It is the standard Catch-22: in order to get a great job in your industry, you need experience. In order to get that vitally-needed experience, you have to have a job within your industry.
Luckily, you have some experience as a consultant. The question is, how do you list those contract jobs on your resume and highlight the skills and accomplishments acquired from those positions? You want future employers to see what a valuable asset you could be to the team and hire you, rather than tossing your resume straight into the discard pile.
Here is the good news: contract jobs often help employees gain substantial job skills within a relatively short period of time. They can also showcase adaptability, your ability to learn new skills quickly, and even your creativity. By framing those positions properly on your resume, you can help potential employers see exactly what you can offer at their company.
Consulting positions are much more than an opportunity to bring in some income while you are waiting to find a full-time position. They are also a great way to pick up a wide range of industry skills, many of which will serve you long after the position has ended. Always remember to highlight the skills you learned at each of those positions on your resume.
Your potential employers should be interested in finding out what you have learned and what skills you can bring to their companies – the fact that it was a contract position does not negate your skills and knowledge acquired.
Many companies bring in consultants to help handle big projects that they simply do not have the capacity to handle in-house. That means you may have contributed to some big projects, from software rollouts to major projects for the company.
Mention those major accomplishments on your resume, using language that helps highlight your specific contributions to the process and how they assisted the company. For example, you might choose to note that you participated in a company-wide shift to cloud software, or that you assisted with X major project by providing quality services in Y capacity.
Future employers understand the value of contract positions – in fact, admitting that you were working as a consultant is better than simply listing the position on your resume with short dates of employment. When you come in as a contracted employee, it is accepted and expected that you will leave when you have accomplished the goals you were hired to fulfill unless the company has a desire to convert you to a full-time employee.
Being hired for and then leaving a full-time position quickly, on the other hand, could suggest that you are not going to be consistently available for your desired position, either.
When listing your consulting jobs on your resume, consider the following:
If it was a short-term position, list the consulting agency, then the client you worked for. Clearly display your job title, including the fact that it was a contract job placement if needed. Make sure to highlight your job duties and your accomplishments as well as how long you were with the company.
If you worked for several different contract placements through the agency, list them all under the consulting agency. Long-term employment through a consulting agency may mean that you work for several different companies in your industry as the staffing agency moves you to new positions when previous jobs expire. List the different positions you took and how long you were at each one as well as specific accomplishments or duties and responsibilities within each position. For example:
Consulting Agency XYZ (January 3, 2017- March 9, 2019).
Job responsibilities (overview)
If it was a long-term placement, list the consulting agency and the client. Your long-term commitment to a contract position could work in your favor when a future employer is getting ready to hire you.
If the client is a big name in the industry, consider listing them first. If you know that future employers will recognize the name of the big client you worked for, you can list the client’s name first, then display that it was a contract position. While you can omit that information, including that you were a consultant will make it easier for your future employer to contact any references with that company and ask about you.
Highlighting the end client, however, will let future employers know that you have worked for the big names in your industry and made relevant contributions to their team, especially if you worked there as a long-term placement.
If you worked in a contract position, but were later hired full-time by the company, let your resume reflect it. Your listing might, for example, look like this:
Company X (Consulting through Consulting Agency XYZ from January 3, 2017-June 3, 2017; hired June 3, 2017-March 9, 2019)
Job responsibilities, including specific duties and accomplishments. Note of why you were hired full-time or what contributions you made to the team that made you a valuable employee.
When a company hires you after you have worked for them as a contracted employee, it shows that you have both soft and hard job skills that helped contribute significantly to the company. By showing that you were hired out of a contract position, you let future employers know that you are a valuable asset to the team.
Consulting positions are a great way to get your foot in the door within your industry. They are the perfect chance to work for different companies and get a feel for where you would like to work long-term without ending up with a resume that looks like you have spent years jumping around from one position to another.
By listing them properly on your resume, you can show future employers exactly what skills you have gained from those contract positions and give them a reason to hire you over your competitors.
Contact Atlantic Group recruiters today if you are interested in exploring temporary positions. Our recruiters specialize in placing qualified candidates in open consulting roles.