A reader writes: “I am looking for a job and since I have [my own] business, I was wondering if I should use that as in reference to ‘Work History’ on my resume. If I put this on my resume, what does it show an employer that is considering me for an interview? Does it show that I am eager to work? Is it a good idea to list my [business]? Thank you for you help!”
Has this been your only source of employment?
If your business has it been your only source of employment for three months or more, you definitely want to include it on your résumé to avoid having a gap in your work history. When you can avoid a more significant gap in your work history, it’s a good thing. Gaps carry a stigma that you would rather not have on your résumé, if possible. Plus, you would rather have the prospective employer focusing on your attributes, not perceived deficiencies.
Have you been working outside of the home while running your business?
If so, you may be tempted to just list your other employment, not your business. However, if what you have been doing outside of the home up to now is part time and the opportunity you are targeting is full time, it would probably be better to include the business so that it would show that you are up for the rigors of a full-time job.
Another plus to listing your business is that it makes you distinctive from other job seekers. Running a business is not a claim that everyone can make; listing your enterprise and the achievements you have made while operating it can give the person reviewing applications a reason to pause and read yours over more thoroughly.
Also consider this: if you have had a website or otherwise solicited clients either on- or offline (i.e. everyone who has run a business), your business can be traced to you. Therefore, leaving it off your résumé could raise some red flags.
Is the job related to what you do in your business?
If you are looking for something that calls for a skills set that is similar to what you use in the operations of your business, then you definitely want to include it. This demonstrates that you have the abilities and experiences that match what they are looking for. It also shows that you know how to take the initiative to start a project and follow through with it, which is also an important skill in many jobs. The clearer you can make it that you have a background that fits the job description, the more likely you are to be called in for an interview.
Is there any reason to leave a period of self-employment off one’s résumé?
While there are a lot of good reasons to include entrepreneurial ventures on your résumé, there are still some concerns that would cause a candidate to think about leaving it off. Some employers might not be happy when they see that a prospective employee runs a business. Worries that a company may have could include:
- the candidate leaving the company if the business takes off,
- the home business interfering with the work they have hired the job seeker to do, or
- proprietary information being used in the home business if the employee’s side gig is too similar.
You may be thinking, “None of that applies to me, and I don’t want to needlessly worry a prospective employer. I can leave off my self-employment.” However, keep in mind what could happen if your home business is discovered in the future. By not saying anything about the other work you do, you could look like you have something to hide and are leaving it up to the company to make assumptions about why you would do that.
Better to be clear about your activities than to have the specter of doubt raised because you chose not to speak about them. Even if you are, say, a computer programmer who runs a jewelry-making business on the side or an accountant who welds metal art on the weekends.
Image courtesy of Nguyen Vu Hung
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