How to Put Entrepreneur on Resume? [Showcasing Your Business Experience]

how to put entrepreneur on resume

Including your entrepreneurial experience on your resume can be a great asset when applying for a job. As an entrepreneur, you’ve likely developed a unique set of skills and experiences that are valuable in many professional settings. The key is to present your entrepreneurial background in a way that relates directly to the job you’re targeting. Knowing how to frame your achievements and learning experiences as an entrepreneur can make a significant difference in how potential employers view your candidacy.

Crafting your resume to highlight your experience as an entrepreneur requires careful attention to how you describe your skills and achievements. You need to articulate the breadth of your expertise, demonstrating how your entrepreneurial journey has made you a better candidate. By tailoring your resume to show how your entrepreneurial skills align with the job’s requirements, and by optimizing your resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), you’ll ensure that your experiences as an entrepreneur are seen as an advantage rather than a gap in traditional employment.

Key Takeaways

  • Display entrepreneurial skills in a way that aligns with job requirements.
  • Articulate the broad expertise gained from entrepreneurial experiences.
  • Optimize the resume for ATS to highlight entrepreneurial achievements.

Understanding the Entrepreneurial Experience

When you decide to add your entrepreneurial experience to your resume, it’s essential to recognize the value this experience brings to potential employers. Your time as an entrepreneur likely provided a broad skill set, including leadership, strategic planning, and financial management. To effectively communicate your experience, consider these key points:

A male entrepreneur, looking visionary and determined, standing in his startup office space. He is gazing at a large whiteboard filled with business strategies, market analysis, and product development plans. His expression is one of deep thought and focus, embodying the multifaceted nature of entrepreneurial challenges and opportunities.
  • Leadership: Outline your leadership roles and the teams you’ve managed. Highlight how you motivated staff and handled decision-making, showcasing tangible outcomes.
  • Strategic Planning: Emphasize your ability to plan for long-term business goals. This might involve identifying market opportunities or developing innovative products or services.
  • Financial Management: Illustrate your proficiency in handling the financial aspects of a business. Include budgeting, forecasting, and profitability analysis.

To represent your entrepreneurial journey, you might use a format similar to a business owner resume example:

PositionDates of OperationKey Achievements
Founder & CEO[Start Date] – [End Date]– Increased revenue by X%
– Expanded product line
– Streamlined operations to reduce costs by Y%

Being self-employed or running a company equips you with a unique perspective and a versatile toolkit. Feature any significant milestones, such as market growth, product launches, or notable contracts secured. These specifics quantify your impact and demonstrate a proactive, results-oriented mindset.

Remember, your entrepreneurial experience is not just a job title; it’s a testament to your resourcefulness, vision, and tenacity. When detailing this on your entrepreneur resume, align your experience with the job you’re applying for, showing how your entrepreneurial skills translate to added value for the employer.

Crafting the Resume Header

Your resume header is the first thing potential employers see, so it must convey essential information effectively. Think of this section as your personal brand.

A female professional, looking ambitious and prepared, seated at a minimalist desk with her resume on a laptop screen. She is adjusting her contact information and professional summary, with a slight smile indicating satisfaction and optimism about her career prospects.

Contact Information

  • Name: Write your full name in bold to stand out.
  • Address: Include your city and state. Full street address is optional.
  • Phone Number: Provide a reliable number.
  • Email Address: Use a professional email.
  • LinkedIn Profile: Optional, but recommended for networking.

Professional Summary

Craft a 2-3 sentence summary highlighting your entrepreneurial experience and key achievements. Use strong action verbs and specific metrics when possible.

  • Entrepreneur with 8+ years of experience in founding and scaling innovative tech startups, successfully raising over $5M in venture capital.
  • Proven track record in leading cross-functional teams to exceed business growth objectives, improving revenue by 150% within the first two years.

