Man explains why he wants a job in an interview
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There are a lot of business owners out there right now that might not want to own a business anymore. They want to work for someone else.


When you first become a business owner, you think you'll be doing this one thing you dreamed of doing all day long. Nope. That's only about 10% of your job. The rest of the time you're doing things that you hate doing in order to run the business.

I've worked with many people who've said, "I'm done running the company." But recruiters are critical of professionals who suddenly want a job after owning a business.

What Recruiters Are Thinking

@j.t.odonnell Replying to @bookbae256 How to explain why you want a job after owning a business. #careerchange#resume#businessowner#jobsearchhelp#jobsearch#jobsearchtips#boss#career#howto#howtotiktok#explainyourself♬ original sound - J.T. O'Donnell

When recruiters see that you've owned a business, they're thinking a few things:

  • Did the business fail?
  • Is there something going on in your personal life?
  • Are you sick?
  • What's making you not be able to handle running a business anymore?
  • If you do work for us, are you going to be a know-it-all?
  • Are you going to want to run everything because you've always been in charge?
  • Will you get bored easily?
  • Is this going to work for you because you've never reported to anyone?

These are all the negative things that go through a recruiter's head when they see that you've owned a business and now want a job at their organization. Your job is to disrupt that mindset.

A Connection Story Is Key

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You're not going to disrupt that negative mindset by writing a good resume. How you do this is through your networking strategy and through what we call your connection story.

You need to create a great narrative, a connection story about what you've experienced and what's making you want to make this transition. Now, you're not going to be brutally honest, but what you can say is something like this...

"I've done all I can as a business owner. It's been a great and powerful experience. Yes, it's had a lot of upsides, but there are a lot of downsides, too. What I'd like to do now is work in a larger organization, bigger than the one that I've owned, collaborate with like-minded people, and learn and grow. When you're the only person, you're not learning or growing as much. So I think it's been a great run as a business owner, but now I want to learn more about this and I want to grow in this area. And taking on a job like this would give me the opportunity to do that. Plus, having run a business, I really understand what goes into it and how hard it is, and no one will be more respectful than me because I will understand what you're going through. So I will work like I own the business, but I'm not going to act like the business owner."

This is how you can shift a recruiter's perspective because you're able to explain to them valid business reasons why it would make sense to go and work for someone else. But that comes from your narrative, from your connection story, and the best way to share that is with your disruptive cover letter. This way, the recruiter is reading that story in your disruptive cover letter first, and then when they see your resume, they're not misinterpreting it. And that's really the secret to explaining why you want a job after owning a business.

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Work is important to a lot of us. And we all have egos. The trick is to balance our own view of work and success so that the ego remains a helpful source of support and not a tyrannical master. One is the road to relative contentment, the other to continued misery. Have you struck the balance?

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