So, you have finally and officially launched out on your own. Hopefully you were an enormous success, and all of your professional dreams were realized.
There is also the possibility that you experienced the opposite effect, and maybe there wasn’t as much support for your business model as you had hoped. Is it time to cut your losses and return to the traditional work force?
Perhaps you passed along your business to an offspring, but retirement was just too monotonous for you. You want to refrain from officiating over the professional roles of your grown children, so they will feel comfortable enough to learn from their own mistakes, change the direction of the company as they see fit, and thrive within their own right without feeling as though you are looking over their shoulder.
In any case, you have surely learned from past endeavors, and now seek a position in business which is both suitable to your forte and current stage in life. However, one aspect remains constant; you will need a résumé.
Naturally, you will begin by identifying yourself, but bear in mind that even though you come from a position of authority, it is best to choose a title that is realistic and relatable. Of course, if you were the CEO of a company, you should absolutely list yourself as such; however, if you are the proprietor of your own one-person establishment, choosing “CEO” as your job title may appear inane. Instead, settle for something subtle, such as Founder or Owner. You could even go so far as Director or General Manager. You certainly don’t want to downplay your role and experience, but don’t go overboard with affectations.
Take some time to tell your story. Why did you open the business in the first place? What did you feel set you apart, and what did you believe you had to offer that couldn’t be obtained somewhere else? What were you passionate about and how did you make a difference?
Highlight what makes you stand out above the rest. You had great products, unique ideas and valuable services; you were an inspiration to your sales force; you have impeccable management skills. This is where you emphasize your accomplishments, as well as your goals.
Don’t forget the second portion of your story: Why are you returning to the corporate sector? Did you accomplish your purpose? Was your goal too ambitious for a single company, and you’ve determined that corporate resources are necessary to bring your plans to fruition? If the simple truth of the matter is that your strategy and timing were not ideal, or that you were outmaneuvered by someone sharper in your field, there’s no harm in disclosing that. After all, you are not seeking the same position you came from. Admitting defeat is not necessarily admitting weakness; in fact, it can show perception, growth, and maturity.
As long as you’ve learned from the experience and gained new insights, you can work that learning experience into your narrative, and suddenly, it becomes a positive rather than a negative.
However, whatever you do, don’t blame others. For example, laying out $100,000 to buy a taxi license three months before UBER came into existence is truly an unforeseeable result. Just report it, don’t ascribe malice to the universe in order to explain it.
Know Your Target
Work your contacts and your resources. Not only are they likely to have leads for you to pursue, but they can offer recommendations to get you in the door. Nowadays, most significant positions are more often being filled by internal recommendations than by cold applicants finding jobs on job boards. If you have a recommendation from a current employee, you’re well-ahead of the game.
Additionally, having first-hand information on a company allows you to tailor your résumé, which is absolutely essential to getting past the Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). If you have an advertisement for the job, use all of the keywords in your résumé and application. That is what the ATS is looking for.
Describe Your Skills
Once you’ve isolated the job or the field that you’re interested in, brush up on the details relating to it. As an independent business owner, it’s your responsibility to run the entire show. Maybe your strengths are promotion and marketing; perhaps you have an eye for spotting the right people when hiring. Are you extraordinarily talented when it comes to client relationships and sales?
Even if you are in charge, you should take a moment to describe how collaboration played an important role between you and your fellow workers. Tell how you elicited ideas from your staff; elaborate on how ideas from others contributed to improve profits, or to increase the efficiency of your business.
Whatever those strengths are, be sure to mention them. Assuming that they know you’ll have a desired (or typical) skill is always a bad idea. The positive emphasis of one word can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to elaborate.
If you’ve made a success of your independent business plan, and achieved what you set out to do, that is great news! If things did not quite work out as planned, and you find yourself obliged to return to the world of traditional day-to-day work, that’s okay, too.
What you came away with, most importantly, is experience, which is just another way of saying that you learned something – about you, about the Universe, about something – and that is always a good thing.
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