Entrepreneurial Spirit: Should It Be on Your Resume?


What is Entrepreneurial Spirit?

To have an entrepreneurial spirit means you have a unique way of thinking. This way of thinking allows you to recognise opportunity, take the initiative, and innovate. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you are passionate, optimistic, and willing to take risks to execute your ideas.

Some Considerations Before You Boast an Entrepreneurial Spirit on Your Resume

For some employers, these characteristics are highly desirable. However, others are wary of the entrepreneurial employee. They are concerned that they will make risky decisions, lack focus or commitment, or not take direction.

Moreover, ‘entrepreneur’ is an overused label both in business and on resumes.  With many people self-identifying as having an entrepreneurial mindset, it has been stripped of any significant meaning.  As with other outdated resume phrases, ‘results-oriented or ‘team player’, it has a cringe factor.

Having said that, some companies or employers will be looking for someone who offers this unique way of thinking, as you can see from these Seek job listings.

Two Seek Job Ads with words Entrepreneurial highlighted

If the role you are applying for explicitly states that you should be entrepreneurial-minded or similar, you should display your entrepreneurial skills in your resume (and provide evidence to back up your claims).

On the other hand, if entrepreneurialism is not a stipulated requirement for the role, a better approach would be to focus on similar skills without any negative connotations. For example, creativity, initiative, and agility. Someone who is entrepreneurial-minded has all of these skills. Still, you can avoid an overused term and any negative nuance by not using ‘entrepreneurial’.

How to Show Entrepreneurial Spirit on Your Resume

So, assuming the role you are applying for has listed entrepreneurialism as a critical requirement, here is how you prove you have it. You provide examples of our past experiences that showcase your entrepreneurialism.

To help, let’s look in more detail at what it means to have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Characteristics of Someone With an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Remember, having an entrepreneurial mindset is different from the traditional view of an entrepreneur who builds a new idea into an enterprise. Instead, it refers to a way of thinking.

Someone with an entrepreneurial mindset will:

  • Show commitment to their continuous improvement; they place value on their personal improvement and development.
  • Display curiosity and inquisitiveness; they investigate how the world works and see things with a fresh perspective.
  • Be willing to take a risk; they trust their judgment and ability to consider risks and make a sound decision.
  • Be optimistic and resilient; they will, regardless of challenges, maintain a positive attitude.
  • They have a strong network; they invest in relationships and seek support when needed.
  • They have energy and passion; they work hard and with intensity.

Prompt Questions to Help You Think of Examples

Above all, don’t rely on just listing ‘entrepreneurial’ as a skill on your resume.  As always, the key to demonstrating your skills is to use examples from your past experience.

Here are some prompts to help you think of examples:

  • Can you think of examples from your past that demonstrate the key qualities and traits listed above?
  • What challenges have you overcome? How did you deal with the challenge, and what did you learn?
  • What excites you, what is your passion, how have you doggedly pursued your goals?
  • Have you needed to adapt to changes in your work or industry?
  • How have you made sure you keep growing?
  • Have you contributed an innovative idea?

For each example, include an achievement story on your resume. For additional help writing your achievement stories, see How to Write an Achievement Story.

Additional Advice

Finally, if you want to impress a potential employer, then you can take it a step further. Another approach is to demonstrate your entrepreneurial spirit by doing your research and telling the employer precisely what you can do for their company or team.  Apply your curiosity and vision and dive deeper to determine a key problem or a specific goal that you can impact. A good place to set this out is in your cover letter.

If this advice has made you realise you may be using other cringeworthy resume phrases, here are some additional examples of words to avoid, objective statement, proficient, and workaholic.

Related: Resume Clichés and Buzzwords

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