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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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  1. Profile photo of Jenifer

    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 !!

  2. Profile photo of Sai Rodinhood Pothuri

    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



  3. Profile photo of Sistla Venkata Abhishek

    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 🙂 🙂

  4. Profile photo of Amit Mishra

    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.

  5. Profile photo of Jenifer

    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 🙂

  6. Profile photo of Nimit Panpalia

    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.

  7. Profile photo of Ankur

    Hi Harmanjeet,

    The issue / problem posted by you is very genuine. The reason for this problem lies in our education system, which rewards mediocre performance but does not reward risk taking ability at all. I myself have left my job 1 year back to start my own venture (although still struggling). A typical HR manager or a Line manager is not a risk taking person (otherwise he would have turned entrepreneur). He plays safe and recruits the person with RELEVANT experience only. There are only 2 solutions right now coming to my mind.

    1. Please make a list of start-ups / entrepreneurial companies / foreign entity opening a new office on India / etc. Here the employer will be more willing to take a person who has experience in his own business. 

    2. Referral – The best method of getting recruited is through referral. Need to get in touch with genuine friends and people who care about your good self. 

    Additionally if you are looking for a job in Delhi / NCR, you can send your resume to me and I shall forward the same to my circle who are in need of good people with wholesome experience.

    Best of luck ! 

  8. Profile photo of Suresh Mansharamani

    Hi Harmanjeet

    Why do you want to do  a job.Doing a job is making somebody else rich.I have a very young friend half my age.He is a Law Graduate and whole family is lawyers.He didn’t want to do the law practice.He wanted to settle in USA.I helped him with Visa and getting a job in USA.He didn’t like it there and came back and out of frustration he told me in 2001 that he is getting a job in a company as legal adviser.I told him exactly this“Paan ki dukan khol lena per naukari mat karna” Open a paan stal but never do a job.Today he a very successful entrepreneur employing 55 people and he is very  RICH.

    Make your choice and start the entrepreneurial journey.All the best.

  9. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    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

  10. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    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

  11. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    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.

  12. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    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

  13. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    Hey Ankur,

    True, as you rightly said its the education system and the mindset of the people in the relevant positions. Which ends up deterring the entrepreneurial spirit. I would truly appreciate if could refer me. Could i have your email so that i could forward you my profile. Cheers Harman

  14. Profile photo of Jenifer

  15. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    Hey Suresh,

    Chief, i am in a precarious position in life at this juncture. I don’t have an option i am already an entrepreneur, but have to take a tough call and dive back into the corporate world. I would love to connect with you chief and talk more. Cheers Harman. I did see you at the Delhi Rodinhood meet at the russian centre.

  16. Profile photo of Ankita Bajaj Shankar

    I couldnt agree more with you. I took a break as i was getting married, had also been working for 7 years & wanted to use this chance to explore my entrepreneurial side. I have started something of my own but at this juncture it doesnt need all my time. Thus the job search began. And what a nightmare it is.

    Consultants call you without even reading your profile or resume. They send mails based on some silly search criteria only they know. When you talk to them to try to explain what you have done and what you are looking for, they just dont care. Half of them dont even understand the basic terminologies of the industry they are hiring for.

    The one safe way is to get a face to face interview with the concerned organisation if possible.Atleast that way you get your fair chance.I do try and attend as many as possible to get something better out of them or for networking.

    Honestly, i thought reference was the only way of getting a job but last few months have taught me otherwise.On the contrary if the cv goes to the top management of a firm through a lose ref, they dont bother replying after the first acknowledgement of ‘CV RECD’.

    Everybody talks about wanting not an employee who is doing his/her job but an entrepreneur who has the spark to run the business like his own.But sadly very few are upto the challenge of hiring such talent.I have met such insecure people at top management levels that it makes me laugh. Dude if i was a threat, i would be where you are already. (not demeaning myself in anyway)

  17. Profile photo of Amrendra Kumar

    Hi Harmanjeet!

