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How to Include a Sole Proprietor or Private Practice on a Resume

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You might think employers will be impressed by the fact that you owned your own business or ran a private practice. But as it turns out, that can actually turn them off. When you've been out on your own, recruiters and hiring managers might worry that you'll be a short-timer who won't stick around long working for someone else. While that might be an unfounded fear, careful wording on your resume can help downplay the business owner part and instead focus on the actual work you did.

Focus on What You Did

Instead of listing "owner" or "sole proprietor" as your job title, focus on the actual jobs you did. If you were the sole proprietor of an engineering firm, for example, list your job as "Chief Civil Engineer" instead of "CEO." If you had a private practice as a psychologist, list "clinical psychologist" as your title. In standard resumes, you'll list your job title, dates of employment and the business name, followed by bullet points describing your duties. In the bullets, describe specific things you did that pertain to the job at hand, as opposed to the ownership tasks. As a psychologist, talk about accomplishments with clients instead of how you managed staff or dealt with budgets. By listing the name of the business, recruiters might infer that you owned it, so word your cover letter carefully to avoid scaring them off. Mention strengths that apply to the new job and state that you're looking forward to focusing more on that instead of running the business.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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