Entrepreneur Resume Guide: Expert Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

Our entrepreneurial career experts put together the best tips and mistakes to avoid. Keep reading to learn more!

Entrepreneurship creates a variety of experiences that can make it challenging to capture everything on a resume. Plus, a resume for a small business owner can be used for a variety of purposes - from securing new funding that makes it possible to grow your business or to move on to your next opportunity. In this blog, we will cover how to structure your resume, how to highlight your entrepreneurial experience and provide expert tips on avoiding common mistakes. Whether you're applying for a job or seeking investment opportunities, this guide will help you create a winning entrepreneur resume that stands out from the crowd.

Understanding the Entrepreneur Resume

To write an effective entrepreneur resume, you need to first define the purpose of the resume. Just like when you sell for your business, you need to understand the audience where you are trying to sell yourself. Will you use the resume to secure funding, to pursue board seats, or to make the move from startup founder to employee? Whatever your goals may be, make sure to be clear in how that resume may be used so that you can build an effective message to use in your job search. In your own business, you are the expert and building your resume is a chance to showcase that information to others.

Importance of a Well-Crafted Entrepreneur Resume

In a competitive job market, a well-crafted resume plays a vital role in making you stand out. If you are applying for jobs or board seats online, you will have to submit your small business owner resume through the HR software. This means that the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will scan your resume for keywords to determine if you are a match for the open role. These systems are only focused on the words on the page, so you need to include a level of detail on that resume that gets through the screening processes. The HR manager will use these analytics to evaluate whether or not you should proceed to an interview or you may even get automatically rejected by the computer systems. So, an effective entrepreneur resume starts with an ATS-compliant format when applying online.

Structuring Your Entrepreneur Resume

When crafting your entrepreneur resume, it's important to structure it effectively to showcase your skills and experience. This means that you will need all of the basics in place to make your resume as effective as possible when pursuing your goals. Start by putting your contact details on the resume and organizing the experience section in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent ventures. You will need to include a job title, dates, and the name of each company in your experience section. Here are the top tips to make the most of your details on your entrepreneur resume:

Choosing the Correct Format for Your Resume

When it comes to choosing the correct format for your resume, there are several factors to consider. One option is a functional resume format, which emphasizes skills over work history. This can be particularly beneficial for entrepreneurs who want to highlight their relevant skills and accomplishments. The functional style resume works well when you are using your entrepreneurial resume for business development purposes or board seats. But, they don't work well with the ATS.

Another commonly used format is a chronology-based resume. This traditional format provides a better experience with the HR software. But, they can be limiting when trying to change industries or to take your career in a new direction. That's why the hybrid format is often best for entrepreneurs. The hybrid style resume puts skills forward like a functional resume, but it keeps the details under the professional experience to get through the ATS. Ultimately, the format you choose should be tailored to your goals and the organizations that you will be targeting. You may want to seek some guidance or delegate this task to professional resume-writing companies like The Contingent Plan.

Crafting an Effective Resume Summary

A resume summary should answer the question "Why You?" This means that you need to use impactful words and be clear in your value proposition in a way that is relevant to your audience that is skimming your resume. Keep in mind that most people do not read your cover letter, so the resume summary is often the pitch that you have to make a first impression. You will also want to use keywords strategically in the resume summary and to tailor your statement to the types of roles it will be used for. Ultimately, the summary should be a springboard of talking points for your interview and help you to set yourself apart from other candidates.

Highlighting Your Entrepreneurial Experience

A recruiter skimming your resume will be looking for details about experiences that are relevant to the job that they are trying to fill. So, you will need to add clear details about what you do in your own business in a way that makes sense to the recruiter. This means including a job title (other than "Owner" or "Founder") and the details of your responsibilities and achievements. You will be able to tell more of a story about yourself in the cover letter, but the resume will require specific details to help you land the interview.

Providing a Comprehensive Job Description

Remember that you are not the person reviewing your resume to make the decisions. It is also important to remember that the person skimming your resume may not be familiar with your company or industry. So, it will be important to provide a level of detail about your industry, clients, products, and other information about what you do. In doing this, you will also be able to incorporate the skills that you use in achieving these results or managing your business. As a result, you will be able to improve the analytics of your resume and likely connect with the people who make the hiring decisions.

Showcasing the Skills Gained as an Entrepreneur

When it comes to showcasing the skills gained as an entrepreneur, it's important to highlight substantive and soft skills. Substantive skills such as financial management, business development, and marketing demonstrate your proficiency in specific areas essential for business success. Additionally, emphasize soft skills like leadership, communication, and problem-solving, which are crucial for effective entrepreneurship. Be sure to mention any entrepreneurial experiences that showcase your business acumen, and use concrete examples to illustrate how you utilized these skills. Lastly, connect your skills to the job requirements to demonstrate their value to potential employers.

How to Present Your Academic Qualifications?

