Are you making a transition into independent consulting? It’s time to re-think your résumé. Sure, you may have a nice, reverse-chronological list of companies you’ve worked for, but is that the most effective format to present to hiring managers? Let’s look at how to call out that you can produce results in a certain area of expertise for a consulting project.
At EM Marketing, we see a couple types of transitions into consulting:
- A full-time employee moving into consulting.
If you’re currently working full time and waiting to land a consulting gig before you quit, you may list your present role on your résumé (e.g., Ernst and Young, October 2014 – present), but make it clear to potential employees that you’ve decided to move into consulting and why. Assure the new company there would be no overlap in jobs once you’ve given your two-week (or other) notice.
- A previous full-time employee moving into consulting.
Update your résumé to show you’re no longer working (e.g., Ernst and Young, October 2014 – September 2015). You can state at the top that your objective is to become a consultant, or in the experience section, add a new entry for the name of your independent consulting business or something generic, such as “Marketing Consultant” or “Freelance Designer.”
A recruitment and career blog, The Undercover Recruiter, explains the differences between and when you might use a chronological, functional or combined résumé format. In the case of transitioning into consulting, a combined résumé may be the winning format by showcasing relevant skills upfront, but also listing specific roles, experience and dates at previous companies.
More Tips on Writing a Consulting Résumé
- De-emphasize titles. Many consultants lose out on a potential gig because the client thinks they’re too high-level or won’t want to get their hands dirty with work. Moreover, some consultants don’t use titles anymore — they simply say what their role was, e.g., “Product Management: managed two product lines and brought three new products to market.”
- List individual projects and clients. Under your consulting experience section, potential clients will want to know with whom and on what you’ve previously worked. If you don’t have a list of clients yet, do a small or short-term project or volunteer work that shows you’re on a new path.
- Highlight examples of experiences at the top. To bring your résumé more to life, add a few specific, relevant accomplishments. It’s important to show that you are self-directed and are able to manage complex projects.
- List key skills at the top. Many hiring managers search for this now. For marketing consultants, this may be Lead Generation, Content Marketing, Data Analytics, Social Media, etc.
- Tell a bit of your personal story. In a sea of résumés, how do you stand out from others? Add a little flavor by not just telling what you did in the past, but who you are. Briefly explain why you’re transitioning into consulting. Pay attention to adding non-work related things you participate in, such as volunteering or coaching.
- Consider hiring EM Marketing to do a Consultant Profile. Aside from your résumé, do you want another unique way of presenting yourself? EM Marketing draws out your interesting experiences, both from work and personal situations, into a compelling story filled with fun imagery. See our “We Are EM (Monkeys Are People Too)” series for examples.
Your résumé serves as a tool to get you an interview for your next gig. While you’re revising it to reflect your new consulting role, make sure you don’t make these common mistakes. Most importantly, show that you have what it takes — call out your strengths and special skills upfront, then use your previous work experience to back that up.