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Resumes for Self-Employed Workers

In this article, you will find resume tips for people who work for themselves, but now wish to secure jobs as employees. Job targets include:

  • Business Development / Marketing
  • Park Manager / Grounds Maintenance
  • Web Developer / E-Marketing Specialist
  • Golf Course Superintendent
  • Retail Management
  • Pharmaceutical Sales

Being your own boss can be a fantastic experience, but it requires a great deal of discipline and personal sacrifice to be truly successful. Some people try it for a few years and decide it's not right for them. Some entrepreneurs find that running a maturing business isn't as exciting as managing its start-up, and still others face up to the fact that a steady paycheck with someone else's signature on it has some definite advantages. If you've been running the show for a while but now feel that it's time to work for someone else, there are several key things to keep in mind when you prepare your resume and cover letters. Here are just a few tips that you may find helpful:

  1. Avoid calling yourself the owner on your resume. Some employers are a bit skittish about hiring someone who's been in business for themselves, worrying that you won't be happy and will succumb to the urge to once again strike out on your own. Because you're the boss, you can choose any job title you wish to use; president or general manager, for example, will convey the level of accountability you held without tagging you as the owner. Depending on your current target, think about using project manager, Web developer, or director of business development as job titles if they reflect what you do as a business person and, more importantly, what you hope to do for an employer.
  2. Emphasize your versatility. If you've been running a small business, you've probably worn many hats, and in doing so you've gained a wealth of diverse business skills. Document these different areas of accountability in your summary section. This can work to your advantage if an employer is seeking a generalist who is skilled in many areas and can balance competing priorities.
  3. Consider leading with a career highlights section that focuses on four to six success stories from your career, each showcasing a different competency. Perhaps one short paragraph would demonstrate your project management skills; another would talk about your ability to maintain customer loyalty; and yet another would mention process improvements that enhanced operating efficiency. The surveys you completed in Chapter 1 should prove helpful with this.
  4. If you're returning to a field in which you have had previous experience before you were self-employed, you might consider creating a “relevant experience” section of your resume. This section should appear just after your summary (assuming you chose not to use the “career highlights” approach) and should include only the work experience directly relevant to the job you're targeting. Then show the rest of your work experience under “additional related experience” after the “relevant experience” section.

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