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I am updating my resume to apply for a new job. I have worked on various freelancing jobs (including some long term ones), alongside my full time job in a company.

I am in a dilemma whether I could include a "freelancing jobs" section in my resume. I have heard that including freelancing jobs could leave a negative impression about me.

I am looking for responses in the context of US software industry culture.

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If they are relevant to the job you are applying for, of course you can add them in. Always remember, your CV is trying to sell yourself and anything that is helping to show you in a positive light is a good thing.

As for being construed negatively, I don't see how any employer could see someone holding a full time job, whilst managing their free time to also do a freelance job could be considered negative. If anything, it shows great planning and motivation to do the work.

The only exception is if the freelance job could be considered negative, did it affect your work performance at the full time job? Did it cause you to get fired? However that can also be used as a story about lessons learned. Remember, make your CV as positive about yourself as possible, you're trying to sell your best light.

  • Thanks Draken for wonderful answer. I am worried on the part, if future employer may thought that candidate is more money centric and would not dedicate to company. – True Believer Dec 20 '16 at 2:38
  • Not at all, as long as the extra curricula activities didn't affect your regular day job, there is no negative connotation, in fact it's positive as it shows great commitment to multiple causes and fantastic task management skills. Don't think negative, always positive! – Draken Dec 20 '16 at 6:58
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As was already said, yes if the freelancing job adds to your qualifications for the job I would definitely include it. I just want to add that if you are including it you should be ready to discuss the experience.
What were your challenges juggling freelancing and a full time job? Did they ever come in conflict and which one won out? Why did you feel the need to freelance, was it just money or were you feeling "unfulfilled" in your full time role?
Good Luck!

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You should put your freelance work in your resume

Your resume is there to highlight your skills, your experience, and your commitment to a job. Any freelance work you have helps show each of these attributes, showing a greater level of skill, further experience, and shows a passion for your field which will separate you from the rest of the applicants. As long as this experience did not conflict with your past employment, and was acceptable by them, there is nothing wrong in showing greater interest in your field.

You should inquire what the company policies are on holding a second job and freelancing

Different companies approach freelancing in different ways, and likely have a policy covering such behavior, such as non-compete clauses, conflict of interest, etc. You should inform yourself of such policies before applying or accepting a position, as regardless of what you tell them of your past freelance work, it will impact any future such work that you might do.

When might freelance work be a negative?

Freelance work would be a negative to a company only when it would interfere with the company's operations. Some possibilities would be:

  • If you were to work on your freelance projects during work hours. You should absolutely never do this - there are legal, ethical, and more legal problems associated with such practices. If you have been disciplined, sued, or fired for such practices, you should stop doing that, and reconsider how to schedule your career and freelance work separately.
  • If your freelance work would impede your availability to work. Quite simply, if your new job would require core hours, and potential extra hours 'on call,' and your freelancing would cause a conflict of availability in your new job duties, perhaps the two may have issues coexisting with each other. Even if the schedules do not actively conflict, but your extra activities cause problems in your sleep or home life that then impedes your work function, you might have a conflict.
  • If your freelance work provides a conflict of interest. This is where things get to be harder. If your freelance work provides a conflict of interest - perhaps similar client space, or industry, you may have issues. Example - if a potential client were to approach a freelance web developer who also happens to work at a design company, there could be a potential conflict of interest over whether this client should be a personal client, or a client forwarded to the company. In short, you should have sufficient forms of ensuring there is no competition of markets at stake.

In each of these situations, the problem does not go away by simply hiding it from your resume - in fact, the problems remain but become much worse as you have hidden it from the company. In each of these cases you should re-evaluate if the company you are applying for is actually a good fit, and should address any potential issues in the interview.

Eg: While my last company did not have a conflict of interest with my Freelance work, I realize that should I accept a position here, I would have to make these certain changes in the scope of what contracts I accept on a freelance basis.

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