Question Proposed on LinkedIn: Resumes for Consultants? I have a client who wishes to move from a corporate position to independent consultant. Makes me curious what your preferred approach is to developing a resume directed at consulting rather than FTE employment. Any great tips?
– I faced the same challenge and my first step was identifying the skills/experiences I have vs the ones I need to showcase myself in the best light as a consultant. In addition, I wear multiple hats (coaching and writing) so I researched job descriptions to help articulate value with my resume. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss further or review my current CV.
– My partner and I developed a document for a consultant that I describe as a Marketing Brief, rather than a resume. It highlighted quantified achievements and skills, and listed employers at the end, somewhat like a functional resume. The difference in this document was that we could feature snippets or prior work product that showcased the talents this client wanted to use in future engagements. It’s worked out very well for her.
– There are a very broad range of people calling themselves consultants these days, so for me it would depend upon (1) what he means by consultant and (2) how much work he’s willing to do toward finding work.If he is basically looking for a contracting position with a single company, s/he pretty much is doing the work of a full-time employee and the resume can be very similar or the same as if s/he were looking for employment. The format would depend on which best highlights her/his qualifications.If s/he’s the kind of consultant who views her/himself as self-employed and has a few clients, then a resume will be helpful, but so would more attractive marketing documents: slideshows, infographics, even brochures. Because, s/he is really a business owner and can market as a business. That could mean having a bio in addition or instead of having a resume. And s/he would be out there networking with the Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations and professional associations as an equal for all the other business owners in the area. Their resume is going to be secondary to the relationships that are developed through the networking.If s/he is looking to be considered a leader in the field, goes into the company reviews and assesses performance in her/his area of specialty and makes recommendations, maybe does a little work, and hands a Fortune 50 company a bill of $50,000 for a day’s work, well, … s/he might not even need a resume. The focus would be on referrals, networking, taking all the steps of establishing her/himself as a leader: having a website, blogging, podcasting, interviewing other leaders, writing books, having webinars and e-courses, posting on social networks, etc. This person’s reputation is going to precede her/him.In reality and in my personal approach even the first level of consultant (who is really more like a contractor) should be doing the networking and taking all the other kinds of steps that the other two consultants are doing. They are likely to get much better and higher paying gigs, rather than submitting resumes off of job sites and oDesk/elance, etc. And they are likely to be treated as equals and as mentors rather than the person in the cubicle by the plant, who is working on X project.
– Assuming your client has accomplishments while employed, absolutely nothing could be easier.I agree with Matt – functional is the way to go. BUT not just one generic functional resume for all situations – CUSTOM FUNCTIONAL RESUMES based on the specific requirements of each consulting gig your client wants to go after. A testimonial from a consultant: ““Don, I went from tongue-tied to fluently speaking, from “I don’t know what I have to offer” to “This is what people gain when they work with me.” The system … was challenging but so worth the effort! I am much more confident talking about my services than before.” I’m talking about creating data banks of REPRESENTATIVE PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS and the SPECIAL SKILLS AND ABILITIES used to achieve themThen, based on the requirements of X gig, your client can dip into their DATA BANKS, select and customize ONLY the content that most pertains to the gig’s requirements, and just like that, your client will be an IDEAL CANDIDATE, not some generic applicant ditty-bopping through the door and hoping there will be interest.Said another way, CUSTOM Works. GENERIC remains unemployed OR – STAND OUT – BE THE MEATBALL, Don’t blend in like forgettable fettucine. And of course, with a data bank full of accomplishment "stories” you client will have a ready supply of material for their website.
– Lynne is right on, as is Marti, If the client intends to be a consultant to a variety of businesses rather than an employee of one, s/he needs a dossier (Marti describes it as a Marketing Brief) describing what s/he has accomplished for whom. Further strong collateral marketing materials are called for in that case.If s/he wishes to be a consultant employee a resume should suffice. I am not a fan of functional resumes however. An employee is an employee; hiring managers hate functional resumes. Furthermore all it takes is creative writing skills to accomplish in a chronological resume the features of a functional resume. That is the resume writers job!Bottom line: All resumes and dossiers should focus on results.
– The important thing with moving into consulting is showcasing your level of expertise. And showcasing all the expertise you’ve gathered from all the various sources. Sources that include practical work experience, schooling, side but related projects, writings related to the consulting area(s), etc. So with a consulting resume and marketing materials, you’d need to highlight the relevant work experience, trainings, profesisonal development activities, professional memberships, etc. These are all designed to lend creditability behind the client as an independent consultant.Unlike working for another company where you have their reputation and creditability backing you, when you go independent, all you have is yourself. So when seeking consulting work, your background and expertise become far more important and need to be clearly expressed.So as part of the marketing materials used to drum up new business, there would be the resume or bio, a listing of consulting work done and/or in progress, etc. Not sure if you’re putting together just a resume or helping with all the other marketing materials that would commonly be used when attempting to drum up business. I’ve helped many put together things like flyers, bios, resumes, and brochures. Everything must look 100% professional because this is the face of your business. So as I mentioned earlier, you won’t have the company’s creditability behind you. All you will have is YOU. And for many new consultants, you aren’t known but must establish creditability and build that reputation.
– I say develop a functional over chronological resume. Showcase your accomplishments still with quantifiers and strong action verbs while maintaining brevity, but also include projects tied to those accomplishments.