Selecting the Right Resume Format

When you’re adding an entrepreneurial experience to your resume, choosing the right format is crucial. There are three primary resume formats to consider:

A male professional, looking analytical and contemplative, comparing two resumes laid out in front of him on a large table. One resume highlights a chronological format while the other showcases a functional format. His thoughtful expression suggests he is carefully considering which format best represents his entrepreneurial journey.
  • Chronological Resume: This format lists your work history in reverse chronological order, with your most recent experience listed first. If your entrepreneurial venture is the latest entry in your career, this format allows you to highlight it prominently.
  • Functional Resume: Rather than focusing on the timeline, a functional resume emphasizes your skills and achievements. If your entrepreneurial skills are diverse and you wish to showcase competencies over specific jobs, this format may suit you.
  • Combination Resume: As the name suggests, a combination resume blends the chronological and functional formats. This option lets you feature your entrepreneurial skills and outline your work history.

When deciding, consider the following:

  1. Relevance: If your startup experience is highly relevant to the job you’re applying for, you might want to choose a chronological format to showcase this job at the top.
  2. Skills: If you’re pivoting to a role that requires a distinct skill set developed during your time as an entrepreneur, a functional resume is advisable.
  3. Balance: If you have a substantial work history in addition to your entrepreneurial experience, a combination resume will let you highlight both your skills and your career progression.

Using the correct format ensures that your entrepreneurial experience adds value to your resume and showcases your abilities in a way that’s tailored to your career goals.

Highlighting Entrepreneurial Skills

Incorporating your entrepreneurial experience into your resume isn’t just about listing your business ventures; it’s about showcasing the specific skills you’ve honed and how they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for.

A small group meeting scene where a female entrepreneur is leading a discussion with two other team members. She is pointing to a chart that outlines key entrepreneurial skills like innovation and strategic planning. Her confident and engaging demeanor reflects effective leadership and collaboration skills.

Core Skills

Your core entrepreneurial skills represent the crux of your business experience. These hard skills are tangible and measurable. For instance:

  • Innovation: Demonstrating a track record of introducing new ideas and products.
  • Strategic Planning: Showcasing your ability to develop operations and long-term strategies.
Core SkillDescription
InnovationInvented and implemented new products/services
Strategic PlanningEstablished measurable goals and growth plans

Leadership Abilities

Your ability to lead and inspire others is paramount.

  • Visionary Leadership: Illustrate your foresight in leading projects and steering your business towards success.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Detail how you’ve effectively managed teams and worked in concert with others to achieve common goals.
Leadership SkillExample
VisionaryGuided company direction with clear foresight
TeamworkFostered a collaborative, inclusive work environment

Transferable Skills

These are the soft skills and competencies that you can carry over to any job.

  • Negotiation Skills: Your ability to negotiate deals can show potential for sales or partnership roles.
  • Creativity and Initiative: Display your drive in creating solutions and taking action on ideas.
Transferable SkillApplication
NegotiationSecured favorable contracts
InitiativeActively pursued and capitalized on new opportunities

Craft your resume entries to reflect these skills with clear, proven examples of how you’ve applied them in an entrepreneurial context.

Detailing Your Work Experience

When adding entrepreneurial experience to your resume, focus on the specifics—clearly define your roles and highlight your achievements. Use job descriptions that align with the work you’ve done, tailored to showcase your competencies and impact.

A male entrepreneur, looking focused and professional, sitting at his desk reviewing a document that outlines his business achievements. The desk is organized with notes and charts that reflect his entrepreneurial journey, including key milestones and successes.

Describing Entrepreneurial Roles

Your entrepreneurial roles must be described with precision. Start by outlining your core responsibilities in bullet points. For each role, include:

  • Scope of Work: Clear definition of the nature of your work, including the type of business.
  • Key Responsibilities: Specific tasks you were responsible for that relate to operations, management, product development, etc.
  • Achievements: Quantifiable results, such as percentage growth in sales, size of customer base increased, or successful projects.


  • Business Founder, ABC Tech Solutions
    • Oversaw the entire product development lifecycle of tech solutions catering to SMBs.
    • Fostered partnerships leading to a 30% increase in B2B sales.
    • Managed a cross-functional team of 10, including sales, IT, and customer support.

