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Q. Should I Use The Word Entrepreneur on My Resume?

Great Question!

And as with all resume questions, it depends………………on the role you are going for.

The word Entrepreneur is meant to mean “one who organises, manages, and takes on the risks of a business or enterprise” at least according to the dictionary but what the recruiters interpretation of that is can be quite………….different.

I canvassed a bunch of recruiters and managers and asked them what they first thought when they saw a person describe themselves as an ‘entrepreneur’ on a resume. The results may surprise you.

Here’s a sample of the responses:

Ø  ‘Someone who starts many projects but doesn’t finish them’.

Ø  ‘Someone who isn’t going to stick around for long, they will want to do their own thing’.

Ø  ‘Someone who isn’t good at following established procedures and policy’.

Ø  ‘Someone who is bidding their time until their project takes off’.

Ø  ‘Someone who hasn’t found their niche yet’.

Yeah, it's probably not what you want.

Why You Shouldn't Use the Word "Entrepreneur" on Your Resume

When crafting your resume, every word counts. It’s not just about listing your job titles and responsibilities; it’s about painting a picture of your professional journey and demonstrating why you're the best fit for the job. One term that might seem impressive but can be misleading is "entrepreneur." While being an entrepreneur is commendable, using this word on your resume might not always work in your favour. Here’s why:

Ambiguity and Misunderstanding

The term "entrepreneur" can be vague. It encompasses many activities, from starting a small business to running a large company. Without specific context, hiring managers might not understand the scope of your entrepreneurial experience. Were you running a solo operation or managing a team of twenty? Clarity is critical in a resume, and the word "entrepreneur" can often raise more questions than it answers.

Perception of Instability

Entrepreneurship is often associated with risk-taking and frequent career changes. Some employers might interpret this as a sign that you’re not committed to a long-term position or might leave the company to pursue another venture. Stability and reliability are qualities many employers value, and the entrepreneurial label might unintentionally signal the opposite.

Overemphasis on Ownership

Being an entrepreneur usually implies ownership or leadership, which might overshadow other essential skills and experiences. For instance, if you played multiple roles in your business, from marketing to finance, it’s crucial to highlight these specific skills rather than just the overarching title of "entrepreneur." Tailoring your experience to fit the job you’re applying for can make your resume more relevant and impactful.

Focus on Teamwork and Collaboration

Many companies prioritise teamwork and the ability to work within an established structure. Entrepreneurs are often seen as lone wolves who prefer to work independently. While this isn’t necessarily true, the stereotype can work against you. Highlighting your ability to collaborate, take direction, and thrive in a team environment can be more beneficial than emphasising your entrepreneurial spirit.

Professional Jargon and Corporate Culture

Corporate environments often have specific expectations and norms. Using the term "entrepreneur" might suggest that you’re used to a different kind of work culture that might not align with many organisations' structured, hierarchical nature. Adapting your language to fit the corporate culture can demonstrate that you understand and can integrate into their environment.

Highlighting Relevant Achievements

Instead of labelling yourself as an entrepreneur, focus on the concrete achievements and skills relevant to the position you’re applying for. Did you manage a team? Increase sales? Develop a new product? These are the details that potential employers are interested in. You offer a clearer picture of what you bring by providing specific examples of your accomplishments.


While being an entrepreneur is an impressive and valuable experience, it’s essential to consider how you present this on your resume. Opt for clarity, specificity, and relevance. Focus on the skills and achievements that align with the job you’re applying for. By doing so, you can ensure that your resume showcases your strengths and appeals to potential employers without the possible drawbacks of the entrepreneurial label.

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