Resumé Tips to Transition from Entrepreneur to Employee
It can be a challenge to optically position yourself to prepare to transition from owning your own business to working in another role for someone else’s company. This transition doesn’t have to be a barrier in itself – your experience is most likely very well-rounded and transferable (not everyone can say they founded a company, worked long hours to keep it running, and acted in every position to make it profitable). Simply clarifying your position and reasoning within your resumé can be helpful.
A hiring manager most likely will wonder: 1) why you are leaving business ownership to work for someone else; 2) what can you bring to the table at a new company; 3) what type of security can a new company expect from you (i.e. you have a company, so what is your incentive to stay at a company for any meaningful period of time); and 4) what will happen to your ownership position if you’re hired full-time at a busy company that needs a lot of your time? Will your time be split/half-attended-to/neglected? Most of all, you’ll need to show how you beat out the competition who may have years of experience in the one particular area you’re applying for.
Your objective summary should briefly state your role in a relatable way (“Driven entrepreneur and director of operations” or “Customer-service oriented entrepreneur”). Note your translatable experience (“with 5+ years of experience growing sales on a national scale by 550%, improving year-over-year ROI by 31%, and managing over $45M in accounts.”) It should state why you’re leaving co-ownership for another role (“Seeking to leverage multifaceted sales experience into a business development role, helping to develop a sales team on an international scale”).
Details & Measurable Achievements
Focus on the transferable skills relevant to the company. It’s inevitable that your role as an entrepreneur involved multifaceted skills, so you can elaborate on the ones that matter. For customer service roles, for example, elaborate on your customer relationship building, development of client resources, or management of vendors and other suppliers. For sales, describe how you grew your business from 0 to 200 clients in less than 2 years through social media marketing. Explain in detail what steps you took to make that improvement, and what you did to accentuate your status online, via phone, and through networking.
Companies will appreciate details. So instead of saying “Started a comic book design business on Etsy and made over $172k,” try “Developed a business plan, pricing tiers, and client design manual, leading to over 250 sales of online comic book designs valued at over $172k in less than 2 years.” For more on how to describe your awards and achievements, head over here.
Complement Your Experience
Don’t forget other experience that might be relevant to a future employer. Do you volunteer for a local pet shelter, scuba dive all over the world, or participate in an advisory board? These can peak an employer’s interest, as they may relate or be intrigued in your unique interests, and can show that you’re well-rounded.
Have you received any awards or honors? Note that you were selected as a Who’s Who in a local magazine for your small business or that you were selected among 100 other entrepreneurs for having the best customer service, for example.
Have you presented or participated in any panels? Do you have any publications? These look great, as they’re public demonstrations of your capabilities and expertise.
Don’t forget to add any academic achievements you received in college. If you dropped out of college, note the institution you attended, the degree you sought, and the number of credits completed. It can’t hurt to note your GPA if it was strong (I’d recommend listing a 3.5 or above.)
Have you taken online courses or received certifications in subjects that might be relevant to a future role (i.e. online courses in Adobe Photoshop or SQL certifications, etc.)? Even something like a Udemy or Coursera course online in a certain subject can show that you’re proactively expanding your knowledge.