Before taking the big leap from being a paid IT employee to self-employment IT consultant, it’s important to be mindful what companies are seeking and expecting.
With thousands of qualified IT professionals with similar skill sets and knowledge you have, how to sell yourself is the key to standing out. Plus, companies need more than just your knowledge of IT systems and programs. They need your help in developing better efficiency across the board; meaning, not just within the IT sector, but throughout the different departments.
Showcase Your Credentials
You need a resume which breaks down your previous experiences and accomplishments.
As many of us dream of being our own boss and taking on the world, very few many companies are eager to hire someone straight out of college for consulting work. As business executives prefer someone with a bachelors or master degree, someone straight out of college is not likely to have had the real world work experiences or faced many challenges as someone who’s been in the field for years. Once businesses make the decision to hire IT consultants, they’re not looking to help someone gain experience. They need a professional they can count on to quickly identify and solve problems.
Without experience, many IT graduates are not equipped to identify and prevent problems before they happen. Therefore, in the event an issue should arise, companies need someone who’s reliable and able to handle different scenarios with a cool head.
With that in mind, not only should your resume entail your background experiences, it should include any certificates you’ve achieved. This is not mandatory. It’s a way to enhance your credibility to hiring managers. It indicates you’ve successfully completed a program which meets industry standards.
And finally, word of mouth goes a long way.
If you really want to stand out from other applicants competing for the same contract, include testimonies from former clients and bosses. When reviewing resume’s, hiring managers know everyone will do their best to shine. Yet, aside from what YOU say about yourself, businesses are also interested on what others say about your overall performance.
Identify Problems You’re Able To Solve
Your resume or cover letter should include how you’ve helped solve specific problems.
Hiring managers hear and read plenty of blanket statements from applicants about how they can help a company save money, improve efficiency and come complete with strong communication skills. All these characteristics sound great. Yet, what personal experiences do you have which back up those claims?
If you should get an interview, you better be able to provide specific examples and experiences. If you have none and try to bluff your way through the interview, it’s likely the interviewer will see right through it.
Don’t be afraid to discuss your past failures either. Explained what happened and what you learned from it. Your learning experiences show you’ve dealt with major issues, understand the ramifications and what steps you now take to prevent the incident from ever happening again.
Businesses look for outside help who can not only handle the areas they don’t have the capabilities but also meet their business objectives. How will you help them become more efficient? How will you lower costs? How will you help them make money?
What Training Will You Provide?
You may not be a trainer per say, yet what knowledge and skill sets can you pass on to others to better support IT initiatives?
How can you help employees better comprehend how their positions directly impact the IT side of the business? At the same time, determine how you can better serve employees. Business leaders want someone who’s a team player, not an individual trying to dictate or micromanage everything. You don’t want to only identify how employees can better serve IT as it may create more work on their end which ends up increasing more hostility and frustration. IT consultants see how their department can also better serve employees.
You’re The Expert
As an IT consultant, you’re viewed as the subject matter expert.
Don’t be surprised when you see major gaps in how a company operates. That’s why they hired you. To fill gaping holes which may be the reason the company is struggling, or not at a level they’re looking to reach.
This should go without saying, but if you’re selected for an interview there are three important things you need to do … research, research and research the company. Know as much as you can about the business who may hire you to be their ‘go to’ person.
Ask specific questions regarding systems they use and what primary areas they’re struggling. Then follow it up with how your knowledge and experiences fit in with the direction the company is headed.