Job Hunting? Think Twice about Revealing your Hobbies

July 13, 2008 at 6:54 pm 6 comments

If you are sending out resumes, or keeping one around just in case, think twice about having a personal section at the end that includes your hobbies. I read a friend’s resume who is job hunting and told her to remove her hobbies because it was easy to see how what she wrote could be misinterpreted and held against her by an employer. It was nothing exotic, just serious artistic accomplishments.

Listing hobbies on a resume is often promoted as a way to catch the eye of someone with a shared interest or stand out from other applicants. Since hobbies showcase your personality, they can add a personal touch or highlight some additional skills you have.

That all sounds good, but employers can read anything the wrong way:

If you list athletic activities, such as marathon runner, it makes you sound healthy and active but employers are concerned that your training schedule is more important than their needs.

If you list artistic pursuits, such as sculptor, they worry that you work only to support your artistic passion.

If you list volunteer activities, such as working in a homeless shelter, you sound like a wonderful person but scheduling conflicts may arise and your choice of organization might be different from those supported by the employer.

If you list activities revolving around children, such as soccer coach, you raise concerns about your priorities.

If your hobbies involve books, movies, music, or gardening, the reaction might be “So what, doesn’t everyone?” Unless you list karaoke asyour hobby, inducing fear of what will happen at the next company party.

I knew someone in school whose hobby was reading the dictionary. “Weird,” you might reasonably say. I saw his name years later as an award-winning crossword puzzle maker – but it’s a hobby that would raise eyebrows when applying for most jobs. What benefit is there to include these activities – and there may be a cost. Besides which, there may already be too much information about you online, according to the warnings about what current or potential employers learn from your Facebook profile or your tweets.

Redacting the hobbies from your resume may not be enough – think twice about revealing too much in your internet profiles. And then wait until the interview – or better yet the first day on the job – to reveal your non-professional inclinations.


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Search Job  |  January 26, 2010 at 6:55 am

    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work

  • 2. Engravers Birmingham  |  January 24, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I have been involved in helping people to find work for a long time. You are right – beware what you put down as your pastimes. Put yourself in your prospective employer’s position and ask yourself what they would think. Never tell a lie, but you can hold back on something that you think would be unhelpful. Itmight make a real difference.

    Kind regards, John

  • 3. Trophies and Medals  |  December 17, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    i think you can include hobbies as long as you put a positive spin on them. they show you as well rounded and interesting.

  • 4. Ruediger  |  January 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I know times aren’t really ideal to easily move into a new job, but I don’t really agree to your advice. My hobbies are a part of the passionate person I am. If my passion for things that I find fulfilling isn’t considered in a positive way by an employer, do I really want to work for him/her? I think this decision whether to list hobbies in your resume depends more on if you can afford to be picky enough to find the employer with an open attitude towards your unique personality.

  • 5. segan1  |  July 15, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    It’s very sad but true that employers can take anything and see the negative light in it. Alack and alas!

    – Segan

  • 6. Mike Gualtieri  |  July 13, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    This is so true that hobbies can be misinterpreted by employers. Googling people is also a concern since it is hard to know who is who if you share the same name with someone – which most people do.

    One of my hobbies is blogging. How will that look?

    Check out my hobby


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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa:


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