Many believe that having qualifications and experience is enough to land them a job, but they are mistaken. Since competition in the workforce is always high, you need to have something to give you the edge on other applicants.

Although qualifications and experience help the employer narrow down the long list of applicants, your interests and hobbies will help distinguish you as the best fit for the job/company. Hobbies and interests help to build a picture of the type of person you are. But how?

  1. They help identify your interests, skills and passion

Traditionally work was seen just as a source of income, and people looked for self-fulfillment outside of work, in things such as leisure time. However, in recent years, work has become an integral part of one’s life. Hobbies and interests help you to explore your passions and understand yourself better. This, in turn, will help you understand the line of work/career which best suits you.

2. They show work-life balance

In today’s world, it is easy to get caught up in distractions related to work. By regularly removing yourself form your job, you’ll feel recharged when it is time to concentrate on professional matters and be more productive. Therefore, if you show a potential employer that you also find time to commit to your hobbies, you will show that you can find a healthy work-life balance.

3. They bring out many transferrable skills

Skills learnt through your hobbies can actually fill the gaps in your work experience and also substitute specific skills requested in the job description. Having a hobby is much more than just practicing the hobby itself. It is about actually following your passions, learning new skills and enjoying yourself.  For example playing in a sports team is a good indication that you are not only physically fit, but that you are sociable, committed, can handle pressure and a team player. If you are into crafts, it shows that you are creative, patient, determined and dedicated.

4. They create a connection with the employer/recruiter

Research shows that people hire others like themselves. They seek candidates who are similar to them in terms of leisure activities, experiences and how they present themselves (Rivera 2012). Therefore, your hobbies might be a way of building a connection with the person hiring.

Therefore, as seen above, hobbies provide potential employers with a more rounded picture of who you are as an individual. Once an employer can understand you better, they can see if and how you will fit in the team and be of benefit to the company. Finally, hobbies show the employer that you are more than just your qualifications.

However, it is important to keep in mind that hobbies should demonstrate your interests and your skills. You should always make your hobbies sound interesting, but never invent hobbies and lie.

Ann Julene Hili is a Career Guidance Practitioner with Willingness. She specializes in working with teens and young adults who are in their educational and career transitions. She can be contacted on call us on 79291817.  

The Guardian. 2020. Why Having A Hobby Can Give You The Edge In A Job Application. [online] Available at:

Riviera, L.A. (2012) Hiring as Cultural Matching: The case of Elite Professional Service Firms. American Sociological Review. Vol 77, No 6. pp999–1022.