Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tips for a Smooth Transition from Self-employed to Employee

As someone who is self-employed, I know all about the perks: flexibility in your schedule, ability to make your own decisions and be your own boss, and direct control over your work environment to name a few. However, these perks are the same things that scare an employer when they are considering hiring you to work for them.

Employers ask themselves can you work an 8 to 5 schedule, can you take direction, and can you conform to company policy? Many employers think of the formerly self-employed worker as someone who is just going to stick around until they can get their business off the ground again.

If you are previously or currently self-employed and looking to make the transition into Corporate America, you have some obstacles that you must overcome in the job search process. Below are some pointers on how to deal with this type of situation on a resume and in the interview.

The Resume
  • Try to avoid referring to yourself as owner or principal on your resume. Think about what area of your expertise you want to focus your search (i.e. marketing, operations management, etc.) and give yourself the appropriate title such as Director of Sales and Marketing or Director of Operations.
  • As a business owner, you do it all - sales, customer service, business management, personnel management, and the list goes on. When writing your resume, remember employers do not want to know everything. They only want the most relevant information to the job they are filling. Focus your resume on relevant experience only.
  • Emphasize your versatility and scope of knowledge, but don't overwhelm the employer with too much information that does not matter to the job you are seeking.

The Interview
  • In the interview you will need to address early on that you were self-employed. Be sure to clearly communicate that while you enjoyed being a business owner, and gained extensive knowledge and skills, you are ready to expand your knowledge and utilize your skills in the corporate arena.
  • Don't give the interviewer the impression you are running from something (i.e. a failed business, long hours as an entrepreneur). Instead, make them feel as though you have chosen to work for their company and that you bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table.
  • Since your experience and accomplishments when self-employed are not verifiable, go armed with references from vendors, clients or business peers that can speak to your ethics, work history and accomplishments.

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