If you’ve been self-employed or running a small business for a few years and are now looking for a job, then you may be worried about how your employment status will appear on your resume. If you aren’t careful, your “self-employment” may appear to be “unemployment” to your prospective employer. It is essential to highlight all the skills you have acquired from running your own business. Here are a few of them that you might highlight
Most employees do not understand that they work for their employer for only one reason: results. Most employees think that they are getting paid just to show up. As a small business owner, you have likely developed the habit of working hard to get the result you want. You know that if you stop working, you don’t make any money. You can let your prospective employer know that you will always be looking for the next result you can achieve for them. You have come to them to work, not to mess around.
As a small business owner, you were responsible for everything that happened within your company. You have no problem handling responsibility. In fact, you’ll take on as much as they are willing to give you. The person who is willing to take on and accept responsibility is rare in the business world, and this quality alone will make you stand out.
You are the type of person who doesn’t need to be told what to do by anyone else. You know what needs to be done, and you do it. You likely supervised a few employees of your own, so you know how much time is wasted baby-sitting employees.
As an entrepreneur, you have already demonstrated that you are the kind of person who likes to give orders, not take them. If you had employees working under you, then you have already demonstrated that you are capable of leading people and getting them to work together effectively as a team.
Able to Meet Deadlines
In your business, it is likely that you were forced to juggle many different tasks, prioritize conflicting demands, and meet multiple deadlines. You are able to determine what is most important, and get the most important task done first. This is an important skill in the business world, and you should highlight it to your prospective employers.
There is a lot of planning that goes into running a business, both on short and long time horizons. Be sure to emphasize all the paperwork you had to keep up with on a daily basis. You likely had to send out invoices, prepare legal and financial documents, create business plans, and manage your budget.
Besides being an organized person, you were also a creative person. You had to constantly think about how to do things better. You were an innovator. You have the characteristics of someone who is an originator and an investor.
Able to Sell
In addition to managing a company, it is likely that you had to learn how to sell. You had to sell and market your product and services. You had to learn how to attract and retain customers. You had to learn how to talk to customers and to put yourself in their shoes.
As you ran your business, you developed the habit of overcoming the temptation to do less productive tasks. You are a self-starter and a person with initiative. You have the self motivation to get the job done correctly every time.
Another skill you likely picked up along the way is focus. There is no one more productive than the employee who can block out distractions and focus exclusively on one task to completion. While most employees will spend the majority of the day in idle chit-chat and checking their email, you will be diligently focused on the task at hand.
As a business owner, you can see the big picture from the employer’s point of view. You know that their main focus is to make a profit, and you will do everything you can to help them achieve that goal. You are aware that your value to the company will depend on how much you help contribute to that objective.
With all of these skills, it is important that you don’t speak of them as personal accomplishments. Rather, what you want to communicate is that each of these qualities will be a contribution to the company. They will help the employer get what they want. Be confident in the fact that you are probably the candidate who can contribute the most value to the employer, and then strive to communicate that.
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