By Amanda Khoza, Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion, Liberty Group
Who are you? What is your identity? These discussions often lead to a reference of one’s roots, where one comes from. As a business-owner you don’t lose your identity, you just show up differently.
For me, identity is the whole tree - it is not static, it is not past tense, it is dynamic. It is the tree in full bloom at the height of summer. The autumn fall of multi-coloured leaves sees the birds go off in anticipation of the winter chill. As the cold seeps in, the trees stoop, rugged and submissive – no longer the majestic structures that stood regal in bloom. It is the tree battered and dull in the storms that strip it bare of its flowered glory. When spring comes, it is the awakening of newness and repurposing - emerging from the rigors of life replenished in readiness. So the question is, who are you then and how do you make people know who you are?
I had a boss who encouraged me to always scan the job market to either benchmark myself, enhance my skillset, know what else is out there, what career aspirations I can adequately prepare for so I am broadly informed on how to improve and prepare myself for bigger and better. When seeking employment, people put their CVs on the market identifying themselves as potential applicants for work. Their curriculum vita is their personal brand, a marketing tool adapted to present them as most suitable for the available job. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with writing the first job letter or résumé in 1481 which listed his skills and abilities. Interestingly he only briefly mentioned his artistic abilities as he sought the work in his capacity of being a skilled engineer.
The modern CV is said to have only taken on its current form from the 1970s in the advent of technology and with job-intentioned applications being standard, this came with a number of embellishments. The most commonly cited falsifications to increase chances of landing the job include exaggerated skills and qualifications as well as listing unrelated references. Basically that is lying about who you are in order to do something you are likely to not be qualified to do. Business owners also sometimes take on roles they know are beyond them setting themselves up for failure in the hope of stepping up when challenged to do so. Knowing yourself, your abilities and limitations are the first steps in confidently showcasing yourself for a well-positioned role. As an entrepreneur, polishing your business CV is the first step to readying yourself for the well-suited possibilities that may come your way.
Being a business owner, you may be thinking but why would I need a CV when I’m in charge, when I’m doing the hiring?
A current business-owner CV is relevant for many beneficial reasons. You could position yourself for professional association memberships or even directorships that increase your personal profile. It can enlighten and alert you to possible partners for ventures that can expand your offering as a business. In its simplicity, it can help you track your successes, your improvements, your victories and the opportunities you’ve been involved in. Your leadership in your business could be highly sought after for leadership in the community, think-tanks, masterclass facilitation or best practice sharing. You must never be complacent about your identity as a business owner and your business-owner CV is an important tool to reflect how dynamic your identity has been.
Now that you know the value in having a business-owner CV, how does it differ from your ‘employee’ one?
Similar concepts are included in this CV as it is also a marketing tool about your abilities and fit for projects and positions that you could be considered for. Firstly, provide an overview of your entrepreneurial experience just as you would do in listing your individual experience. This is different to the skills section; second to the experience, list your skills, particularly those gained and developed whilst an entrepreneur. Your entrepreneurial achievements should follow, giving insight into what you have done in your business and the accomplishments that are specific and can be measured. These sections provide the reader or seeker with a broad view of your capabilities and abilities value you would add to a project, partnership or professional body.
Your individual identity always trails you, and must also be briefly incorporated in your business-owner CV towards the end so as not to detract from the intention of the CV. Your corporate background if you have one which has added to your entrepreneurial activities can be included together with any qualifications and certifications.
As a business-owner you don’t lose your identity, you just show up differently. Just like the tree that changes structure with the roots giving it its constant stability, value the things that shape you into who you end up being and polish that business-owner CV to reflect your textures, hues and growth. Roots are only the beginning and anchor of your identity, make the rest, your inspired coming to being.
Amanda Khoza is the Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion at Liberty Group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a passionate advocate for economic empowerment, financial literacy, and believes in the power of entrepreneurship to make real and lasting societal change happen on the African continent. Amanda is championing a host of initiatives for women entrepreneurs in South Africa, including partnering with Lionesses of Africa on the Lioness Lean In Liberty Sessions programme for intrapreneurs at Liberty, supporting The Mix newsletter each month as an impact partner, and joining with Standard Bank as the impact partners for the Lionesses of Africa Accelerator programme series in Johannesburg.
Read more articles by Amanda...