What Should I Include in the Interests Section of My Resume?

There are some resume sections that are mandatory – your name, contact information, skills, work history, and education, for example. Hiring managers expect this information and will be left scratching their heads if they can’t find it.

There are other resume sections that are completely optional, however. Today, we’ll discuss one of those sections – the Interests section, sometimes titled Hobbies and Interests.

When should you include an interests section on your resume, and when should you not? What interests are appropriate? Which ones should you leave out? Consider the following tips for writing an Interests section on your resume.

Check here for more information on including hobbies and interests on your resume.

When to Include an Interests Section on Your Resume

There are two primary reasons why you might include an interests section on your resume.

1. To Flesh Out a Student Resume

If you’re still in high school, a recent high school graduate, in college, or a recent college graduate, you may feel that your resume looks a little thin – especially if you have little or no work experience.

If you’re wondering how to fill up that blank space on the page, an Interests section might work well for you.

What should you include in the Interests section of a student resume? Perhaps you have an interest in computer science and technology. Maybe you like learning languages. Have you done a lot of extracurricular activities or volunteer work? Any of these will look good in your Interests section.

Be concise in your descriptions – for example, you might phrase the above examples in this way:


  • Computer coding (HTML and Python)
  • Multilingual studies (English, Japanese, and Italian)
  • Political science – member of the Young Republicans and volunteer poll worker
  • Volunteering at the animal shelter and soup kitchen

When deciding which interests to include on your student resume, think about the career you are pursuing and what attributes each interest suggests. If you choose the right interests to include, it can demonstrate things like work ethic, creativity, and interpersonal or communication skills, among others.

Interests Related to Your Career Field

Sometimes, valuable experience comes, not from paid employment or education, but from hobbies and activities you pursue in your free time. Maybe your interest in a subject has even motivated you to make a career change – switching to a job where you can do what you love and utilize those skills.

If this is true in your case, an Interests section might be a good option. Remember, only include interests that are relevant to your career field, such as:

  • Interest in computer coding or web design for tech-intensive jobs
  • Interests in photography or videography for marketing, branding, and similar jobs
  • Art skills for work environments that value creativity
  • Foreign language skills, especially when applying to companies that provide human services or interact on a global scale

As an alternative to the Interests section, you might consider beginning your resume with a Skills Summary or Core Competencies section instead. In these sections, you can talk about your skills and briefly describe your experience. These summaries may appear more professional than an Interests section.

What Not to Include in Your Interests Section

What you omit from your interests section can be just as important as what you choose to include. After all, you may have many things you enjoy, but many have nothing to do with your job. Some may even make your resume look unprofessional and hurt your chances of getting hired.

Think carefully about how each interest relates (or fails to relate) to the job to which you’re applying. Can you transfer any skills from your hobby to your job? If not, don’t include it. Does it conflict in some way with the values or image of the company? If there is a conflict of interest, omit it.

Consider an example. Imagine you enjoy anime, manga, and cosplay. You dress up, attend conventions, and make YouTube videos.

Including phrases like “anime fan,” “cosplayer,” or “otaku fan” might be regarded as unprofessional on many resumes. An exception might be if you are applying for a job in the performing arts, fashion design, tailoring, or to a company vested in the production of anime or manga.

What about your experience making YouTube videos? If you’re applying for a job in marketing or that directly involves videography or video editing, this could be a good interest to include. You can make it sound more professional by phrasing the interest as “video production” or “videography and editing.”

In Conclusion

Interests sections can help you flesh out a student resume or identify skills gained through personal experience. You should always be careful to include only interests that are relevant or demonstrate transferable skills. Don’t include interests that may appear unprofessional or conflict with company values.

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