When you trade in your boss for clients and your cubicle for your own office (or co-working space), you may not think about the fact that there are a few things you needed as an employee that you still may need as a business owner. Today’s question: Do entrepreneurs need resumes?

Here is the short answer: Yes. Yes, they do. 

There are four really good reasons why you still need a great resume:

  1. Your clients may want to see your resume so satisfy them.The entire purpose of a resume is to present your professional value in a way that is succinct, well-organized and easy to read. Some clients will still want to consume that information in the way in which they are most familiar. That’s cool. Make it easy for them to hire you by giving them what they want.
  2. Lenders reference resumes to get a handle on the capabilities of your company’s key personnel. It’s one of the metrics they use to assess the risk of making an investment in you and your company.
  3. Resumes still find their way into business plans these days. Whether you are using your plan to serve as the road map for your business or to get funding, it’s important to identify what human capital you have and how it will be leveraged. Resumes are also very useful in helping you to understand what skills your company may be missing.
  4. Your resume is the core piece of your branded material. You can use it to build your biography, professional deck, About page, and social media profiles.

As an entrepreneur, you probably won’t be presenting your traditional two-page resume very much. Still, you always want to have a well-packaged variation of your resume available online for your  clients, prospects, colleagues, and the media to find.  It’s the variations in the different types of resumes entrepreneurs use that I want to focus on next.

Functional Resume

Next to a solid portfolio, the functional resume is the contract worker’s best friend. This is the resume of the Digital Age; it levels the playing field between those with book knowledge (degrees) and those with experience. The functional resume spells out, in no uncertain terms, your professional value. It inventories the business challenges you have solved in the past and lays the blueprint for what your clients can expect from you.

The functional resume is an important piece of branding collateral for entrepreneurs, especially those who are just making a dent in their markets.

Functional  Resume Variation #1 The Corporate Deck  (also known as the Capabilities Deck)

Also called a capabilities deck or a cap deck, your corporate deck is a multimedia version of your resume translated into a targeted and engaging report or slideshow presentation (delivered as a PDF, of course).

Early in my career as a professional writer, I was at a Starbucks outside Atlanta when I met Kevin Jordan, founder of STEMPcp.com. He was the first person to hip me to the capabilities deck. And it effectively blew my mind.

A year or two later, I had the pleasure of working with Seek Company out of Cincinnati. I liked Seek, but even after several assignments with them, I could not put my finger on exactly what it was they actually did in that company. I knew it was something cool, but I couldn’t articulate what. Then I saw their cap deck and man, I totally understood what they did. Not only did I understand what they did, I understand how and why they did it. These days, I create capabilities decks for various projects. 

Here is the beauty of the deck: Your capabilities deck serves the same purpose as your resume: It demonstrates your value, chronicles your past successes and insinuates a promise for what you will deliver. But the capabilities deck goes a step further because it wholly reflects your brand.

Seek’s deck was image-heavy and almost all the pictures were of people. The images were unbelievably powerful. There was nothing run-of-the-mill about the images they chose, the text they used, the tone they applied to represent the company. Their deck was… almost mystical, wise-old-grandfatherish. Totally on-brand for a company like Seek that helps global brands to see their customers as people and to see them differently.

While I would love to use those sorts of awe-inspiring images to represent my own freelance business, it would be off-brand for me, and probably off-putting for my target clients. So I just stick to dry humor, hoping it lands someplace soft.


Variation #2: Bio

Your bio is the narrative form of your resume. While your resume is all facts and figures, your bio provides readers with a glimpse at the hero behind all the success. I like to say your bio should make you look like the most interesting person in the world WITHOUT lying.

Don’t fret.

There’s a way to tell any story to make it interesting. But if your bio doesn’t make you look like Shirley Chisholm, you worded it wrong.

Variation #3: Corporate Profile

The corporate profile is your company’s resume. It’s a mixture of the traditional bullet point-punctuated resume and a narrative bio, only it’s strictly about your business, its performance, its market and its assets (which includes the key personnel).

You can use your resume to create the corporate profile if you are a solopreneur, but at some point, your company will probably take on a life of its own, separate from you.

Variation #4: About Page

A crucial part of any website is the About page.  It tells your readers what you do and what you are about and most importantly, tells them why they should listen to you and if they can trust you to deliver. Like your biography, your About page should be good at one thing: Making you look AWESOME on paper.

I always tell my web content clients that the bio is usually the last stop in the sales funnel before someone buys. By the time someone reads your About page, they are typically looking for red flags that would stop them from buying.

Variation #5: Media Kit

When you put the above elements together, you build the core elements of a media kit. The media kit is essentially reverse engineering, or deconstructing, your resume and taking the time to expound on the most significant points on a way that provides media outlets with useful info and  adv interesting angle. 

Variation #6: Online / Social Profiles

Whether we’re dealing with social media profiles, Facebook business pages, or even inputting information into online business directories, you can expect every last detail that’s on your resume to find its way into one or more of your online profiles.

No two-page resume can hold the amount of detail I have listed on my LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn knows more about me than I even know about myself. In fact, I get recommendations from well-meaning strangers for  skills I  don’t even have.  And it seems every time I log into my LinkedIn account, it’s asking me to provide more information, more details, more insight.


Have I sufficiently convinced of the ways in which you will continue to leverage your resume to grow your business?  And did I overlook any resume variations?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social profiles