Self-employment is often considered a negative by potential employers. I never include “self-employed” on a resume. It was used too often against me when I first sought to move back into the workforce after years working out of my home. I’d been an active volunteer, so participating in team efforts in one of the most difficult environments possible had honed my skills.
How to Write a Self-Employment Resume
Don’t Announce Your Self-Employment
I use the position held by my self-employed client. If they didn’t have a DBA, then I will use the person’s name plus the type of business they had. For example, if I didn’t have the DBA name of Land the Interview Resumes, I would use Denise Rutledge Resumes on my resume.
The real key is to develop the resume’s content so it demonstrates what you have to offer as a self-employed individual in the same way you would if you worked for a company. Keep the focus specific to the position. Show results.
If you don’t take on the attitude that there’s a difference between self-employed and employed, the resume you write won’t reflect a difference either.
Points You Must Prove
1. You are successful at your business.
One of the first assumptions when a self-employed individual applies for a job is this. “If you are so successful, why are you applying for this job?” You have to overcome this assumption that only unsuccessful entrepreneurs look for jobs. Your resume content must focus on proof of your success.
If your resume does the job as it should, you need to be prepared when you get the interview to answer this implied question. Even though your resume may not scream ‘self-employed’ don’t hide the fact that you are a business owner.
2. You actively lead and manage a business unit with the same efficiency as any other business must to succeed.
If you are applying for a job that requires these skills, then prove you have the skills. Refute the preconception that business owners don’t play an active role in the success of the team they gather to work for them.
3. You haven’t lost your ability to take direction from others.
If you’ve operated your business by the motto, the client/customer is always right, then you haven’t lost your ability to take direction from others. Your ability to adapt your business in response to client/customer interactions may not be exactly the same as taking directions from a box, yet it is the same skill.
4. You have retained flexibility.
Running a business successfully often requires extreme flexibility, especially if your business has provided a service. If you’ve avoided saying, “If you don’t like the way I do business go elsewhere,” then it’s unlikely you’ve lost the flexibility needed to function as an employee.
Ultimately, your interview skills are going to be one of the most important aspects of overcoming the self-employment hurdle. Your resume is the tool that secures the interview. Ensure it demonstrates your qualifications and the value you offer.