Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

From Entrepreneur To Employee

I took this last year to work on a business idea. I’ve had some success but am unsure of the long-term viability of the business so I’d like to start looking for a corporate job. How do I explain my past year without coming across as a business failure?

Many of the people who will interview you, for both informational and job interviews, will not view the transition back to corporate as a failure. So it’s important not to telegraph this by being apologetic or speaking sheepishly of your business. Instead focus on your accomplishments with the business and the revenue that you did generate. Give details of how you estimated the market for the business. Even though it turned out that the market might be too small, it is a valuable skill to be able to research and understand a market. Finally, be excited and proud that you had the courage to go for it when many people stop at the analysis stage. Your level of engagement is infectious, and people will see your can-do spirit and risk-taking in a positive light, regardless of the ultimate outcome.

That said, don’t overplay your accomplishments, or people will not understand why you are walking away. You might come across as unwilling to stay through difficult times – a grit factor that is vital to both entrepreneurs and employees. Be certain to document the milestones you do talk about in case people think you are exaggerating your claims. Clips of publicity and client testimonials are two examples of how you might showcase your business. Finally, give a great reason why you are coming back to corporate that is unrelated to your business. Prospective employers want to feel like you are drawn to them, not running away from your business.

Contributed by Caroline Ceniza-Levine of SixFigureStart™.  Caroline Ceniza-Levine, career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart™ (www.sixfigurestart.com), coaches jobseekers using a recruiter’s perspective of what employers really want and how the hiring process really works. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline has recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, Time Inc and others. Caroline is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and a life coach (www.thinkasinc.com).


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