It seems like everyone has side hustles these days. Whether it’s to make extra money, pursue an interest or passion, or to learn a new skill, it’s work that we choose to do on the “side” of our day jobs. Yet few people think to include their side hustle on their resume.
Working on your own doesn’t make it any less relevant than your other work experience because side hustles are work! Sometimes a lot of work. And time and energy.
Like any traditional job, they teach you valuable, transferable skills that employers are looking for – skills like time management, multi-tasking, and showing initiative. They also help to further develop your talents by putting them to use in tangible ways.
Not including these skills, talents, and experiences on your resume could be a mistake that could cost you that new job you’re hoping to get.
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What is the Purpose of a Resume?
How Does Your Side Hustle Make You a Better Candidate?
If you don’t take anything else away from this article, this is the most important thing to consider when it comes to including your side hustle on your resume.
Your resume has to target the specific job or type of job for which you’re applying. That includes your work experience, your education, your skills, and anything extra – like side hustles and volunteering.
Take some time and think about how your side hustle relates to the job vacancy.
- How does it make you a better candidate?
- Are there skills that you have developed or used in your side hustle that match the job?
- What can your side hustle add to your resume that isn’t already there?
- What do you want the recruiter to learn about you and your side hustle experience and accomplishments?
Some side hustles are going to be more appropriate and professional to include on your resume than others. But there are numerous scenarios where it makes sense to include your side hustle, and there are a lot of different ways to do so.
Should I Include My Side Hustle On My Resume?
You Should Include Your Side Hustle On Your Resume If:
- It enhances your resume and makes you a stronger candidate
- It’s relevant to the type of job you are applying for
- It demonstrates your skillset
- It aligns with your career goals
- It’s professional
- You operate your side hustle like a business
- It helps “fill the gap” on your resume
- It will give an excellent first impression
- You have clients, customers or sales
- It shows you’ve worked with/for people or companies relevant to the industry
- You are proud of your side hustle
- You’re changing industries or transitioning into a new field that’s related to your side hustle
- You’re new to the working world or don’t have a lot of other work experience
- It is/was your part-time job while attending school
You Should NOT Include Your Side Hustle On Your Resume If:
- It’s irrelevant and has nothing to do with the job you’re applying for
- It’s something that could be considered controversial or inappropriate
- You are brand new to it and don’t yet have any clients, customers or sales
- It’s strictly a hobby
- You aren’t proud of what you do
- It could be seen as a conflict of interest
- It could put your current job at risk
The list is not definitive or exhaustive.
Your side hustle might check every box on the “you should include it” list, but if it puts your current job at risk, leaving it off would be the better choice. (Although there are ways to include the skills you’ve gained from it.)
Or if you’re an artist, for example, you might consider that to be just a hobby. Since you also don’t have any customers or sales for your artwork, you decide to leave it off your resume. But if you’re applying for a marketing job, including it will enhance your resume and make you a stronger candidate by showing your creative side.
There are always exceptions and other things that you should take into account.
Relevancy is a significant factor when it comes to whether you should list your side hustle on your resume or not. In addition to figuring out how to best include it, it’s essential to consider why (or why not) to include it.
Why You Should Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume
Side Hustles Help You Stand Out
Why You Should NOT Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume
It Isn’t Relevant
It Looks Negative
It’s Confidential Work
It Overloads Your Resume
You don’t have to include every single thing you’ve done on your resume, either. Less is often more. No one wants to read a 5-page resume when 1 page would suffice. So if including your side hustle doesn’t add anything more to the experience and skills you’ve already included, there’s no need to squeeze it in.
For example, if you are an administrative professional who is applying for administrative jobs, but you also babysit for your neighbor on the weekend to make a little extra money, including this probably isn’t going to enhance your resume. It’s just going to take up valuable space and bury the critical details.
It Doesn’t Look Like a “Side” Hustle
Use Common Sense
You’ll also want to use your common sense. For example, if you signed up to be a dog walker on Rover last week and have yet to have any customers, it’s too soon to put it on your resume.
