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Deborah Walker

From Self-Employed to Re-Employed

Rejoining the corporate world. Three strategies exposed.

December 20, 2007
by Deborah Walker, CCMC

Self-employed job seekers face real challenges when trying to re-enter corporate life. As a financial professional or a CPA, if you don’t know how to address recruiters’ needs, your résumé may be taken out of consideration before the interviews even begin. Take your job search from going nowhere to going your way by learning these résumé writing, networking and interviewing skills.

One of the toughest career challenges is returning to corporate life after being self-employed for a number of years. If you are a self-employed job candidate, you are probably facing misconceptions about your career that are keeping you out of the “must interview” candidate list.

For example, employers may assume:

  • Your experiences are too broad
  • You are overqualified and too expensive
  • You can’t fit their corporate mold

No matter what the reason, the challenge remains universal: Getting back into the corporate workplace without taking a step backward financially or professionally.

Three Job Tips Exposed

To ease the transition, there are three job search tips that can help optimize your re-employment results:

  1. Prepare a Résumé Based on Targeted Transferable Skills

    As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably worn many hats: operations, sales, accounting and finance, to name a few. Chances are your résumé reflects such a wide range of management experience that it lacks focus. If your résumé is getting overlooked for positions you’re qualified for, employers are probably not making the match because you’ve given them too much information. To match your expertise with corporate hiring needs, the first step is to identify the transferable skills required for your targeted career objective.Think selectively about what skills to include in your résumé. If you are looking to fill the role of an accountant, your résumé doesn’t need to include information about how you marketed your own products or services. Additionally, don’t include any skills on your résumé that you no longer want to perform. Think of this time as the perfect opportunity to finally ditch those unwanted tasks.

  2. Reconnect With Your Network

    Entrepreneurs tend to network with other entrepreneurs, leaving them isolated from corporate contacts. Those on the inside of corporate life have the advantage of learning about jobs through their professional association peers and company grapevines.

    If you have been “out of the loop” with your old professional network, it’s time to reconnect. Start by contacting former colleagues to let them know that you are preparing to return to corporate life. This is no time to be shy. Ask their advice about whom to contact within their company who might be interested in your skills and experiences.

    Another source of employment leads are your current vendors and professional service providers. Ask their advice on who among their professional circle might be interested in learning about your availability. If you ask for advice, your request comes across as a compliment; most people are flattered to be asked their suggestions, opinions and advice.

  3. Gain Competitive Advantage by Improving Your Interview Skills

    Many self-employed job seekers find that they are unable to communicate their value to potential employers. Even if you’ve been marketing your own business for years, don’t be surprised if you find yourself tongue-tied when trying to promote yourself as the perfect candidate.

    Worse still, if you aren’t 100 percent sure what employers are looking for, you could inadvertently turn them off by coming off as “too entrepreneurial” or “not a team player” in an interview. What the employer is looking for may not be the same skills that made you a success in business. You want to be seen as corporate material — their corporation.

    Interview preparation that includes building a list of accomplishments is one of the best ways to gain competitive advantage. Accomplishments are developed by identifying the major problems and challenges you have overcome, then mapping those results to corporate bottom-line objectives: revenue built, costs cut and processes improved.

Don’t let anxiety over re-entering corporate life lead to less-than-satisfactory employment. With thoughtful strategy, you can turn the next phase of your career into the best professional years of your life.

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Deborah Walker, CCMC, is a career coach who works with entrepreneurs returning to corporate life, preparing them to compete in the toughest job markets. Her clients gain top performing skills in résumé writing, interview preparation and salary negotiation. Learn more about Deborah Walker, career coach, at: http://www.AlphaAdvantage.com.