Why The Self-Employed Need A Killer Resume

The Self-Employment Paradox

For years, you’ve been gainfully employed at a successful business; you have been with the company since day one, and in addition to improving your core set of skills over the years, you have mastered everything from bookkeeping to sales. Now it’s time to write a resume, and there is only one problem: your boss is…you. Look at the bright side: you will have a fantastic reference!

When you’re self-employed, writing a resume can be complicated, but it is essential. Your resume is an often overlooked sales tool when you own your own business. But the fact is, a killer resume impresses potential clients. It allows you to show off, put your best foot forward, and subtly explain why you are the best guy or gal for the gig.


Additionally, not only does a solid resume help you explain your relevant history and awesome skills to prospective clients, but it also allows you to keep track of what you have accomplished. A resume can help you land a big account, convince a lender to invest in your business, or get that killer contract.

Bottom line: You need a resume that is as dynamic as your business. Here’s the essentials of what yours should contain:

Your Credentials

In addition to your degrees and professional background, be sure to list any licenses, accreditation, or certificates you have earned as a solopreneur. If you’ve received any awards or special accolades, then be sure to include them. Don’t be bashful! Make yourself look like an all-star.

If you are finding it difficult to describe your self-employment in a way that touches on your entire range of skills, then you can include a separate “skills” section at the bottom of the resume. This is a great chance to tout second-tier talents such as accounts payable experience or superb customer service.

Remember to use powerful, descriptive words and adjectives, but it is also a fine line: Exude confidence and competence, but not cockiness.

Develop a Skills-Based Resume

If your resume looks like a grocery list—a bullet-pointed index of past projects organized chronologically—then you need to scrap it and begin building a skills-based resume from scratch. Skills-based resumes are a different animal: they focus on you and what you’re good at, rather than on when and where you’ve spent your time.

Traditional resumes make it difficult for employers to understand who you are and what you are capable of. If a client or lender is reviewing dozens of identical-looking resumes, then of course they are going to have a hard time telling the difference between you and all the other applicants. A skills-based resume sets you apart by putting the spotlight on your abilities.

Organize your resume around 3 or 4 primary skills. For each skill, list several accomplishments and the particulars of the assignments. Be specific when you’re focusing on your accomplishments. It’s not enough to say that you are good at X. You need to explain precisely how you are good at X.

You want your resume to be as informative as possible without being bloated. Keep it concise: rather than discussing in detail what you’ve done, discuss the outcome. It is one thing to act as your own accountant, it’s another to save money through efficiency and proper bookkeeping.

Update your resume regularly, at least once a year. If you wish, post a copy to your LinkedIn profile or your official website. Your resume is basically a detailed business card, and you never know when it will make the difference between a big deal and diddly-squat.

Have a great story about something on your resume that landed you a job? Share it with the rest of us in the comments section below.

Marshall Lee

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