If you are self-employed or have been recently self-employed, you may not have an up-to-date CV. If you’re making the switch from being your own boss to joining the world of PAYE employment, you’ll need to convey all your experience and key transferable skills and explaining periods of self-employment on CVs isn’t always easy if you don’t have the knowledge and insight we have.
On the positive side, self-employment can show employers that you’re entrepreneurial and competent in your field. However, on the negative side periods of self-employment on CVs can make an employer question why you want to make the transition in to a paid position and would you fit in to corporate hierarchy again. People often find it hard to explain why they want to make the move from self-employment on CVs and it’s essential you get it right to avoid a prospective employer thinking your own business failed and perhaps you’re not an industry expert at all.
Self-Employment on a CV
When writing a CV, it’s a good idea to focus on how the prospective employer will perceive periods of self-employment: some employers are absolutely fine with it, others are sometimes not.
In the main, there are misconceptions that being self-employed means you are not used to working as part of a team, could be adverse to adhering to policy or procedures, or even that you will not warm to being instructed by someone else. Of course, it all depends on the individual and in the main, these are myths.
The other alternative is to perhaps utilise a different term or phrase for having been self-employed. Some applicants prefer to refer to themselves as having been ‘freelance’ or a ‘contractor’ or ‘freelance contractor’ as this indicates that you have been actively working as part of a team for a larger organisation, which is likely to be criteria they are looking for.
What Can you Include on a Self-Employed CV?
There are many scenarios you can use to portray that you are able to undertake tasks in an employed scenario. If you’re self-employed and want to write a CV, here are a few ideas ro consider.
> Presumably, you would regularly receive instructions from your clients so why is that any different to being instructed by a line manager or company director? As such, ensure you convey this in your CV.
> In any profession there are guidelines and regulations to adhere so why not mention your compliance or memberships to organisations?
> When it comes to working as part of a team, this can still be possible when self-employed, particularly if you have to work alongside other trades or professions in order to complete works.
> Did you manage staff or contractors? If so, portray your team and leadership capabilities and cite examples.
> It is more than likely that you had to network in both a face-to-face and and online capacity demonstrating your ability to prospect for new customers and build robust on-going relationships with clients.
> If you have a valuable network on contacts, mention it. A list of potential new customers can be an interview-winning gem.
> Give examples of how you expanded and developed your business and how you reached targets, citing figures where possible to reinforce your experience.
> Demonstrate ways you showed intiative, addressed problems, secured finance, introduced change, etc.
> Establish yourself as an industry expert by showing you have practical knowledge of the industry.
> What other responsibilities did you have? If you managed procurement, sales, logistics, HR, accounts, advertising, social media management, marketing, mention it to demonstrate the scope of your competence.
> Have you ever delivered business presentations, had articles published, attended conferences, exhibited, etc. Don’t forget to include any key details that make you standout as a credible candidate and expert in your field.
Industry Tricks of the Trade
Each CV sent out should be written and tailored according to the job for which you wish to apply and there are many industry tricks that can be employed when writing the CV but without being false or misleading is rather an art! Writing a CV if you are self-employed can be a little trickier than the norm but with our expert help and a careful play on words, a CV can be written to fully showcase your skills and experience to win over the employer.
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