Do these personal details belong on your CV at all?

When you're writing your CV, you'll probably consider how – and indeed whether – you should include your hobbies and interests.

But first, how do we define hobbies and interests? A hobby is usually described as something that you enjoy doing in your spare time, whereas an interest doesn't require the same commitment and is generally more passive. Depending on the role, both, either or neither could be included on your CV. We've put together this guide to help you make informed decisions.

When to include hobbies and interests on a CV

It's important to remember that there's no obligation to include either hobbies or interests on your CV. Although they used to be expected on any self-respecting CV, they're now seen less and less as focus shifts towards achievements and value. Therefore, a list of hobbies and interests should only be included on your CV if they can boost your candidacy in some way.

If you're established in your career as a Logistics Manager and like reading and watching football, you're not adding anything by including hobbies on your CV. They're not related to your current or future role and make you sound pretty run-of-the-mill. There is absolutely no reason to include hobbies and interests on your CV at all if doing so won't provide the recruiter with worthwhile information.

On the other hand, there are certain situations where hobbies and interests on a CV can greatly benefit you in your job hunting. For example, if you're just starting out in your career and have little – if any – work experience to put on a CV, a hobbies section can give a recruiter greater insight into your skills and personality. Similarly, if you're changing careers and your hobbies are more relevant to your new direction than your professional experience, some detail in this section can enhance your employability. Additionally, interests can be included to demonstrate your fit with company culture or your knowledge of a subject relevant to the position. 

Which hobbies and interests should you include on your CV?

It's key that any hobbies and personal interests included on your CV are linked to the roles you're targeting. If you're looking to move from food sales to car sales, then mention your interest in vintage vehicles and your hobby restoring old cars. Want a creative career? List your arts and crafts hobbies. Aiming for a manual job? Show you're physically fit by mentioning how you like to run marathons. You get the idea.

Remember, the best hobbies and interests to put on a CV are those which are directly relevant to the role, those which demonstrate transferable skills, and those which align you with the company culture. If you're thinking of including something outside of these categories, stop and ask yourself what value it will add to include them in the hobbies and interests section.

Which hobbies and interests should never be included on your CV?

Some hobbies and interests should never be shared with a prospective employer. This particularly includes anything that could be considered contentious – political and religious affiliations are prime examples. Even allegiances to a particular sports team could hurt your chances, if the recruiter favours their rival. Culturally sensitive topics, such as shooting or hunting, should also be avoided.

Additionally, hobbies such as reading, watching films and stamp collecting ‒ whilst they may be enjoyable to you ‒ show very little interactivity, creativity, teamwork or other professional skills. Therefore, unless they're highly relevant to the role you're applying for, leave them off.

And remember that there's a fine line between coming across as quirky and fun and coming across as utterly bonkers. If you list gravy wrestling (as a client of mine did), you may get called to interview – but possibly not for the right reasons.

Above all, stay honest and don't add hobbies and interests to your CV just because you think they sound good. They may act as an ice breaker for interviews, but you won't feel so clever if the interviewer shares that passion and wants to hold a conversation on a topic you know nothing about.

How should I add hobbies and interests to my CV?

If you're wondering how to list hobbies and interests on a CV, this information is generally placed at the very end of the document. Those with minimal professional experience will need to include more detail than those who have acquired skills throughout their career. 

If hobbies and interests are key to your application, give them their own header on your CV. Otherwise, they can be incorporated into the Further Details section, alongside such things as languages, IT skills, security clearances, and any other miscellaneous information.

Examples of hobbies and interests on a CV

1) For a recent graduate looking for a job in IT, with no experience in such roles:

Hobbies and Interests

Computer builds: Built several PCs from scratch and researched options for hardware and components

Troubleshooting: Often called on by friends and family to resolve software and networking issues

Web development: Created a website for a local business which increased sales by 20%

Industry news: Subscribe to an industry magazine and read online articles on new IT developments

2) For a parent looking to transition from a career in finance to a role as a teaching assistant:

Hobbies and Interests

Volunteering: Running a playground group attended by up to 40 children per session, with responsibility for health and safety, planning activities, and maintaining equipment

Education: Particular interest in special needs education and language teaching

3) For a security industry professional looking to move up the ladder:

Further Details

Security clearance: DBS and SC vetted

Interests: Cybercrime and digital forensics

Are the hobbies on your CV helping you ‒ or hurting you? Find out by submitting your CV for a free CV review.

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