In December I was delighted to be asked to write a piece for the latest edition of Kent Women in Business (KWIB) magazine, a glossy content-driven publication which has become a must-have subscription for Kent-based female business owners.
I prepared an article which resonated with the magazine’s readership, and I am pleased to share the content with you on this week’s blog.
How to present your own business on your CV
Setting up and running your own business is one of the biggest learning experiences you’ll ever go through. Along the way, you will undoubtedly encounter numerous and diverse challenges and, in overcoming them, acquire a wealth of skills, insight and knowledge which will boost your credibility and, ultimately, your employability. By nature, people who run their own business are ambitious, determined, optimistic, resilient and flexible – qualities than can pack a powerful punch when presented in the right way.
Despite this, encapsulating the value you can bring and the skills you have developed through running your own business is no easy task, especially when it comes to writing your CV. Even if a traditional CV is less of a necessity when you run your own business, a presence on LinkedIn is increasingly important to build your professional reputation and establish your expertise.
When writing your CV, how you should ideally present your entrepreneurial experience really depends on the target you have in mind. Before putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard, consider what it is that your target audience will most want to see. With this in mind, I’ve selected a few potential areas of focus you may have as a business owner writing your CV, and outlined some relevant tips to help you optimise your CV presentation.
Target 1: A new contract
When you are positioning yourself for a new contract, it is a good idea to ensure your LinkedIn profile represents you at your best, so that if your prospective client decides to check you out they can see an accurate picture of what you do and the value you can bring. Even when a new contract is not right on the horizon, it is a good idea to keep your CV up to date and ready for inclusion in tenders, proposals or presentations.
Focus your LinkedIn profile on the benefits you bring to similar clients, evidenced through project examples, endorsements and recommendations wherever possible. Beware of listing ‘boring’ internal business duties when your target is a new client, they are less interested in how your business is run and more interested in what you can do for them.
Target 2: An employed role that leverages the skills you use in your business
Running a successful business uses and develops many transferable skills that can bring you kudos when applying for an employed role. These include business foundation, strategic planning, team building and leadership, new product development, business development, lead generation, marketing, operations management, delivering change and quality control; to name but a few.
Use your CV and LinkedIn profile to demonstrate the achievements you take pride in and the challenges you have overcome to build your success. Being able to state that you have ‘established your business from scratch to achieve turnover of £X within 12 months through sales to X clients’ is pretty impressive.
Target 3: An employed role that draws upon the experience you gained in your former career
Sometimes, for a number of reasons, it may be more appealing to return to a career you had before setting up on your own.
In this case, it may be pertinent to slightly downplay your experience as a business owner on your CV, and focus instead on achievements from your earlier career.
In this scenario, I would recommend using a Relevant Experience section to place your relevant work experience on page one. You can follow this with an Other Experience section on page two, summarising briefly any non-relevant work history including your own business.
Are you struggling with how to showcase your business on your CV? Why not try Giraffe CVs’ free CV review or call Lis McGuire on 01622 355748.