Your resume is your opportunity to make a great first impression and stand out from the competition. But if you’re running your own business as your main gig or even just as a side hustle, describing it on your resume can be tricky.
You want to make it sound as impressive as it really is for future opportunities, but you also don’t want to come across as too boastful. So, how can you make sure your small business or side hustle shines on your resume? Check out our top tips below.
You’ll be able to catch the eyes of potential employers and show them that you’re not just another applicant — you’re an entrepreneur with real-world experience and skills. And that’ll set you apart from the rest.
1. Emphasize Your Accomplishments Over Your Responsibilities
For starters, when writing the bullet points for your entrepreneur experience on your resume, you want to focus on your specific accomplishments rather than your day-to-day responsibilities. This will show future employers that you’re results-oriented and can produce tangible outcomes, which are the two things that any hiring decision-maker will look for no matter where you’re applying.
Remember, your resume isn’t about just describing what you did every day – that’s a job description! It’s about proving that you got things done and can do it again for another opportunity. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, so make sure you’re highlighting your successes in the best light rather than phrasing things in a way that comes off like a job posting.
Take time to think about what you achieved while running your small business or side hustle, and make sure to put those accomplishments front and center on your resume. Your bullet points should follow the following formula:
- Active Verb
- Contribution and Skills Used
- Add Metrics to Contribution/Result
An example of this would be: “Implemented new social media strategy, increasing Instagram followers by 25% over 3 months”
- Implemented: This active verb shows that you were in charge of something and had control over the outcome.
- Increased: This shows that you made an impact and improved on something.
- Instagram Followers: This is the specific result or outcome you achieved.
- 25%: This is a metric that quantifies your result.
By utilizing this formula, you can be sure to write strong and impactful bullet points that’ll grab the attention of future employers.
2. Only Include What’s Relevant to the Opportunity You’re Applying For
As a small business owner, you certainly wear many hats. And while your experience may be impressive, not all of it needs to be included in detail on your resume. When applying for a job, always tailor your resume to the specific opportunity you’re applying for.
This means that you should focus your Professional Experience and Summary sections on the skills and experience that are most relevant to the role you’re interested in. First, go through the job description and look for key skills and requirements. Then, make sure you include examples of how you’ve used those same skills in your own business using the specifics mentioned in step #1.
Key items to look for in the job description include any “must-haves” or required qualifications, as well as preferred qualifications/skills – look for particular skills, level of experience, education, or certifications. Even take time to understand and integrate those soft skills and company values as much as you can. You want to demonstrate that you’re a perfect fit for the opportunity, which means highlighting the things that make you stand out as a match..
Taking the time to customize your resume for every job you apply to may seem like a lot of work. But it’s worth it. You’ll hear back from more employers because you’ll be demonstrating quickly that you have what they’re looking for, unlike the dozens or hundreds of other applicants who don’t take the tailor.
3. Focus On Transferable Skills
Another thing you want to keep in mind when writing your resume is that not all of the skills you need for the job will seem directly apparent in your entrepreneurial experience. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have them or shouldn’t include them!
You can – and should – still highlight any transferable skills that you have on your resume. These are the skills you’ve acquired from running your business that may not seem evident but can be applied to the role you’re interested in.
Transferable skills can be both hard skills (e.g., programming, invoicing, and other technical skills) and soft skills (e.g., teamwork, communication, leadership). Remember, employers are looking for well-rounded candidates with a diverse set of skills, especially since transferable soft skills are difficult to teach.
Some examples of transferable skills you might be able to emphasize from your small business could include:
- Team management
- Inventory management
- Conflict Resolution
- Customer Service
You likely used all of these skills (and more!) in some capacity while building your business.
Highlight these in relevant points throughout your resume, including the Summary section, Areas of Expertise/Skills section, Professional Experience section, or even the Volunteering section if you have one. Be sure to not just name these skills, but give examples of how you’ve used them during your career journey.
4. Save Discussion About the Future of the Business for Your Cover Letter, Networking, and Interview
When applying for a job, it’s essential to focus on the present. This means that, while you may be very proud of your small business or side hustle, it’s not the time to talk at length about its future plans or potential growth since that takes up valuable space on a resume.
Sometimes, you may think that there might be a conflict and want the employer to know whether or not you’ll be continuing with your business if you take the job. But this still doesn’t need to be mentioned on your resume – it’s something that can be easily discussed during the interview process if needed. In certain cases, if you’re really concerned, you could address that there won’t be any conflict in your cover letter.
In short, save the discussion about the future of the business for when you have more time to talk about it in detail.
Time to Get Writing!
Now that you know what to include (and what not to include) on a winning resume, it’s time to get writing! Keep these tips in mind as you craft your resume and the impressive accomplishments from your small business or side hustle will definitely shine through to land you that new opportunity.