Starting Your Own Business: Do You Need a Resume?

Starting Your Own Business: Do You Need a Resume?

Congratulations! You have decided to take the plunge into starting your own business. Over the last few years, I have congratulated many friends and clients on their entrepreneurship.  Oftentimes, they ask me if a resume is still needed. My answer has been—and remains—a firm “maybe.” Before you can truly determine the answer, it’s essential to define what “starting a business” means for you, and what your end game is.

“Starting your own business” is a big umbrella that captures every variety of self-employment, from writing a business plan, hiring an attorney to determine whether your business should be structured as an S-corp or an LLC, and leasing office space; to organizing your freelance gigs under a catchy business name, building your own Web site, and popping into a WeWork space once a week.

Although your objectives may change over time, whether or not you need a resume from the get-go will be dictated by your current exit strategy.

For instance, if you have been downsized, or if you left your job without taking another, you may opt to seek some temporary consulting gigs while you embark on your job search. It’s a good strategy and puts candidates in stronger positions while keeping the door open to some freelance income. In this scenario, your resume and LinkedIn profile will absolutely need to reflect your status, regardless of whether you have five freelance projects or none. Ultimately, your resume should clearly fill in any career gaps.

At the polar opposite to consulting while actively searching for a new job are those who take a deep dive into the self-employment arena with their eyes toward building a long-term, thriving business. Oftentimes, their businesses provide clients with services such as design, writing, public relations, and marketing—and that means attracting and keeping clients. It is usually at this juncture when the necessity of whether or not you need a resume will reveal itself.

If you are starting your own business and do not have a deep track record and a lengthy client list, you will need to provide some version of your background in proposals, which, at the very least, should include your relevant professional history. This information may be presented as a bio, an abbreviated resume, or even a traditional resume: if you are responding to a government contract RFP (Request for Proposal)—or even a Nonprofit RFP—you will probably be asked to include the professional resumes of all persons you are putting forth to work on the project.

Likewise, throughout their forays into entrepreneurship, many people notice extremely compelling job opportunities. Occasionally, even several years after starting your own business, you may hear about a job and find yourself thinking, “that sounds like a great job for me.” It certainly doesn’t mean you have failed in your business, but quite the opposite: you have a thriving business but are ready to try something new. Then, as with any other job opportunity, you will need to submit your resume and the last thing you want to be doing under pressure is updating your resume.

Logos, business cards, social media presence, and networking events are the flashy aspects of starting your own business. But entrepreneurs often find themselves needing an updated resume that references their business.

If you need support in planning your job search and creating a professionally written resume, contact San Francisco-based resume writer, Robin Kelley, at Resume Preferred to schedule an introductory call.

If you’re a senior executive and are seeking to capture and convey your value in the marketplace—and achieve the next level of career success—contact Leadership Career Consultant Amy Phillip.