For the past 6 months I've had a side consulting business in an industry that I'm interested in long-term. It's in a different industry than the one my regular day job is in, but they use a similar technical skill set. My side consulting was about 8-12 hours per week (mostly weekends) so as to not interfere with my responsibilities to my primary employer. However, I'm interested in looking for full-time (or more consulting) opportunities in that other industry and having my experience as a consultant is highly relevant to the positions I'm looking at.

What sort of guidelines are there about putting such side consulting on my resume? On one hand it showcases my experience in that field, but on the other it might raise red flags with prospective employers if they believe that signals that I might not be fully 100% committed to their own company should I be hired there. In reality it's quite easy for me to alleviate this concern in a discussion (my side hustle is to build experience in a field I'm interested in entering more so than generating additional income), but that sort of nuance is not easy to put into a resume and job application sites don't always let you add a cover letter.

3 Answers 3


As you say you're looking for roles in that industry and it's highly relevant experience to the roles you're applying for, and with that being the case I can only see it being a net positive for you.

The reasoning of doing these gigs to gain meaningful industry experience in the "new" sector is solid and shows good initiative.

Be prepared to answer questions as to whether you intend on continuing that freelancing should you get the job your applying for, and if you intend to discontinue it there may be follow up as to whether you have any outstanding commitments. This is where you can address any concerns as to what (if any) impact you see it having on the current role.


There's a few potential red flags here that you need to mitigate in your resume:

  1. Conflict of interests: If your freelance work is significantly similar to your day job, then your employer may feel that you might be spending your working hours on tasks that would directly benefit your freelance work. Business don't really like funding extra-curricular work.

  2. Commitment: Your prospective employer wants to know that they have your full attention and won't drop your day-job in order to support your (assumed more profitable) freelance work or that you might just jump ship at any point.

  3. Work/life balance: Many companies support a healthy work/life balance and make sure that their workers are happy and relaxed enough to work in an efficient, productive manner. They know that people burning the candle at both ends can end up burning out from tiredness or stress. That's not a good thing.

However, if you can prove that your freelance work can support your day job, or that it's charitable in nature, then mentioning this work can work as a positive for you.

But in the end, your prospective employer is employing you in order to increase their revenue - if you can't be relied upon do that effectively, then you may not be hired.


Put it on your resume.

It's work experience. Past employment history isn't an indication of future employment desires, your presentation of what you want is. So, if you want to continue freelancing, ask upfront "How do you feel about me working for non-competing industries after hours, no earlier than 6PM?"

You can negotiate a no freelancing contract, for more money, the same money, etc. You can indicate that you value your current clients and won't take on new ones. You can tell them that freelancing is very valuable to you and you won't give it up. Whatever you do, add in how you intend to keep freelancing from creating conflicts of interest, how you partition don't share code between projects, and how you will ensure that they aren't paying for time which you're selling as a freelancer.

As long as you keep good communication with your prospective employers and honor your agreements, most of the problems with freelancing under their employment can be avoided. It's when people surprise employers or "borrow" (steal) time or effort from one to give to the other that it all goes wrong.

The employer is the person you directly worked with. Indicate that you had a company policy permitting freelance work; and, that you had permission to take on each contract. If the work creates a confusing resume, put it into its own section.

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