For most people who decide to change careers, it’s simply a matter of dusting off our resumes and updating our references. But what if you’re an entrepreneur who’s decided to sell your business in order to move on to the next big adventure? Or maybe you’re in the unenviable position of being forced to close shop (22.5% of all small businesses fail within the first year).

Chances are, when you own a business you’re not anticipating ever having to work for someone else again. After all, a huge part of the appeal of being an entrepreneur is being your own boss! So if you’re one of the 25 million Americans who started your own business but suddenly find yourself in a position to change careers, you might feel a little bit lost on where to begin.

What Should I Put on My Resume?

So you need to update your resume in a big way. But what kinds of things should you include?

Your Achievements

Chances are, even if your business was ultimately unsuccessful, you probably accomplished more than you think. Write down all of those accomplishments, milestones, and the goals that you met.

Management Style

If you ran your own business, you’re likely going to look into management positions. Let your prospective employers know what your management style looks like and how you handle conflict and resolution, delegation, and forecasting and planning.


Competencies and soft skills are still as important as your past experience. Are you well organized? Obsessive about the details? An excellent oral and written communicator? Include these things on your resume right alongside your work history and education; they matter.

Long-Term Goals/Vision

Let employers know what you see for your career in the immediate and long-distance future. They’ll be curious about your previous entrepreneurial experience and may wonder how you see yourself fitting into their culture after running your own business. Be honest and direct. Play up all the benefits of having owned a company, what mistakes you made, what you learned from them, and what you can now bring to their company as a result.


As a business owner you may have built several valuable business relationships. Take advantage of those partnerships when searching for your new job. Let employers know who your contacts are and how those relationships might be able to benefit their company. Sometimes it really is about who you know in addition to what you know.

Whether you’re all too familiar with the corporate world or charting unfamiliar territory, including all of the experience and wisdom you’ve gained by running your own business can help you find the right job to kick off the next big adventure of your career.