Including Relevant Job Titles

Your job titles must reflect the level and nature of your work. Use titles specific to the entrepreneurial world but understandable in the broader job market.

  • Owner: If you were the sole proprietor of a business.
  • Co-Founder: If you started the business with partners.
  • CEO or President: If you held a leading position in guiding the company’s direction.
  • Consultant: If your entrepreneurship entailed advising other businesses.

Remember to align these titles with industry norms to ensure they resonate with prospective employers. For example:

Incorrect TitleCorrected Title
Chief VisionaryCEO, XYZ Innovations
Main HustlerFounder, Hustle Logistics

By detailing your experience in this way, your resume accurately presents your entrepreneurial journey and showcases your suitability for the target job.

Showcasing Business Achievements

When detailing your experience as an entrepreneur on a resume, it’s crucial to present a clear connection between your actions and their positive outcomes. This section will guide you on how to effectively quantify your business success and underscore the growth and revenue that your entrepreneurial efforts have fostered.

A female entrepreneur, looking proud and accomplished, standing in her business premises with a laptop in one hand. On the screen is a graph showing upward growth, symbolizing her business's success in sales volume, customer growth, and revenue increase.

Quantifying Success

Your achievements as an entrepreneur become more compelling when you exhibit them with quantifiable evidence. Use specific numbers to measure your accomplishments. Bullet points can help break down and draw attention to these facts:

  • Sales Volume: List your total sales figures or the number of products/services sold.
  • Customer Growth: Provide percentages to illustrate increases in your customer base.
  • Cost Reduction: Detail exact figures that show how you decreased expenses.

By presenting data-based evidence of your achievements, you construct a narrative of success supported by concrete figures — a persuasive tool in capturing a potential employer’s attention.

Highlighting Growth and Revenue

Growth and revenue are compelling indicators of successful business development. When listing these on your resume:

  • Business Expansion: Mention new markets penetrated, additional locations opened, or the rise in market share.
  • Revenue Increase: Be explicit about revenue growth. For example, “Boosted annual revenue by 30%, from $1M to $1.3M in one fiscal year.”

Address challenges you’ve overcome in pursuit of revenue growth and business development, as these demonstrate problem-solving skills and resilience. Remember to keep your statements short, concrete, and free of embellishments to maintain credibility.

Demonstrating Educational Background

When including your role as an entrepreneur on your resume, it is important to effectively showcase your educational achievements. Your academic prowess can significantly enhance your credentials and validate your entrepreneurial expertise.

A male professional, looking studious and engaged, sitting at a library with open textbooks and a laptop. He is researching and taking notes, embodying the commitment to continuous learning and showcasing his educational background relevant to entrepreneurship.

Academic Qualifications

Your academic qualifications form the bedrock of your professional knowledge base. Detail your highest level of education first, using a descending order for subsequent degrees or diplomas. For your primary degree, include the type of degree, the field of study, the institution, and your graduation year.

If your GPA is notably high and recent, include it to demonstrate academic excellence. For example:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
    • Harvard Business School, 2022
    • GPA: 3.8/4.0

Relevant Certifications

Earning industry-specific certifications can bolster your claim as a subject matter expert. Clearly outline each certification you hold that is relevant to entrepreneurship. Use a consistent format listing the certification name, the awarding institution, and the date of completion.

These certifications act as evidence of your commitment to continuous learning and staying current with industry trends. For instance:

  • Certified Entrepreneurship Expert (CEE)
    • Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, 2023

Referring to Additional Sections

When you highlight your entrepreneurial experience on your resume, it’s essential to reference additional sections that demonstrate the breadth of your skills and experiences. These sections give evidence of your hands-on abilities and can substantiate the leadership and project management expertise you claim.

A female professional, looking innovative and focused, working on her laptop in a co-working space. She is compiling a list of projects and volunteer work, with a visible display of project timelines and achievements on her screen, illustrating her diverse skills and experiences.

