When you are looking to step out on your own or are seeking a higher salary that is difficult to find in the standard corporate setting, creating a consulting resume is the best first step in seeing your dreams realized. To that end, having your own consulting coach is a huge asset that can pay you dividends in the long run. According to My Consulting Coach, a fair number of people make some career changing mistakes when putting together their resume. They say the best way to evaluate your own resume writing effort is to see if the resume has on these eight criteria that make the best consulting resume. You can choose to ignore this list at your own peril.
1. The Entrepreneurial Spirit.
Notice it is not an entrepreneurial spirit. Be specific and state why you have what it takes to go it alone, yet being able to work with people who are also trying to achieve success. But you also have to experientially demonstrate this quality. It can come in the form of a blog, volunteer work that you have done, or simply having put one of your own ideas into action.
This logically follows an entrepreneurial attitude since no one ever achieves anything great by going it alone. If you played team sports, particularly in a league setting, you need to state this clearly. If you are a recent college graduate this should be easy, as many third and fourth year level core courses require team projects to pass or graduate.
You can follow, but can you lead? Leadership requires responsibility, and demonstrating this shows the reviewer that you know when to move to the front and when to step back and learn. It is a process that you learn over time, unless you are one of the few that are a “born leader.” The goal is to “turn your responsibilities into eye-catching, relevant achievements.”
4. You can deliver results.
Consulting is all about delivering quality results and meeting a deadline. To present this on your consulting resume you need to focus on quantifying those results whenever possible. Being the leader of a group of five is notable, but how do you plan to quantify the results of that position? This may require you to do some backtracking and find the best way to present your achievements.
What underlies the consulting position is the person’s ability to correctly analyze a situation or a problem and come up with realistic solutions. If you are someone who has worked in a STEM-related field you certainly can present this criterion clearly and succinctly. Computer programmers and analysts are the more common positions that demonstrate this ability.
6. Problem Solver.
The logical connection to analyzing a problem is being able to arrive at a solution to the problem. One of the key concepts that you should present in your resume is “proactive.” Instead of putting out the fire, demonstrate how you were able to prevent the fire from occurring. This is an item that you probably have plenty of examples of – you just need to step back and think about your various positions. If you reflexively are proactive, the better it is for your consulting potential as clients love saving money not having to deal with problems that consultants stop from happening.
7. Functional Expertise.
The key part of this two word phrase is “expertise.” Many wannabe consultants do not have sufficient experience in a specific sector or industry to convince potential clients they have the requisite expertise to properly do the job. The skinny of this quality is that you have spent years pursuing a specific industry or niche that you know inside and out. In most cases this will require you to stay abreast in your field of expertise through seminars, professional organizations, and continuing education.
This item is intentionally put last because it is the underlying quality you need to give your consulting resume any credibility or integrity at all. Many potential consultants miss their opportunity because they believe certain items on the resume will impress the reader more. The truth is the only person who knows exactly who they are looking for is the resume reviewer. Being honest throughout your resume will give you the best chance to land the position and salary you are seeking.
After reading this list, if you find you come up short in one or more areas does this mean you should stop trying to be a consultant? The answer is no, because as was stated earlier, only the reviewer knows the type of person they are looking to hire. Yet in the areas you fall short you need to take stock and see what you can do to improve your consulting resume in the future. As long as you continue to pursue a career as a consultant you will need to continually improve your resume.