Hobbies in your resume

What kind of hobbies should you list on your resume? Should you be really honest or should you be impressive? Are they even worth mentioning in a CV?

The first rule of thumb is this: if you’re trying to decide between having the bare essentials of a resume written out, or writing high-impact content, and putting in your hobbies, then hobbies should never be the priority.

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Resume real estate is limited as is given the recommended length of a resume is 2-3 pages long.

Hence, you really want to focus instead on writing a resume that covers the basics versus one that has fancy hobbies.

There are obviously, exceptions to this rule.

An example would be if you were an Olympic figure skater, or once won the world championship in World of Warcraft. By all means, these big accomplishments should show up in your resume.

But what if you haven’t done anything exceedingly remarkable?

Follow these 2 strategic rules for how to decide if a hobby belongs in your resume or not.

If a hobby is interesting and/or rare.

Ideally you shouldn’t just be ‘starting out’ or a complete amateur but someone who’s achieved some degree of competence, whatever your choice of hobby is.

Also, it never hurts to have a great ice-breaker or talking point as part of your interview. Possible examples I’ve seen include hand gliding, volcano climbing, calligraphy writing, geocaching, or wreck diving.

If it demonstrates or builds technical prowess and know-how.

My favorite kind of candidate hobby is what you might do during your free time that bears some relevance to your profession or that’s a great show of passion and initiative, or helps advance / contribute to your field.

An example could be building thought leadership by blogging or something similar in your area of professional expertise. Another example could be spending your weekends remodeling your house or building furniture in your free time.

If the hobbies you have in mind don’t fulfill these 2 criteria, you might want to think twice about inserting them into your resume. Check out our guide on taking your resume from good to great instead to see if there’s other more crucial content you might be missing.

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