No matter how many years of experience you have, it is still necessary to include your academic qualifications on your resume. At a certain point, the experience you have is far more valuable than your degrees. But, many jobs require a degree and the HR systems will filter out candidates who do not have the degrees listed on their resumes and deem them unqualified. Keep this section concise and focused on your career goals.

Making Your Education Section Work for You

When it comes to making your education section work for you on an entrepreneur resume, there are several key points to consider. First and foremost, list your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. Be sure to include the name of the institution, degree obtained, and graduation date. Additionally, mention any relevant coursework or specialized training that you have completed. It's also important to highlight any academic achievements or honors you have received. Connect your education to your entrepreneurial journey by showcasing transferable skills gained through your studies. This will demonstrate your ability to apply your education to real-world business situations.

What Additional Sections Can Enhance Your Resume?

Consider enhancing your resume with dedicated sections for your entrepreneurial experience, business development skills and achievements, relevant certifications or training, side projects or startup ventures, and professional affiliations or memberships. These sections can reflect your customized experience and may not be relevant to everyone - but when it is, it will make a huge impact. Make your resume stand out by including these additional sections at the end of your resume.

The Role of Extra Sections in Your Resume

Including additional sections in your resume plays a crucial role in providing more depth and context to your experience. These extra sections allow you to showcase your unique skills and qualifications, giving your resume an edge over the competition. By highlighting specific achievements or areas of expertise, you can demonstrate your comprehensive skill set to potential employers or clients. Whether it's a dedicated section for your entrepreneurial experience, relevant certifications or training, or showcasing side projects or startup ventures, these additional sections add value to your resume and help you stand out.

Avoid Common Mistakes on an Entrepreneur Resume

To avoid common mistakes on an entrepreneur's resume, it's important to avoid including irrelevant information and using generic buzzwords. Instead, focus on quantifying your accomplishments and results. Double-check for typos and grammatical errors, and tailor your resume to the specific job you're applying for.

Historical Reporting of Your Experience

When crafting your entrepreneur resume, it's important to be aware of common pitfalls and how to avoid them. Here are some of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make on their resumes and how to avoid them to make your resume stand out.

Talking About the Business and Not Yourself

Many startup entrepreneurs get stuck in talking about what their company or products do instead of what they do. Your resume is about you! This means that you need to focus every detail and sentence on that resume about your strengths, results, and responsibilities. You do need to explain what your company does on your resume, but the focus of your resume should not be on your business. Instead, you need to talk about what it does in the context of what you achieved, who you served, or how you managed your team.

Narrative Storytelling

A resume needs bullet points not paragraphs. Studies consistently show that people spend about 6 seconds before they make up their mind about whether to keep skimming your resume. It's easy to get stuck and sometimes writing a few sentences can help break the barriers to completing your resume. But, you will need to go back and put that narrative into bullet points if you want the resume to be effective.

Making Yourself Look Old & Outdated

Your entrepreneur resume should not make you look old or out of touch. This isn't just about the style of your resume, but also in the details that you include on the resume. Meaning that even if you use the latest resume templates or a resume builder, you still have to be careful with what information you include on your resume to make sure that you look relevant in today's job market. For many, this means keeping focused on their most recent experiences and eliminating their early career details. For others, it can also mean removing the dated industry jargon or software that they may have used in their business. Instead, focus on what you want to do next and emphasize that information on your resume to avoid this common mistake.

Forgetting Your Audience

One of the biggest and most common mistakes that many entrepreneurs make when building their resume is to forget their audience. You cannot just think about what you want or look for on a resume. Instead, you need to think about the other people that will review your resume to make sure that they can see your value proposition and understand your achievements. This means stripping out some of the industry jargon and communicating your experiences and skills in a way that everyone can understand. You can still use industry terms, but you need to define them on the resume by first writing them out or by providing context to your result to demonstrate the relevance of that information to the people reviewing your resume.

How to Tailor Your Resume for Different Opportunities?

To tailor your resume for different opportunities, conduct thorough research on each job's requirements. Customize your resume by highlighting the most relevant skills and experiences. Use language and keywords that align with the specific job description. Showcase your accomplishments and quantifiable examples of success in the desired role.

Customizing your resume can take a lot of time - particularly if you don't know the systems and keywords that the programs look for. Professional resume writing companies like The Contingent Plan can always help you with the process of building a resume that gets you the interview. The difference between a resume writing company and a resume builder is that the resume writing company will work with you to gather the information to make sure that the details are captured. Where a resume builder is simply an online tool that requires you to input the data and it does not help you to determine what needs to go into the resume.


In conclusion, crafting an effective entrepreneur resume requires careful attention to detail and a strategic approach. Avoid common mistakes such as neglecting to showcase your entrepreneurial experience or overlooking the importance of tailoring your resume for different opportunities. Instead, focus on presenting a well-structured resume, including comprehensive job descriptions, highlighting relevant skills, and emphasizing the impact of your entrepreneurial endeavors. By following these expert tips and avoiding common pitfalls, you can create a standout entrepreneur resume.

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