From Self-Employment to Employment: 6 Ways to Boost Your Work Experience

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Hiring [ 0 Comments ]

ways to boost work experience during a job interview after being self-employedIt may surprise you to learn that employers view job applicants with a history of self-employment or business ownership negatively. They question the applicant’s willingness to take direction and to act as part of a team instead of independently. If you’re self-employed or a business owner and want to re-enter the job market, following these tips should help you present yourself as a practical job candidate.

Assess Your Personality

More than a conglomerate of specialized skills, a business is a group of personalities that forms a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Assess yourself in terms of personality traits as well as business skills, then tailor your cover letter and résumé to showcase both.

Moving from independence to employment is a big step. Make sure you’re comfortable with the reasons for doing so and are willing to accept the trade-offs. You may not have to explain your decision to an interviewer, especially if your paperwork portrays you as a job-seeker instead of a business owner. You must, however, exude enough comfort with your decision to convince an interviewer that you want the job.

Related: 5 Tips for Hiring the Right Employees

Fit Your Skills to the Marketplace

Use job data sites like to find titles and job descriptions compatible with your personality traits and qualifications. You may have to consider relocating to find openings in your desired field, or modifying your job goal if moving isn’t possible.

If it has been years since your last job search, the titles that fit your skills may surprise you. That’s why a thorough self-assessment of both your personality and skills is essential. For example, if you enjoy promoting your business through social media such as Facebook or Twitter, consider becoming a social media coordinator (a job that didn’t exist in the 20th century).

Fit Your Résumé to the Job

When you write your résumé, avoid referring to yourself as “Founder,” “Principal,” “Owner,” or “CEO.” Instead, use a job title and description that fit the employment you want. For example, if you seek a marketing job, use a title like “Sales Manager,” highlighting your responsibilities and accomplishments that are pertinent to marketing and sales. As with any résumé, the more you can quantify your accomplishments, the better.

Discuss the Job, Not Your Company

In interviews, describe yourself in terms of the job you seek and the work you did that qualifies you. Avoid describing yourself as a business founder or owner. That can derail the attempt to repackage yourself as a job candidate. The interviewer may suspect you’re seeking employment as a stopgap measure between startups.

Related: Job Hunting Tactics

Emphasize Teamwork

Stress that you look forward to the teamwork and a collaborative atmosphere that you missed while on your own. Focus on the advantages of brainstorming, or multiple experts lending their perspectives to resolving a problem. You can also talk about the opportunity to specialize in an area you find interesting instead of being a jack-of-all-trades. For example, you may have been your company’s controller and want to narrow your focus to cost accounting.

Use roles in information-sharing groups such as chambers of commerce or professional organizations to substantiate your interest in teamwork. Other forms of community involvement could work if they do not betray a political or religious affiliation.

Relate Bosses to Customers

Use your experience in satisfying clients or customers as evidence that you can satisfy a supervisor. You may have been your own boss within your business, but you still had to satisfy conditions such as deadlines and work quality that your clients or customers imposed. Remember to mention that you’re used to taking ownership of a task from its start to its completion, a “the buck stops here” mentality that is becoming a part of many business’s culture.

Following these tips won’t make job-hunting easy. You still must do the legwork and networking that anyone’s job search requires. However, by packaging yourself properly, you’ll be able to use your experience as a business owner or self-employed person as a positive set of job qualifications that help you compete in today’s job market.

Author Bio: Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.
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