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How To List Self-Employment On A Resume

Start a business, get customers, and make money. It sounds easy but it is one of the hardest things to do (support yourself/your family needs from self-employment). According to statistics, 70% of self-employed individuals go back to full-time careers at the first sign of failure, 14% juggle both full-time work and self-employment, 10% go back to work after losing major assets, and 6% lose it all! There is nothing wrong with self-employment, it’s just entrepreneurship doesn’t work for everyone. As a matter of fact, contracted jobs and freelance opportunities are very competitive – under bidders, certification requirements, big companies taking small jobs are the reasons. It may be intimidating to jump from self-employment, generating your own schedule/work activity to working for someone – it may even be embarrassing to annotate this information on your resume but showcasing self-employment provides a prime opportunity for employers to recognize your skills.

How to list self-employment on a resume:

1. Organize your work activity – more than often, self-employed individuals perform various tasks: customer service, administration, operations management, logistics, transportation, accounting, tracking, equipment maintenance, the list goes on. Write down the many activities you complete while operating your business and generate small paragraphs on how you accomplish each activity.

2. Chronologically format your resume – dates of self-employment should begin and end in conjunction with other career positions – or – create a separate section to your resume titled “Self-Employment. For the individuals who perform work seasonally (lawn service, road deicing, movers, line strippers), you can still fill in the gaps with other positions. For example, before/after the seasonal work, you have to prepare contracts, fulfill RFB or RFP (request for bids/request for proposals), contact existing customers/new customers, develop systems to run operations, perform equipment/facility maintenance etc. The characteristics of a business never stop, so filling in the gaps are realistic.

3. Be careful with position titles – one thing most may not pay attention to is providing a position title for yourself, as a self-employed business owner. Although you may have been the CEO/President/Founder, you do not want to intimidate, scare, or touch the reader of your resume. The reason is that: hr. reps and recruiters are regular people with a responsibility, BUT, the “human factor” has a high chance of showing its face! (jealousy, feeling you do not need the full-time position since you are a CEO/President, suspecting you are a failure or feeling you are “to good” for a full time position under another organization). Sad that it has to be that way but hey, it happens! Consider this, instead of CEO of a lawn business, try Lawn Care Specialist (for the in-season dates)/Operations Manager (for the off-season dates).

Almost every business or even every career has setbacks. The idea is to not get upset but to “boss up” and do what you must for the sake of your financial wellbeing. Even if that means going back to full-time. A lot of individuals may disagree with my approach of securing a full-time job once your business fails. Business owners would most likely offer “keep grinding, even with no money”. On the contrary, I support the supposition that you should never go broke as an adult, and always do what you must to continue to financially support your family and yourself. Remember, anything is possible – buying a home, shopping with the family, vacationing, or simply enjoying life, but everything comes at a cost (monetarily). For more information about resume writing, contact us.

*note – your references definitely need to be included on your resume, which is the strongest asset since the hiring authority can talk to customers/stakeholders with real experiences from your self-employed business*

Jeruard Anderson

Author Jeruard Anderson

Jeruard's experience comes from Logistics, which he carries a Masters degree in. He is a Veteran of the Army and has spent several years working over seas for the Federal Government. His background is extremely valuable for the government sector.

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