EduReviewerBlogHow to Put Startup Experience on Resume
Resume Writing

How to Put Startup Experience on Resume

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Professional researchers from Zety confirmed in one of their studies, “Every job offer attracts around 250 resumes on average. Between 4 and 6 people get the interview invitation and only 1 person on average gets the job”. The question is – will you be that person?

Do you have some entrepreneurial experience? It doesn’t matter if your business was effective or not, putting a startup on a resume can raise your chances of getting a job. Many people do not do that as they consider that startup experience does not count as work experience.

Leveraging your startup experience in your CV can give you a competitive edge. For those in the tech industry, crafting a CV for professional engineer positions requires finesse. Our guide will equip you with valuable insights and tips to build an impressive CV that speaks volumes about your skills and experience.

However, you should highlight everything that confirms your expertise and describes your personality.

Unfortunately, just like for everything in life, there are certain exceptions. That is the reason why we invite you to read this article until the very end and learn how to put the startup on your resume. Let’s go!

Should I Put Startup Experience on My Resume?

You could probably understand from the intro of this article that putting startup experience on a resume is a good choice. The same rule counts in case you failed to become a successful entrepreneur. Employers are aware that 90% of startups fail, so they would not consider that as your shortcoming.

Many people do not know how to put a failed startup on a resume. It is pretty simple – you should try to turn the negative outcome into an advantage. Having enough courage to become a startup owner confirms that you are a true leader that possesses good critical thinking skills and creativity.

That is the reason why you should describe the tasks you were handling while running your startup and confirm your expertise. Check out the example below.



Are There Certain Moments When I Should Not Put Startup Experience?

Indeed, there are certain scenarios when you should not include startup experience in your resume. For starters, do not do that if your business is still active. The employer may believe that you are only trying to get certain money for a couple of months. After you manage to improve the performance of your business, you could potentially leave.

If you were an entrepreneur, then you know that no one wants to hire new employees that quickly. Hiring new people, again and again, is an expensive and time-consuming obligation.

Also, you should not put startup experience on your resume in case you ran a company in the same niche. Some employers may think that you only want to gain additional knowledge and improve your skills. That would mean that he or she is training someone who can become a direct competitor one day. Would you have the desire to hire someone like that?

Now that we made everything clear, the next thing you probably want to know is how to add startup to your resume. Answering that question requires in-depth analysis. Let’s find out some useful tips together and help you write a startup resume appropriately!

How to List Startup on Resume?

Can you put startup experience on your resume? Yes. However, another concern that you will probably have is how to do that properly. The entire process is not as tough as you think, but you will need to go through a couple of stages to reach the final goal.

Start with the Basics!

Starting with the basics is the first useful piece of advice you should apply. Start with your first and last name, add your role in your previous business, and how long you successfully ran the startup.

Speaking of the role, it is going to be enough to say that you were a founder, co-founder, or CEO. You can start this section like in the sample below.



Now Highlight All the Relevant Points

Writing the entire history of your startup is going to be unnecessary. The development process is not something that hiring managers want to know. They only want to know more information about the tasks you handled while you were working and your work experience.

Before we move to the main point, there is another thing that we have to say. You do not even have to mention the reason why your business failed. That is another piece of information that is going to be irrelevant to the potential employer.

If you highlight all the good things that you have done in the past, the hiring manager will know what your expertise is. He or she would potentially assume that lack of entrepreneurial experience is the main reason why you failed.

So, what exactly should you talk about here? First of all, you need to remain realistic and talk only about facts. Writing things like “I worked hard on my goals” or “It was not a problem to stay in the office 20 hours a day” is useless. Let’s focus on another example of a startup resume and analyze it together.



 The document above is a good example of how to put startup experience on a resume. As you see, this candidate didn’t even hesitate to mention that he tried to become a business owner three times in only 14 years. However, the candidate did not mention the reasons why his business field. Instead of that, he turned his failure into an advantage!

For instance, mentioning the amount of money you raised on the investors is a pretty good thing. That piece of information only confirms that you truly possess certain skills.

On the other hand, don’t forget to mention the collaborations you established as a startup owner. That confirms your communication and negotiating skills are at the highest level.

Additionally, you can talk about the skills that were necessary to complete the tasks you had. You can also talk about the rewards you managed to earn as a business owner. If you have a copy of a certain certificate, you can apply that together with your resume.

Everything Else Can Be Written In a Cover Letter

As you could see, all the relevant points were short. In case you want to add something, your resume is not the right place to do that. Write a cover letter where you can say a few more words about your achievements, skills, and tasks.

Once again, do not talk about the entire history of your business, and do not mention the reason why you failed. These are all irrelevant pieces of information!

Key Takeaway

After reading the previous part of the article, you will probably understand how to list startups on the resume. Talk only about the positive side of your startup experience and focus on your skills and achievements. However, before we end this part, there are a couple of things that every candidate should know.


What Do Startups Want?

The young entrepreneur council published a useful article on Forbes for all job seekers. They said – “Startup owners appreciate six different qualities such as willingness to take risks, adaptability, and others”.

However, when you closer, there is a simple answer to this question – startup owners want someone who they can trust. Find here how to add side projects to your resume.

So, what exactly does that means? For starters, your entrepreneurial experience can mean a lot to them. That sort of experience doesn’t only confirm your expertise; it also confirms your personality. You will be the type of person that can adapt to different challenges, take the risks when necessary, etc.

What Can You Do to Make Startup Want You?

No one says that you need to highlight everything you did in your previous startup. Knowing how to add a startup to a resume won’t mean a lot if you do not know which information is relevant for the potential employer.

However, to know which points are good, you will have to research the company before applying for a job.

You should primarily check their website and try to figure out their core values. It is also good for you to know whether you possess the personality that will help you adapt to a new team easily.

After you do that, try to prove through your cover letter that you are ready to take responsibility and cover all the gaps that your future company has. Check out closely which skills you can offer to help them out. Read more here about a resume with entrepreneurial experience.

What Do Startup Companies Want in Resumes?

They do not want confusing phrases and terms, that’s for sure! The resume needs to be clear for the person that reads it. Many candidates would try to prove their expertise by using professional terms and phrases throughout the cover letter and resume.

Instead of that, startup companies want to see proof of expertise. The CEO or hiring managers do not necessarily have to be familiar with the tasks you handle.

Because of that, your work experience and entrepreneurial experience (achievements and rewards) would be a lot more interesting to them.

How to Put a Family Business On Your Resume?

The simplest way to answer this question is – don’t overthink it. Use all the previous tips that we provided you with. Talk about the tasks that you handled, the achievements you had with your family business (if there are any), etc.

The example below is the way how you should do it. You will see there are big differences from the basic startup resume.



However, don’t forget that a family business on a resume won’t always be a reliable reference for the employer. Instead of mentioning your parents, aunts, and cousins, you should say a couple of words about the clients or suppliers that your family business collaborated with.

If the employer wants to find out more about your entrepreneurial experience, he/she will have the opportunity to get more information from the people you worked with.


You now know how to list startup experience on your resume. As we said, it doesn’t matter if you managed to expand your business or you failed after a year or two.

A more relevant fact for the potential employer is the tasks you handled and the achievements you had as an entrepreneur. Your entrepreneurial experience is going to say a lot about your habits, personality, and way of thinking.

Do not write confusing phrases and long stories in your resume. Make a bullet list with all the relevant facts about your experience and keep it simple. Do not do that only if your business is still active or you worked in the same industry as your future employer.

So, are you ready to take action? If you do not have time to do all this, you can read here about the best services that can help you with your resume.



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