Entrepreneur to Employee: Job Search Tips After Being Your Own Boss

Feb 10, 2020

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Career Expert, ZipJob

An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

There are few things in life tougher than being your own boss. Many of us dream of quitting our jobs and becoming an entrepreneur, but few ever succeed in the effort. According to estimates, as many as 80 percent of all businesses fail within the first ten years. Given those odds, it’s no surprise that so many former entrepreneurs eventually find themselves reentering the workforce as someone else’s employee. Unfortunately, the transition from entrepreneur to employee is not always easy. In this post, we will look at some tips that can help you find a job after being your own boss.

Check ATS compatibility

Transitioning from entrepreneur to employee: the challenge

It’s important to understand the challenges that you might face when going from entrepreneur to employee. Many former entrepreneurs can find themselves confused by the barrage of rejections they often receive when applying for a new job. They may wonder why companies are not beating down their doors to hire them. As it turns out, companies often have some very valid concerns.

Most of those concerns involve questions about your ability to transition from entrepreneur to employee. Some may wonder whether you can adapt to the company’s culture after running your own company and doing things your way. Can you take orders without question? Will you be able to work with a team when you’re not in charge? These are all valid concerns that could prevent a company from even giving you a second glance.

5 tips for effectively going from entrepreneur to employee

If you’ve experienced rejection while transitioning from entrepreneur to employee, you’re not alone. But take heart; there are jobs for former business owners, if you have the right strategy for your job search. The following tips can help you get hired more quickly.

1. Focus on getting hired

The single most important thing you must do is commit to getting hired. One problem that many entrepreneurs have when seeking a new job is that they never fully set their mind on being someone else’s employee. You cannot transition from entrepreneur to employee if part of you is still holding out hope that you can continue to be your own boss.

Are you thinking of ways to revitalize your failed company? Mulling over a new business venture? Or are you maybe resistant to the idea of taking orders?

If so, then work on fixing that mindset. If you’re not fully committed to being part of a company’s team, employers will quickly figure that out.

2. Polish your resume

When’s the last time you looked at your resume? For most entrepreneurs…it’s been a while!

It’s time to break it out, update it, and really put a shine on it–because you’re going to need that resume. Your resume is the most important tool you possess when transitioning from entrepreneur to employee.

Make sure that it is as polished as possible, and really showcases the value that you can provide as an employee. If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about resumes, check out this list of The Best Resume Writing Services (All Industries).

Remember that most companies use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to automatically screen resumes. Make sure you use a standard ATS friendly resume format and optimize your resume with keywords.

3. Tone down your role as the company owner

Remember how we told you that employers are leery of hiring entrepreneurs? One way that you can put their mind at ease is to minimize your role as founder and owner.

Many experts recommend avoiding those labels altogether. Instead, describe yourself as the company’s manager, or list another role that you played during your time as an entrepreneur. You can even use the title of the job that you’re seeking, since you probably filled that role in your own company.


Business Operations Manager resume example

4. Stress your desire to work as part of a team

You can certainly mention your time in your own company, but it is often best to do this in your cover letter and an in-person interview. Again, don’t emphasize your position as boss.

Instead, focus on explaining why you are so eager to work for someone else. One great option here is to stress your desire to collaborate with other dynamic individuals and work for a common goal. Talk about how you have missed the collegial atmosphere of the company environment. Employers want to hear that you are interested in being part of a team.

5. Quantify your accomplishments and potential value as an employee

While you should minimize your leadership role at your own company, that doesn’t mean that you need to shy away from your achievements. Quite the contrary, in fact! You need to cite those accomplishments and quantify them with real numbers.

You can use those achievements to emphasize your experience, expertise, and potential value as an employee. If employers can envision you adding to their bottom lines, they will be more likely to help you transition from entrepreneur to employee.

going from entrepreneur to employee


Obviously, there is no magic bullet that will help you make the move from entrepreneur to employee. Even with these tips, landing a new job will remain a challenge. However, with the right mindset and approach, you can improve your odds of landing more interviews. That will open the doors you need to land a new job.

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An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

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