        I have been thinking on a similar problem in the job market for the past couple of months. I observed that a large number of people are not happy in their current jobs or job profile but find it impossible to make the switch. One hardly has any control over their Career path, the first job you take after college brands you into that particular role for your whole life. You just keep adding yrs of experience in so & so field/role. The situation is exemplified by a senior of mine from IIMB, he had a strong interest in Fin and got A’s in all his fin courses there, but graduating in a bad year for finance jobs he joined IBM as a consultant. He desperately wanted to get out of Consultancy into finance, he tried to shift fields for a year or so but was unable to do so. He is deeply dissatisfied with his present job profile but he has given up trying anymore. 

    I think this whole state of affairs is due to the way the job search market is structured. It works for the party which pays for the service ie. the employers. The recruiters focus on only satisfying their corporate customer, the job seekers submit their resume and wait till kingdom come. I think this is a big pain that exists in the market and could turn out to be a great idea.

    What if we flip the situation and have a service  which represents the individual job seeker & help him/her find the desired job profile. They get compensated only when the job seeker lands the desirable job. I thought of giving this idea a try so I gave a proposal to the IIMB senior to help him land the job with desired profile. He has agreed to the deal and we are in the process of searching the ideal job for him with the assistance of a recruiter friend.

    I would be happy to try searching the perfect job for you. If you are interested in the idea please mail me your resume & the job profile you are seeking at

  18. Profile photo of Anu Dhole-Patil

    Hi Harmanjeet,

    In a way, I would agree with you that once you are out of the corporate world it is little hard to get back in the flow. The reason being our resume doesnt reflect continuity and I guess the HR’s might keep the resume aside b’se they have lots of resumes to scritinize. I have lived in US and I see a different scenario there as compared to here in India. 

    But there will always be a opportunity for you, all you need is keep looking and not loose confidence. I got back in the finance industry after a break of almost 10 years and last 2 years I have worked very hard to prove myself that I was no less capable than those who have been in the industry for more years than me. 


  19. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    Hey Ankita, couldn’t have been put more apptly. What’s your current status are you still in the waters, searching for a job. I would love to connect and swap a few stories. Cheers Harman please do tell me how we can connect

  20. Profile photo of Vipul Agarwal

    Hi Harmanjeet,

    Interesting and difficult situation you are in. The comments are also very interesting. Some serious advise there. I hope you are taking the right ones. One of the things I have seen when talking to Entrepreneurs looking to get back to corp life is that they dont really know their skill areas. They have been wearing so many hats that they get confused and can list down only the obvious ones.

    So the first thing to do is to sit down and create a list of ALL the “activities” that you have been doing when on your own. You may feel that they are trivial but each one of them is important. So create that list.

    Next figure out your strength areas – either in terms of domain or function. Figure out if you are good to become a sales person or an accountant or a Unit Head. It could be one or two or more areas. (Dont fantasize. Be brutally honest with yourself)

    From the list of activities that you created above match the ones fitting the roles that you have thought that you would fit into. Now create a profile that talks about your strength areas and the work you have done in those areas. You will find that you have automatically created in your mind a list of roles and the requisite experience to fit those roles. And this is all hands on experience that you will be able to show.

    This is what you need to show to the recruiters. Most recruiters will not give you the time of day as

    a: There are many such people in the market and they just dump the recruiter with a wish list

    b: The recruiter does not understand what the skills the candidate brings to the table and how to present the same to the client

    c: The client is not interested in taking the trouble to understand such candidates

    You need to help the recruiter in understanding your strengths and what roles that you would fit into. Then some of them will be in a position to help you.

    You need to take the trouble of doing a basic research of whether the skills that you possess and the role that you are targeting match. You also need to research if such profiles are accepted by the market.

    It is wrong to ‘categorise’ and say that large organizations dont accept such profiles or that small organizations cannot afford such profiles. I have seen both large and small organizations accept people who have been entrepreneurs.

    As an Entrepreneur you would have also learned to face challenges. Take this up as a challenge and go for networking with people with gusto. It will help you. Try all the resources at your disposal – recruitment portals, recruitment consultants, networking sites, friends, neighbours, their dogs … you get the picture …

    And there will be many people who will talk negative (like on this site) dont pay heed to them. Just be like Arjun who can only see the eye of the fish and you will hit it….for sure…

    Go for it man ….