Projects and Portfolio

Your entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in the projects you’ve initiated or been a part of. Create a subsection titled “Projects and Portfolio” and clearly list out each project. For each project, use bullet points to succinctly describe the scope, your role, the outcomes, and any relevant metrics of success.

  • Project Name:Short description of project scope
    • Your role and responsibilities
    • Outcomes and any quantifiable results (e.g., revenue growth, user acquisition)

Volunteer Work or Freelance

If you have engaged in volunteer work or freelance assignments relevant to your entrepreneurship, it’s important to include these experiences as well. Use a “Volunteer Work or Freelance” subsection to detail this work, utilizing bullet points to focus on project management and other skills gained. Include the organization’s name, your specific role, and accomplishments.

  • Organization/Freelance Work:Nature of the work
    • Skills used and developed (focus on project management and other entrepreneurial skills)
    • Impact of your contribution (quantify if possible, e.g., raised X amount for a cause)

By detailing your projects, portfolio, and additional work like volunteering or freelance in dedicated sections, your resume showcases your entrepreneurial capacity with clear evidence and specific examples.

Tailoring the Resume to the Industry

When positioning yourself as an entrepreneur on your resume, it’s crucial to highlight your business experience in a way that resonates with the industry you’re targeting. Start by researching the industry’s needs and expectations to ensure your entrepreneurial skills are aligned with potential employers’ or partners’ requirements.

A male entrepreneur, looking strategic and focused, in a modern office setting. He is reviewing a resume on his tablet, with industry-specific notes and annotations around the margins. His expression is one of determination, as he tailors his resume to align with his target industry's needs.

For industries heavy in business administration, emphasize your leadership roles and capacity to manage operations efficiently. Use statements such as:

Marketing is an essential part of various industries, so if your experience includes promoting products or services, showcase these skills. For instance:

  • Developed a marketing strategy that increased brand awareness by X%.
  • Executed social media campaigns that resulted in X growth in engagement.

In sectors where research is valued, illustrate your ability to innovate and your commitment to ongoing learning. Highlight any research you have conducted that led to business improvements, with points like:

  • Conducted market research that informed product development.
  • Analyzed industry trends to guide strategic planning.

Lastly, consider the layout of your resume. Use tables to present data or achievements clearly, and utilize bullet points to break down complex information into digestible pieces, making for a more succinct and impactful presentation of your business experience.

Chief Operating OfficerOptimized supply chain logisticsReduced costs by 15%

Remember that the goal is to make your entrepreneurial skill set appealing within the context of the industry you are applying for. By doing so, you enhance your attractiveness as a candidate who brings valuable hands-on experience and a proactive mindset to the table.

Optimizing for Applicant Tracking Systems

When crafting your resume with entrepreneurship experience, it’s crucial to make it compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These systems are employed by many companies to filter resumes before a human ever lays eyes on them. To enhance your chances of passing this digital gatekeeper, employ the following strategies:

A female professional, looking meticulous and concentrated, sitting at her computer in a well-lit room. She is optimizing her resume on the screen, highlighting the use of relevant keywords and simple formats compatible with ATS, showcasing a proactive approach to job applications.
  • Use relevant keywords: Identify industry-specific terms and skills frequently listed in job postings you’re targeting. Integrate these keywords naturally throughout your resume to increase the likelihood of your resume matching job descriptions.
  • Choose simple formats: While you may be tempted by creative resume templates, many ATS have difficulty processing complex designs. Stick to standard resume templates which are often more compatible with ATS software.
  • Levels of Experience: Align your entrepreneurial skills with the required levels of experience for the job. For example, if the posting asks for someone with leadership experience, detail your role in leading your venture.
  • Resume builder tools: Use reputable online resume builders. Many offer ATS-friendly templates ensuring your content is structured in a readable format for both systems and recruiters.
  • Standard Headings: Utilize conventional headings like ‘Work Experience‘, ‘Education’, and ‘Skills’. Custom headings might be overlooked by an ATS.

Remember, your goal is to get your resume into the hands of a real person. An ATS-compliant resume that reflects your entrepreneurship aptly, using precise language and standard formatting, can make all the difference in advancing your job search.

