The resume lie: Hide that entrepreneurial experience!

Over the past year, I have sought to dispel as many myths as possible when it comes to job hunting, in general, and the resume, in particular. Unfortunately, with all the online job posting sites available, these fallacies have a way of taking on a life of their own and even manage to fool many good resume writers and professional trainers.

One of the most frustrating for me is when it comes to self-employment and resumes. For years, job seekers have been told that if they have a self-employment history, they should downplay it or even omit it entirely from their resumes. The original premise was that companies despise self-employment and almost consider it unemployment. In other words, it looks like a “gap” on your resume between one corporate position and the next.

Now it is true that employers tend to be skeptical of self-employment, and for good reason. Many job seekers try to pass periods of unemployment by claiming they started their own business, which may or may not be true. I had a job seeker the other day who was trying to explain 2 years of unaccounted for work history. He claimed that he had started his own business by changing houses; However, during those 2 years, he had only changed 1 house and that was a house that he inherited from his father. It certainly didn’t cover the full 2 ​​years. So he tried to make the most of it on his resume, which was honestly all he could do.

An employment gap is just an employment gap, and you can turn it a thousand ways, but a crafty employer will see you for what it is, no matter how smart the writer is.

What I’m really talking about here are true entrepreneurs, people who have started, built and run legitimate small businesses. These companies have names. They have statistics. They have real clients or accounts.

Corporations would be crazy if they turned their noses on these people, and these job seekers would be just as crazy if they downplayed this experience.

Entrepreneurs are some of the hardest working people on the planet. They are driven. They are makers of rain. They know how to wear a lot of hats. These are all things that companies love and want.

As with just about anything else, handling situations like these comes down to having a smart strategy. It’s definitely true that when creating a resume, you should always keep your audience at the forefront. And you have to balance how much focus you give to different positions from your past. Therefore, I am not suggesting that you make a bigger deal with your business than you should. It all depends on your goal and the field / industry you are in. (For example, if you are looking for an engineering position, I may not be exaggerating with the fact that you operated a cookie business for 5 years, it is just not that relevant to the goal, however this does not also mean that I believe that you should completely leave it off the resume).

But at some point, both job seekers and some types of HR have spread the word that self-employment is bad news on a resume.

So my fundamental advice is simple: stop listening to scare tactics and start employing a clear plan on your resume. Find a good writer you can trust who can help you evaluate how your freelance work is performing relative to your target market. Be smart and make sure you can speak “corporate language” and have a clear, focused goal. Honestly, if you can do that, you are way ahead of many corporate executives.

But whatever you do, don’t hide from embarrassment because you once worked on your own. Remember that there are many people today who would love to venture out and work on their own, even if only for a while. Whoever said that self-employment is not worthy of credit on a resume apparently never left their cubicle.

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