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The Modern Rules for Job Hunting When You’re Self-Employed

As the nature of work changes, more adults rely on self-employment to advance their career or just pay the rent. If you’re one of them, you may face complications when you try to transition back into the corporate world.

While running a business demonstrates qualities like initiative and leadership that most employers value, it may also raise concerns for some hiring managers. They may wonder if you’re running away from disappointing profits or question how you’ll fit into the office hierarchy.

While you’re dusting off your resume, consider these tips for job hunting. Whether you’ve been working for yourself for a few months or many years, a positive attitude and careful planning will help you find new opportunities.

Tips for Preparing Your Resume

  1. Highlight your impact. Like any candidate, you need to use your past to suggest what you can do for the company’s future. Provide specifics about how you increased quality, saved time, and cut expenses.

  2. Describe relevant experience. You may have been responsible for everything from answering the telephones to bringing in new clients. Tailor your resume to match the job description. Hone in on the areas that a hiring manager will be most interested in, and downplay the remaining details.

  3. Name your business. An official name can make your business sound more impressive even if your headquarters was your dining room table. Pick something that conveys your brand.

  4. Gather references. How do you replace the supervisors and coworkers who usually provide references? List your top clients and any professionals you collaborate with.

Tips for Networking and Interviewing

  1. Be proactive. Expect that the interviewer will want to know why you’re considering working for someone else. Put a positive spin on the situation by volunteering the information up front. You might say that you’re looking for a fresh challenge or entering a different stage in your life.

  2. Demonstrate flexibility. The interviewer may also have the impression that you’re used to doing things your own way. Tell stories that show how you can adapt to changing demands and various work styles.

  3. Focus on teamwork. Another major concern could be how well you’ll fit into the corporate culture. Do your homework so you can speak convincingly about why you want to join the specific company you’re interviewing with.

  4. Ask for referrals. Word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to find a new position. Ask your clients to keep you in mind if they have openings or any leads to pass on. You may be surprised at whom your hairdresser knows or what advice another parent at your child’s school has to offer.

  5. Submit a proposal. As you gain more experience, it may be more fruitful to create your own position rather than just scanning the want ads for vacancies. Select a company you’re interested in, and propose your unique services.

  6. Expand your options. Some hiring managers will be more open to considering candidates with entrepreneurial backgrounds. If you encounter too much resistance, move on to a more welcoming climate.

  7. Explore start-ups. Speaking of entrepreneurs, fledgling companies may speak your language. Seek out the newcomers in your field, and position yourself to grow along with them.

  8. Think long term. In some cases, being self-employed may increase the time it takes you to find your next position. Maintain a positive attitude and surround yourself with supportive friends.

Give yourself credit for having the courage and creativity to run a business. As you re-enter the corporate world, look for employers who will appreciate your background and welcome the contribution you can make.


Thank you for reading our blog!

- Mike Acker

Check out my new book on Public Speaking: Speak with Confidence, published by WILEY.

A breakthrough to develop confidence in speaking, leadership, and life. A follow-up book to my best-selling book, Speak with No Fear

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