Young business woman with laptop and mobile phone

A job seeker asked us how to overcome some of the hurdles entrepreneurs and business owners face when they decide to begin a job search –

I am a young entrepreneur who is currently in the process of separating from co-ownership of his company. Having only one job prior to working for himself, my concern is that companies may see my entrepreneurial experience as a downside when it comes to group projects/team orientation, time scheduling/deadlines or being delegated. I am looking to focus my skills in a marketing and sales aspect of business but would like to get your opinion on perhaps the best way to go about explaining my skill sets to employers without scarring them away with the word ‘entrepreneur’ or from my long hiatus as an employee.

We asked Partner and Co-Founder Danielle Bragge to share her top tips, being both an experienced Recruitment Consultant and entrepreneur herself:

The biggest challenge that business owners or entrepreneurs have when considering becoming an employee is what do they put on their resume? Many hiring managers are nervous about hiring someone who has been self-employed, their perception is that a past business owner could be somewhat of a maverick.

Below are suggestions on how tackle your job hunt as a business owner or entrepreneur:

  • You don’t have to use the words “Self-employed”, “Founder” or “Owner” on your resume. Instead, name the business and state Operations Manager, CEO or President as title.
  • Explain your job responsibilities and focus on the duties that best qualify you for the job you are applying for. Try to use the same skills language used in the job description. Downplay irrelevant duties so that it does not dilute your resume.
  • After listing some job responsibilities, highlight your accomplishments. Describe how you grew the organization and be as quantifiable as possible. Focus on accomplishments that align closest to your goal career.
  • During the interview, disclose you were the Owner/Founder. 50% of the job seeking battle has been won by the time you are invited for the interview. The other 50% will be based on FIT. By the time you share this information the interviewer will already have determined your FIT within the organization.
  • Assure prospective employers that you will not be running a business on the side. Future employer will be concerned with your dedication to the job. Be ready to explain why you have decided to leave your entrepreneurial past behind and why you’re committed to this company/role/career path.

As an entrepreneur, your job search can be a little trickier, but you also have a lot of value to offer an organization. Don’t underestimate your achievements and the skills you developed from your time as a business owner.


Danielle’s 25 years in the recruitment industry across South Africa and Canada has been the foundation and background for the success of The Headhunters and TempsAhead. As partner and co-founder, she built the company from scratch in 2009. In addition to her strong leadership skills, Danielle is also an excellent Career Development coach, having trained and developed staff for over 20 years. She is a frequent speaker, inspiring and educating audiences across Western Canada. Based in our Edmonton office, Danielle specializes in the recruitment of senior accounting and finance professionals.