Getting into the job search after owning your own business and being your own boss can be a scary thought and it can be a little tricky. Some hiring managers may worry that you will have a hard time having a boss again. While you know you can take a step back and report to someone else, they may not see that. So, here are a few tips on how you can use your background as an advantage:
1) Think about the skills you’ve gained – If you’re trying to completely switch career fields , think about the skills you can put on applications that you can brag about. Things like customer service, time management and conflict resolution are all skills employers want to see. Also, think about paperwork that you have mastered, for example if you are a wiz at processing new hire paperwork or overseeing accounts online, this can help you stand out from the competition.
2) Check your ego – Hiring managers may be a little weary about hiring someone after they were in charge of a company; a big reason being that you may think you know better that everyone else. Even if that’s the case and you really could run their business much better than they are, don’t let them know that you think they are doing everything wrong. It’s okay to offer little ideas and areas for improvement, but keep in mind that not every business model is right for every business and they are probably protective over what they’ve helped create.
3) But use your expertise to your advantage – As someone who’s played a part in all aspects of a business, you have the unique advantage of really understanding the workings of a company. Use metrics to talk about how you improved the business. For example, tell them how in your first six months you started turning a profit, or that you had a really low turnover rate. Prove that you are a valuable person that they absolutely must have on their team.
4) Consider your title – Forbes recently came out with an article talking about what you should put on your resume if you owned your own business. While it may be tempting to say Founder, Owner or CEO, they suggest using things like General Manager. This should at least help with getting your foot in the door for an interview and it still incorporates everything you did as the owner.
5) Stress your love for teamwork – When writing your cover letter or during your interview, you want to be sure that they know you are okay working with a team. Talk about a time you and your team had to brainstorm to solve a problem and stress that while you are a leader, you consider everyone’s opinion valuable. You don’t want them to think that you’re a micro-manger and not a team player.
6) Use your references – References can be powerful in a job search, and we’ve been asked about how to even have references after owning a business. Consider having a loyal employee or vendor who you got along well with. Also, think about any regular customers or clients that you know had a good experience with you. All of these people can talk about your management style and work ethic.