Hobbies and Interests – to include on your CV or not to include?

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I often get asked whether it is a good idea to include your hobbies and interests in your CV or not. I was also interested in this area myself and chatted with many recruiters about it. I was surprised to hear that their answer was an overwhelming, ‘yes’. They explained that they like to see hobbies and interests on the CV as they show what you are passionate about, and what extra skills you have, for example If you play sports, it could show that you are competitive and a good team player. Hobbies also shows that you have a work-life balance, one HR manager that I spoke with stated that the roles in their company can be very stressful, and they like to see if the candidates have ways to unwind. They are also a great conversation starter, a good way to build rapport and can make you more memorable. They can also make you stand out, I spoke with one recruiter who actually saved screened CVs by hobbies and interests rather than names e.g. instead of Mary Murphy they would save the file under ‘Tuba Player’.

Therefore adding hobbies and interests can help employers get a better picture of who you are and connect with you in a more personal way. Try to make it as interesting as possible! Make the interviewer want to meet you.

Ambition and achievement

All space is valuable on the CV and hobbies should only be added if they add value or show skills, passion, ambition or achievement. If your hobbies don’t add value, you can omit this section. Hobbies shouldn’t be everyday activities i.e. ‘going to the cinema or meeting friends’. They should be achievement-based and descriptive.

It can be good to mention

  • Any medals won or any specific achievements within your hobbies.
  • Fundraising activities or charity events you have been involved in.
  • Volunteer work that you have taken part in or any club group or society that you are involved in.

Instead of just mentioning music, think of the type of music, the genre you like, an instrument that you play or a choir or band that you are a member of. Only mention 2 or 3 of the most impactful hobbies. Make sure to give detail instead of saying just music, film or reading, make your hobbies more detailed like the examples below.


Travelling – Travelled to over 21 countries worldwide including Tanzania, India, Colombia, France and Germany.

Painting – Participating in weekly art classes in the ‘Nature Dome Gallery’, Dublin.

Hiking – Member of a hill walking group and have completed the four peaks challenge twice raising funds for The Jack and Jill Foundation.

Running – Running 3 times per week and have completed the Dublin ‘VHI Mini-Marathon’ and the ‘Caracas Rock 10k´.

Breda Hegarty is a career counsellor with the EPIC Programme run by Business in the Community Ireland. EPIC is a free programme supporting people from migrant backgrounds to gain employment. If you are interested in participating in one of the free programmes contact Livia Bartolomé on 01 8743842 or epic@bitc.ie


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