Career advice

How to write a CV when moving from self-employed to employment

If you’re making the transition from being your own boss to joining the world of employment, you need to make sure your CV is selling all your transferable skills. Writing a CV when moving from self-employed to employment isn’t always easy. On the surface, being self-employed shows you’re entrepreneurial and confident in your abilities. But what a prospective employer might read into it is that you can’t be managed or that you’re leaving your own business because it failed. Neither of which might be true.

What to highlight

Most people who’ve worked for themselves are able to overcome adversity, build connections with clients and personally deliver results in order to keep their business afloat. These are the types of attributes you should highlight on your CV; give examples of times when you’ve used them to progress/expand your business, or reach your targets.
You should also be conveying the range of responsibilities you undertook when running your own business. Did you manage staff? Were you in charge of accounts, HR, marketing? Even professionals who’ve run a very niche business will have gained expertise in several areas that their employed counter-parts may not have.
Also, if you’ve ever spoken at an industry event or had anything published in relevant journals or online publications, this will give you credibility as an expert in your field, so reference this on your CV.

Keeping positive

Although you were running your own business before you must show that you can still work well under other people and with other people. There are several aspects of being self-employed that are off-putting to prospective employers, so it’s important you put a positive spin on anything that makes you sound unmanageable.
The same goes for your motivations for leaving full-time employment in the first place. Emphasise the fact that you started your own business because you have a ’get up and go’ attitude and sought new challenges, rather than stating you left employment because you hated it. Employers want to feel you’re choosing them as much as you want to feel you’ve been selected for their role.

Varied experience

As mentioned above, being self-employed often gives you a wealth of experience in various areas of business. This may put you at an advantage above candidates who have only performed one role in their previous career.
You should also include any major successes you had while working for yourself, briefly detailing the task, what challenges you faced, how you overcame them, what responsibilities you delegated and how you got results.
In most cases, self-employed professionals have had to build up relationships with customers and clients throughout the course of their business life. This is an extremely transferable skill that will apply to internal and external relationships in future employment.
Before you consider writing a CV when moving from self-employed to employment and applying for roles, you may have to come to terms with the fact that you’ll now be reporting into someone else. Until you accept this it might be a difficult task looking for a role that will give you any job satisfaction.
If you’re currently searching for your next role, submit your CV to Michael Page or browse our jobs.