Resume Writing for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Resume Writing for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Getting Back into the Corporate World

In a tough economy, when small businesses thrive, it’s due to their team strategy, marketing, and more–including their executive leadership. These entrepreneurs are the power on which our successful economy rests. If you’re an entrepreneur who has chosen to exit your small business, you need to know how your skills and assets can impress a hiring manager.

You–a current or former business owner–need to convince a hiring manager that

  • You’re an executive ready to lead the charge to a company’s profitability.
  • You’re a professional who is able to follow the beat of someone else’s drum–maybe for the first time in your professional career.

No matter whether you’re a mid-career professional or a true executive, you need to prove:

  • You are ready to give up the powerful independent life
  • You’re ready to throw your lot in with the rest of the professional world
  • You’re ready to work with others on teams
  • You’re ready to take direction from someone who might not have the same perspective—or experience—as you.

Need to create a powerful career-change strategy? Identify the steps you need to follow to be successful here.

The Answer

You need an entrepreneur resume. Resumes for entrepreneurs are substantively different from standard business resumes.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably smart, driven, customer-oriented, and proud of your ability to do whatever it is your company does. Educationally speaking, you might have an MBA or you might have just made it through high school. You might have been working for your own enterprise for 5 months, 5 years, or 25 years. In any case, you’re thinking it’s times to leave the business in someone else’s hands, or to close it altogether.

Probably, you have not written a resume before, because your company was flying high, and you loved the responsibility, pressure, and elation of success. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, your entrepreneur resume has to show some serious innovation and expertise. An expert entrepreneur such as yourself needs to have a resume that blows the competition away, competing with all other comers on their terms–which might be substantially different from the ones that have driven your success in the past.

5 Resume Techniques for Entrepreneurs Returning to the Corporate World

1. Highlight Your Accomplishments

Accomplishments in a resume for entrepreneurs are critical.  By showing what you have accomplished in the past on your entrepreneur resume, you will show a hiring manager that you can accomplish the same goals for his or her company. For example, demonstrate that you’re the right one for the job due to your incredible track record of high sales, decreased turnover, technical expertise, or human resources talent.

2. Talk about Teamwork

First, emphasize any team projects you’ve participated in within your business, whether inside your company with subordinates, with other industry players, or with clients. Ensure that your prospective hiring manager knows you’re a team player and you aren’t afraid to collaborate.

3. Show Increasing Levels of Responsibility

Even within your own organization, you probably started with smaller projects and worked your way to bigger ones. Great challenge-action-response CAR statements will show how you wrangled the most success from sticky situations that will resemble the kinds of problems hiring managers are desperate to solve.

4. Write for Your Audience

Demonstrate your growth with strong action words and as many quantitative and qualitative assessments as you can. Pick powerful language; don’t use boring text that doesn’t grab attention.

Don’t forget a great cover letter and professional biography for business owners. Your cover letter is the introduction to your resume. It has to be polished and professional. Don’t know how to begin? Call me at 801-810-JOBS.

5. Hire a Professional Resume Writing Service

When you were out pounding the pavement as the leader of your own company, you made sure that your clients knew they were hiring an expert. If you’re stuck about what to say in your resume, you, too, can hire an expert to help you get a job fast. A professional resume writer can help you with your professional resume. If you need an executive resume writing service, she can help you with that as well. She’ll have expert-validated knowledge and skill, and she’ll get you the resume that will get you the interview you need to jump start your new career.

Entrepreneurs Need a Resume and a Professional Biography

Entrepreneurs Need a Resume and a Professional Biography

I’ve written in the past about resume writing for business owners. But it’s not enough for entrepreneurs to have a resume. Entrepreneurs who are thinking about transitioning back into the corporate world also need a professional biography.

What Is a Professional Biography?

A professional biography is not a resume. A professional bio is a one-page statement of who you are from a branding perspective—a marketing document that is content-heavy, attractive, and readable. It’s purpose is to convince a hiring manager that you have the substance and experience to make interviewing you worth their while.

