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From Self-Employed to Re-Employed

Rejoining the Corporate World

One of the toughest career challenges is returning to corporate life after being self-employed for a number of years. If you are a self-employed job candidate, you are probably facing misconceptions about your career that are keeping you out of the “must interview” candidate list. For example, employers may assume:

  • Your experiences are too broad
  • You are overqualified and too expensive
  • You can’t fit their corporate mold

No matter what the reason, the challenge remains universal: getting back into the corporate workplace without taking a step backward financially or professionally. To ease the transition, there are three job search tips that can help optimize your re-employment results:

  • Prepare a resume based on targeted transferable skills
  • Reconnect with your network
  • Gain competitive advantage by increasing your interview skills
  1. Prepare a resume based on targeted transferable skillsAs an entrepreneur, you’ve probably worn many hats: operations, sales, accounting and finance, to name a few. Chances are your resume reflects such a wide range of management experience that your resume lacks focus. If your resume is getting overlooked for positions you’re qualified for, employers are probably not making the match because you’ve given them information overload. To match your expertise with corporate hiring needs, the first step is to identify the transferable skills required for your targeted career objective.

    Think selectively about what skills to include in your resume. If you are looking to fill the role of accountant, your resume doesn’t need to include information about how you marketed your own product or services. Additionally, don’t include any skills on your resume that you no longer want to perform. Think of this time as the perfect opportunity to finally ditch those unwanted tasks.

  2. Reconnect with your networkEntrepreneurs tend to network with other entrepreneurs, leaving them isolated from corporate contacts. Those on the inside of corporate life have the advantage of learning about jobs through their professional association peers and company grapevines.

    If you have been “out of the loop” with your old professional network, it’s time to reconnect. Start by contacting former colleagues to let them know that you are preparing to return to corporate life. This is no time to be shy. Ask their advice about whom to contact within their company that might be interested in your skills and experiences.

    Another source of employment leads are your current vendors and professional services providers. Ask their advice on who among their professional circle might be interested in learning about your availability. If you ask for advice, your request comes across as a compliment; most people are flattered to be asked their suggestions, opinions and advice.

  3. Gain competitive advantage by improving your interview skillsMany self-employed job seekers find that they are unable to communicate their value to potential employers. Even if you’ve been marketing your own business for years, don’t be surprised if you find yourself tongue-tied when trying to promote yourself as the perfect candidate.

    Worse still, if you aren’t 100% sure what employers are looking for, you could inadvertently turn them off by coming off as “too entrepreneurial” or “not a team player” in an interview. What the employer is looking for may not be the same skills that made you a success in business. You want to be seen as corporate material�their corporation.

    Interview preparation that includes building a list of accomplishments is one of the best ways to gain competitive advantage. Accomplishments are developed by identifying the major problems and challenges you have overcome, then mapping those results to corporate bottom-line objectives: revenue built, costs cut, and processes improved.

Don’t let anxiety over re-entering corporate life lead to less-than-satisfactory employment. With thoughtful strategy, you can turn the next phase of your career into the best professional years of your life.

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