Venturing into the world of consulting can come with a lot of really heavy questions. Beyond trying to figure out how to set your rate, the second most common question we receive at EM Marketing is how new consultants can update their resumes to best reflect the transition away from full-time employment. To hear straight from the source, I again turned to the EM Marketing Community to crowdsource some solid advice.
Shifting Your Mindset
Before we get started, the topic of converting your resume from a traditional one into a consulting resume has already been covered on our blog, and has some really great tips that are still relevant; I recommend you go check it out. The key takeaway from that post, and the resounding advice from our consultants?
It is important to shift your thinking from a job-seeker looking for employment,
to an independent business looking for clients.
This will not only change the structure of your resume away from the chronological format to a more functional or combination format, but it will also shift the language you use to talk about your skills and highlighting specific project examples. And don’t forget to tell your story and what makes you a unique and skilled consultant well-suited for this particular client and project.
More Than Just a Piece of Paper (or Three)
Today the resume is considered the bare minimum when you’re trying to call attention to your skills and experience. In fact, most of our consultants focus their efforts on their online presence more than their resume (if they even bother to still have one at all!).
Everyone who’s anyone will try to find your LinkedIn profile,
or at the very least Google your name to see what comes up.
Do you know what they’ll find?
As a free professional networking platform, LinkedIn is a great way to get your name out there and show your current connections you’re shifting course; there’s really no reason not to use it. When switching to consulting, our LinkedIn experts recommend you make sure you optimize your profile by doing the following:
- Upload a professional and friendly photo – many profiles are overlooked simply because the user did not upload a picture; it adds a personal touch and helps familiarize the viewer with who you are.
- Include a headline that calls attention to the work you do or the work you’re looking to find.
- Promote yourself through your summary – this is a great chance to tell your story about why you’ve made the switch to consulting and to detail the kinds of projects you’re interested in.
- Include contact information – let people know how they can get in touch with you, or link them to your website or online portfolio.
And that’s only the beginning of how you can personalize your LinkedIn profile. For more tips, take a look at this blog, or reach out to me and I can put you in touch with one of our LinkedIn experts for a one-on-one consultation.
But Wait, There’s More!
When I reached out to our consultants about their resume tips, initially I heard nothing but crickets. Then I closed my window because it was night time and man those crickets can get real noisy. But in all seriousness, I was curious if everyone felt as lost on the process as brand new consultants do! However, after digging a little deeper I discovered it’s because many of our consultants devote their time to other forms of displaying their talents, such as:
- Consulting profiles or biographies
- Websites and online portfolios
- Short slide decks with project examples and client testimonials
I’ve found that the majority of EM consultants use some sort of combination of a resume, LinkedIn, and some or all of the above. The flexibility is great for a wide variety of situations and clients.
The Bottom Line
Again, it all ultimately comes down to the fact that you are running your own business now, so think and act accordingly. When you’re pitching yourself for a new project, you’re not going in for a job interview, you’re making the case for a partnership. The more polished and robust your presence, the more credible and approachable you become. Now, many clients do still ask for resumes, and it is helpful to have a printable slick to hand out at meetings, but remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be as stuffy as your old traditional resume – isn’t that part of the reason you’re making the shift anyhow?