Does leaving job and becoming an entrepreneur make you less eligible for corporate sector?

I would like to give a bit of brief about my self as I am in the same precarious position as being discussed.

I worked in the corporate sector for close to 12 years across various sectors (hospitality, media, transport & logistics and retail) handling a multitude of roles, spanning across various verticals. After 9 years into the span of my career, for certain reasons & circumstances, i had to get back into my own family business.

Now i have been trying to find a job in the corporate world is turning out to be an enormous ordeal.

First of all applying online rarely gets you the calls, as most of the time your CV gets rejected for the sheer reason of not having the relevant experience as the job profile requires. Most of the HR recruiters do not understand my CV, as i did not have a linear career path.

As most of my colleagues mentioned the entrepreneurial spirit is overlooked by most recruiters.

I have been trying to line up interviews in 3 months i have managed to get 2 interviews. I think until unless people like us, don't get a chance to present their side face to face in front of the recruiter it may really not work for us. A CV can not tell the whole story.

Your views or suggestions? 

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Hi Harmanjeet

First of all do not lose heart. Markets are not the best for a job-seeker, let alone one who has been out of the fray for so long. 

having said that .. see if this helps ..

Set a goal: Instead of making a long list of things you have done in corporate or in your business, first decide what you would like to do and where best your skills acquired over the period would be best utilized. You need to tell a recruiter how to market your CV or an employer where to slot you. You have the greatest stake in this not them. So be proactive.

Making a CV : A mistake most candidates make is either they try to cramp a lifetime in 3 pages  (a myth somewhat followed by all job-seekers) or else make it into a thick thesis on their life history. Decide the relevance of information and its impact on your earlier set goal. Precisely and emphatically put down your achievements. Do not forget this is your 15 seconds window you do not want to lose it. Only you can market yourself.

Format of a CV : Bullet points and same strain of thought. natural progression, formatting, using at best two-three size of fonts keeping them all in the same type of font helps. Make your key points bold. but remember for something to shine rest has to be duller -- follow the adage.

Expectation of compensation : Most times I find people make a mistake of thinking that doing your own thing means you can still get back in the job-market and demand the salary equivalent to an unbroken service. Not so. Do not compare with your colleague who has moved on. Do not compare with another guy having the same experience as yours. face it. Until proven otherwise you are goods from the warehouse with an unsure expiry date. You need to prove all over again. So take a hit in your salary -- its temporary only until you find your feet. Then if your employer is smart he will increase your salary on his own to what you deserve or else you can always move on. But this step back to leap is necessary -- take it. 

Sending CV : Call the recruiter, take the email Id send only to the particular person. No undisclosed recipients or CC. You need your recruiter to feel special. That extra rapport will make the recruiter push. The recruiter does have more power than what some job seekers think :)

Follow up : call to check if the CV is received and if there are any appropriate opportunities. Create a rapport with the recruiter if possible. You want them in your court. If there are opportunities a recruiter will come after you. If not move on find another, no one wants a pest following relentlessly. It only makes you that much unattractive to a recruiter. give a gap of 20 days - month or so before calling again. But do call .. there are no databases really !!

In the end : Find your niche - look around. Maybe your skills can still be used on something you have never done. Do not limit yourself. 

I speak all this from experience .. i was a job seeker before i became a recruiter :) All the best !!

Hey Jenifer,

Thank you for the wonderful insight. I have always looked at life in a very optimistic way, never given up in life and never will. I have been adhering to the above mentioned pointers for a while now. The biggest hurdle i am facing is not able to make the recruiters understand my profile, they do not understand my non linear career path. Which in turn ends up getting my cv turned down at the first instance only. In today's time without a reference it is not even easy to get an interview. But you have given, a valuable insight. I would really appreciate if i could send across my profile to you. As you have been a recruiter, you might be able to critique my profile. I am sure you must be preoccupied, but if you could spare some time would really appreciate it. Cheers Harman

Hi Harmanjeet,

  As of now i am  on safe side but in past i am done lot of things in different sector its like Up and Down.. but i think Jenifer response might work for little bit. but i wish you all the best



Hello Harmanjeet,

Yes this is the problem that exists with not only someone who goes on to becoming an entrepreneur and then comes back to a job .. But also for students who apply for jobs and for students who take a break just to do something that they all believe in. More like working on the idea for a start up, actually doing something for a start up which never came to light, etc.

