Category: COVID info


How to Market Your Side Hustle on Your Resume

The past several months I’ve written numerous blog posts covering topics related to doing a job search during the pandemic. This includes topics on how to create additional income streams when furloughed or laid off.

It also includes topics on how to show employers in your next interview that you’ve spent your time wisely during the quarantine. But before you can even land an interview, you’ll have to communicate this on your resume.

You may wonder how you can include a side hustle or other projects on your resume, or if you even should. Well, I already answered this question in a post from May 2018 entitled, “Should You Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?

Should you include your side hustle on your resume?

The short answer to this question is YES. And there are certain ways to market your side hustle experience on your resume.

To learn how, I invite you to either read or listen to my post from 2018. From it you’ll find out:

  • How employers view side hustle experience.
  • How it makes you marketable.
  • And how you should market it on your resume.

Stay tuned for more relevant job search topics designed to help you be as successful as possible during these uncertain economic times.

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Additional resources

Why You Need to Be Ready For Anything in Your Next Interview

Last week I wrote a post about possible questions you may face in your next interview. If you’re looking for work during the pandemic, you need to be ready to answer such questions. The questions I covered included:

  • What did you do with your time while laid off or furloughed during the pandemic?
  • Did you draw unemployment when you could’ve found work?

Some readers felt the second question was what they called, “off-putting.” I agree it’s a very blunt question. But it’s not illegal, nor is it inappropriate.

In fact, it’s a valid question for any company spending five to six figures in salary on a new employee. Especially if you consider how many people opted for unemployment in the early months of the pandemic, instead of taking job offers.

If you’re able to show you’ve spent your time wisely during the quarantine, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. But for those who haven’t, can you blame the company for wanting to ask such a question?

Anything can happen in an interview

Job candidates have to be ready for anything in the interview. This includes:

  • Questions to test how you handle stress or how quickly you can think on your feet
  • Behavioral interview questions
  • Illegal questions the interviewer should know better than to ask but still does
  • Impromptu presentations or projects
  • And more

In fact, in my own past job searches, I’ve ran into some of the above situations.

Early in my career, I had an interview where I was given 45 minutes to come up with a program that could be implemented in the company. Then I had to present my idea to the interviewers. I was not told before the interview this would be part of the screening process.

On another occasion, I was asked an interview question that didn’t seem odd at first, but quickly turned odd. I was asked, “If I were to go to your list of bookmarks in your internet browser, what web sites would I see listed?”

I answered, “You’d see bookmarked sites related to my work, such as good resources for clients, and professional association sites related to my industry.”

Then the interviewer said to me, “Well, if you went to mine you wouldn’t see any, because I don’t spend my time playing on the internet!”

I figured it was best not to react to her statement. Instead, I smiled through the awkwardness, and quietly waited for the next question.

In addition, while observing other interviewers, I’ve heard C-suite executives ask candidates illegal questions, either because they didn’t know the questions were illegal, or they ignored HR’s recommendations on what not to ask.

And I’ve heard interviewers ask what I call “think-fast” questions like, “How would you describe the color purple to someone who was born blind?” I usually throw in a few of these “think-fast” questions when doing mock interviews with my clients to better prepare them.

Be ready for your next interview

Again, I say all this because job seekers have to be ready for anything in their next interview. Questions like the ones from last week’s post are going to become more common. HR experts encourage employers to ask them, and rightly so.

It’s up to you how you want to react to and handle these questions in your next interview. This can include the suggestions I made last week. And it can include asking questions of your own, which you should be doing anyway. Just make sure you yourself aren’t off-putting, even if the interviewer is.

Once you’ve done your research on the company, shown you haven’t wasted your time, gotten your own questions answered in the interview, and received a job offer, then you can decide if the company’s off-putting approach will be a factor for you when making your decision.

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How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

If you’re interviewing for a new job due to a COVID-related job loss, you want to of course prepare for commonly-asked interview questions. But you also need to prepare for some new interview questions brought on by the current pandemic.

These pandemic interview questions could include:

  • What did you do with your time while laid off or furloughed during the pandemic?
  • Did you draw unemployment when you could’ve found work?

These are not illegal questions. My friend and colleague Cindy Beresh-Bryant, owner of HR Solutions by Design LLC, verifies these questions not only are legal, but are also very good questions for employers to ask. Therefore, you should be ready for them. Here’s how to answer them.

Answering pandemic interview questions

1. Be honest

First and foremost, always be honest in your answers to these and any other interview questions. Just don’t be too honest. If you didn’t use your time as wisely as you’d intended, you don’t need to go into detail about what you did. No need to say you sat on the couch eating chips and watching Tiger King on Netflix.

But if you’re in an interview, you obviously did something to help you land the interview. And if all you did during your time is conduct a job search, then discuss the efforts you took to help you land the interview. This includes updating your resume and reconnecting with your network through Zoom conversations.

If you have a valid reason for choosing to draw unemployment instead of finding work, be honest and briefly explain. For example, maybe you wanted some time away from work to upgrade your skills by taking online courses. Or you wanted to explore a new career and plan for a career change.

