We live in a technological world where the traditional method of working for a company isn’t the only way you can gain valuable skills and experience.
In fact, a recent survey by dollarspout found that 57% of respondents have a side hustle.
That’s a good chunk of the population!
So, if so many people are diving into the gig economy, that leaves the question:
Should you include your side hustle on your resume?
My answer is going to be “yes” a majority of the time… and here’s why:
Why You Should Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume
1. Side Hustles Teach You New Skills (and Expand on Those You Already Have)
Take a moment to think about all the skills you’ve acquired and perfected since starting your side hustle. Odds are you’ve had to talk to prospective clients, which translates to customer service. On that note, if you have customers returning time and time again, then you’ve built the skill of customer retention.
There’s an entire skill set just in that one sales cycle that you can really hone in on and take advantage of! In this case, you absolutely want to include your side hustle on your resume and focus on those skills that you’ve built, especially those that translate well into the position you’re applying for.
Other skills may include softwares you’ve learned, platforms you have experience working on, and any certifications or specializations you earned along the way.
I’m living proof that a side hustle can translate into a full-time job.
Out of college, I was working in mental health and really enjoyed working with foster youth, but I was on the verge of burnout and knew I needed to make a change.
I decided to include my blog on my resume and highlighted all the skills I learned: copywriting, email marketing, social media marketing, paid advertising, SEO, and influencer marketing (just to name a few).
If I hadn’t listed my side hustle, I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have received a phone call to interview for that job.
2. It Shows Initiative and Dedication
Let’s be honest… starting a side hustle can be tough!
Not only do you have to figure out what services you’re going to offer, but then you have to market them, complete them, and acquire new customers all at the same time.
It’s a lot of work!
I find that when you include your side hustle on your resume, potential employers see you as a hard worker who isn’t afraid to try new things and take initiative.
This can be particularly impactful with the tech companies as they’re often looking for people to think outside the box and develop new ideas for keeping products and services fresh. (Though this definitely can translate outside of tech!)
Look, not everyone was made to build businesses or create new paths where one has never been created.
If you’ve done it, you should flaunt it (in a nice way, of course).
3. It Gives You a Chance to Highlight Accomplishments
If your previous job roles feel a bit bland, then including your side hustle on your resume is a great way to make your accomplishments stand out more.
Here’s a list of examples:
- Achieved 100,000 pageviews in one year using SEO and organic social media marketing
- Sold an average of $5,000 in affiliate products each month
- Created the interface for a new app
- Gained 20 new clients in the month of May
- Held a 90% client retention rate
- Generated 45% more revenue for a client by refining their digital marketing strategy
- Increased the view rate for video content by 20%
The sky’s the limit when it comes to highlighting your accomplishments! Jot down some ideas and then narrow it down to your top 2-3, then put those on your resume.
Ok, So You’ve Decided to Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume — Now What?
Give Yourself a Title
When I listed my blog on my resume, I labeled myself as the Founder and Blogger.
It was something simple that said, “Hey, I made this site and I’m also the blogger who regularly posts on it.”
If you’re stuck on deciding, I would recommend using at least some type of descriptor in your title that relates to the role you’re applying to.
For example, you could say you’re a Designer, Virtual Assistant, Writer, Bookkeeper, Teacher, Marketer, etc.
One thing I’d avoid doing is giving yourself a random title that would be difficult for someone to understand. Keep it simple and focused on your skills!
Decide Where to Include It
For me, my first blog felt like a job in itself, so you bet I included it in my relevant experience section!
I had my blog title, job title, dates active, and bullet points all listed right there along with my other professional experience.
When I looked at my completed resume, my side hustle just “fit” there and made sense.
Now, if you feel like yours doesn’t make sense there, then consider adding a separate section that highlights your additional experience or freelance work.
And if you still can’t decide, ask someone else for feedback! Tell them what position you’re applying for and what you hope to accomplish. Having that second pair of eyes could be the fresh perspective you need to make the right choice.
Don’t Forget to Add Your Skills
If you don’t have a skills section on your resume, I’d highly recommend adding one.
Rather than filling up the bullet points under my job titles, I can transfer the skills I’d normally list into the skills section instead and save the bullet points for highlighting accomplishments.
Is There Ever a Case When You Should NOT Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?
Short answer — yes.
Although there are many benefits to including your side hustle on your resume, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.
Here are some cases in which I would recommend NOT including it:
- The employer could view your side hustle as a competitor
- It’s completely irrelevant (thinks like task jobs and survey sites)
- You haven’t been doing it for long and don’t have accomplishments or skills to justify it with
- It’s inappropriate or would be viewed as controversial
- You don’t really spend much time on it and aren’t consistent
So, where do you stand after reading this? Do you think you should include your side hustle on your resume?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!