By Elizabeth Benu,
Sarah Akinyi has been unemployed for a year. She currently runs her cosmetics business in the CBD. Recently, she was asked to send her CV for a position in a PR Firm. She is confused on whether to include the one year self employed experience on her CV.
So, how do you include self employment in the CV?
“Indicate the self employment period in your “Professional Experience section. Include the registered name of the business for example ABC Sole Proprietors, the functional title or position in that business for example, Founder, Director – Operations Manager, the year you started operations,” says Melody Mwendwa a career advisor at Corporate Staffing Services.
“When you are done with that, highlight key achievements and duties and responsibilities you undertook when running your business,” she adds.
“Working for yourself shows an employer that you can overcome hardships, build lasting connections with clients and deliver results in order to keep the business going. These attributes should be highlighted on your CV with relevant examples of when you have used them to expand a business or reach targets,” says Ms. Mwendwa.
She also advises that you should include any major success, the challenges you faced, how you overcame them and how you got results.
“Provide at least one client who can confirm and is willing to discuss your self employment with your employer. It can also be a former work colleague who can affirm the presence of your business. Have their permission before listing them and make sure they are prepared to answer questions and vouch for you,” she advises.
She says that they can give recommendations that speak of your skills, professionalism and expertise.
What are the advantages of being self employed for a candidate?
“If you have been out of employment for long it is an advantage since it fills in the gaps and creates the impression that you have professional business skills and entrepreneurial skills too,” Ms. Mwendwa highlights.
It also shows that you have initiative and an ability to manage a business or a senior level position, especially if your business was successful. A business person can network effectively and find creative solutions to problems. They also have practical knowledge of the industry and for an employer it shows you can bring a list of resources and contacts to the company,” she adds.
Are there any disadvantages to being self employed?
Ms. Mwendwa says that, “An employer worries that you will have trouble falling back into a position where you have to answer to somebody. They are also afraid that you will leave soon once you have gotten enough capital to boost your business.”
“Another disadvantage to you as a job candidate is that if your current business offers the same line of products or services as the position you want to apply for, the potential employer could see this as an opportunity for you to gain in on trade secrets. They will therefore be reluctant in hiring you for the similar position,” she adds.
Here is a sample section of a CV indicating the self employed experience:
[Owner and CEO]
[Company details], [Location] Date
- Planned and directed all functions of the company
- Established and integrated the functional strategies of the company utilizing business expertise to reach financial/operational goals and objectives.
- Deployed resources to achieve financial forecast and business objectives
- Analyzed market trends and statistics to determine potential of growth
Core Competencies: Key Skills and Strengths
- Experience cooperating and working with cross company Executives
- Leadership and charisma
- Excellent organizational, presentation and negotiation skills.
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