How to Make the Transition from Self-Employed to Employee 

Since the start of the pandemic, self-employment is down in B.C. and Canada while regular full-time employment is on the rise. It appears that our tight labour market is encouraging many entrepreneurs to make a shift to traditional employment. There are twice as many Canadians making the transition from self-employed to employee as there were just three years ago, and since the pandemic there has been a marked increase in the number of both public and private sector employees.


It can be a difficult process to make the shift from being your own boss to becoming an employee. Before you start your journey to your new career, make sure to have successfully closed your business by knowing your legal obligations. Learn more on Small Business BC:  


When you are ready to make the leap and become an employee there are some things that can make the process easier.


Spend time career planning 

You probably didn’t have the time to think about what kind of future career you would like while running your business. Whether you are staying in the same field as your business or venturing into a whole new career, take time to reflect on your skills, and past accomplishments and explore education options. Attending a career planning workshop can also be helpful if you need to dig deeper!


Revamp your resume and cover letter 

Depending on how long you were self-employed, it could be years since you updated your resume. Just remember being self-employed gives you skills that other potential employees may not have developed. There are ways to narrow down your skills by identifying your hard and soft skills. Your hard skills are the tasks you did on a day-to-day basis like managing payroll, marketing your product, or hiring employees. Soft skills are core skills that can be applicable to many jobs like self and time management, adaptability and communication.


Strengthen your communication skills 

Whether your business had a couple of employees or just yourself, having strong communication skills is essential in any workplace. Being self-employed often means making decisions on your own, so it may be an adjustment to make collaborative decisions or to take orders from someone else. Attending workshops like our Effective Communication for the Workplace can help teach active listening skills, and the main verbal and social communication styles. Overall, keeping an open mind toward collaboration and feedback is key to a successful transition in the workplace.


Prepare to explain your choice in an interview 

When you share your self-employment journey during an interview, try to focus on the positive aspects like emphasizing the experience and skills you developed through the process. When you do touch on the main reason why you left your business, be brief and connect it to something related to why you want your current position. Reasons could include skill growth and development, wanting to work with a team instead of independently, or even to explore a career in a new industry.


Get support from an employment professional  

WorkBC Employment Services are free and available to all unemployed British Columbians who are seeking employment and are legally eligible to work in B.C. Contact a local WorkBC Centre to learn more about WorkBC Employment Services you may be eligible for, including career planning, workshops, and possible funding for Wage Subsidies, training and more!