the box.



It’s not all about sports or social activities. Volunteering and helping out at local organisations, communities or charities can also be seen as a past time.


Team sports

These demonstrates a candidate’s teamwork, communication, and leadership skills. Ideal competencies for roles where you are part of a group.


Examples of hobbies:

  • Chess
  • Fishing
  • Gaming
  • Gardening
  • Golf
  • Gym
  • Hiking
  • Reading
  • Running
  • Swimming


Hobbies and interests to avoid

Shun telling them about and unusual, dangerous, or controversial hobbies and social causes. That’s because recruiters do not like to employ staff who may take time off for unconventional activities like lengthy round the world trips or protesting etc.

They are also concerned about staff being off with long term injuries through high injury risk pastimes such as parachuting or rock climbing etc.

Additionally, it’s not good idea to not talk about religion or politics, as you do not know what the affiliations of the hiring manager are. The last thing you want is to unnecessary and unwittingly upset the reader and create a negative impression of yourself.


Always tell the truth

To impress prospective employers, some job seekers may be tempted to lie about their hobbies and interests.

Although commonplace, this has the potential to backfire on the candidate. The interviewer may share the same hobby as you, and if you’ve lied, you’ll be stuck for any probing questions they may ask. All in all there’s a high risk of getting caught.