You can even talk about any personal development things you did during quarantine. For example, maybe you worked on a passion project or side hustle, volunteered in your community, exercised more, ate better, or spent quality time with friends and family.

When discussing this, you want to avoid sharing anything too personal that employers legally aren’t allowed to ask you about, or make hiring decisions on. For example, you don’t necessarily want to indicate which organization you were volunteering for, the amount of weight you were trying to lose while exercising, any health issue you were trying to eat better for, or the number of children you have and were spending time with.

2. Show results

In addition to showing how you’ve spent your time during quarantine, you want to show how those activities have made you a better person or better employee.

For instance, have the skills you’ve learned made you better prepared for the job? Have your improved eating and exercise habits given you more energy for work? Have you learned to be more creative and productive from the overall experience?

Results are always of most interest to employers, especially if you can quantify any of your results. Showing your positive results from your quarantine is the same concept I’ve previously discussed about emphasizing the results of your work in your past jobs.

3. Tell your story

These results make you stand out even more when you can tell the story that goes with them. Stories are what make you memorable to the interviewer, because no one else has the same stories as you.

Yes, “we’re all in this together,” and many people are experiencing job loss because of it. But everybody’s stories are different. It’s your unique stories that set you apart from the other candidates and burn a memory into the interviewer’s mind.

To learn how to put your results into a story format, check out my post, “The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions.”

Conclusion

These are unusual times we’re living in, especially in regards to work. The way work is done is changing fast, and will probably never be the same. The same goes for the hiring process. There will be new interview methods, your job interviews will be remote, and you’ll probably get questions you’ve never had to answer before.

Be prepared for questions like those above, and be aware of the illegal questions you shouldn’t have to answer (i.e. “Have you had any recent health issues?”). (Click here for a complete list of interview questions currently considered illegal.)

Follow the tips outlined here and in the resources below, and you’ll improve your chances of acing your next interview.

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How to Land a New Job With the Help of a Face Mask

Regardless of your feelings or beliefs on wearing a face mask during the pandemic, you might want to consider it as a potential networking tool during these uncertain times. Especially if you’re currently in the market for a new job.

We know networking opportunities have been limited due to months of quarantine. But as I share in my on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking, networking can happen any time, any place. Even at the essential places like the grocery store, the drug store, or the curbside of your favorite restaurant.

You never know who will be standing in line six feet ahead of you, or six feet behind you. It could be the person who works for a company currently hiring instead of downsizing. This person may know the hiring manager where he or she works. This is the perfect person to start a conversation with to begin the path to a potential new job.

But how do you do so when wearing a face mask?

A face mask is a creative conversation starter

The idea of using a face mask as a networking tool and conversation starter first came to me as a funny thought. I didn’t really take it seriously. But then, as I started thinking more about it, I thought, why not?

Why not have a little fun with a face mask and perhaps open a door to a new contact who can lead to your next job offer? It could be something worth trying, kind of like an interesting social experiment.

So what exactly does this look like? What if you were to write your elevator speech on your mask?!

I know, this may sound strange, but hear me out on it. If you follow the rules I give on how to write a better elevator speech than the outdated recommended rules, it could actually work as a creative conversation starter.

How to write an elevator speech like none other

Keep it short and create opportunity for dialogue

Most career experts will tell you your elevator pitch should be 30-60 seconds, as if this is considered brief. If you’ve ever listened to someone go on for 30 seconds or more about their work, you know it feels very long. Especially if you don’t have a clue what the industry jargon they use means.

Other career experts will also tell you your elevator speech should be a statement about your skills. This is not the way to start a conversation or pique someone’s interest in what you do.

Instead, your elevator pitch should just be one simple question about other people’s common problem. Specifically, a common problem you have the skills to help solve.

Why a question? Because it opens the door to a dialogue, a real conversation, instead of a sales pitch monologue.

And, you should be able to ask your question in seven seconds or less! You never want it to be so long or confusing they have to ask you to repeat the question. In other words, it should be so short you have the space to write it on a face mask in letters big enough to read from six feet away.

Make it relatable and create curiosity

So how do you come up with a concise yet clear question?

When thinking about the typical problem or challenge of your market (this can include the employer or the employer’s customers), what words do they usually use to describe it?

For instance, I’m a career coach who specializes in helping people make career transitions to work they’re more passionate about and cut out for. But this is not what I use as my elevator speech.

Instead, I take into consideration the words my market uses when they first reach out to me. Typically what they say is, “I feel stuck.”

Almost everyone can relate to this feeling at one time or another in their career. Therefore my elevator pitch is,

“Have you ever felt stuck in your career?”

This question is simple enough to resonate with most people, short enough to write on a face mask, and thought-provoking enough to lead to a dialogue. And even in the rare chance the other person hasn’t felt stuck in their career, it’s likely someone close to them has.

When the person responds to my question with a “yes,” I say:

“Well, I help people get unstuck.”

That’s it. That’s my whole elevator speech. It’s at this point most people are curious enough to want to know how I do this.

So when they ask me how I help people get unstuck in their career, I now have their permission to tell them more about my skills and experience. Then, I continue to ask more questions to better understand their concerns. This keeps the conversation going.

