When I say “side hustle,” I’m not only talking about a side business. I’m also talking about all of the little things you do aside from your day job or career. This includes volunteer work, freelance work, hobbies, and even part-time work.
I spoke with two separate clients last week who didn’t mention the extra work they’d been doing because they didn’t think it would benefit their resumes. The funny thing is that both clients left off pieces of information that could potentially score them their dream positions.
The Power of Side Hustles
When I first started college, I applied for a PR internship in San Francisco. I didn’t have a huge amount of office experience, but I had worked at the front desk in a cupcake shop. I didn’t think much about it, and I considered the position to be filler on my resume, but it turned out that the PR company had just landed a major cupcake shop as one of its clients. The company was thrilled that I had inside experience. I don’t know if this was the deciding factor in landing the internship, but I do know that a job I thought was inconsequential ended up weighing heavily in my favor.
Another great example of when highlighting your side hustle can be extremely beneficial is when you are between jobs. Almost everyone will have that experience in their lifetime, and more and more employers have come to understand that it’s a natural result of the market. However, what’s really important – what will really wow potential employers – is what you do during the interim.
If you’re in between jobs, try doing some volunteer work that is related to your industry and career. For example, if you’re in marketing or events management, you can offer to help plan an event at a local charity or school. While volunteer work may not be a traditional job or a source of income, it will boost the power of your resume and showcase your motivation, work ethic, and sense of community.
When someone hands me a resume showing that their last job ended more than a month ago, my first thought is always, “What have they been doing this whole time?” Employers will have similar thoughts, so be sure to fill your gap time with valuable work.
Everyone needs a break at some point, and there is nothing wrong with taking a little time for yourself when you’re in between jobs. However, if your transition lasts for more than a month or two, you need to be sure you are staying active in your industry. As mentioned above, volunteering is a great way to do this, but there are other options as well. Taking classes or adopting a constructive hobby (e.g., building websites or starting an industry-related blog) are also great ways to show employers that you aren’t just sitting around all day, waiting for your next role to land in your lap.
Today, it is rare to have a perfect career path, and most people do a lot more than just their day jobs. If you are one of those people, don’t be afraid to show off everything you do – even the things that aren’t directly related to your career.
Remember, your side hustle may just help you land your dream job.
Michele Lando is a certified professional resume writer and the founder of Write Styles.