Will the real Slim Shady please stand up… (aka how to present your “side hustle” as an employee)
Okay, before I get into this post, I’d like to clarify that this is not an ode to “Slim Shady”, otherwise known as Eminem. But yes, I did listen to *some* of his music in the 90s, or whenever it was that track came out.
I felt I needed to write this post because lately I’ve been meeting and talking with a lot of professional people who feel trapped in the closet when it comes to their work lives.
The closet I’m talking about here is the closet of having two work identities — employee by day, entrepreneur by night.
These are people who have a day job but also dabble in a “side hustle”* when the nine to five is over.
[*Note: A side hustle is something that brings in cash, outside of your main job. It’s a way for you to pursue something you’re interested in (and usually good at, at some level) without it necessarily being a full-time job.]
Some of these people want to be in business full time at some point; others simply like the creative expression the side hustle gives them, and of course the extra income.
It’s great having a side hustle. In fact, more and more of us are going down this road of dual work identities since the time of relying on one job or career for life is pretty much in the land of dinosaurs now.
I’ve had a side hustle throughout my entire work life and there have been times when my side hustle has been my main hustle for a season.
However, as great as having a side hustle is, not all employers are as keen or as clued up on its benefits, so I’m coming across professionals time and time again who find themselves struggling with which “version” of themselves to present on their CVs and LinkedIn profiles so it doesn’t negatively impact their chances of future employment.
Which one of you is the real slim shady…?
So, who exactly is the real slim shady? When it comes to your work life, I propose to you that that person is you — all of you. Yes, that means the Clark Kent employee and the Superman side hustler! They are both you therefore both versions of yourself should make an appearance in your CV and LinkedIn profile.
Why? Well firstly because running a business or a side gig alongside your day job gives you some pretty darn good transferrable skills that your future employer needs to know about!
You have to be organised and good at time management, for a start, and then there’s the great communication needed for client interactions, the money management skills, creativity in generating and executing ideas, problem-solving, project management, and much more!
Not including these on your CV and/or LinkedIn profile is selling yourself short for no good reason.
Shout it loud and proud…well, maybe not…
Yes, it is important to reference your side hustle in your CV and LinkedIn profile but how you do it matters.
I’ve seen some people go as far as creating online alter egos in a bid to hide their side hustle. This is at best a LOT of hassle to maintain, and at worst, a little dishonest.
At the same time, I don’t recommend broadcasting your side hustle “loud and proud” on your CV as this could potentially intimidate some employers and cause them to question your commitment to the working world (i.e. is this person going to clear off to run their own business in six months’ time after I spend money investing in hiring and training them?).
The best approach sits somewhere in between the two — you mention your side hustle in your CV and LinkedIn profile but in the same casual manner as your other job entries (unless the job is calling for someone with entrepreneurial tendencies, in which case feel free to shout loud and proud!).
This means you lose the ego trip of big titles like owner, director, CEO — those only serve to ring alarm bells to the employer (see clearing off point above) — and instead list yourself as an employee or freelancer in your business.
This now buys you the legitimate right to bring all the relevant crossover skills and experience from your side hustle into the big picture of why you’re the best fit for the role at hand, without intimidating or worrying anyone.
And plus, it’s far better for your new employer to find out from you beforehand that you have a side hustle (which is not going to compete with the time or energy you invest into the job) than it is for them to discover it accidentally from somehow stumbling across the alter ego profile you’ve been trying to hide, which could lead to more serious consequences.