From Entrepreneur to Employee: Mastering the Corporate Transition by Showcasing Your Unique Value

Entrepreneur with superpowers to transition to corporate work

Hey Entrepreneur,

Have you been job-shopping to re-enter a more traditional (i.e., corporate) workplace? Then you’ve probably run into pushback about employers looking for employees, not other employers.

While entrepreneurship is generally associated with innovation, bravery, risk-taking, problem-solving, and wearing many hats, for those who will have to work with the individual they hire, other traits of concern can form a question mark during the evaluation process.

These traits include:

  • Overconfidence / impatience / lack of focus
  • Inability to work well in a team
  • Poor management skills
  • Resistance to feedback / inability to be coached

A basic strategy to overcome these objections is to address them head-on during interviews.

For example, during the “tell me about yourself” question that often kicks off interviews, focus on how you’ve been an effective team member, reacted positively to coaching and feedback, and continually worked to enhance your management skills.

But is there a way to leverage the exceptional power of entrepreneurship to give yourself an advantage?

Let me share a story.

In college, I was a flailing entrepreneur. I started and exploded (not in a good way) a snack food company that made it to 200 stores in 20 states before I had to admit that I had no idea what I was doing.

Suddenly, I found myself needing a job. The thought that I’d be looking for work someday had never even crossed my mind. I was lost!

Scouring Craigslist ads (stop snickering), I intuitively identified three companies that looked like they could use my help. I sent honest resumes and cover letters outlining where I had come from and how I thought I could add value.

All 3 businesses called me for interviews.

But the interviews weren’t your typical Q&As.

I was an entrepreneur, and these were strategy sessions. I showed up with ideas and proposals…and questions. Lots of them, to show I understood my place and this wasn’t about my ego.

All 3 companies offered me jobs, and I got my pick of the litter.

Do one better than just mitigating concerns during interviews.

The advice I gave you at the beginning of this post was amateur hour.

There’s nothing wrong with preempting probable concerns during an interview, but you’re an entrepreneur. You have strength and foresight that might be other candidates are lacking. Use it!

Put on your problem-solving goggles and look for opportunities to work with companies you genuinely believe you can help.

If they have a job posted, apply with a resume and cover letter laser-focused on what you can do for them with your uncanny capacity to get things done.

Give them examples of how you’ve done that in the past. Then, follow up with the most likely person who needs you to solve their problem and tell them the same thing.

If there’s no job posted, blaze your own trail.

Skip part one and jump straight into two, reaching out to the person with a problem, explaining what you see in their public information and how you might be able to help, and inviting further conversation.

What have you got to lose?

You are different from the pack.

You have something very unique to offer. While others are taking a nap on the couch, you’re plotting to take over the world. The corporate world needs your unique mind, drive, and motivation.

Instead of apologizing for the personality problems of your peers, get out there and show prospective employers what only you can do. This will not only feel better but will help you land in a company culture with a vibe and expectations that work for you.

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