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Incorporating Self-Employment On Your Resume

Incorporating Self-Employment On Your Resume

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By Ann Eastham
Contributor, Career Servicespromotion-next-steps

Sometimes it’s necessary for a self-employed individual to seek out and apply for positions within the corporate workforce. Regardless of the reason, you’ll need to include this position on your resume. It’s common to be cautious about listing a self-employed position due to a belief that your application will be received negatively. Concerns can range from being perceived as unable to work on a team or take direction to having unverifiable experience. These concerns can be addressed by the way you present yourself on your resume.

Here are four tips for listing your self-employed position on your resume:

List it as you would any other position, including company name, skills, and successful outcomes.
Make sure to demonstrate your transferable skills and include accomplishments from that period of self-employment.

Avoid using the terms “self-work” and “self- employed.”
Consider using your functional or working job title (i.e., Manager, Owner/Operator, or CEO), which will translate easier to the person reviewing your resume. If an alternative title doesn’t work for you in your situation, consider other words that can clearly demonstrate you were self-employed without saying it directly (i.e., “Independent Financial Planner” or “Freelance Graphic Designer”).

Do not over-inflate your experiences.
Focus on providing an accurate depiction of what your experiences were. For example, if you had a lawn mowing service and were the only employee, using “Owner/Operator” as your title would depict your level of experience more accurately than “Chief Executive Officer.” However, if you ran an IT consulting firm with employees, then “Chief Executive Officer” would be an appropriate job title.

Include verifiable references.
One hesitation that employers may have with formally self-employed individuals is the difficulty in verifying the information on your resume. Typically, an employer can call your previous manager to verify your employment and listed achievements as well as attest to your character, but when you’ve been self-employed, this process becomes a bit more challenging. Start with providing your business partner if you had one. Consider contacting your business associates or former clients with whom you’ve worked extensively and ask if they would be a professional reference.

 While applying for a corporate position can be stressful after a period of self-employment, it doesn’t have to be. By incorporating these tips into your resume, you will help your skills and experience shine through and overshadow any concerns a hiring manager may have.

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