There are pros and cons to having a history of self-employment. On the one hand, you will be thinking it shows an entrepreneurial spirit, an aptitude for business, a 360 degree responsibility for all areas of commerce and it does; but in some cases, unless your CV is well written, employers maybe dubious about the lack of evidence to support your achievements.
They will find it hard to verify information you have given. There are no direct employer references to call on, they would rely solely on their “gut instincts”, if you can find reputable references, supplier, clients etc, it would help your cause. Finally, they may be wondering what has gone wrong for you to now be seeking employment, so it’s critical to relay accomplishments and why you are looking to change direction.
Written correctly and your CV could easily get to the top of the pile. There is a wealth of experience, skill and ability to be shown in freelance career histories.
Some golden rules to be mindful of:
- Although you are the owner of your business, there are key skills area where you excelled, either in management, sales, finance etc. Find your area of expertise and consider using this in your job title.
- Provide enough technical specifics so employers can see you know what you are talking about and relate this to the job you are applying for.
- Make the achievements quantifiable; after all, you have set up a business from scratch and even if you are in the grips of financial hardship now, at one point, the business was viable.
- Show skills that identify your ability to carry out market research, sales skills, management or leadership and financial wherewithal, this includes expressing details on your intellectual property, customer base and company structure.
- Provide a well thought out cover letter to accompany your CV, this gives you the opportunity to explain why you are looking for employment and highlight some specific achievements that directly relate to the potential role.
- If financial problems and business failure are your reason for returning to the corporate workforce, explain this open and honestly. But highlight where possible, your desire for a more challenging position, better opportunities and your need for advancement as this will eclipse the negative side and should show a little element of risk that will stand you out from the crowd.
- Everything else remains the same, a brief personal profile that could identify your key objectives and related academia; bullet pointed and concise areas of expertise; your employment history, wrapped up with education and professional development.
As a self-employed person, the CV should scream achievement, confidence, strategy and business acumen. Once it has secured you an interview, these traits need to be relayed face to face. Lastly, a word of advice; don’t make anything up. We’ve all seen those poor people who fall apart on Dragons’ Den because their information doesn’t stack up. Be truthful, be proud of what you have achieved to date and show clearly, what you can bring to your potential employer.