Constructing and Professional Biography from the Ground Up

As a business owner, you probably feel like your business is your life. But your business owner experience is not the same as your life story. So your professional biography will likely start somewhere around the time that you developed your idea for your company. If that was while you were in college, great—use that to your advantage. But the fact that this document is called a biography doesn’t mean you need to collect your personal history starting from your childhood. Remember: Everything you present to a future hiring manager counts, and this needs to be clean, professional, content-laden, and well written to get a jaded hiring manager’s attention.

Key Sections of a Professional Biography

There are many formats that will work for a professional bio; you might want to research what your potential colleagues have developed. Likely they will all contain the following elements:

  • A history of how you got to the point at which you are seeking to make the transition to corporate life.
  • A brief discussion of your skill set, detailing a few stories of accomplishments specifically related to your target role.
  • Your educational history.
  • Your contact information.
    Your photo, if you choose.
  • Recommendations or testimonials from clients and vendors.
  • Speaking engagements or publications related to your industry.
  • Related interests and hobbies, if appropriate.

How to Use a Professional Biography

Certainly, you must have a resume if you are applying for jobs. However, as you network into companies and work with recruiters, you might want to have copies of your professional biography ready to present. Because your bio will be lighter and eminently readable yet still contain the essential elements of your brand, you might find that recruiters and hiring managers are likely to read this document to get a broader sense of the person behind the words—you, the professional ready to tackle a corporate positions successfully.

If you’re an entrepreneur who is trying to break into a traditional corporate job, learn how an executive resume writing service can help you make that transition here.

Top 10 Resume Mistakes by Job Seekers Over 40

Top 10 Resume Mistakes by Executive Job Seekers Over 40

If you haven’t written a resume in the last decade or more, that’s a good thing.

That means you’ve been working in jobs that loved you as much as you have loved them. However, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in an executive job search, and you’re probably of an age where you wonder whether your years of experience is going to hurt or help. Your new resume won’t be anything like the resume you used to get your first (or perhaps your most recent) job. Times have changed for executive job seekers, and so have resume strategies. Read on, so you don’t make these top 10 executive resume mistakes:

  1. Writing “Resume” at the top of the first page. On the one hand, that’s overstating the completely obvious, and you’re wasting important resume real estate that could be used  more strategically (see #10 below). On the other, if you ever upload your resume to apply for jobs, that is to an electronic applicant tracking system (ATS), you’ll forever be known in the database as Resume No Last Name, which won’t  help you when a recruiter is looking for you.
  2. Including an I-want objective rather than a statement of value, (personal branding statement). Objectives are passé, as they focus on the candidate’s needs rather than the hiring manager’s requirements. Job seekers over 40 need to remember that until they are offered the position, everything they do or say in the job search process has to focus on solving the hiring manager’s pain, not their own.
  3. Including the dates of your college or university education. We can all subtract 22 from that year and get a sense of the applicant’s vintage. To avoid potential age discrimination, a job candidate should not telegraph her age on the resume.
  4. Not including an e-mail address. Older workers need to have a professional e-mail (not their company’s) for job search purposes. Including an e-mail shows that the candidate is not technology-averse and is available for communication at any time of day.
  5. Using a home telephone line. When a job hunter uses a home telephone number that is likely to be answered by children, it indicates to the hiring manager that the candidate might have certain liabilities, for example, insurance requirements or need for impromptu time off. As mobile phones are so prevalent and inexpensive, a job seeker over 40 should maintain mobile phone service, using a professional voice mail recording, that only she or he will be answering. For that matter, you don’t have to mention on your resume that the number you’re giving is your mobile number. People likely will expect you to use your mobile number, especially for direct accessibility but also for texting. Don’t have a mobile number? You can simulate having one, or add a separate number just for your job search at ZERO cost to you (this is my favorite job search hack—ask me about it. I’ve been using this hack for myself for almost a decade.).
  6. Writing a resume that is only 1 page when you have 3 pages’ worth of good, relevant experience. Let’s face it–hiring managers are likely to stop reading your resume after one or two pages if you are giving them boring details that don’t relate to their needs. But what if you have a lifetime’s worth of great, relevant experience? You absolutely should tell your future hiring manager about your great accomplishments, so they can see the answer to their problems in your professional history.
  7. Writing about more than 10 years’ worth of job roles (and balancing your breadth and depth of experience with #5 above). Hiring managers are focusing on what a candidate can do for them today—not what they were expected to do 20 years ago. Professionals over 40 should use resume real estate wisely and hit their most recent (or their most relevant) positions the hardest and give a fair amount of attention to 3–4 additional prior roles. If the candidate has a critical, relevant element of experience that is older than 10 years, he can include a line or two about it at the end of his executive experience section—without dates of employment.
  8. Not including a personalized (vanity) LinkedIn profile link. LinkedIn is the social medium most likely to be utilized by hiring managers and recruiters in the job search process. Candidates over 40 should take advantage of this free service and create a profile that makes a hiring manager want to pick up the phone. With that in mind, someone in the job market must create a vanity URL (available in the profile options) and put that link in the header of his resume.
  9. Writing about only soft skills and not about accomplishments. Soft skills are critical in any job, but would “great team player” be anything but an expectation for a hiring executive’s new employee? Job seekers over 40 must remember that reporting on accomplishments—the successes they’ve demonstrated for each job—is what gets hiring managers’ attention.
  10. Writing about only accomplishments and no soft skills (see #9 above). Challenge yourself to include the best of your experience by showing rather than telling your future hiring executive the half dozen reasons you’re the right choice to solve their problems right now.