For Example : A student who has lots of extra curricular / co curricular activities might not have a great academic percentage. He just is rejected for the reason that he is not eligible for an interview with the company. A topper who gets selected might not at all be suitable for the job ( in terms of productivity ) when compared to this guy.

I agree that a looking at a CV < telephonic round < video conference < face-face interview. But then since looking at the CV is the first thing someone looks at .. I strongly believe, it should give more importance to what he does and rather than just the academics or the 3 - 4 years of time he was away from the corporate world for his venture.

I was a student until this year and currently am working on an idea which tries to solve a problem closely related to this.

All the best :) :)

Harmanjeet, Jenifer has pointed out some very important things which you should really consider. From my own experience, I would like to share a few pointers which may help you understand things better.

  • Any job posting on any jobsite gets an average of at least 200-250 applications which means you have a bigger and most probably competition to beat.
  • All these job boards sell because they boast huge numbers which is close to 2-3 crs in the bigger one's, so putting a resume there might not help.
  • Close to 35-45% of jobs at your experience level are filled through references.

Apart from what you have been doing, I recommend that you need to think of doing some things which makes sense. As I see you have a mix experience in various unrelated industries, you may need to evaluate first where you want to go and create a strategy around it. Think yourself as a commodity,understand the good/bad points and create a sales pitch accordingly. Being a sales person for so many years, I am sure you will be able do it yourself.

In case you need some help, feel free to connect.

Thanks Amit,

Thanks for your valuable insight. I agree with you 100 % on the online job boards. Amit the biggest hurdle i have been facing is on the reference front. I would really appreciate, if i can forward you my profile and you could give me a few pointers. I would love to connect and pick your brain. Cheers Harman

Hi Harmanjeet

Having said all the stuff above  it just occurred to me the basic question ? Why do you want a job ? why not pursue being an entrepreneur ? Its not that bad .... I became one 3 years back after 15 years in corporate and I must admit there are days when i kick myself for holding this heavy cross but at the bottom of it .. i thank god every day for giving me that opportunity. Everyday is excitement !! ... maybe you are looking in the wrong place :)

Hey Jenifer,

I am at a very precarious position at this stage in life.Due to certain personal reasons, i am having to, dive back again into the job world. I would love to connect with you if you would give me the opportunity. I can totally understand, what you are trying to get across to me.

connect with me at

Hey Harmanjeet,

I can try to understand your situation, but it is very important that you also share which job profile are you trying to apply for. Personally, i feel that there is definitely a requirement for people like you in the market who have explored doing business and have far more wisdom in understanding the business dynamics, cash burn, P&L etc.. I will suggest that you should try exploring a start-up or a company which is starting a new division. I am very sure that you will be lot more valuable to them because of the sheer hunger that you will have when you start with them.

I dont think, recruiters will ever understand such profile as normally the people who are shortlisting are not that matured enough and they stick to their job description keywords. Please explore Linkedin or your personal network to find the next job as that will be far more quicker as compared to applying for jobs.

All the Best



PS: I know a company in India, which respects such profile and have been hiring people in senior profile who have had some experience in doing their own business. Let me check with them, once you share more information about your profile.

Hey Nimit,

You hit the nail bang on its head. I would love to connect with you and send you my profile across. I am sending you a message in your inbox. I appreciate your candor and frankness on this whole topic. Cheers Harman

Hey Nimit,

Here is my Linkedin profile, this will give you a fair idea on my profile.


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