A lot of advice on this topic also suggests that you should never include side hustles like driving for Uber or Lyft on your resume. But there are absolutely times where you should be! Like if you are applying for a driving job. Obviously. Or if this was your part-time job while you attended school full-time.
Not to mention, there is a lot more to being an Uber driver than just driving. There’s customer service, bookkeeping, marketing, maintenance, problem-solving, unlicensed counseling (probably), and everything else being your own boss entails. These are all transferable skills that you should include on your resume in some way.
That brings me to my next point.
What Skills Have You Gained From Your Side Hustle?
- Communication and listening
- Interpersonal skills (empathy, respect, patience)
- Time management, meeting deadlines
- Organization and planning
- Customer service
- Clerical and administrative
- Research and analysis
- Problem solving and troubleshooting
- Critical thinking
- Computer and technical skills
- Numeracy (accounting, budgeting, bookkeeping, calculating)
- Creativity and creative thinking
- Attention to detail
- Marketing (social media marketing, digital marketing, branding, SEO)
- Website maintenance or development
- Contract negotiations
- Payroll, invoicing, bookkeeping
- Sales and pricing
- Technical skills (programs, software, hardware, tools)
- Mechanical skills (electrical, plumbing, machinery, licenses)
- Physical abilities
- Shipping and logistics
There are hundreds of skills that you might use while side hustling. Take some time and write them down, focusing on the ones you use the most.
For each job application, look at what skills they require in the job ad and compare them to your list of skills. Are there any matches between the two? Are these skills already included in your resume?
If not, tweak your resume so that you include them in some way. You can do this in any section of your resume, but there tends to be more flexibility to do so within your side hustle experience.
Whatever skills you decide to include, make sure they are legitimate. Be prepared to explain and demonstrate how you’ve learned and used these skills. Include actual data, figures, and measurable results whenever you can to further support this. That could include your customer satisfaction ratings, number of page views, social media followers, or amount of sales or clients.
How To List Your Side Hustle on Your Resume
- Include your side hustle like any other job
- Include your side hustle in a separate section
- Use a functional or combination resume format
- Only include the skills you’ve learned from your side hustle
1. Include Your Side Hustle Like Any Other Job
- Operating and maintaining an online Esty shop selling over 50 unique printable charts, planners and customized artwork
- Successfully developing social media campaigns advertising the shop and products over Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, effectively gaining over 25,000 followers
- Increased sales and revenue by 27% in the last fiscal year by optimizing search listings and ranking #1 for three main keywords
2. Include Your Side Hustle in a Separate Section
- Professional Accomplishments
- Additional Experience
- Freelance Work
- Consulting History
- Relevant Projects
- External Projects
3. Use a Functional or Combination Resume Format
Where to Put Your Work History
You will include your work history, but it appears at the bottom of your resume and is brief. Most of the time, it’s a simple list of your previous job titles, companies worked for, and dates. That’s it. There is no need to include bullet points under each position, as you’ve already covered this under your specific skill sections.
People have mixed feelings about functional resumes. They don’t make any reference to where your skills or achievements were developed or in what context. With a resume, you want to spell it out for the recruiter as best as you can, but functional resumes can sometimes lead to more questions than answers.
They aren’t always compatible with the requirements of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), either. Many employers will use an ATS to scan and screen applicants rather than have a person do it. Some systems aren’t able to read functional resumes properly, which can result in your application appearing to be full of errors or incomplete.
4. Only Include The Skills You’ve Learned from Your Side Hustle
If you decide not to include your side hustle on your resume, you should still include the relevant or highly transferable skills you’ve gained from it in some way.
It might be as simple as including it in a single bullet point, such as the following:
- Four years of experience using Instagram and Pinterest to sell customized printables on Etsy
- Exceptional knowledge of photo editing software including Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
Both of these examples are short and sweet but can suggest a lot. The first shows that you’ve operated your online store for years, you have creative design skills, and you are knowledgeable in sales, social media, and digital marketing. The second also shows that you have a creative side and have technical expertise with specific, in-demand programs.
What Information Do I Include?
Side hustles are still relatively new and can be very diverse. Not every recruiter or hiring manager is going to understand what they are and what they entail. It’s essential to be clear with how you word and represent what your side hustle is and what you do.
