For the third year in a row, Bustle's Upstart Awards are honoring young women who are doing incredible things in the realms of business, STEM, fashion and beauty, the arts, philanthropy, and beyond. Want to be an Upstarts honoree one day? Read on for career tips, insights, and inspiration to help get you there.
When I finished college and joined the real world, I quickly learned an important lesson: education alone isn't enough to pad your resume. Heck, sometimes employment isn't even enough when it comes to landing a better job. That's why you should consider picking up some side hustles that will look good on your resume — or including ones from your past that you maybe previously deemed irrelevant.
What is a side hustle, exactly? According to Entrepreneur, a side hustle is one way to "make some extra cash that allows you flexibility to pursue what you’re most interested in," although a side hustle can also be a passion of yours. For example, my full-time work as a writer actually began as a side hustle: I picked up small freelancing jobs here and there while working full-time in another position, until writing grew enough to pay the bills.
There are a number of reasons side hustles can work tremendously well in your favor. For starters, if you don't have much professional experience in your field, a side hustle can help to bulk up your resume, and it shows an employer that you do have some kind of professional experience. It diversifies your resume. And, if you had multiple jobs at the time, it speaks volumes of your multitasking and time management skills.
Plus, it'll reflect the go-getter you are. Another reason to include side hustles? The owner of your company probably started their career in a similar position. We've all got to work our way up, and side jobs are certainly nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you should show them off on your resume with pride!
So, what side hustles should you consider as helpful resume-builders?
A lot of people think that their experience as a waiter or bartender isn't important, or worse, that it'll make them look bad. Quite the contrary. Anyone who has spent time waiting tables (me!) can tell you that these jobs aren't easy. It requires solid communication skills, plenty of patience (particularly for less-than-friendly customers), and the ability to multitask. You're often handling cash and are largely responsible — in some diners' eyes, solely responsible — for the customers' experience. It's a dirty job that can often feel thankless, and it takes a hard worker to do well in that environment.
Waiting tables or serving drinks? Put that on the resume, friend!
You might have felt like a lowly receptionist or secretary, but these people often wear many hats and act as a Jane of all trades. They're frequently the go-to when another employee needs something, making this position one of huge responsibility.
Did you tutor in math or English to make extra money on the side? How about coaching a sports team of some kind? Side hustles like these speak volumes of one's leadership skills, as well as of their ability to work with others — particularly children, who are not always the easiest bunch to manage.
OK, so this isn't technically a side hustle — but it's important enough to mention anyway. Volunteering can make all the difference in the world. It says a lot about who you are and what you care about that you're game to donate your time for something bigger than you. Maybe it didn't come with a paycheck, but it belongs on your resume regardless.
I don't know why, but I think we underestimate how immensely difficult these jobs are. Sales positions require a thick skin and the power to never be deterred by rejection (and boy, do you get rejected a lot). You must be incredibly self-motivated and able to work under the constant pressure of quotas. You're often compared to others based on your numbers alone — not the effort you put in to get where you are — and if you don't measure up, you might not last. If you have ever been a sales associate, put it on your resume.
I'll never forget the one and only internship I held. I thought it was going to launch my career. Instead, I drove an hour and a half three times a week to make coffee and mop floors. I kept that on my resume for as long as I could get away with. Why? I'm so glad you asked!
- Interns demonstrate that they understand an education might not be enough to build the career of their dreams.
- Interns know what it means to "work your way up."
- Interns are willing to put in extra hours on top of school and maybe a job in order to get ahead.
Was your internship paid? Lucky. Did you do it in exchange for credit or experience? That's awesome too. Put it on your resume.
OMG, bless the people who aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Maybe it's because we live in such a digital age that we forget these folks, but this is a side hustle that definitely belongs on your resume. Maybe you delivered newspapers or picked up trash or mowed lawns. That ish ain't easy. Show potential employers that you know how to work hard!
Let me be clear: if you blog about your personal life, this might be something to leave off your resume. Potential employers don't need to hear about the errands you ran today, or your latest relationship drama.
But! There are other times when a blog can help establish your place as an authoritative voice in your industry. For example, if you're an aspiring professional photographer and blog about your work and the work of others, that's certainly relevant. It's alright if your blog doesn't make you millions of dollars. It's still a good side hustle to mention — particularly if it gets a lot of hits!
At the end of the day, every experience counts when you're looking for a new job. Talk yourself up, and never downplay your past jobs, no matter how small they might seem to you. To employers, they're important clues to who you are and what you are able to manage.