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Should You Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?

Koya search consultants and career coaches often answer questions from candidates and job seekers—we wanted to share their answers with you in our “Ask Koya” series.

Here, Koya team members offer their perspective and guidance on including “side-hustles” and consulting gigs on your resume.

Miecha Renea Forbes, Senior Vice President of Culture, Inclusion & Strategic Advising: This is a question I have been getting a lot lately. Candidates are putting either long-term consulting or their side hustle on their resume. They’ll have their main professional experience and then they’ll say, “and I have an event-planning business; a consulting business; a graphic design company on the side.” The key in these cases is always clarity. Candidates must present the information in a way that shows they were consistent in their interest, how it relates to or contrasts with their career work. The resume has to be easy to read and understand. Otherwise, companies and organizations will be quick to dismiss the candidate even before they get a chance to talk and share these interests verbally. But overall, I am definitely seeing “outside of work” experience listed more and more in this economy.

Sayda Zelaya, Manager, Research & Diversity Engagement: I’ve definitely seen questions come up from hiring organizations as well. They are afraid that because the candidate has a side hustle, they won’t be able to invest a lot of their time to be fully integrated into the new role. Something to note is a lot of millennials have side gigs or they do entrepreneurial things outside of work. So, this could have implications on what resumes and experience look like 10 years from now. Personally, I always thought it was amazing that people can maintain more than one job.

Forbes: For hiring organizations, I think it has implications for the diversity of your pool of candidates because it’s increasingly becoming a gig economy in many senses and you find all different kinds of people taking advantage of it for many different reasons. I’m seeing more of that and there are certain people for whom that’s just their affinity—or their necessity—to have more than one thing going on.

Tom Phillips, Managing Director: I’m of two minds about this. It depends upon what my candidate pool looks like as a whole and how many resumes I’m trying to get through. If I have the time and I can ask somebody about their side gig, maybe I’ll learn they put it on their resume very intentionally, and it adds value. But as a resume reviewer, if I can’t quickly gather why it is on their resume, without that conversation, then I would question the value of it.

As an example, I have a client that is very innovative, and they are going through a time of transition. So, if a candidate’s side hustle is reflective of that culture and shows this is an entrepreneurial person who isn’t afraid to take chances, well, that could be the differentiator that I’m looking for. Hopefully, the person is being intentional about why they’re putting it on their resume.

Amanda Sonis Glynn, Advisor, Career Services: Everything on your resume triggers a response from the reader. Some people will find a side hustle distracting and others will find it intriguing. If the work you’re doing as part of a side gig rounds you out and helps to present a more authentic version of who you are as a professional, I think it’s worth including. If a potential employer doesn’t want to interview you based on something that is a reality in your life, then you probably won’t be a good fit, anyway. That said, it is important to present this secondary work in a way so that it’s clear that—at least from a time commitment perspective—it’s not on par with your full-time work.