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How to Update a Resume After Starting a Business

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If you’re a new business owner, crafting an accurate resume requires more thought and creativity than simply listing your job title and duties. Because entrepreneurs typically wear many hats, you need a document that reflects every aspect of what you do while presenting this information in a cohesive and succinct way.

Summarize Your Qualifications

When you’ve just started a business, you don’t have a long list of accomplishments and responsibilities you can point to when describing your skills or qualifications. Instead, think in terms of your long-term career goals and how you want others to see you. Begin your resume with a descriptive title and qualifications summary. For example, if you’re launching a catering business, use a headline such as “Corporate Catering Services” or “Vegan-Friendly Catering.” Mention training, relevant highlights from previous jobs and what you’ve achieved so far in your new venture.

Choose Your Job Title Carefully

At a corporate job you’re given a title, but as a business owner you can assign yourself any title you want. This tempts some entrepreneurs to label themselves with prestigious titles such as “Founder” or “President and CEO,” but they might not accurately reflect your day-to-day duties. If you run a small business, you might routinely interact with clients and handle basic administrative tasks and a title such as “General Manager” might better describe your skills. Opt for a title relevant to your audience. If you’re a freelance professional bidding on a project, for example, describe yourself as a “Marketing Executive” or “Independent HR Consultant.”

Consolidate Information

If you’re a freelance professional or independent consultant, you might work for several clients simultaneously. Listing every client or project clutters your resume and can confuse readers, so pare this down as much as possible. Include only your most notable accounts or accomplishments or outline two or three major skills or specialties. For example, break down your role into key areas such as “Managing Personnel,” “Product Development” and “Marketing and Communications.” Summarize your day-to-day duties and experience in each area.

Describe Hands-on Experience

Traditional job titles such as “Retail Sales Clerk” or “Lead Accountant” are self-explanatory, but when you run your own business, it’s sometimes less clear exactly what you do. You might play a primarily administrative role or be intimately involved in every aspect of the business. Don’t expect your title to speak for itself; instead, illustrate specifically what your job entails. If you operate a construction company, for example, describe your experience writing project bids, marketing your business, hiring independent contractors and working with other professionals such as architects, electricians, plumbers and vendors.

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