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More to Love: Take Advantage of Senior-Level Consultants

By Kelly Gherardi

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for some of the world’s best brands, alongside exceptionally innovative, interesting and smart people. I’ve seen companies, products, and people grow, change, succeed, fail, and everything in between. These first-hand experiences are invaluable and really can’t be obtained without being in there, trying different tactics and seeing what works and what doesn’t. They also come from many years of working at different companies, in varied industries.

As I look for consulting work, I think that sometimes my former “director” title – the title I earned from all of those before-mentioned great experiences – hinders me more than it helps me when I pursue less “strategic” positions or those that don’t manage a team.

I love managing projects and I’m really good at it (if I do say so myself). But if you’ve held a certain level of job, it’s often assumed by the hiring team that you’ll be uninspired or bored by a more roll-up-your-sleeves kind of position. Even if that’s the role you really want.

You may have seen a recent EM Marketing blog about transforming a traditional senior-level resume into a title-free “consultant” version in an effort to circumvent some of these assumptions.

A few things I would add, particularly for those who are doing the hiring, are:

1. Senior-level marketers didn’t start out that way.

They’ve likely honed important core skills such as being excellent communicators, organized, or great at following through – traits that helped them get to those higher-level positions, and that are very applicable to “project-level” jobs.

2. Breadth and depth of experience and knowledge – both professional and life in general – is a great thing.

People really can’t have “too much” experience, even for so-called “tactical” or “execution” roles. A more seasoned individual can bring unique insights to situations. Don’t miss out on that!

What are some of the thoughts behind hiring someone who may appear to be too senior-level? That they might leave the position too soon, or that they’ll cost too much? Probe the interviewee to find out more about any areas of concern, the answers may be surprising.

3. Consulting lets you do the work.

Many top performers move into managerial roles (and in turn, delegate the work) because that’s usually the next step when getting promoted (a.k.a., making more money). Many of these folks were excellent at the work and not as great at, or as interested in, managing a group.

I remember one such person, who led the department I was in, saying how much she “missed the work” after getting a big promotion. One of the beautiful things for consultants (and those who hire them!) is the opportunity to essentially be a senior-level individual contributor who gets to do the work they’re great at, and love.

Keeping these points in mind, job seekers can test drive their transformed consultant-style resume and hiring teams are encouraged to look for the extra value brought by the experienced worker. Along with the strategist, there’s likely an executor lurking just below that fancy title.

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About Kelly Gherardi

Kelly is a Bay Area Marketing and Communications pro with 20+ years of experience leading, planning, and executing a broad range of B2B and B2C initiatives for revered brands including Visa, Apple, and Expedia.

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