I think your resume has a giant hole if there’s nothing “on the side.”
By on the side, I mean something related to the career field you did (created, hosted, learned, sponsored, managed) just because you wanted to — even though it wasn’t required. Something that shows you really love what you’re asking to get paid to do.
This is especially true for the creatives out there. There are lots of adequate writers, designers, and thinkers that need a job. But what smart employers are looking for is evidence of passion.
You can pick up additional management, organizational, and technical skills along the way. Anyone worth working for will take the time to teach you as you grow and learn to master your craft.
But nobody can teach you to love it. That’s what you’ve got to bring to the table. The trick is proving this in the application and interview process.
That’s where the on the side stuff comes in. It’s the volunteer design work you do for a favorite nonprofit. It’s the free editing you do for your local church’s newsletter. It’s the that e-book you published.
Do something great that’s somewhat related to the career path you’re pursuing. And do it because you love it. Be proud of it.
The neat side effect of this is that it’s a good personal test. If you wouldn’t do it for fun, why would you want to do it every day?