side business + 9to5 for the man = difficult resume situation
May 17, 2007 7:41 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a new job and would like to make a slight career change. Right now, I have a full time job and a side business. While I am qualified for my "ideal job," in order to demonstrate this on paper, I will have to emphasize my side business. How do I list both my side business and full time job on my resume without giving off the impression that I am a distracted or disloyal employee.

For the past 6 years, I've worked as a senior developer at a large, established internet company; about 90% of my time is spent knee deep in code. Prior to taking this job, I co-founded a consulting company that specializes in web strategy; I do not do any development work with my side business and 0% of my time is spent doing anything related to code. There is no overlap or conflict of interest between my day job and my side business; we don't do technical consulting and, while there is no doubt that our clients have heard of my employer, they are not in the same industry and will never be my employer's competitors or customers. Finally, I don't work on my side projects while I am at work; my business partner manages the day-to-day client contact and administrative work, so while I am at work, my full attention is focused on work.

While I am good at it, I really don't like tech dev work. As such, I haven't been motivated to climb the tech career ladder and my career has stalled. My employer has plenty of open positions I'd be interested in (though none in my division), but from experience in my division, they seem reluctant to see beyond my technical skills and I am reluctant to call much attention to my side business (though it isn't something I am hiding, either). I might have better luck switching to a different division, but I am afraid that just expressing an interest in moving to a different division would be politically unwise. For the record, I'm not embarking on a strictly black-or-white job search. I would be perfectly happy with a job that employed both skill sets, but reduced coding and code management duties to less than 40% of my job description.

As for my side business, it is growing, but in order for it to support another full time employee, I would have to take on a more responsibility for "rainmaking." I am pretty sure I would dislike rainmaking as much as I dislike coding. For now, it is just as well; I'm completely happy sacrificing the freedom of being self employed for the stability that comes from working for the man.

So my question is: For external opportunities, is it possible to present my concurrent-yet-separate jobs and separate skill sets on paper (resume/cover letter) without causing the resume reviewer to toss my resume after suspecting conflict of interest, questionable loyalty and all sorts of other negative assumptions about my work ethic. In an interview setting, I think I'd be able to explain and ease any concerns a potential employer may have, but how do I get past the resume review? Also, if I am applying for internal positions in a different division, is there another different process I should go through in order to highlight the skills I've developed at the company and the skills I've developed at my company. For this, please keep in mind that the division I work for is relatively isolated. I never have the opportunity to meet or interact with managers and team members in other divisions, so a casual preliminary chat would be impossible.

Suggestions will be greatly appreciated, especially from those who have experience with this situation, either as a job seeker or an employer. Tips for pursuing open positions in different divisions of the company I'm presently working for will also be appreciated, though I don't have much confidence in that option. If there are options I haven't considered, please don't hesitate to point them out to me.

I've turned this into quite a novel (sorry), but if additional info is needed, or anyone would like to answer privately, feel free to contact me at anonjobq@gmail. Thanks in advance.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think any employer would be happy to see a prospective employee with not only IT development skills, but REAL SKILL at selling and business management as well. I won't be the first to put it out there, but this is something I would really highlight. You should even try to get someone to write about your work and experience, there are a lot of coders who dream of starting their own businesses and being their own bosses, but few who can move away from coding enough to make a real go of consulting and business strategy.
posted by parmanparman at 8:25 AM on May 17, 2007

Oh, I was the first to put it out there.
posted by parmanparman at 8:26 AM on May 17, 2007

Particularly in the tech world, a side project is usually viewed as a good thing. And really, do you want to work for a company that is freaked out by you stretching yourself to be better?
posted by COD at 9:40 AM on May 17, 2007

I could see this as a problem depending on the employer and the industry. A conservative environment like in finance may not like this, but a tech company may be thrilled to have such a self-starter on their team. Maybe its best to just go with your gut on this, feel out the company, and decide whether to mention this on the cover letter on a per-case basis.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:09 AM on May 17, 2007

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