How to write a fantastic entrepreneur resume
Why do most people become entrepreneurs? Well, some have a fantastic idea they want to see through to completion.
Others harbor ambitions to change the world. However, ask any entrepreneur their top five reasons for working on their own business, and the chances are they'll mention being their own boss. They make the decisions on who gets hired and fired, so why would they need a resume? Are they going to apply for the top job in their company and use it to determine whether they're the right fit for the role? Probably not.
However, that doesn't mean they don't need one. First impressions obviously matter in business, but even the most charismatic owners can rarely seal the deal past on a single meeting. Entrepreneur resumes often serve different purposes from their conventional counterparts, but that's not to say they don't matter.
An entrepreneur might need a resume because:
- They want to combine their business efforts with a part-time role.
- They've decided to return to the workforce and need to demonstrate their skills and competencies.
- They're seeking finance for their project and need to prove they're a good bet.
- They want to create a professional profile to let prospective stakeholders know who they are.
- Their education and experience can convince large suppliers to work with them, even if they're a smaller company.
In short, even if you own and operate the company that provides your current role, it goes without saying that everyone should have an up-to-date resume in their back pocket. You never know when you might need it, even if you have absolutely no ambitions to ever work for someone else.
So here are our top tips to ensure that your entrepreneur resume achieves what it needs to, whatever that might be.
1. Give yourself a glowing reference
An entrepreneur resume might not be packed with the kinds of experience that recruiters expect, and candidates might not have the recent references that other applicants do. However, the willingness to try something different and see it through to the end is a hugely marketable skill in its own right. In most cases, the only person backing up your talents and abilities is yourself, so kick things off in style with an excellent summary.
The chances are you know just about everything that happened in the business to date, and you can take that experience and craft it into something that makes for an outstanding summary.
One thing you can probably do better than most conventional applicants as an entrepreneur is to craft an elevator pitch.
This time, you're pitching yourself. Whether you're going for a job, hoping to secure investment, selling a business, or pursuing a dream client, leave no reader in any doubt about who you are, what you can do, and what makes you unique. You've only got a couple of paragraphs at most to convince them. Unless someone is as determined to work with you as you are with them, they might get no further than the summary. So, take the opportunity to highlight significant achievements and, where possible, even bigger numbers.
2. Draw on past experience for your entrepreneur resume
Despite what some motivational coaches might tell you, nobody is born an entrepreneur. Of course, you might be more predisposed to being your own boss than others, but the chances are you've been through the education system and had at least some experience of working for others before taking the plunge on building your own company.
One of the best skills you can possibly have when putting together an entrepreneur resume is the ability to shape those skills to support what you're doing today. If you have the active need for a resume, the chances are your business is relatively new, small, or both. You may, therefore, have to draw your credentials from elsewhere.
If your current or most recent project involves business services, make prominent reference to business-related qualifications. If your new venture involves retail, don't be afraid to reference seemingly mundane summer jobs and what you achieved.
Remember, an entrepreneur resume is all about building up a picture of you and your skills, just like any other. So whether you need a loan, want an investor, or need a job alongside it, don't lose sight of the fact that it's all about proving you're the person they should trust and you have the credentials to back up what you say.
3. Highlight skills and accomplishments others are unlikely to have
No matter the goal of your resume, your entrepreneurial endeavors can often give you a head start over the competition simply because your experiences are somewhat unique. Draw on aspects of your work history that won't be available to others.
Everyone is different, and the longer you've spent as an entrepreneur, the more likely you are to have specific experience in diverse areas.
They might include:
- Customer testimonials
- Awards and accreditations
- Media appearances
- Website design and management skills
Essentially, the time you spent getting your name out there, whether as part of an ongoing venture or as something you've put behind you, can provide prospective partners and employers with even greater insight into you as a person and what you can do for them.
4. Adjust your entrepreneur resume for different circumstances
Even if you only require a resume for job applications, it's worth taking the time to adjust it for different roles. However, if you've got a broad target audience for your resume, as entrepreneurs so often do, it's worth keeping multiple copies on file for different reasons.
If, for example, you need a business loan to take your operation to the next level, shine a brighter spotlight on your financial planning and management skills. If you're looking to land a new supplier, highlight the mutual benefits enjoyed by your business and suppliers in the past. Finally, for those seeking outside investment, put a personal spin on the company's most significant achievements to date, and don't be afraid to take some of the credit for making things play out the way they did!