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to put my self employment on my CV?

(33 Posts)
CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:10:16

I have run my own small business for almost 3 years which has been somewhat successful and has provided for me since mid 2014, when I was last employed FT.
DP has recently completed his PhD and in order to pursue his career we will need to move to Central London, effectively tripling our expenses. This is an exciting opportunity for both of us and I'm really looking forward to it, however there is no way the business will make enough to support a life there - I think its reached its maximum potential and I really want to join a company and work my way up.

However I'm staring at my CV which without the business, has a very large 2.5 year gap. I have a good amount of experience in administration (senior positions though nothing managerial) and the skills I developed with my business are vast and very transferable - but I'm worried about putting it down. I did everything within the business, from customer service, to merchandising, to shipping, to marketing etc etc. Lots of hats worn. I also employed people on and off (freelancers though, not through payroll) so have some managerial experience.

I feel like any recruiter will just look at my CV and see "failed business" or "candidate without commitment" and even if they don't, I can't think how to write about it anyway. I don't even know what to put as my job title, "director" sounds really wanky when its for a tiny company confused

AIBU to think my self employment has made me far less employable? Is there anything I can do about that ?

TheStoic Mon 06-Feb-17 13:12:51

Ask yourself...what would a man do?

frenchfancy Mon 06-Feb-17 13:13:08

Yanbu - self employment is valuable work experience.

Is there any way you could sell your business -even if for a small sum you could then put that you started and later sold a successful business.

MsVestibule Mon 06-Feb-17 13:14:15

Of course you put your self employment down!! Were you registered with Companies House as Director? If so, yes, that's what you should put down.

Self employment shows commitment and that you are a self-starter, which I would have thought must employers would be looking for.

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:15:34

TheStoic An excellent point grin this is more to do with my anxieties on this occasion though.

Is there any way you could sell your business I wouldn't even know where to start! The idea was to scale it right back and have it pootle along in the background whilst we're both working which is very doable. I'm not sure how much resale value its got.

ThroneofJudgypants Mon 06-Feb-17 13:15:41

Why wouldn't you include it?

pinkunicornsarefluffy Mon 06-Feb-17 13:16:27

YANBU. I have run my own business for 6 years and if I ever wanted to return to employment I would put it on my CV. I think it's great experience. Definitely briefly state the different roles you had, and that you managed staff.

You could add a bit about the business ceasing purely due to move to London if you are worried that people might think it failed.

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:17:58

MsVestibule I'm a "sole trader" so I'm registered with HMRC (since 2011/2012 off the top of my head) but not with Companies House. So I guess I couldn't call myself a Director even if I wanted to!

I considered "Overlord" but that's pretty wanky too wink

PerpetualStudent Mon 06-Feb-17 13:18:20

Of course include it! Why would they read 'failed business' rather than 'capable, experienced self-starter'?

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:23:00

Why would they read 'failed business' rather than 'capable, experienced self-starter'? I guess I'm worried that they'd wonder why I was applying for an administration role rather than pursuing my established business.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 06-Feb-17 13:23:29

Also they will only wonder why there was a gap in the cv if you don't put what you were doing.

It is better to see that you were pursuing something. You can explain that as the business has probably reached its potential and not generating the income you need that is why you have decided to bite the bullet and get back into employment again as your long term way forward.

EssentialHummus Mon 06-Feb-17 13:23:40

I'm a CV writer (among other things). Yes, include - a long gap is far worse.

Try to match the description of the work you did self-employed to the kinds of roles you're applying for - i.e. if you'll be applying for marketing roles in London, emphasise the marketing aspects of your self-employed work, and use a job title like "Sole Trader/Marketing Manager". It's a pure psychological trick, but matching your current job title to the roles you're applying for (within reason) does wonders when someone who doesn't know you is looking at your CV.

Include tangible results wherever possible - numbers, particular clients served. There's sometimes a perception that self-employed = sitting on bum reading MN (--not me, oh no--), so including quantifiable results is a good idea.

MrsNuckyThompson Mon 06-Feb-17 13:24:13

For goodness sake, it's not like it doesn't count!!

Stop asking silly questions and put it down on the CV!

DJBaggySmalls Mon 06-Feb-17 13:27:53

Its so sad that we worry about putting a gap or small business on a cv. I would include the business, and you need to learn how to spin smile

Girlwhowearsglasses Mon 06-Feb-17 13:30:48

OMG yes!

Top of the list of skills will be self management, time management, client liaison, stock control, managerial. Absolutely no harm in saying you feel like a change!

As PP said - what would a man do??

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:40:40

I started my own company in August 2014 as an online retailer and manufacturer of * goods. Since then I have dispatched my products to more than 20 countries worldwide and 43 of the 50 states in the USA. I wear multiple hats within the company, taking care of all aspects of the business including customer service, merchandising, marketing, shipping and accounting. I also manage temporary staff during peak periods. Decision making, delegation, time management and communication are all crucial aspects of my role. I regularly analyse and process data to ensure that the business is competitive. Running my own business has given me experience in overcoming adversity, building connections with customers and personally delivering results. Notable successes within my business include having been featured in several mainstream bridal magazines (***, * and *) as well as numerous high profile blogs.

Is that really wanky? "selling myself" is not on my list of skills despite being able to "overcome adversity" confused

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:42:19

And then I'd tailor that to individual jobs as EssentialHummus suggests (great name)

I have NO idea what jobs I'd actually apply for, however. I presumed I'd try to get back into University administration

TheStoic Mon 06-Feb-17 13:45:23

It's not wanky at all.

Try stepping back and pretending you're writing a friend's CV for them. A friend you really like. grin

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:49:16

TheStoic That's a good idea. I'll try that smile

TheStoic Mon 06-Feb-17 13:49:35

Although I wouldn't use such a narrative style.

Just give Title, Company, Responsibilities, Achievements.

Save the narrative for the interview.

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:51:41

Although I wouldn't use such a narrative style. Really? That makes it loads easier, though my old CV is written in the same way so I'll need to rewrite it all (not a bad thing to be honest).

TheStoic Mon 06-Feb-17 13:55:42

Recruiters look for dot points and key words (and so does their computer software).

Everything you've written is important, but they won't have time to read it.

SpiritedLondon Mon 06-Feb-17 13:58:48

Why are women so quick to down play their achievements? You kept a business going for 3 years and made a living from it ( when I understand most fail in the first year) and are astute to identity it's capacity to provide solely for you in your new environment. That's not a failure that's good business sense. You need to start selling yourself properly because chances are that other candidates will be! Good luck

CopperHandle Mon 06-Feb-17 13:59:56

TheStoic Ahah! Okay, I will start editing into points. Thank you

Trainspotting1984 Mon 06-Feb-17 14:05:55

Concentrate on competencies and achievements so-

Stated own company turnover of xx in first X years

Also you do need to tailor your cv to each job (but a general one needed for speculative apps)

This may come out the Wong way- please don't think I advocate lying on cvs- but i think people are too focused on cvs being "truth" documents. They're not, they're about selling yourself.

I regularly see cvs which are too long, which include 10, 20 years work experience and make the candidate look bad, either because they've included some crap student supermarket role in 1997 or because they look like they've hopped around a lot. There is no penalty for only including relevant information that paints you in a good light!

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