You want to spell it out for the person reading your resume. Connect the dots for them. Use their wording from the job description. Make it blatantly obvious how you meet the qualifications they are looking for.
Use your cover letter to further elaborate on your side hustle, if needed.
Unlike traditional jobs, your side hustle probably doesn’t come with a job description or an official title. There is a lot more flexibility in what you can call yourself and what duties and accomplishments you want to include. You can work this to your advantage. Tailor your job title and job duties so that they are relevant to the type of job for which you’re applying. But this can also be a disadvantage, as it can be easy to overthink and overcomplicate things.
What Job Title Should I Use?
Does Your Title Reflect Your Skills?
If your side hustle encompasses a lot of different tasks, choosing the best job title might not be as straightforward. You want to pick something that reflects your actual skills and experience but is also relevant to the job for which you’re applying.
For example, as a blogger or freelance writer, you likely use social media to promote your posts and articles. If you were applying for a job as a Social Media Manager, it could be very tempting to call yourself a “Director of Social Media.” Surely you’ll get an interview that way. But giving yourself that title would be a stretch if all you’re doing is loading a few Tweets and Pins into programs like Hootsuite and Tailwind. You’re better off choosing a more appropriate title, such as Blogger or Freelance Writer, and including your social media knowledge in your duties or skills section.
When it doubt, it’s perfectly acceptable to take your niche or main side hustle task and add a descriptor to it.
- [SEO] Consultant
- Independent [Online Sales] Contractor
- Self-employed [Caterer]
- [Beauty] Advisor
- Contract [Bookkeeper]
- [Personal Finance] Content Creator
- Freelance [Writer]
- [Fitness] Coach
- [English] Teacher or Tutor
- [Social Media] Director or Manager
- [Logo] Designer
- [Email Marketing] Assistant
- [Etsy Shop] Owner
- [Website] Founder
- [Landscaping] Professional
What Company Name Should I Use?
You don’t necessarily have to include a company name for your side hustle, but you might want to. It can give the recruiter more context and can keep your resume looking consistent.
You may already have a company name that’s suitable to use. It might be the title of your website or the name of your online store, for example. If you use an app or platform such as Fiverr, Instacart, or Airbnb to find your side hustle jobs, you could use that as the company name.
Self-employed people traditionally create their company name to use. In general, you are allowed to operate a sole proprietorship without officially having to register a business name. The government will consider your business to be an extension of yourself – meaning you are personally liable and are responsible for paying any applicable taxes. (Yes – you have to pay taxes on your side hustle income!) So you can unofficially call your side hustle company whatever you want, as long as you use the correct, official name on your taxes and any legal documentation.
(This aspect of side hustling can be somewhat confusing, and differs by country and by state or province. If you have questions, it’s best to contact your local city clerk’s office, small business center, or government agencies for guidance.)
If none of these apply, you have a few options, such as:
- Various Clients
- Clients include XYZ Foundation, Bob’s Money Site, and Jane’s Pie Shop
- Your Name + Keyword (e.g., “John Doe Publishing” or “Mary Smith Photography”)
What Duties Should I Include?
You can easily get carried away with all the things we do as side hustlers. But remember, this is a summary. You want to be concise and ensure your resume highlights your best and most relevant strengths and accomplishments in a few bullet points.
Follow the same format you have for your other work experience. Start with an active action verb and explain the type of work you do. Use numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages to quantify your success where you can.
Have you built a loyal, repeat customer base or worked with relevant, recognizable clients or brands? Include that. Mention any notable projects you’ve completed or contributed to that highlight your skills. Don’t forget about any significant accomplishments or recognition you’ve received, such as 5-star customer reviews.
Whatever you decide to include, be honest, and don’t misrepresent yourself.
The goal of your resume is to show how you would be an asset to the company. You’re not going to land the job otherwise successfully.
When you scrutinize everything that side hustling entails, it quickly becomes clear as to why you should include it on your resume. It will enhance your candidacy, help you stand out amongst the other applicants, and hopefully land you an excellent new job!