Face mask or no face mask

Writing your elevator pitch on your face mask may or may not be the best idea. But the point is, having one that’s simple and short enough to do so, is a good strategy. It’s the first essential piece in networking your way to a new job.

And it’s a much better approach than forcing people to listen to a monologue. You’ll stand out as refreshing and interesting, compared to the job seeker who bores everyone with their cookie-cutter elevator pitch.

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How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty

My older brother is a unicorn. He’s been with the same company his entire career, almost as many years as I’ve been alive. This is extremely rare these days. Most people change companies (or even careers) seven to ten times in their lives.

However, in all his years as a hard-working and successful employee of a strong company, my brother has faced the threat of the organization’s frequent mass layoffs.

Each time he faced such job uncertainty, it would send him into such deep anxiety he would get physically ill. Add to this the daily stress of his job, plus his lack of passion for it, and you get misery and depression.

So why did he stay all these years? Because on paper, it’s a “good” job. But he also stayed because of:

  • A false sense of security.
  • Self-imposed restrictions.
  • Fear of instability.
  • Discomfort with change.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Even if career change isn’t new to you, you may be experiencing some of the same negative issues due to the uncertainty of our current job market.

But this is one of the best times to take your uncertainty and nervous energy, and use it in a positive way to re-direct your career. Let’s look at how to do this.

Re-directing your fears and uncertainty

My brother has stayed in his current job all these years because he assumes it’s secure. Even though he’s seen numerous layoffs at his company. He recognizes he’s been lucky to escape the layoffs. And each time he has, he thinks to himself, “since I didn’t get laid off, my job is secure for now.” Well, maybe it is, until it isn’t.

If we’ve learned anything from the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s nothing is certain. And, there’s no such thing as job security. But this has always been the case. Yet we tend to fool ourselves into thinking if we have a steady paycheck and benefits, we’re secure. This in turn leads to a place that’s comfortable yet complacent at best.

Instead of fooling yourself there’s such a thing as a secure job, or freaking out because there isn’t, focus on exploring your potential options to diversify your skills and your income. This could include developing multiple streams of revenue, changing industries, or developing a new skill. While this may feel uncomfortable, think of it as a way of saving for a rainy day.

If you’re currently furloughed or laid off, this is more important than ever. But even if you still have your job, you need to spend time taking stock of your interests, passions, skills, strengths, and experience. Look to see what problem(s) they help solve, and for whom.

This process helps you identify which of your skills are in demand and which market will pay money for them. It opens your eyes to opportunities you may have never previously considered, such as a different job, or working for yourself. And it’s a process I walk you through step-by-step in my on-demand career success videos.

Watch your uncertainty turn into confidence

Once you’ve completed the process of taking stock of your unique skillset and value you bring to the table, you’ll notice an increase in your confidence. A boost in confidence may be what you need right now, especially if you’ve lost your job.

Then, once you experience renewed confidence, you’ll more likely have the gumption to apply for a job doing something new or different, or to start your own thing. Once you’re mentally ready for this, it’s time to take what you’ve discovered about your unique skillset and market it.

This includes putting together a resume, elevator pitch, and interview presentation that stands out from your competition’s cookie-cutter job search efforts. paNASH’s on-demand career success videos teach you all the steps to market your unique assets, so you won’t blend in with all the other job candidates.

People are drawn to confidence and competence. Your renewed confidence, along with an attention-grabbing marketing plan of your skills, is what will help you re-direct your career.

Don’t live a life of regret

My brother will be retiring next year. That is, if he doesn’t face another potential layoff before then. He’ll get a pension for all his years there. But he won’t ever get back the years he spent doing work that made him depressed instead of fulfilled.

In fact, a few years ago when he was visiting me, he admitted how he wished he’d had the gumption and the courage to leave his job and start his own thing like I had. He regretted never trying something different. It broke my heart to see him look back over his “good-on-paper” job and have nothing but regrets.

The good news is, it’s not too late for him to do something more fulfilling, if he wants to, after he retires next year. And it’s not too late for you either, no matter where you are in your career. You always have the opportunity to re-direct your career, both in good times and in times of uncertainty.

You can take your job security into your own hands. And you can start now!

How to get started

My on-demand career success video courses have always been an affordable and effective way to prepare you for any of the following scenarios:

  • Discovering what’s next for your career.
  • Making a career change.
  • Finding a new job.
  • Improving your resume
  • Preparing for job interviews.
  • and much more!

And best of all, they’re available to you on-demand anytime, allowing you to work at your own pace.

There are other online career and job search programs that make you wait every week for the next course to air, further delaying your job search.

Why spend two months completing an 8-week course when you can complete 8 courses in the time frame you prefer, and therefore find your next job sooner?

The paNASH on-demand bundle includes:

  • 8 courses with 23 episodes, both on finding your purpose and practical ways to stand out in the job search
  • 16 instructional handouts, résumé samples and templates
  • 5 e-books
  • 1 résumé critique

And this summer, you’ll receive access to live group coaching sessions to get your specific questions answered (available for a limited time).

Click here to get started right now.

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