Tips for Listing Your Interests on a CV

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The primary aim of your curriculum vitae (CV) is to stand out against other candidates when you apply for a job. In addition to your academic and professional experience, listing interests can also give employers a better idea of you, your professional characteristics and your work ethics. In this article, we discuss a list of interests you can include on your CV and provide a few examples of how you can highlight them in a way that's useful and relevant.

What are interests?

Interests are a subject that fascinates you and that you want to learn more about. They are not necessarily things you do for profit, but things you want to know more about. This can include discovering and learning concepts, ideas and knowledge such as animal behaviour, history or pop culture. For instance, if you're fascinated by pop culture, listening to pop music and watching films would be your interests.

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: Standing Out to Hiring Managers During COVID-19

Why list interests on a CV?

There are several reasons why you should list your interests in a CV. These include:

Employers get to know you on a personal and cultural level

Listing your interests on your CV allows the employer to get to know you on a more cultural and personal level. Company culture is an important topic for employers, as it can greatly affect employee morale and productivity. Employers prefer a candidate who fits in with their company culture and one of the best ways to determine this is by learning more about your interests. Interests often mingle with skills, so you can use them to describe specific skills that are essential to the job you're applying for.

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Fills in any gaps in your CV

You can also use interests to fill in any gaps on a CV to make up for a lack of work experience. Listing these interests can give employers a better idea of the things that you did between positions or between college and a career. They can also show how you are self-motivated to learn about your interests even if you don't have a lot of work experience.

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Establishes a connection with the hiring manager

A hiring manager might review dozens of CVs each day for an open position. If you do some research and find out that you and the hiring manager share the same interests, including them in your CV can help you establish a personal connection with the hiring manager. Even if you aren't sure about the hiring manager's interests, it's possible by listing yours they might connect with one or more.

Makes you stand out

In addition to helping you establish a connection with the hiring manager, including your interests can also help make your CV stand out. For examples, hiring managers often find common interests, such as reading and writing on dozens of CVs. However, seeing a CV that includes baking and cake decoration may appear unique and can help your CV stand out.

Allows you to rebrand yourself

If you're planning to change careers or you want a hiring manager to see you in a different light, including an interests section in your CV can help. For instance, if you earned your degree in computer engineering, but you're interested in shifting to a marketing career, you can include skills relevant to travel, design, photography and community involvement to show you have the necessary creative skills.

Tips for listing interests in CV

Here are a few tips for listing your interests in your CV:

  • Tailor your interests: If you notice that the job advertisement asks for outgoing job candidates who are good team players, consider tailoring your list of interests to match this information.

  • Provide a range of interests: When you're selecting interests for your CV, try to choose a variety. By including different interests on your CV, you show you can relate to different people and are flexible enough to handle different situations.

  • Keep it brief and descriptive: Ideally, your CV should be one page in length. Although it's tempting to just list your interests to save space, a short and descriptive statement after each one can be more effective.

  • Frame your interests creatively: If you're creative, consider listing your interests in a way that applies to the job you're applying for. Focus your description on the professional skills that you have gained while following your interests.

  • Be honest: It's very important to be honest throughout your entire CV and this includes your interests section. Recruiters can easily pick up on any discrepancies. This can lead to them rejecting your job application.

  • Be specific: It's also important to be specific. Listing travel as one of your interests isn't unique, as many people travel. However, mentioning that you travelled to China for a conference on environmental pollution and prevention can help make your CV stand out to a relevant employer.

  • Be memorable: It's important you make your CV memorable for all the right reasons. For example, you can say that you play on a soccer team on the weekends as it's unique and demonstrates your ability to work well in a team environment.

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Example interests to use on a CV

While the interests that you list on your CV are descriptive of your own interests and experiences, you can use the following list of examples to help create your own CV. It may also be helpful to match your interests that best relate to the job you're applying for.

Here's a list of interests that you can include on your CV:

Sports interests

Sports interests in a CV illustrate several desirable skills to recruiters, such as leadership, commitment, communication and teamwork. Some sports that you might want to state in your CV include yoga, track, swimming and volleyball. Here are a few examples of how you can list sports interests on your CV:

  • Member of the swimming team for three seasons during college

  • Regularly participates in 10K events in the community

  • Participates in a yearly yoga outing that benefits the creation of yoga programmes in high-risk areas

  • Captain of the university's archery team for three years

  • A lifelong interest in basketball has motivated me to launch a pilot program for young people at the local community centre

Creative interests

Creative interests in a CV illustrate several desirable skills to hiring managers, such as problem-solving, project management, planning and creativity. Some examples of skills relevant to creative interests include DIY projects, knitting, quilting, painting, drawing, upcycling, creative writing and woodworking. Here are some examples of how you can list creative interests in your CV:

  • Interests in painting nature and outdoor scenery

  • Organised an after-work drawing club to encourage networking and creativity among coworkers

  • DIY skills when renovating or remodelling a household

  • Artistic skills developing logo designs for small businesses

Arts interests

People with arts interests like work activities such as design, photography, writing, reading, music and theatre. Arts interests in a CV illustrate a number of desirable skills to hiring managers, including attention to detail, planning, leadership and project management. Here are some examples of how you can list arts interests in your CV:

  • Self-published two books about work motivation and productivity

  • Volunteer with the Kowloon Community Centre to organise and put on annual theatre performances

  • Three-time chess winner of the Tsuen Wan Chess Competition

Volunteer interests

Some of the skills relevant to volunteer interests include leadership, commitment, communication and teamwork. Some examples of volunteer work experience that you might want to state in your CV include city hospitals, boy's and girl's clubs and community centres. Here are a few examples of how you can list volunteer interests in your CV:

  • Volunteered with the local free clinic, raising funds and increasing awareness

  • Offered my financial support to the local Young Men's Christian Association

  • Organised a mentorship programme at Tsuen Wan Community Centre

Travel interests

Travelling can be one of the hardest, bravest and most eye-opening activities an individual can do. If you have an interest in travelling, you probably love staycations, hotels, camping and international travel. Some of the relevant characteristics you might cultivate as an avid traveller include planning, being open to experience and independence. Here are some examples of how you can list travel interests in your CV:

  • Travels every year to assist children in poorer countries get access to quality healthcare

  • Organised after-school programmes that teach junior secondary education students

  • Dedicated to promoting the cuisine of Hong Kong by blogging about the best restaurants in the city

  • Passion for camping and connecting with nature

  • Interest in travelling to new cities or countries to learn about various cultures

Language interests

If you love watching foreign movies and taking part in foreign language clubs, then you might have an interest in language. Some skills relevant to language interests include perseverance, academics, communication and initiative. Here are a few examples of how you can list language interests in your CV:

  • Interested in developing language programmes that help youngsters master French

  • Worked with the local community colleges to teach Spanish as a second language to adults and teens

  • Chairman of the community English club, recruiting new members and organising new events

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