How to Write About Your Hobbies and Interests on Your Graduate Resume

Posted by GradConnection

As a graduate, it can be difficult navigating writing a professional resume for the first time. One such issue that often arises is deciding whether or not to include a list of your hobbies and interests on your resume. As graduates tend to have limited professional experience to include in a resume, hobbies and interests are information that can be strategically included to elevate a resume. This article will distinguish between hobbies and interests, outline reasons for why you may choose to include this information on your resume, and tips on how to effectively incorporate this into your resume.

What is the difference between hobby and interest?

We often use hobbies and interests interchangeably in our day to day lives, but they are distinguishably different. A hobby refers to something that you actively participate in, whereas an interest refers to something that you want to learn more about and are fascinated by. For example, a hobby could be bird watching, while an interest could be exotic bird species. 

Why should you include hobbies and interests in your resume?

It is usually not a requirement to include a hobbies and interests section in a resume. However, there are some benefits to doing so. A hobbies and interests section is advantageous in providing the hiring manager with a greater understanding of your character and whether you would fit in with the workplace culture. This section serves to ultimately humanise you beyond the education and work history detailed in the resume, and as such, allows for a more well-rounded depiction of you as a potential employee. 

You won’t necessarily be disadvantaged if you opt not to include a hobbies and interests section in your resume, but it is definitely worth considering. It is even more beneficial as a graduate as you are less likely to have extensive work experience and thus need this section to enhance your application for a potential graduate program or position. In saying so, the most important thing to remember when writing a hobbies and interests section is that whatever you list can indirectly tell the hiring manager a lot about you, so it is an important decision and should be carefully considered. You don’t want to ultimately be penalised because of the inferences they draw about you based on your hobbies and interests!

What can be your hobbies and interests?

There are a wide range of hobbies and interests that can be included in your resume.

The different categories for hobbies and interests include: 

  • Sport and fitness activities (e.g. team and individual sports)
  • Creative pursuits (e.g. painting, writing)
  • Cultural-based activities (e.g. learning a new language)
  • Volunteer work (e.g. fundraising efforts, working at a homeless shelter)
  • Brain activities (e.g. sudokus, rubix cubes). 

What hobbies and interests should you avoid?

An important thing to consider is whether the hobby or interest you are stating is irrelevant or unimpressive. There is no point taking up space in your resume with hobbies and interests such as shopping or spending time with friends, as these are not effective in emphasising your skill set and do not provide any depth to you as a job candidate. Hobbies and interests which could be interpreted as a joke, reveal your religious or political affiliations, or may be considered offensive should not be listed either.

What can your hobbies and interests say about you?

When writing your resume, choosing the most appropriate hobbies and interests can have an impact on how your application is received by the hiring manager. While it may not seem obvious, any hobby or interest you list has the potential to provide great insight into your character. 

The inclusion of a team sport instantly tells the hiring manager that you have good teamwork and interpersonal skills. This is a great advantage for you if you are applying for a job where you have to work collaboratively with others. Furthermore, volunteering reveals to the hiring manager that you are a compassionate individual who wants to help others. This will instantly make you stand out in the job application if that company values such traits in their employees. Another great example of a beneficial hobby or interest is a brain activity like web coding or chess. These tell the hiring manager that you are an intelligent person who is adept at problem solving and also possesses great critical thinking skills. Now, you may not have meant for the hiring manager to deduce that much about you from your hobbies and skills, but it is apparent that whatever you list does provide a greater insight into you as a person. This is why it is important to pick hobbies and interests that are relevant to the job you are applying for. 

While it is always good to be strategic about which hobbies and interests you choose to divulge to the hiring manager, the most important thing is to remain honest and true to yourself. There is no point in exaggerating your interest in a specific topic or making up a hobby in an effort to impress the hiring manager, as you may very well be working for them in the future and be caught out in your lie. 

How to include hobbies and interests in a resume?

Hobbies and interests in a resume should serve as supplementary information for the hiring manager about you. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your work experience, education experience and skills are all listed prior to you discussing hobbies and interests. As such, it’s a good idea to usually leave them until the last section of your resume. You should list them in order of importance and include a short description with each item in order to specify what exactly you do/are interested in for your employer. It is better to include a few strong examples of hobbies and interests which align with the job you are applying for, rather than a long list of different and irrelevant hobbies and skills.


Jane is a graduate applying for an assistant editorial position at a publishing house. She lists the following hobbies and interests on her resume:

  • Reading: I enjoy reading novels in a variety of genres in my spare time.
  • Writing: I have been writing poetry for many years and enjoy perfecting my craft.
  • Blogging: I have an online blog where I review the books I read. 
  • Drawing and painting: I have an interest in renaissance era art. 

These hobbies and interests show the hiring manager that Jane has a genuine interest in the field. She also has the skills from writing, reading, and reviewing that can help her succeed in an editing position. The interest in art can also be beneficial when dealing with cover art, promotions, and advertisements. 

Edward is a graduate applying for a position at an event management company. He lists the following hobbies and interests on his resume:

  • Volunteering: I have been volunteering at a charity for two years, and help them plan and run their fundraising events.
  • Graphic design: I enjoy creating graphic designs using different softwares. 
  • Coding: I enjoy perfecting and experimenting with different codes. 

Volunteering demonstrates to a hiring manager that Edward has experience in event organisation and has skills with dealing with people. The graphic design and coding skills can also be beneficial in such a position when creating promotional material for events. 

Read more about how to write the perfect graduate resume/CV here.


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