Hey, Consultants, You Are #Entrepreneurs Too

Posted on September 19, 2012. Filed under: CIO, Consulting/Contracting, Resumes | Tags: , , , |

IT contractorBy Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

There’s a lot of talk these days about taking on consulting roles when a permanent one just isn’t available. Although I understand the strategy, I do think the advice can be a bit flippant, as if being a consultant should just be a temporary thing and is only a means to an end. The problem is that being a consultant is really about being an entrepreneur, about running a business. And that is something that most people coming out of the corporate mindset have little experience with.

If you try to take on consulting work as just a side gig and, therefore, fail to approach it like a business, you will quickly realize that you are either selling yourself short or in over your head.

Consulting Is Work, Hard Work

As someone who has spent 9 years consulting, I can tell you it is the hardest work I have ever done. And it did not get easier until I started treating it like a real business. So I am not quick to advise my clients to jump into consulting roles as a simple stop-gap measure. First, it is insulting to all those who do consulting on a full-time basis (and very much see it as a “permanent” job). Second, not everyone is best suited for an entrepreneurial role.

Transitioning Out of Consulting Is Not Always That Easy

Third, it can be a tremendous challenge for someone whose background has been as an independent contractor or consultant, especially if it has been for an extensed period of time. Their positions tend to be short term in nature. Thus, when they go for an executive or management role, it usually results in their resume being excluded from consideration during the HR screening process.

The main reasons are:
1.The resume indicates job hopping.
2.The resume is not effectively branded for a corporate executive leadership role.
3.The resume is so long that most people won’t want to read it.

Show You’re a Team Player

Creating an effective technical resume for an executive-level candidate that has been an IT consultant or contractor (the background of my clients) is not impossible. Creating common entries and listing client engagements within the entry can improve the appearance of longevity and help to streamline the resume so that all the appropriate information can be presented in 3 pages or less.

By focusing on what you achieved at each client, it places the emphasis of your experience on the elements that will resonate best with hiring executives and recruiters. Highlighting some of these key ingredients in the resume’s executive summary will help focus your message to the reader more clearly, creating a compelling value proposition as a technical executive.

Also, reinforcing the idea that just because you were “independent” once doesn’t mean you don’t know how to join and participate in a team.

So before you rush off to be a consultant, take some time and really think it through. What if you can’t transition into a “permanent” corporate role anytime soon? Do you know how to run a business effectively? Are you committed to providing a top-notch service and to fulfilling your commitments all the way, not just until you get a job?

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it! Or send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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IT Resume Tips: IT Candidates Need to Highlight Team Experience

Posted on September 12, 2012. Filed under: CIO, Personal Branding, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

By Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

IT Team Environments

The business landscape has changed dramatically for IT over the past few years. The days of IT folks or departments operating in a vacuum are gone, never to return. Although this is a good development for business as a whole, it has required a change to the way IT works.

IT professionals must have the ability to directly engage business leaders, users, and process owners. This direct interaction is designed to eliminate the gaps in communicating needs and requirements that have plagued the business in the past.

The IT Resume

IT candidates must be able to communicate their ability to work well in collaborative team environments on the resume. Employers and recruiters today expect IT professionals to possess this skill. But simply stating that you’re a “team player” is not good enough. Everyone says that. They want the candidate to prove it in the meat of the resume.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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Personal Branding: Converting Technical Value into Business Value

Posted on June 14, 2012. Filed under: CIO, Personal Branding, Resumes, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

Crafting a strong, concise brand statement is important for any candidate. If you don’t like the term “brand,” you can call it what you want: value proposition, core identifiable difference, or even your why-you-should-hire-me statement. Regardless, you have to be able to quickly paint a picture for your audience that convincingly explains why they need you and should speak to you regarding that great job opportunity.

Most IT and technical professionals think of their strengths and contributions in terms of how they impact their technical team or group, which equates to their technical value.

  • So then what is business value?
  • How do I translate my technical value into business value?

Business Value

Just like your technical value relates to how your activities impact the technical organization, business value relates to how your actions contribute to the organization as a whole. When you want to communicate these actions on your resume, LinkedIn profile, at networking events, and in interviews, go a step further to consider the benefit the client or end user feels as a result.

For example, if you are a project or program manager that has helped incorporate Agile development principles into the software development process, the technical value might be having more focused stakeholder inputs and a more narrowly defined development scope. The business value is very different indeed. These stakeholders feel like your development group was more responsive, required less exhaustive and intensive time gathering requirements, improved speed of delivery, and other excellent experiences.

Remember, technical organizations deliver a service, whether that service is to an internal or external client. The perception that client has of the experience is critical. If they have a positive perception, you have created value to the business that’s tangible. If they have a negative perception, you may have added business value that’s not felt, or you may simply have added technical value, or, worse yet, you may have gone through a fruitless exercise.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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