I often tell people that resume writing is an art, not a science. This means that there are often questions with no definite answers and ‘should I include hobbies on my resume?’ is one of them.
The truth is that including hobbies on your resume will almost never hurt you, and sometimes may help you. I say ‘almost never’ because there are a few situations in which including hobbies might damage your chance of an interview. Here are the main times when that is the case:
- Hobbies that reveal your politics. We live in a highly divided time politically, and if your hobby reveals where you stand on the political spectrum, you run the risk of an interviewer ruling you out purely because he or she is strongly opposed to your beliefs. (Of course, if you are aiming for a career in politics, go ahead and give details of any political interests).
- Hobbies that involve religion. While less controversial than politics, religion still has the potential to divide people and it’s usually best to leave any mention of it off your resume – again, with the caveat that it’s OK to include it if you\’re applying for a job that involves religion in some way.
- Hobbies that reveal your age or ethnicity. Again, anything that opens up the possibility of discrimination is to be avoided if at all possible.
- Finally, including your hobbies on your resume is a bad idea if doing so means you have to leave off some important information about your career. Remember that your hobbies will rarely be the reason you get an interview, but if you leave off some valuable prior experience, that may cost you an opportunity.
One important note about hobbies
If you have a hobby that reflects well on your ability to succeed at work, you must find room for it. For example, if you are over 50 and worry about age discrimination, it may be very helpful to include the information that you are a marathon runner. This detail will help to combat any negative perception about your age. Likewise, if you want to work in the food industry and one of your hobbies is cooking, you should be sure to mention it.
In the end, it’s up to you
There really is no hard and fast rule about including your hobbies on your resume, but hopefully the points I have raised have helped to clarify whether or not it’s a good idea for you and your situation.