Career Resource Center

How To Transition Away From Self-Employment

Many business owners and self-employed professionals transition away from self-employment every year for various reasons.  Perhaps your business isn’t doing as well as it was before the COVID-19 restrictions, or maybe you just want to remove the stress of business ownership by working for someone else.  Whatever your reasons, going to work for another company can be a challenging and exciting transition.

If you’ve been self-employed for many years, chances are that you haven’t had to put together a resume in a long time.  However, the most important step in any career transition is putting together an effective resume.  This is especially true if you’ve been self-employed because many employers won’t know how to use your experience in the same way that they would know about a sales manager or HR generalist.  That means your resume needs to showcase your expertise in a way that enables them to easily understand how you’ll fit into your new role.

The first step in putting together a great resume is to think about what you’ve done over the years.  Here are some great questions to ask yourself while you’re thinking about your experience:

How many employees have you managed? Demonstrating your leadership skills by explaining how many employees you managed and how you supervised them is a great way to give employers confidence that you’ll be a valuable asset to their company.

Did you start your business, or did you buy it? Many people who have never started or purchased a business don’t know the effort it requires.  Explaining what you did to start your business and how you made it successful is key to creating an effective resume.

How much were you able to grow the revenue? Measurable accomplishments tell a potential employer that your skills generate results.  Without measurable accomplishments, they won’t know whether you’ll be able to make their company successful.

What was something you did in your daily responsibilities that you were really good at? Every business owner has a skill that they’re phenomenal at, it’s what made their businesses profitable.  Perhaps your skill was managing money effectively, or building relationships with customers, or motivating your employees to exceed expectations.  Whatever you’re best at, make sure you explain what it is and why you’re best at it on your new resume.

Did you do anything or solve any problems that no one else could do or solve? As a business owner, you were likely the go-to person when something went wrong and no one else could fix it.  If there were challenges you overcame when no one else was able to, make sure you include examples on your resume.

Don’t forget to create a cover letter

When you’re searching for a new position, it’s always a good idea to include a cover letter.  In fact, research shows that employers often give specific preference to applicants who submit a cover letter.  With that being said, a cover letter is even more essential if you’re transitioning from self-employment!

Creating a cover letter gives you an entire extra page of space to discuss your qualifications and what a great fit you are for the position you’re applying to.  This extra space is a fantastic opportunity to explain why an employer should hire you as a business owner rather than someone else.  Every cover letter should include a basic introductory paragraph, a body that summarizes your experience, and a conclusion that showcases why your experience is a good fit for the position you’re applying to.  If you’d like to learn more about writing a top-notch article, check out this article: How to Write a Great Cover Letter – Career Resource Center by

Practice your interviewing

Every skill requires practice on a regular basis.  Interviewing is no different, but many people never practice their interviewing skills.  Similar to studying for a test, there are many great ways to prefect your interviewing tactics.  These include creating flash cards with potential interview questions, such as:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Why do you want to work for us?

Why are you leaving your company?

Tell me about a time when you couldn’t solve a problem.

Then, you can either have a friend or family member read those questions to you.  It’s helpful to practice your interview questions with another person rather than just reviewing them by yourself.  Practicing with another person will also help you improve your mannerisms and speech patterns.  For example, you’ll want to practice looking the other person in the eye, speaking in complete sentences, and remaining comfortable under pressure.

Another great way to improve your interview skills is to write down examples of where you’ve used your skills in the past.  For example, if you’re including “team leadership” on your resume, then you might want to expand on that by writing: “I led a five-person team during a major project by establishing goals and measuring performance.”

Be proactive with your job search

One of the biggest problems we see when helping small business owners at Resume Writing Group with their careers is that they often aren’t proactive when searching for a new position.  There are many great tools that you can use when searching for a new position, and to get the best results, you should use all of them to their fullest extent.  This means creating a LinkedIn profile, using sites like Indeed and Ladders to apply for jobs, and tools like GlassDoor to find out what salary you should be asking for.

Along with using the online search tools, don’t be afraid to go “old school” with your job search by looking for positions in the newspaper.  You can even apply by sending your resume to an employer in the mail.  It may seem old fashioned but sending your resume via the mail is actually a very effective strategy to get noticed quickly.  In many cases, employers are often so surprised and impressed you took the time to mail them your resume that they’ll ask you to come in for an interview!

If you need some extra help with your resume, cover letter, and job search – our expert team of writers & consultants at Resume Writing Group can help expand your career horizons.


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