When you first read this question, you might be thinking, “um, no?” But that is not always the case! There are some situations wherein discussing a certain hobby can be a good idea, even if it has nothing to do with the job that you are applying to or your existing professional experience.
Let’s explore what those situations may be.
When to talk about your hobby on a resume
You are outstanding in your hobby
If you possess any particular titles, records, or awards for your hobby, then you should feel free to mention them. Examples of these items may include being a Crossfit champion in your city, the fastest Rubik’s cube solver in your state, or an award-winning home chef.
Why is it good to mention these things? Think about it. A Crossfit champion is goal-oriented, hard-working, and disciplined, at least where physical fitness is concerned. In all likelihood, these traits extend to other areas of life. A Rubik’s speed solver knows what it’s like to thrive under pressure and master a repeated action. An award-winning home chef demonstrates passion and creativity.
At the very least, this hobby can be used to generate a conversation during the interview. Most hiring managers will see a hobby and use it to form a softball question to help you warm up. You should take advantage of this!
You hold special accreditation
That’s right, dust off your old yoga certification. If you worked hard for a number of months to earn an accreditation that others don’t have, you should talk about it. Why? Earning unnecessary accreditation shows your future employer that you care about learning new things. Beyond that, it proves that you are goal oriented.
In strange situations, random accreditations can lead to side projects in your future job. In the case of yoga, maybe they want someone to teach yoga at the next work retreat. You never know!
It’s tangentially related to the job you’re applying for
If you are a Toastmaster who has completed the Accredited Speaker Program and you are applying for a position that requires you to make a lot of presentations, then you should absolutely put it on your resume. Why wouldn’t you? If you are into coding video games and you’re applying to a place where technical computer skills are part of the job, talk about it!
Any hobby that corroborates your professional skill set will likely come with excellent references, as well. Take advantage of the opportunities that your hobby presents and wield them to your advantage!
You don’t have anything else to talk about
If you are a recent college graduate, then your professional experience section might be a bit sparse. If this is the case, then you can definitely use the related experience section of your resume to talk about the things you are good at. In the interview, the hiring manager will want to know who you are, even if you don’t have the professional experience to fill out the page.
Your hobby demonstrates leadership
If you are the captain of an intramural softball team, then that is something worth talking about. A hobby like this demonstrates teamwork, a commitment to community, and, of course, the ability to lead. Mention the name of the league you play for and who the sponsor is if you choose to go this route.
When NOT to talk about your hobby on a resume
It falls outside of the mainstream
If you are a high priestess of a Wiccan sect of forest dwellers, that’s great. In fact, I encourage everyone to be their weirdest self… just not in the workplace. Strangers don’t know you, and it can be difficult to let your professional accomplishments shine when the conversation is derailed by an exceptionally weird hobby. Also, you should never assume that the hiring manager agrees with you on any particular belief. Keep it neutral.
You have not been engaged in the hobby for long
If you are just getting into a new hobby, then your resume is not the place to talk about it. You haven’t developed any expertise in the hobby yet and haven’t forged the connections to make it worthwhile, professionally. Keep at it, and you can include it in the next one.
You’ve already mentioned another hobby
You should be careful about the number of hobbies that you include in your resume. Remember, this is your professional profile, not your Tinder profile. The hiring manager is looking for something that makes you seem passionate, authentic, and interesting. They are not looking for a list of things you are in to, and providing one will likely not serve you. I would aim for two, max.
There’s no metric for measuring success in your hobby
Some hobbies are just too general or non-professional to mention. If you like to read, that is fantastic, but how can you make it a point of interest on your resume? Ditto cooking. Ditto painting. If your hobby is not something that is related to your job or has offered you any sort of measurable improvement, then it’s probably not interesting to your hiring manager.
The bottom line here, as with anything, is to use your common sense. Consider deeply the position you are applying for and the company’s values. If your hobby fits into these values, then you should use it to your advantage. However, do not sacrifice the space where you discuss professional experience to discuss hobbies. A resume is, first and foremost, for showing off your professional achievements.