applying for jobs when you've been self employed

(7 Posts)
GrumpyMcGrumpFace Tue 08-Oct-19 15:26:36

Hi - I would love some advice from employers/HR people:

Having been self employed, many online forms are tricky to fill in because they insist on filling in an "employer" box - obvs I can put in n/a, self employed, but does that look a bit shit (and what would be an alternative?)

My references, one of which must be from my "current employer". I am still in touch with the people who last employed me, more than 10 years ago, but is that what it actually wanted? Should I get a client reference instead, and how is that sort of thing viewed? Obviously the relationship is different.

I feel quite confused by the whole thing, and very non-standard. But then, I had the impression that lots more people were working on a self-employed basis these days....

OP’s posts: |
maxelly Wed 09-Oct-19 12:05:50

This is probably a bit down to personal preference of the employer, but I would say put 'self-employed' down as employer name, unless you are registered as a company of course. Doesn't look shit to me (albeit in my industry self-employed work is very common and not looked down on), if anything I would be quite impressed. Perhaps I might mentally note to ask you at interview for your rationale for switching back to employed work after so long self-employed and maybe some probes on how you'd cope with having a 'boss' again but if you otherwise met the criteria it certainly wouldn't put you off.

References, it depends on whether it's a 'suitability' reference (can you do the job) or a compliance reference (are you telling the truth about who you are and your work history). If the former (which is probably more common), then a reference from a client would be perfect. If the latter (which regulated industries require plus if you need a DBS or security clearance) then it will need to be someone who can confirm you ran the company from x date to y date which a client probably couldn't do unless they are a very long term one. Perhaps an accountant if you have one can confirm this for you, or you can provide proof of tax return submissions or similar. For the purposes of the form I'd put the client, then if it turns out when offered the role the employer requires a full compliance reference I would just have a chat with HR about their requirements - as you say self-employed work is not that unusual so they will have come across it before.

GrumpyMcGrumpFace Thu 10-Oct-19 13:42:53

thank you maxelly

OP’s posts: |
flowery Thu 10-Oct-19 19:25:30

Is your self-employed work doing the same thing?

Thatsenoughjuststopit Thu 10-Oct-19 22:25:11

I used my accountant as a referee as well as our business manager from one of our main supplier's. Both were accepted by a school.
I am in the position with my business where I have taken on a lunchtime supervisor job at a school 5 mins walk from my business.
It allows me a but time to get some employment whilst still sorting my business.

GrumpyMcGrumpFace Fri 11-Oct-19 08:26:45

flowery it will be connected in some way, but just how much I don't know yet (am only at the start of the looking for jobs and application process). I have two businesses which are linked in that they are both connected with training, but the subject is quite different - so some jobs might be more applicable to one than the other. One is B2B, the other is B2C as well.

OP’s posts: |
orangesugarsheep Sat 12-Oct-19 10:43:47

I have gone from self employed to employed and gave as references two people who had known me for a long time. I was self employed for over 10 years so old employers weren't relevant. I had done some volunteering and so used those, Incidentally none of the references were actually followed up - in one case because the MD knew someone whose child had been in my childs class and had said I was really nice!

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