How To Transition From Entrepreneur to Executive

Posted on 08-16-2018
entrepreneur to executive

It’s good to take risks, which is why it is not unusual for top corporate leaders to leave their full-time employment to pursue a passion and become an entrepreneur. Yet, there may come a time when entrepreneurs seek re-entry into the corporate sector. The good news is that if you approach this transition from entrepreneur to executive correctly, you could very well end up earning more than your peers. According to Harvard Business Review, entrepreneurs who return to the workforce after two years of running their own business earn an average of 10 percent more than salaried workers with similar skills.

So how do you go about landing a top job after being an entrepreneur? Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Update your resume to feature translatable new skills. Pinpoint specific new skills that you acquired during your business venture. Quite often managing a business will bring new marketing intelligence, technical skills, and soft skills to your candidate profile that should be highlighted on your resume. Your cover letter can also be used to address these new skills and provide more insight into why you would like to transition back to the corporate world.
  • Build your new executive brand. According to a recent study by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), C-suite executives ranked entrepreneurial leadership as the second top quality needed to drive change in their organizations. With this in mind, using your critical thinking and innovative mindset as a self-branding strategy is a smart way to pivot away from those lacking in this area. If you haven’t already, it can be helpful to start showcasing your expertise by writing blog posts, contributing articles to industry or trade magazines, creating webinars, and looking for other opportunities to share your knowledge.
  • Leverage your network.  As an entrepreneur, you have undoubtedly made some new connections with people who became your clients and with other business owners. Make a list of these people, along with former bosses, colleagues, investors in your business. and members of your board of advisors to speak on your behalf. Contact them via LinkedIn to spread the word that you are in the market for a new opportunity. Schedule informational interviews, if possible at your desired companies. Be bold in asking others for referrals and any leads to new positions.
  • Work with an executive recruiter. An executive recruiter can be invaluable during your job search. He or she can help you translate your skills and experience for a corporate audience, as well as help you articulate what value you can bring to a company. Most importantly, he or she will often know about opportunities that might not be public knowledge yet or that you might otherwise not hear about — and subsequently help you get your résumé on the right desk.
  • Address the transition in interviews. You must be prepared to explain why you left your corporate job and more importantly, why you want to return. Did you leave because your endeavor did not succeed? Failures such as these are generally perceived positively and you’ll get points simply for having tried to go it alone. Positioning yourself also as an intrapreneur who, with a company’s best interests in mind, can anticipate developments and proactively create strategies accordingly is a smart way to show potential employers the value you could bring to their organization.

Looking for a job as an entrepreneur may take a while, but the perseverance that you’ve already demonstrated as you began your own business can serve you well in the job search process. Remain confident that your new translatable skills are greatly desired in today’s executive searches.

By Bryan Kirby, Vice President and Executive Recruiter with Kirby Partners, a leading executive search firm specializing in cyber security and healthcare leadership recruiting.


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