Ditching the Freelance Lifestyle

Leaving freelance work

Ditching the Freelance Lifestyle

Ditching the Freelance Lifestyle

There is no denying entrepreneurship is the prevailing theme in today’s job market.  Employees with high skillsets and ambition are leaving traditional positions by the thousands, in search of wild success. While this newest version of the American dream pans out for some, it’s definitely not for everyone.

For some, the promise of wealth and success is quickly overshadowed by the tedium and stress of actually having to run an entire business. Deciding entrepreneurship just isn’t for you is a lesson most of us really only learn by experience.

Once you determine you’re ready to re-enter the traditional job market, you’re likely concerned with the competitiveness of your candidacy. After all, you haven’t held a conventional job in quite some time, and applying for a position after a failed venture may not place you in the best light.

So, how can you optimize your recent freelance venture to strengthen your candidacy and turn a potential drawback into an enormous advantage?

  1. Start Gathering your References

If you’ve been freelancing for a length of time, it’s likely you haven’t kept in touch with your old references or supervisors.  Now is the time to start rekindling those relationships.  If you have a couple of clients you intend to keep on the side as extra income, let them know what’s going on and if they would be willing to write a testimonial for you.  Also, start connecting with the network you’ve built while freelancing.  Ask if they may know of someone in need of a full-time position in line with your skill set.

  1. Optimize your Resume

Many freelancers opt to exclude their venture from their resume to not draw attention to their recent “failed” venture. Leaving a gap is actually the best way to draw attention to the situation and almost guarantees you’re going to get a question about it in the interview. Instead, list the experience on your resume.

It’s best to list the time as one, self-employed experience, rather than making a new bullet for every client you had.  Highlight some of your biggest clients and wins within this bullet and treat it like any other employer posting.  Itemize how you took a company from $0 revenue to “x” amount or grew sales by a certain percentage.  Include how you created and ran every portion of accounting for your business.  Even though you decided to close your business, you’ve still accomplished much more than the average applicant, just by running a business at all.

  1. Address your Re-Entry Intentions in your Cover Letter

The cover letter is a great place to put your experience in perspective for the hiring manager.  Speak of your experience in terms of growth and understanding, rather than highlighting the negatives.  Never write things like, “it was too overwhelming,” “I didn’t care for the responsibility,” or “I couldn’t make it on my own.”

Instead, let them know what you’ve learned, such as, “I’ve discovered my passion was truly in accounting, and as a business owner, the majority of my time was occupied with the details of running a business.”, “With a wide range of clients, I’ve been able to rapidly grow my experience and am ready to take the next step with you and work for a large corporation, full time.”


  1. Leverage a Staffing Agency

If you’ve decided to close up shop, chances are finances had a part to play in the matter.  This may make the idea of endlessly searching for positions to apply for incredibly unappealing.  Staffing agencies can help you get into a position quickly and have much experience working with candidates with unique work histories.

Other Resources on this subject:


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