I RESIGNED two years ago to go into business. However, I closed it because it was losing money. I want to go back to full time employment but am finding it hard to get back to the corporate world. How can I market myself? – Discouraged Jobseeker
Yes, the job market is tough, cruel even, especially to those who choose to leave the traditional work world. Unfortunately, many recruitment staff are wary of hiring people who have been out of the corporate world for some time especially if they had been unsuccessful in their business endeavors. They think that you have already lost your tolerance and discipline for the grinding pressures of everyday employment. And to a certain extent, their perception is right.
When you resign from employment and go on your own, you taste the sweet life of being your own boss, like having full control over your time and decisions. You do not need to kowtow to a superior, except perhaps your customers. You have no one looking over your shoulder. These “perks” are deceptive though because unless you have the discipline and guts to run your business, these can be temptations to let things slide and you end up with a failed venture.
Focus on strengths
So how do you market yourself to prospective employers now? First, review your work history. Make a list of all the knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes, values and habits that you’ve picked up in the course of your work. Include your brief stint in putting up a business. Even in negative experiences, there are valuable lessons to be learned, slivers of gold that can be seen among the rocks. Now, armed with all these competencies, focus your application letter and resumé on your pluses. I am sure, dazzled by all the strengths you’ve gathered, the recruitment personnel’s attention may not focus too much on your unsuccessful endeavors.
In presenting yourself, try also to be as humble as possible. You’ve been out of the harness for some time and you may have developed a little “attitude” along the way, since you’ve been your own boss for a short time. Make sure that you lose this attitude when you start pounding the pavement to look for a corporate job. When you get back in harness, it would be foolish to chaff at the bit, so to speak. The buzzwords in the corporate world today are teamwork and commitment. If you project that you are not a team player or ready to commit to the company’s goals, recruitment personnel definitely won’t hire you.
But let’s backtrack a bit to your decision to go back to corporate work. Are you sure you really want to turn your back on your business? What were your reasons for leaving your job in the first place? Perhaps these reasons are still valid for you.
I left the corporate world three years ago to pursue my present career as a writer, editor, media person and entrepreneur. There were many times that I’ve been tempted to just give up and go back to a cushy, high-paying executive job in a company. But I’ve always borne in mind the reasons I left the corporate world in the first place—I wanted to have more time for my family, boost my health by avoiding the polluted daily two-hour commute and build better relationships with my loved ones. And so, I keep to my chosen path without regrets.
To give you a proper perspective on your situation, let me share this story of a swimmer who wanted to swim the channel to the California coast. She swam for 15 hours in thick fog and cold waters and then gave up, only to find out she was only one-half mile from her goal. The lesson here is oftentimes, when the going is really rough, the goal is very near. So, try reassessing what happened to your venture, what were your mistakes and what areas could perhaps be improved that might give your venture a second life. There is an immense satisfaction from knowing that you did not give up so easily. And if, after going through this process, you still decide to go back to the corporate world, you can then be sure that you won’t have regrets. Here’s to a better beginning and a happier ending for the new year!
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