I once had my own business, but it was not successful – should I include it on my CV/Resume?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008 - CV Writing


Joe asks: I once had my own business but in the end it was not successful, should I include it on my CV/Resume?

In answer:
Yes, you need to place it at present on your CV/Resume. Most employers now employ checking services, which would find this period and investigate it. Leaving it off will need to be explained more, than putting it on your CV/Resume and explaining it in an interview. Once five years has past, you could leave it out via a summary of career to that point.

But why are you seeing this as a negative issue? Even if the business was not successful, there is both a sign of entrepreneurial spirit and lessons learned/accomplishments that contribute to your employability. Resumes aren’t about what’s gone wrong in your career, they are about what you have to offer to future employers.

The only issue to tackle – in both your Cover Letter and the interview, from any potential employers view point, is: would you ever want to return to self-employment/being an entrepreneur? Close that one down with something along the lines of: “I enjoyed my period of entrepreneurship, but have recognise from that time that I need more skills/experience to run my own suitably scaled business in this sector, and learnt how much I enjoy working with others in a larger group.” ie – answer the questions: what have you learnt; why the positive choice to go back into a corporate?

Good Luck!

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