Writing a Compelling Cover Letter

When you’re adding an entrepreneur role to your resume, your cover letter is the perfect place to expand on your experience and skills. Start by addressing the cover letter to a specific individual if possible, as personalization can make a strong first impression.

A male professional, looking enthusiastic and optimistic, writing a cover letter on his laptop. He is smiling slightly, reflecting confidence and readiness to elaborate on his entrepreneurial experience and how it adds value to his job application.

Structure Your Letter:

  • Introduction: Begin with a strong opening that captures attention. Briefly mention your entrepreneurial background.
  • Body: Use bullet points to highlight key achievements from your entrepreneurial experience. Relate them to the job you’re applying for.
  • Closing: End with a confident and clear call to action, inviting the reader to review your attached entrepreneur resume.

Craft Your Elevator Pitch: In the introduction, swiftly encapsulate your unique value proposition. Think of it as your elevator pitch – a concise statement that sums up what you offer.

Highlight Entrepreneurial Skills:

  • Leadership and decision-making
  • Innovation and problem-solving
  • Ability to work under pressure

Quantify Your Achievements:

  • Increased revenue by X%
  • Expanded customer base by X
  • Improved product/service through specific innovations

Tailor Your Message: Ensure that the skills and experiences you mention are relevant to the position. Research the company and align your entrepreneurial success story with the company’s values and needs.

Remember, your cover letter should be a teaser, making the hiring manager eager to dive into your entrepreneur resume sample for more details. Keep it professional, focused, and indicative of the value you’d bring to their team.

Utilizing Resume Enhancements

In enhancing your resume, pay close attention to the professional layout and the strategic use of bullet points which can dramatically affect readability and impact.

Professional Layout and Font Choices

When selecting a resume template, aim for a layout that is clean and professional. Your chosen layout should allow you to effectively showcase your experience as an entrepreneur. For fonts, stick to classics like Arial or Calibri to maintain a professional look. Text size should be around 10 to 12 points, ensuring your resume is legible when printed or viewed as a PDF.

  • Font Example:

Finishing Touches

After crafting the content of your resume to include your entrepreneurial experience, the final steps are crucial to ensure that your document is professional and ready for submission.

A male professional, looking focused and detail-oriented, proofreading his resume on a large desktop monitor. He is marking corrections and making adjustments, symbolizing the critical final steps in preparing a polished and professional resume.

Proofreading and Editing

Before you consider your resume complete, you need to thoroughly review it for any spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Your choice of font should be professional and the text size should be readable, typically between 10 to 12 points. Keep the design consistent throughout and use bullet points for better clarity. Utilize tools like Google Docs‘ spelling and grammar check features to catch common mistakes.

Editing is just as important as initial resume creation. Double-check that all your information flows logically and reinforces your strengths as an entrepreneur. Make sure your bullet points are result-oriented and quantify achievements when possible.

Submission Formats

When you are ready to submit your resume, different employers and online application portals might have specific requirements regarding file formats. The most universally accepted format is PDF because it maintains your resume’s layout across different devices and platforms. Before sending, rename your file clearly, for example, “John_Doe_Resume.pdf” to ensure it doesn’t get lost in a busy HR inbox.

If submitting through a platform like LinkedIn or a company website, read the submission guidelines carefully. Some systems might require a plain text format, so having a simplified version of your resume without complex formatting could be beneficial.


When incorporating your experience as an entrepreneur on your resume, it’s key to highlight relevant skills and achievements. Remember to:

  • Align your entrepreneurial experience with the job’s requirements.
  • Use quantifiable accomplishments to demonstrate your impact.
  • Emphasize skills like leadership, project management, and problem-solving.

Be selective in the information you include:

  • Focus on experiences that match the role you’re applying for.
  • Prioritize projects that show your professional growth.

Stay authentic and confident in presenting yourself. You are not just a candidate with a job history; you are a proactive individual who has taken risks, learned from experiences, and is ready to bring value to a new role. Your entrepreneurial background is a testament to that.

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