Create the Best Resume!

img1It happens: You have a sudden flash of inspiration that has you writing up a letter of resignation for your boss. It’s time to go out on your own, you say! But that goal of being an entrepreneur doesn’t always pan out, and there can come a time when going back to the corporate world makes more sense for your life. Then you have a few hurdles to jump, including how to create a resume that best showcases your talents. Here are some tips to highlight those great experiences and make yourself employable again.

Consider How Long You’ve Been on Your Own

I’ve written resumes for job seekers who consulted for a year or two while caring for ill family members or looking for just the right job. That’s quite a bit different from writing a resume for a job seeker who has owned a profitable company for more than two decades. Naturally, each takes a different focus. For the first example, a chronological format is fine, while the second usually requires a functional approach.

The other consideration here, of course, is what you want to do next. If your business was running a restaurant and now you’d like to manage someone else’s, chronological can work. If, however, you owned an insurance agency and now want to sell medical equipment, just laying it out in order will likely leave the reader scratching his head.

Chronological: Seamlessly Incorporate Your Entrepreneurial Experience

If you had your own business for a short time (five years or less) and you are pursuing a similar career goal, list out your business just as you would any other position. I must caution you against using the title of owner, though — because it doesn’t specifically address the goal you have. If you had a graphic design business that didn’t pan out and you’re eyeing a position as creative director at a local firm, say that your role at your company was graphic designer or creative director. Remember, “apples to apples” always works better than “apples to oranges.”

Functional: Focus on Talents and Accomplishments

If you’ve been in your company for a number of years and have decided to sell or close up, or if you’re looking to shift gears altogether, a functional approach is likely your best bet. Here, you’ll draw attention to the skills you have that an employer would seek for the position you want. You’ll also share key accomplishments you’ve had within each of those skill categories. It’s a more challenging resume to write, to be sure, but it can be a much more effective way to share your value proposition in a format an employer will understand.

Remember What Employers Are Thinking

Most of the time, employers are wary to hire people who’ve had their own businesses. They think that, if it was only a short time, the candidate has an entrepreneurial bug and will always have one foot out the door. If you’re a long-time entrepreneur, their fear will be that you’ll come in and want to change everything to the way you’ve always done it. Your goal on your resume is to blend in with everyone else who has a traditional background.

To that end, never list your work email address on your resume. It comes off that you’re using your work time to look for a job, and an employer will assume you’ll lack loyalty. If you were freelancing (and didn’t actually have a true business), it’s better to create a business name and title. Use your initials, last name, or something else, but make it look as corporate as you can. Once you get the interview, you can share the story, but you won’t get the interview if an employer has big questions upon reading your resume.

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