Composing a resume is quite manageable task if you have steady employment history in the same field. Yet, it may turn into a challenge when you have to describe other types of employment. Say, you ran a small jewelry store or were an accountant on freelance basis. What is the best way to describe this sort of experience on a resume for a full-time job?
According to the statistic, about 16 million of Americans are self-employed. In today’s guide, a writer from our online resume writing service will explain how to describe your experience. Your ability to run a business has provided you with a set of skills that other applicants probably don’t have. Read below for an instruction on how to turn your experience into a real asset for employers.
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When getting down to your resume writing, you may be concerned if self-employment counts as experience. Well, hesitate no more. Listing self-employment not only will cover the employment gaps, but also allows to highlight the skills which most of your counterparts don’t have.
Even if the area of your business has nothing to do with the type of office job you’re going to apply for (say, you ran an online shoe store and would like to get a job as an executive assistant), it can be used to reveal the breadth of unique skills that make you a valuable hire. These skills include project management, leadership, and many more.
When describing your work history, don’t hide behind the vague “Self-employed” title. Instead, use the title that reflects your responsibilities, such as “Virtual assistant”, “Consultant”, or “Freelance SMM specialist” If you ran a company, it’s a good idea to use the title “Business owner” and add the name of the company alongside so that the format of the job description doesn’t differ much from traditional employment.
By using an informative job title, you focus the attention of the hiring manager on your pro competencies.
The description of your self employment on a resume will be more informative if you add a short snippet introducing your business or services offered. For example, if you ran a shoe store, you might want to specify the business type, profits you’ve reached and number of employees you supervised. Similarly, if you were a freelance designer, tell what kind of visuals you worked on and the names of clients you worked for. This will help the recruiter better understand how the type of work you did before can be helpful for the company.
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Whether your previous self-employment or independent contractor experience aligns with your target career or not, be sure to add accomplishments. Potential employers value accomplishments since they show that the candidate is result-oriented and wants to exceed expectations. For instance, if you worked as a social media manager, your accomplishments might sound like “Grew Facebook subscribers by 3X and increased the involvement by 55% by creating a new advertising campaign”.
Do not forget to add figures, percentages and context to each of the accomplishments. By doing so, you make them sound trustworthy and capture the reader’s attention. This is important for a resume summary and when listing other jobs as well.
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As a person who was running a business or doing contract work, you don’t have a boss or coworkers who could advocate for you. Yet, you can go the other way. Ask your most loyal clients to give feedback about your work, and add them to your resume as quotes. This original approach to resume writing will definitely grab the attention of hiring managers.
Links to your professional resources such as an online portfolio, personal website, published works or even LinkedIn profile also work well. The main idea is to show your professionalism and demonstrate that others value your work.
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One of the most important things is to add skills that you’ve gained through self-employment or running a business. If you worked as a contractor, you’ve probably built strong project management, time management, finance management and technical skills. Also, self-employment of any type requires strong customer service and interpersonal skills since these are essential to build client communication and retain customers. And if you ran a business and had employees, add leadership, entrepreneurial approach, supervision, and delegation to this list.
Add skills under the summary section to make sure that the hiring manager won’t miss them. Also, it will make your resume more ATS-friendly.
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If you don’t have a boss who could confirm your performance, you might be tempted to exaggerate your successes or qualifications on a resume. However, the best career advice is not to do that. A savvy hiring manager will quickly reveal the truth by asking the additional questions during an interview. And even if they don’t and you get hired, the fact that you’ve lied about your qualifications will become obvious. The best strategy is to be honest and focus on the benefits of being self-employed.
Capitalize on the skills you’ve gained, the experience with different aspects of running a business and desire to work hard toward your goals as your key asset.
Once you’re done with writing, don’t forget to edit the newly written document. Make sure that each sentence makes sense and the language sounds professional. Check for minor errors in grammar, typos, and punctuation. An error-free resume has better chances of getting shortlisted.
When you make it to the interview stage, be prepared to ask questions about your transition. Here are some hints to help you develop the right mindset:
✓ Focus on the skills you’ve gained. Whether your business or freelancing was a success or not, show off the amazing skill set you’ve built. Most likely, you oversaw financial matters, created the business strategy, and gained a broad economic perspective. Chances are, you’ve also learned to build relationships with client and retain good employees. Such skills are in demand across all industries!
✓ Show the examples. The rule ‘show, don’t tell’ works perfectly here. Prepare the specific examples of how you handled a challenging business problem, saved money, or increased the profitability of your services. Lead with a story and show your expertise in context – it’s more efficient that claiming that you’re a natural leader.
✓ Prepare and rehearse. To feel more confident, research the interview questions and rehearse answering them at home. Prepare the stories and examples in advance. This will make the interview smoother and increase your chance for a job.
The best way to understand if the resume represent you well is to ask the opinion of someone who specializes on them. Our website offers a free resume critique service. Send us your resume, and receive a detailed feedback from our writer that will cover your resume’s strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.
If you’re looking for expert assistance with your resume and cover letter, you’re in the right place. Our American or British resume creator will write the best resume for you, showing your self-employment experience in the favorable light and focusing on your accomplishments.
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