The Self-Employed Resume

You may think you have no need for a resume as a self-employed business owner, but that is not always the case. In fact, there are several situations when you may find that a resume is necessary. For example:

  • You are going back to work for someone else.
  • You are applying for membership in a professional organization.
  • You are applying for an industry-specific certification.
  • You are applying as a presenter or exhibitor at a conference.
  • You are bidding on a job with a large company or organization.

Those are just a few reasons a business owner may need a resume; read this post for more.

Self-Employed Resume Template

OK, so you are ready to dust off your resume and modify it for your entrepreneurial experience. The main difference between a traditional resume and a resume for a business owner is that the latter focuses more on proven experience, relevant achievements, and expert skills than career history.

All other resume rules remain the same, including:

  • Make your contact information easy to find
  • Use standard fonts in standard sizes
  • Aim for no more than two pages
  • Use headers and bullets to make it easy to scan
  • Skip the fancy formatting and graphics
  • Keep it brief and to the point

Of course, you can ignore as many of these rules as you’d like, depending on the type of audience you are preparing your resume for and what the expectations are.

To get you started with developing your own business owner resume, we have created this self-employed resume template and provided some tips for creating an effective business owner resume. Please feel free to download, modify, share and use this template however you’d like.

Click to download the Self-Employed Resume Template Word document: 
Self-Employed Resume Template (doc)

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Alyssa Gregory
Alyssa is a digital strategist, content marketer, freelance writer and founder of the Small Business Bonfire. She's a team player, a team builder and not a bad leader, either. You can often find her on various social networks looking for remarkable people to collaborate with.


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  1. Pingback: Why You Still Need a Resume as a Business Owner | Small Business Bonfire

  2. This is timely info for me. I’m applying for projects and part time work after being self employed for years. I haven’t put together a resume for 10 years and was feeling uncertain about how to do so the right way.

    • Glad it’s helpful, Shelley! While the layout and formatting can change, the key part of a resume for someone who is self-employed is that is focuses on what you’ve accomplished and achievements you’ve had, instead of WHERE you did those things. Good luck with your search!

  3. Truly insightful, Alyssa!

    I hadn’t really thought about having a resume as an entrepreneur, since I usually talk about my skills in person to someone, but it’s actually a really good idea. In fact, I have come up against a couple places already that require a type of resume in order to bid on projects. Thanks for the info & template!

  4. I have found this information very helpful although, now I’m seeking a job no longer owning my own business. I’m struggling with a two page resume to sell myself without being wordy, “over qualified” and/or specific in my accomplishments in brevity.
    Due to the industry (real estate in particular) I had no other option than to close my business down. My company provided real estate closing and title services, to individuals, large corporations and financial institutions. I was very successful and loved what I did but need now to change careers for the obvious reasons!
    Any suggestions for a “former small business owner” resume currently seeking any reasonable employment utilizing my experience as a small business owner?
    I’m a single mother of two boys and desperately need guidance as to how to start over again. I haven’t done a resume in over 16 years! Any suggestions welcomed.

    Desperate but hopeful in SC

    • Hi Joey. It’s hard to start over — I know how overwhelming it can be! The template provided should be a good start for you. Keep it skill-focused and highlight the most relevant experience you have for the job you’re interested in. And consider tweaking your resume for every opportunity…the more specific it is for the position, the better the changes of garnering attention. Best of luck to you!

  5. Kim Purdy

    I am a small business owner as a shiatsu practitioner and classical homeopath, I currently own the same business in the same location since 1997, but am looking at two jobs that are in the same field but owned by someone else because of the economy etc.
    I have no desire to steal their business but tend to think this is what will be thought, so having a conundrum of how I should word this.

  6. Pingback: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012 | Small Business Bonfire

  7. Julia

    Sometimes, career change becomes a crucial decision of life, and it must be done carefully so that you can secure a bright future. If, you have made up your mind to move forward in this direction, your resume must be drafted attractively, and it can be done by using Sometimes, career change becomes a crucial decision of life, and it must be done carefully so that you can secure a bright future. If, you have made up your mind to move forward in this direction, your resume must be drafted attractively, and it can be done by using free resume template..

  8. Claire McDaniel

    Thank you for posting the self employed template. I have found it to be very helpful. I have been in business since 2001. Now I find myself having to find a job in corporate America. I haven’t had much luck and I do feel as though its because my resume didn’t adequately reflect my accomplishments and skills.

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