Entrepreneurship as a Résumé Asset

Many people who have branched out to start their own business may find, in time, that they want to exit the world of being an entrepreneur and re-enter the workplace as an employee.

These industrious people struggle with translating their experience working as their own boss into their résumé simply because they’ve convinced themselves that working on their own is an obstacle. “No one will hire me because they think I won’t do well working for someone else, since I’ve been my own boss for so long” is one of the most common refrains I hear from these clients.

If you are one of those people, you need to stop thinking like this, and realize what a tremendous asset owning a business is to your career prospects. Having insight to how an organization works is an incredibly valuable tool. You need to realize that entepreneurship helps you see things in a different light than someone else who has only functioned as one facet of the inner workings of the company machine.

Translate your entrepreneurial strengths towards a target company, and make sure to play these highlights up in your résumé:

1) Strategy strength: You can think holistically about how the pieces fit together and have a firm grasp of how internal collaboration can boost productivity and efficiency, simply because you’ve got first-hand experience on overall company operations and capacity.

2) Financial accountability: You see the big picture of how and where money is spent, and can rapidly analyze where cost-cutting measures might be appropriate. You also know what the bottom line means and base your work on keeping this in sight.

3) Sales strength: Your ability to go out on your own and build a company from scratch is a tremendous testimonial to sales ability. It’s one thing to step into an existing company and sell a known product/brand/service. It’s a completely different thing to try and introduce a new concept to a highly competitive marketplace.

4) Supervision: Many business owners to jump to the conclusion that they don’t have a supervisor, but the truth is that every CUSTOMER is your boss. If you don’t get it right, they will let you know… and they vote with their wallet. If you run across a prospective employer who has an objection about your ability to report to a supervisor, just remind them that as a business owner, you didn’t have one supervisor; you had as many bosses as your customer list was long. That’s a lot to juggle and try to please!

5) Collaboration: As a business owner, undoubtedly you’ve had to work closely with industry partners and develop other alliances. To be a successful owner, you’ve definitely had to ‘play well with others’ so being a team player is a natural part of being a business owner.

In summary, an entrepreneur looking to join another organization offers the bench strength of having a high operational acumen, which is perceived as extremely valuable to prospective employers. You’ve got sales, marketing, operations, production, timelines, scheduling, resource allocation and accounting as feathers in your cap. Additionally, you ‘get’ what it takes to do the job right, more efficiently and at less cost in a way that anyone who hasn’t owned/operated their own business wouldn’t have a clue about.

Use these strengths to your advantage, and don’t talk yourself out of a job by worrying needlessly about entrepreneurship on your résumé!