“I’m an experienced executive—how do I prove it and avoid these critical resume mistakes as I go through my executive job search?”

Updated January 2017

5 Keys to Resume Bullet Bliss: Resume Accomplishments Versus Duties

5 Keys to Resume Bullet Bliss

The Difference between Resume Accomplishments and Duties

On your resume, for each position you’ve held in the last 10 years or so, you’ll need to include two key components: The description of your duties as well as your accomplishments. These two components are really quite different, and they serve completely different functions. Duties tell what you did; accomplishments tell why what you did was useful, valuable, and important.

I do know that good resume writing will prepare me for my interview, but how do I get there?

Job Duties

Your job duties are, quite literally, the work that you do every day. Think about the work you do; now distill it down to 3 or 4 sentences. Paint an accurate picture of the work you do that propels your manager, your division, or your company to rousing success.

Sample job duties for a company president or general manager might include:

  • Defining company strategy.
  • Increasing sales.
  • Recruiting executive team and vetting hires throughout organization.

Job Accomplishments

Accomplishments differ radically from duties. Your accomplishments are the specific successes you’ve demonstrated within your job duties (or sometimes outside of them!). These show how you succeeded within your role and rose to its challenges. Unlike the duties you’ve specified for each role you’ve had, the accomplishments tell the “so what?” about your job. They answer the question: “So what happened as a result of your work?” Usually, the answers to these questions involve some kind of metric, either numeric or evaluative, demonstrating how you improved or changed a system for the better. These accomplishments become the bullets that show why you’re the most qualified to support the hiring manager’s goals and needs—starting the moment you are hired.

Sample job accomplishments for the same executive could include:

  • Defined strategic priorities by month, quarter, and year, developing KPIs that focused company trajectory on reducing customer attrition, sales growth, and process improvements.
  • Converted sales process X to sales process Y, then trained sales managers on specifics, increasing sales conversions 14% in 16 weeks.
  • Recruited 2 directors in 2016, both poised for promotions to vice president roles in 2017 as company grew 22% faster than plan.

5 Keys to Identifying Resume Accomplishments

If you’re struggling to figure out what power the accomplishment bullets on your resume, ask yourself the following 5 questions:

  1. What was your hardest project? What made it difficult?
  2. What did you do that made it successful?
  3. How did your work on some project help you or someone else do their job better?
  4. Of which project are you most proud? Why are you proud of it?
  5. How does your job differ in reality from the human resources job description you were handed when you started the position?

By answering these questions specifically, you’ll choose the best parts of your career history that hiring executives and executive recruiters want to know about you. You’ll demonstrate that you have a proven history and strong talent for strategic leadership—and you’ll show how you can hit the ground running on your first day of work.

Updated January 2017.

New Resume Services for the Savvy Jobseeker and the Recruiters and Coaches Who Help Them Succeed

In case you haven’t visited Five Strength’s main site, I hope you’ll take a minute to look around now. We’ve revamped our service offerings to include a lot more than just cover letters and resumes. Learn more about our executive resume writing services, or message Amy L. Adler at aadler at fivestrengths.com.