Negotiation for a new job starts way before you start talking about salary. You’ll be in a stronger position later if you highlight your unique skill set up front. What if that skill set comes as much from your volunteer gig or side hustle as it does your full time job? How do you sell it without coming across as distracted or not dedicated to your employer?
Think bigger about your resume
The reverse chronological resume isn’t the only game in town. Consider a skills-based resume to give you more versatility and highlight diverse experiences on equal footing rather than simply ‘full time job’ and ‘side hustle’ — or, as some might view it, ‘distraction.’
A skills-based resume is one that focuses on transferable skills as opposed to strictly work history. This way, you can write about the event planning experience you gained while volunteering, as well as those Excel spreadsheets you manage at your day job.
You can also use your LinkedIn page and personal website to support the legitimacy of your additional projects. Use social proof, in the form of brands you’re affiliated with or endorsements from key people, to demonstrate that your efforts are taken seriously.
Prepare for old school assumptions
You never know where they’ll creep up. Even progressive companies could have managers that think face time matters more than productivity. Be ready to take on these objections calmly and respectfully.
For each skill set that you’re emphasizing, you should be ready to give some examples and quantifiable results. During your discussion, model the behavior that you hope to see. (Pro tip: this strategy works with everyone in your life, not just at work!) Set the tone that you take all your experiences seriously and expect that they will, too.
If you’re getting major push back and questions around how you plan to balance your time commitments at a new job, don’t ignore them. Better to have an open discussion at the outset than join a new team only to have confusion and frustration from the start. Set expectations now around your work habits, and be open to hearing their preferences, too.
Emphasize time management as a skill
Rather than hiding your extracurriculars, emphasize your multi-tasking prowess as a strength you bring to the table. The average American watches more than five hours of TV per day. If you have time for activities outside your 9 to 5, chances are you’re making different use of your time. Explain (lightheartedly — you don’t want to come off as pedantic) that you’re specific about how you use your down time.
Here’s the phrase I use when I’m asked how I can manage all my commitments (I run my own business and am on leadership teams at two non-profit organizations): “I have time for everything that’s important to me.” As long as you deliver on your promises, how you get things done should be your business.
Bonus points if you can turn the question around: how could better time management benefit your prospective team? What else could they accomplish if a fresh pair of eyes streamlined inefficient processes?
This post originally appeared in Women@Forbes, where Alexandra Dickinson is a contributor. She writes about how to use a negotiation mindset to achieve your goals.