How to Write Your Resume to Leave Your Business
Entrepreneurs are driven people who have worn a variety of hats to lead their business to success. Spending that time focusing on growing the business typically means that there was no time to track all of the things you did to make it happen. Entrepreneurs do what needs to be done. Now facing an exit (whether by choice or not), it is time to write a resume to find your next challenge. Here are the 5 things every entrepreneur should include on their resume when they want to find their next challenge quickly:
You aren't applying to be a founder or business owner unless you are. Thus, you need to build a resume that draws the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager for the job that you are actually applying to now. This means that you need to focus on the right acheivements to illustrate how you are a fit for the type of role that you are now pursuing. Here are the details you need to include to create real achievement statements on your resume:
*Include Numbers. Remove ambiguity by including numbers to help illustrate the size of your accomplishment.
*Incorporate the problem, your action, and the result. People outside of your business need to understand what you are saying. Remove the technical or industry jargon and focus on how you solved a problem.
*Relevant. Be ready to change up your achievements so they t the industry/company where you are applying.
*Keep it fresh. Focus on recent accomplishments as most recruiters or hiring managers want to know what you can do now - not 10 years ago.
Small business owners wear many hats to make their business work. This means that entrepreneurs are highly versatile and skilled communicators. This versatility can make them a great catch, but many entrepreneurs struggle to capture all of the things they did to grow the business on their resume. To convey your versatility, consider the following:
*Functions. Think about the specic departments/areas where you worked and draw these out. This could include human resources, sales, marketing, accounting, or general operations. Entrepreneurs work in all of these areas, but focus on the functions that are most relevant to what you want to do next.
*Skills. All of the things that entrepreneurs do requires certain substantive, industry, and soft skills. Incorporate these on your resume to illustrate your versatility. Thinking about changing industries? Check out tips on how to write a resume for that career change here.
*Differentiation. The reader of your resume should immediately know what makes you different from the next person. Think of your summary section as your elevator pitch and use it to sell the reader on how you are different
3. Management Style
As a leader, everyone has their own leadership style. The key to finding your next role is to make sure that you effectively convey that message on your resume. This also means that you should convey the details that illusrate the scope of your management experience. This can mean many different things depending on the specics of the company you are leaving. Consider the following when communicating your management style:
*Numbers matter. Incorporate an achievement on your resume specically identifying the number of direct reports you managed and any indirect reports. Also make sure to include budgets or targets where it helps illustrate your accomplishment.
*Responsibilities. Where you an individual contributor as well? Or, were you more of a coach that provided training and mentoring to your team?
*Board of Directors. Did you report to one? Did you have any responsibility in managing the board? This information can be incredibly helpful when trying to land a C-Suite role somewhere else. Denitely include the details of all your board experience - even if that experience was as an adviser for another company or as a volunteer for a non-profit.
Wearing many hats can also mean that entrepreneurs do not have a depth of expertise in a specic area. Beat that unfavorable appearance by focusing your resume on what you do best and incorporating details on how you bring a clear vision. To do this, think about the following:
*Multiple resumes. Many executives have more than one resume to make it easier to highlight different skills to support their wide search. Not sure if you should have more than 1 resume? Read here.
*Categorize your achievements. Adding a few strategic headers to your achievements or skills to help group/organize them in a way that easily conveys your skills. This could be words focused on the function (i.e. operations, human resources, accounting, etc.). Or, it could be using headers to break out your exit experience, board experience, or other categories of information that would help to draw attention to your unique message.
*Illustrate your vision. Include examples of how you dened a vision in your past company/companies and used that vision to align the resources to the overall objectives. This will help the reader understand who you are as a leader while also appreciating the fact that you can also keep a handle on the daily details.
The relationships that leaders have matter just as much (if not more) than their actual experience and results. This is particularly true when looking in your industry or at similar organizations. Thus, including this information on your resume when looking for a job after exiting your company helps the hiring manager to understand who you have worked with. So, to effectively include this information on your resume, make sure to:
*Have the right to do so. Your resume is generally a private document (instead of a social media prole), but you still may have signed agreements that prevented disclosure of the client's name. When in doubt, keep it general (i.e. Fortune 500 Retailer, Regional Developer, National Bank, etc.)
*Be strategic. Categories of clients can also serve to hit important keywords that the recruiter/ATS may be looking for when reviewing resumes. In that case, the specic names matter less than the nature of the work you were doing before. Make sure to tweak this information to the specfic job where you are applying.
*It is different than a reference. A prospective employer could eventually ask to speak with the person at the customer referenced on your resume. More likely, they will simply ask for references. Remember to compile the list of references you will use early on in your search (and let the people know) so it is ready to go when you need it most.