How to Leverage Your Side Hustle to Build a Winning PM Resume
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A side hustle, for product managers, is a great way to build new skills, make connections, and fulfil your creative drive. For many, a side hustle is a kind of proving ground, and a way to give yourself some extra experience while hunting for your first PM role.
If that’s the case, you need to let your side hustle shine on your resume. When recruiters/hiring managers glance at your resume, they need to know instantly how your side hustle is at all relevant to the position you’re applying to.
So if you’re gunning for a new job or promotion, and you want to leverage your side hustle skills to get you there, here’s what you need to do to your resume and LinkedIn profile…
Put it front and center of your resume
If your side hustle is more related to the jobs you’re applying for, make it the focal point of your resume. You can list it first under ‘relevant experience’, and then have your day job coming in second. Your side hustle might not be what pays the bills, but if it’s more relevant to the job you’re applying for, it deserves to be center stage.
If it’s appropriate, make sure that your side hustle is the #1 thing that you’re doing on your resume. If it’s the most interesting thing about you, you want it to be the first thing that a hiring manager’s eyes hit.
You might also be interested in: 4 Tips to Write a Product Manager Resume Recruiters Will Notice + Examples
Make it your ‘job title’
Sometimes job titles feel like things that need to be handed to us by someone else. But if you’re acting as a product manager, or a founder, or a podcaster, or a mentor, then that’s what you are! You don’t need some c-suite boss to tell you what your job title is, take ownership of the awesome work you’re doing and give yourself the title!
For example, if you’re already working as a Product Manager, and your side hustle comes second, see if you can slip it in anyway. You could call yourself a Product Manager & Founder.
Connect the dots between your job and your side hustle
It might not be completely obvious to the hiring manager why your side hustle is relevant to the position you’re applying to.
Pick through the job posting and identify the skills and experience listed that match the skills and experience your side hustle has helped you to cultivate. Then list those on your resume.
For example, if the job posting specifically wants you to be data-driven, and you’ve built an app based on data, you can list the tools you used to do that, or the user interviews you conducted.
Make it as easy as possible for the person reading your resume to see why you’re the right person for the job.
Side hustles take a little more explaining than more run-of-the-mill jobs. Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter, and imagine looking at a resume that says ‘Product Manager at Google for 3 years.’ Any tech recruiter knows exactly what that means, and needs little extra context. Now imagine that they’re looking at your resume, with your side hustle listed as your most recent experience. Is it pretty self-explanatory? Possibly not.
The beauty of sending digital resumes is the ability to add hyperlinks to your personal projects. Add a link to your homepage, blogs you’ve written, your podcast on Spotify…whatever would be most useful while introducing people to your side hustle.
You might also like: How to Craft a Product Data-Driven Resume — Alumni Stories
Displaying Your Side Hustle on LinkedIn
In the modern age, your LinkedIn profile is almost as important as your resume. In some cases, it’s even a replacement for your resume, as many companies accept job applications directly through LinkedIn’s job portal.
There are some special features on your LinkedIn profile that you may not have spotted, but which can really boost your appeal to recruiters. Besides the obvious (adding your side hustle to your Experience section), here’s what you need to do:
Set yourself up as a ‘content creator’
This feature is especially useful if your side hustle is a blog or a podcast, but even if it’s not this feature helps to single you out as an expert in your field.
Setting yourself up as a content creator on LinkedIn is simple, and you just need to add the hashtags for the areas relevant to your side project. Even if your side hustle is an app, this feature can help you draw attention to it. For example, let’s say your app helps people to more easily understand their finances, you could add #FinTech and #finances to your profile. You don’t have to be a vlogger or an eBook author to be considered a content creator!
Not only does this help to bring more people to your side hustle (making it more successful!), it also helps to place you on the feeds of people who can help you get your next job in product!
When recruiters and hiring manager drop by your LinkedIn profile (and trust me, they will!) it shows them instantly what you’re all about.
Add featured content to the top of your profile
LinkedIn allows you to add links to the content you want to keep static on your page, which is a great way of directing visitors to the things that best represent you. If you have a blog, showcase your best articles here. If you have a homepage for your side hustle, this is how you can make sure it’s front and center. This is also a great place to put any press that may have been written about you and your venture.
You should also check out: Product Leaders to Follow on LinkedIn
This is where you’ll have to put most of the effort in, especially if you’re not super into LinkedIn or sharing things about yourself on social media.
If you find that posting regular updates gives you a headache, you can get yourself a free social media management platform account, and spend thirty minutes to an hour every week scheduling content. Platforms like Buffer and Hootsuite are very user friendly if you’ve got no background in social media marketing.
Making this time and effort to share your endeavours will help to put you more on the map in the space you’re operating in. It’ll also help you to expand your network and make the right connections. You never know who could open a new door.
I’m Carlos González, CEO at Product School, and I enjoy sharing weekly tips for Product leaders!
This article was also published on The Product Management Blog.