Life & Work Skills

How to Showcase Your Side Hustle on a Resume


For many of us, our side hustles live right next to our 9-5 selves, and we often need a cohesive career narrative that incorporates all of our skills. Adding up multiple jobs to make your dream career is becoming increasingly common! We’re also more likely than men to take on a side gig, according to a 2017 Career Builder report, so it’s even more important that we know how to showcase all of our talents.

So how do we do that on a resume? It’s all about picking the right structure and being laser focused on your goals. Are you working to land new clients or maybe make a career jump altogether? Here’s how to highlight your side hustle.


Source: @brimoysa


Find Your Right Format

How you structure your resume will largely depend on how long you’ve been freelancing and how much it aligns with your day job. As with any resume, you have two main choices — a functional or chronological format. For the sake of easy categorization, we’re going to call your non-freelance your 9-5, knowing that multiple jobs can take many shapes and schedules! Check out which of these four combinations you might be:


Lots of Freelance, Little 9-5


Full time freelancers or those with a lot of experience in the gig economy will almost always want to pick a skills-focused resume. It allows you to focus on your story instead of your clients and really tailor your resume to whatever new prospect you’re seeking. Be sure you’re honoring your experience and represent yourself as the founder and head honcho of your own company.


Little Freelance, Lots of 9-5


Especially early on in freelance work, it can be compelling to list all of your jobs instead of your best outcomes and products. If this is your story, you might be best served by a chronological resume. Here, give a separate header or section to your freelance work. This can be industry dependent; creatives at any experience level might find skills-focused resumes showcase their best selves.


Little 9-5, Little Freelance


If you’re just starting out and working to build a professional history in a new field, a skills-based resume is probably your best bet. You’ll want to really draw out the holistic story of your experience using academia, volunteer roles, and any other work you’ve done. These tips help you build a killer a resume when you don’t have a lot of experience.


Lots of Freelance, Lots of 9-5


You’ll already be working hard to keep a tight, short resume. Pick a chronological resume that calls your side hustle its own job and where the timeframe runs parallel to any other work you’ve been doing. Again, make sure your company has its own name to help avoid looking like you’ve had too many “employers.” This structure also gives your resume an easy-to-follow story and timeline narrative.


Source: Color Me Courtney


Focus on Skills and Metrics

Whatever format you choose, the resume essentials apply! Would you highlight this project or outcome if you were at a traditional company? Be sure that you’re only noting work where you can share detailed metrics and that honors any client confidentiality agreements.

Your resume should be well-tailored to the next client you’re seeking or job you’re applying for, but don’t worry about being too on the nose. The very fact that you’re a side-hustler can make you a more compelling candidate in an ocean of traditional applicants. Write your resume focusing on your unique skill development and what adds value to your next employer.


Give it Some Packaging, But Don’t Over Exaggerate

It may seem counterintuitive, but try not to call yourself a “freelancer” on your resume. As part of thinking through your personal branding, consider what functional title better describes your talents. Are you the CEO of your company, an advisor, consultant, content creator, or contract designer? Playing a little bit with terminology can boost your credibility.

Be ready to back up any skills you highlight. Unfortunately, recruiters can sometimes interpret “freelance work” negatively, especially if it begins where another period of employment ends and is sparse on details. Guard against this by only including your most professional, relevant efforts in your resume even if there are a number of creative ways you make a little extra cash.


Keep It Short and Sweet

If you’re also sharing a portfolio, keep your resume as short as possible. It’s already a best practice to keep it to a page per decade of work experience. Brevity is even more important when you’re supplementing with sample projects and pointing a client to your website for more information. Let your work speak for itself and consider your written resume the “index” and a bit of a teaser for what you’ll be showing in the freelance portfolio you create.


Get a Handle on Your Handles

As a business owner, your social media and web presence should be front and center. Visual creators might use Dribble or Pinterest, the business consultant crowd will want a strong LinkedIn presence, and developers will likely want to highlight GitHub. Again, restraint shows your sophistication. Instead of having all of your social profiles on your resume, only include what is relevant for your industry and truly displays your best self.


What career experiences do you include on your resume? Any tips for showcasing a side hustle in an interview?