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I've been running an affiliate site for a couple years now, and it has definitely helped me pay my bills throughout college, and I'd like to show it off on my resume, as I will graduate later this year. I have a few questions:

  • Should I disclose how much I personally profited from it? (~$5k per year)
  • Should I disclose how much money I generated for Amazon from it? (~$70k per year)
  • What should I call myself? CEO/Founder/Creator of xyz.com? I'm the only person involved.
  • If I were to sell my site, should I keep the site on my resume with an appropriate end date?
  • Should it go in my job history section, or some other section? Projects? Experience?
  • Should I mention that it's all on autopilot? I don't want employers thinking I'll be spending their time on my project.
  • What sort of accomplishments should I put down? I didn't answer to any higher-ups, so I didn't have any performance reports or goals to meet. I just developed it, launched it, marketed it, and made money. My only real metrics are traffic and money.

I realize that none of this is anything groundbreaking, but I think employers might like it. If you disagree, please let me know! I don't want to turn off any potential employers.

Thank you for any help you can give me. :)

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Definitely put it on your resume. It's an important project (to you) that has been successful (which will be important to potential employers). I'm assuming you've also learned quite a bit from it. To answer your specific questions:

  • Do not disclose the financials. If you're asked in an interview, maybe say something like "it's been profitable, and it's helped me cover some bills while in school." Your potential employer isn't buying this site, so the details of the financials shouldn't be a consideration.
  • Call yourself the creator, owner & sole operator of the site. If it's incorporated in any way, use an appropriate title based on that status (if it's a Sole Priorietorship, label yourself as the Sole Proprietor).
  • If you sell the site, use the date of inception through the date you sold it.
  • It could go into both Projects and Job History. Maybe mention it in both places, but in different ways (under Projects, maybe get into details of what you used to do it; Job History, just that it existed and was profitable).
  • Don't say "it's on autopilot". Call it "profitable and self-sustaining."
  • If the metrics you have are traffic & money, call out the traffic and money. "Serves 30,000 unique visitors per month and has been profitable for X months/years." Again, don't go into specifics of how much you're making on it - just that it's profitable.

Now, something you didn't ask about: continuing the site after you're hired. Depending upon the company and what its line of business is, you may be required to disclose the site, the fact that you make money off it, and how much time you spend working on it. They may not allow you to keep the site once you take the job.

You definitely should not do anything pertaining to the site while on the clock - don't take a phone call, don't check email for it, don't log onto the Amazon affiliate control panel & check your stats, don't market it to your co-workers. For all intents and purposes, once you get to the office, your side project doesn't exist. You do not want to create a conflict of interest anywhere, and you don't want to have any appearance of working on/running that site using company resources (including time).

  • 1
    Great answer, and great advice attached to that great answer :) – Vietnhi Phuvan May 10 '14 at 13:51
  • 2
    Wow, thanks for an excellent answer! The only work I really ever do on the site is checking the Amazon Affiliate account, which tends to feel much more like play than work. ;) I'll try to stress that I no longer put any more than an hour per month of time into it. Also, thanks for the advice. I definitely don't want employers thinking my mind will be elsewhere on the job. Thanks again! – Billy Pilgrim May 10 '14 at 19:33
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Well, disclosing that you set up and are running a successful website while in college shows that you have some self-employment and e-commerce experience. You don't need to mention numbers but you could whet some prospective employer's curiosity by stating that the revenues from your ecommerce site were large enough to help you pay a substantial part of your college bills in return for a minimal commitment of several hours a week once the site was up and running. Your ecommerce experience is interesting enough and stands out enough that you should set up a separate category for it in your resume i.e. separate from the "Work Experience" category. You should describe what you are selling on your site with enough specificity that a prospective employer would conclude that your activity presents no conflict of interest. If you designed the site yourself, that's a plus and be sure to mention it. Since you are interested in being a web developer, I'll add that understanding ecommerce operations is a vital part of being a successful web developer and you should make it a point to state that you acquired a fundamental, hands-on understanding of ecommerce operations by running this website.

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How relevant is this to the positions you are applying? If you're applying to be an accountant in a large firm, then having this site running isn't likely to be meaningful. In contrast, if you plan on working for a company building web sites and generating leads this may be quite useful. The key is to note what would be useful for your perspective employer since it may matter to them what kind of traffic are you producing, what sales go through, etc.

Not to downplay this too much but some may view your accomplishment as a way to get your family and friends to use your site.


My second paragraph isn't about gaining anything as much as explaining things. To rephrase the second paragraph, could someone think that the sales are coming from friends and family out to help your site grow? If it helps, imagine the sales of a child at a lemonade stand that sells to his family at a reunion to make money. The sales are coming out of a duty and thus aren't that impressive.

  • Thanks for the response. I'll be going into programming, possibly web development, so it's pretty relevant to the field. What do you mean with regards to your second statement? The site gets a good amount of traffic, what more is to be gained by getting my family and friends to use it? I may be misunderstanding you. – Billy Pilgrim May 10 '14 at 6:10
  • Thanks for the clarification edit. I don't think that'll be a problem, as my mom and dad aren't responsible for 50k+ pageviews per month, haha. I appreciate your concern and your answer, though! :) – Billy Pilgrim May 10 '14 at 23:12
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NO! Don't put this on your resume. It is a signal to a potential employer that all of your attention might not be on the job you're applying for. Full-time employment sometimes involves giving the employer the impression that the business "owns" you, even if it's not the case.

$5K a month is a nice sum. It's also, in an employer's eyes, a nice distraction for you. There's no need to divulge such information. Unless you see a conflict of interest, keep this kind of stuff to yourself. Don't let your left hand (the job) know what your right hand (your Affiliates setup) is doing.

Lastly, you seem very proud of your accomplishment and you SHOULD be. Kudos! But an employer is interested in how you can help him/her get money coming in that doesn't have YOUR name on the check. So keep all information about the ones that you're getting to yourself.

  • Thanks so much for the response! I really appreciate the opinion, especially once disagreeing with the accepted answer. This definitely gives me some good insight into the mind of a potential employer. Do you think I'd be able to spin it in such a way that an employers couldn't help but see it in a positive light? Could I emphasize the automation aspect of it, illustrating that it isn't something that uses up my time and that I could potentially automate some aspect of their business? Or would it just be undoable, too big a red flag for the average guy? I really appreciate your input! – Billy Pilgrim May 13 '14 at 4:35
  • I'll say that if you could spin it such that the employer believes that it is finished work that you did for somebody else, then it could have value. But if you broadcast it as an effort that's still ongoing, this will not necessarily be in your favor. I'll say that it will be most especially challenging if you are salaried -- again, employers want to "own" your time and focus. – Xavier J May 13 '14 at 5:29
  • its 5k per year ! and it is not enough to live at least in a western country. – kifli Jan 8 '16 at 13:15

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