  21. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    Hey Amrendra, I am glad that a lot of people can relate to this. I agree to all the points you have made. I am sending you my profile on the email I’d you’ve mentioned above. Would love to connect with you. Cheers Harman

  22. Profile photo of Jamsheed Gandhi

    hi harmanjeet,

    i too have had such similar roadblocks and what i have deduced is that most job listings have email or contact details of the most junior most employee in a headhunters office. they are used as filters to weed out the loads of resumes that fall in. i don’t blame them as when i was recruiting for the position of writers or sub-editors, i have had regular resumes sent to me of java experts and system administrators.    

    i say chase the man down!!!!! u feel u see a job and want it, just hunt the HR head of that company and put yourself in front of him. then if you don’t get the job you wont feel the lingering doubt – “did my resume actually be seen by the decision maker?” it should be easy for you since you have a sales background………

    treat it like a sales call and chase the account down……let me know how that works for you……..

  23. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    Hey Nimit,

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

  24. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    Hey Ankur,

    I wrote to you a while back asking for your email, never got it. Can you please give me your email so that i can forward you my profile.

  25. Profile photo of Harmanjeet Singh Bedi

    Hey Ankita,

    Still awaiting your response.

  26. Profile photo of Vivek Lath

    Hi Harmanjeet,

    You situation is a very common one. I left my nice cushy and a respectable position at Tata Sky to start out on my own. About a year and half later I decided to shut shop and get back to the job market. Even after spending 4 years in high end jobs, recruiters just could not get it. In my experience this was a problem just with the recruiters, Hr folks and essentially the ones not from the main team.

    Most corporate execs respect entrepreneurs. They see someone who did something bold which most of them only dream of. You have to just try to get past the headhunters, hr managers and likes. They will always play safe. Go straight to the team. References and networking is the only way. 


  27. Profile photo of Jack John

    This happens for sure for those people who could not connect your past entrepreneurial experiences into your CV.Word experience does not limit to no of years.Starting up business according to me is more challenging than getting involved in a profitable business.Should be able sparkle your day to day operational work experiences to the interviewer. As an entrepreneur you do lot more things than a contended job may you would be doing a job of multiple person as enterprenuer for eg sales + product development etc am sure job seeker with past experiences as entrepreneur would have good time just have to portray your skill and work experience in such way that it help the recruiting company.

  28. Profile photo of Sridhar V

    Hi Harmanjeet,

    You are not alone. Many people who quit their job with the intent for a change to another company or industry are simply treated as second class by recruiters initially. I personally experienced this and I know that its always better to have an offer in hand before quitting…but sometimes you have to take tough decisions if your career is at stake…..since a person spends several hours a day in one’s job (8-12 hrs).

    I’m not a believer that a job will make one successful, however it works that way for few people whose career graph grows steadily. For others I would recommend parallel options like family business, your own start up, consulting, freelancing, trading/investing in stocks/real estate/etc (if you have such skills), writing, etc.

    Ultimately there are a few options which you can consider but please have a Plan B or C if your career doesnt take off.

    1. You can get a corporate job or position (this will be helpful to revive or put think back to normal…..however dont assume that this is going to make you successful in life….its possible but not guaranteed)

    2. Focus on alternatives such as family business or your own business idea that you want to consider. This could be related to your profession or field or something completely out of the box. Or you could have something in mind like a cause/problem you want to cater to or solve….(drinking water, sanitation, transportation, etc.). Or this could be related to some inherent or cultivated talents like music, singing, dance, poetry, art, acting, modeling, etc..

    3. Using your Expertise: Most people think only about education, doing well in job and promotion…..and it ends there. Try using your expertise outside your job…. lets say by providing consultations to people who need it and get paid for it.

    For example if you are a chartered accountant you can offer tax consultation to individuals or companies for a fee. You can also write articles in newspapers, magazines or online. Alternatively, you can also provide coaching or training to CA students and professionals. This was one example – you can apply this in any profession.

    Just make sure your personal balance sheet and financial situation is clean and clear – which means minimize loans, debts, credit cards, etc. I’m sure if you follow the above stuff you dont have to be always worried about economic ups and downs.

  29. Profile photo of Ankur

    Sorry, didnt saw your message.

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