By Khalilah Starks

Should I include my business on my resume? I get this question all of the time. It seems like, nowadays, everybody has a side hustle. And, it’s extremely wise to figure out how you can leverage that experience during the job search process. In the past, employers didn’t know what to do with the entrepreneur. In fact, they feared them. Many questions swirled as they viewed the resume of an entrepreneur – Are they going to focus too much energy on their business and not enough on this job? Will they leave as soon as their business takes off? Will they be completely dedicated to our company?

Fast forward a few years, employers have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and some actually prefer it. Why? Because there are certain attributes that entrepreneurs possess that are highly valuable in today’s employment climate. A few of these attributes include leadership, creativity, and a drive for results. These people can jump in, figure it out, and immediately take ownership of what’s handed to them. And with companies doing more with less, these skills are desperately needed. So, how can you leverage your entrepreneurial experience during the recruitment process?

Create and Sell the Value of Your Entrepreneurial Experience. You must be able to articulate the relevant skills that you have gained as an entrepreneur on your resume and during the interview. The key word here is relevancy. Even if your business isn’t related to the position that you’re applying for, it’s your task to extract the skills that are most relevant and communicate the value of those skills. Insider tip – Companies are looking for they’re next leaders. So, anything leadership related needs to be prominently mentioned on your resume.

Balance Entrepreneurial Experience with Traditional Work Experience. While the qualities that you bring to the table as an entrepreneur are certainly valued, it’s good to show that you can be an employee and get results in a traditional environment. A resume with too much self-employed experience can lead an employer to think that you may struggle in a more structured and controlled environment. Remember that fear that I mentioned earlier? Taking a balanced approach on your resume and during the interview can minimize the fear or perceived risk that an employer may have with hiring an entrepreneur.

Calm Their Deepest Fears. Companies often fear that entrepreneurs will be less than 100% dedicated to their job. Your job is to convince them otherwise. Be prepared to explain the time you will dedicate to your professional endeavors outside of the office. Unless there’s a conflict of interest, you don’t have to quit your entrepreneurial pursuits, but you do have to make it clear that it won’t interfere with your company responsibilities.