Written by Kesha Brown
Who needs a resume when you’re calling all the shots?
Say most entrepreneurs in their head when they start their business. On Monday, November 5, 2018, I sat on a panel at Borough of Manhattan Community College alongside five smart media industry women.The event was titled “Seat at the Table,” curated by Project V, Inc. @projectvinc
Project V is a phenomenal non-profit organization founded by public relations pro Davisha Davis and dedicated to helping college students of color navigate the media/communication space. One of the attendees who happens to be an entrepreneur/full-time journalist asked me the following question: “Is it important to keep an updated resume as an entrepreneur?” My answer to him was unequivocally “yes,” with the following explanation. I explained to him that possible clients may want to see your background before they choose to do business with you. Additionally, your resume is the basis for your biography. You need your bio for your website, speaking engagements, marketing collateral, and other branding initiatives. Your resume will be the foundation of all your social media profile content to help you establish your personal and/or company brand. I also advised that, while LinkedIn has replaced the traditional resume, you cannot demonstrate your track record with LinkedIn alone.
For most of us navigating corporate America, we are conditioned to believe that only folks working a nine-to-five need to maintain an up-to-date resume, especially when we make the decision to change jobs. While this is true, those making the transition from corporate America to entrepreneur should also maintain an up-to-date copy of their resume.
Here is the six-figure reason why.
I have been successful in securing various positions in my career with my updated resume, but it was not until I became a full-time entrepreneur that things became a little interesting. After dedicating 20+ years of my life to the working world, I took a leap of faith and resigned from my full-time job to turn my 16+ year resume-writing and career-consulting side hustle into a full-time business. I can say with confidence that I have no regrets, and I am so happy I made this decision. On July 17, 2017, I launched my business, Brown Resumes, Inc. Within a year of starting my business, I have been offered a government contract, appointed as a board member and am in the running for two board chair seats, offered partnerships with various high-profile non-profit organizations, landed several speaking engagements, and have also been invited to sit on panels for college students, like the one at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Whew. Yes, all of that. And guess what? Each opportunity required the magic six-letter word: r-e-s-u-m-e. Okay, let’s get into the juicy part, which is the six-figure life you can live.
As a solo entrepreneur, you can be presented with an opportunity to land several government contracts, which can be up to $10K+ each. Say what? Yes, you read that correctly.
The world is changing, and so is the way the government does business with entrepreneurs. If you are a service provider like me, there are more opportunities than ever to grow your business by landing contracts with government agencies. For example, an HR professional can secure a sub-contracting or consulting contract with the NYS Department of Education and/or charter schools. A lot of you folks are unaware, but schools have discretionary budgets up to $25K+ that can be used to support school operations, including professional development activities for staff and students. It was not until I became a board member for Tomorrow’s Leaders NYC that I learned this information. We earn $20K+ per contract we land with schools to facilitate various external support activities, including mentoring, homework help, professional development, and classroom support activities for students. You would think that public and charter schools never have money because they give our kids candy fundraiser projects all year round. Nope, they have money.
One of the particular areas that schools struggle with is recruiting and retaining teachers and they are willing to sub-contract in these services because their HR departments are overloaded with other high-demand HR functions such as employee relations, turnover, benefits, and payroll. If you are interested in exploring other agencies that you can possibly partner with based on the services you provide, please visit the following link: https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/agencies.page.
Another leg up in this area is if you secure Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise certification (MWBE) or Minority-Owned Business certification (MBE), you can actually bid for various contracts online once you register your business on www.nyscr.ny.gov. There are actually billions of dollars worth of contracts out there to bid on. Another part of the contract-bidding world is submitting business proposals called (RFPs), which often require the business owners and/or key service players who will be executing service on behalf of your company to include background information as part of the presentation package. In a nutshell, your resume is essential for solidifying high-paying contracts. How do you expect to even start a conversation without having an up-to-date resume? These agencies will not take you seriously.
Here is my story. One day last summer, after a young lady came across my business card, she contacted me. This was three months in after launching my business. To my surprise, she was representing a government agency called Job Corps. She explained to me her role within the company and shared their current needs, and she asked if I would be interested in contracting with them to conduct resume writing/career development workshops. After recovering from shock, I told her, Yes! Prior to our conversation, I never knew an opportunity like this existed for me. Why would I? This is not something that the government advertises to the public.
After confirming my interest, she stated that I needed to email her my rates and submit a copy of my resume. This information had to be evaluated by the director. In my mind, it was like she already had my website outlining my bio and track record, including testimonials about my resume writing skills, and yet she still required a resume to validate my working history before sealing the deal. I had left my job six months prior and had not touched my resume in over two years. My resume was a mess. I had to quickly scramble to send the job corps woman my updated resume. After all, I was the resume writing expert, who had completed hundreds of resumes for other entrepreneurs over the years. Yet, I did not have my resume up to date and readily available because, like many people, I didn’t think I would need it as a full-time entrepreneur.
There are many reasons why you should keep an up-to-date resume as a full-time entrepreneur, and landing a government opportunity is by far the most impressive reason, in my experience. Landing this opportunity is, first and foremost, a magnificent resume builder: it gives you money-earning credibility and can take your career to the next level.
I thought I would also take the time to share a few other reasons why you should update your resume today.
What if you are presented with a six-figure job offer you can’t pass up?
Don’t think that, because you are now an entrepreneur, there will never be an opportunity for you to return back to corporate America. We can plan our life all we want, but the universe has the final say. Always be prepared for the unexpected: we all know the saying. In the job world, it is not what you know but who you know. You may just be connected to someone that can open the opportunity of a lifetime. These things happen all the time. You do a phenomenal job for a client who happens to be connected with a chairperson of a Fortune 500 company and needs to fill a high-ranking position, and, BAM, your client puts a bug in that person’s ear: then you are presented with an irresistible offer. Will you be prepared if this opportunity slaps you in the face?
Where is the money? What if your updated resume can seal the deal to investors or solidify a loan to take your business to the next level?
What happens when your business is finally booming and you need a bank loan to finance your expansion? Surprise: banks/lenders ask for resumes from each owner of the business as part of a loan package. Prospective investors will want to know everything about you on a resume before they commit to investing in your organization.
Sit on a panel? Contribute for a magazine? Featured speaker for a podcast or webinar?
They need my resume for this? The answer is yes. Well, not your resume, but most likely your biography, which is based on your resume.
As an entrepreneur, the possibilities are endless, but you must be prepared when opportunity knocks. I hope this post inspires you to get your resume updated today and to keep it updated a service offered here at Brown Resumes, Inc. and one that I have 17+ years of experience helping folks like you with.
Cheers from your favorite resume writer, Kesha Brown, who is passionately on a mission to move people forward!