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Consulting to Contracting and back again - hopefully

#1 Consulting to Contracting and back again - hopefully
08/05/2003 00:00


The boutique strategy firm l worked with downsized late 2001 and at the time l lost out. I was fortunate enough to be back working again reasonably quickly - this time working for myself using the connections picked up over the previous couple of years. Since mid 2002 l have been working on a rolling contract managing a major change project across two MNCs in the insurance area (in Ireland).

The upside (in these downtimes) is that l am fortunate enough to be clearing well over €100k/year, the project is stretching to the horizon and the hours are more 'normal' than was the case previously. The downside is that l am a little concerned as to how this period of time spent working for myself, rather than another consulting firm, will be viewed when l decide to ‘get back into’ a consulting firm - which l am starting to think about now.

This is of particular concern to me because l haven’t got the experience with a ‘name’ consultancy to use as my calling-card when l decide to go looking for a position back in the consulting sector. I would appreciate any advice on how l should be preparing myself for the return to the fold, how others have managed this transition and whether l’m just plain mad to consider returning in the first place.

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#2 hold out a little longer
09/05/2003 00:00

Ben L.

I would recommend holding out as a contract consultant for a little bit longer. All but the largest firms are actually making more use of associates / contractors than they used to - trying to meet the increases in client demand that are coming through without taking on additional long-term cost commitments. So at present trying to move in the other direction would be taking you against the flow!<br><br>If you can get yourself a contract role with a consulting firm you would like to join longer term, then performing well on the job is likely to be your strongest possible card to play in terms of being considered as a permanent member of staff. Ben

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#3 Re: Consulting to Contracting and back again - hopefully
11/05/2003 00:00

Little Viola

100K per annum !!! ....awww My Heart Bleeds for You

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#4 Re: Consulting to Contracting and back again - hopefully
12/05/2003 00:00

Graham Clark

I have been on that roller-coaster a number of times as an independent, a &quot;major&quot; consultant and an executive at major consulting companies. It doesnt matter where you are or what you do as long as you do good work and sell the benefits correctly. A couple of never-failing truths:

1. The majors have the brand they have for a reason and you should go work there for a while if you want a lifetime career in consulting. Unless you happen to hit a small firm which becomes a brand name somehow.

2. Consulting companies fear &quot;contractors&quot; because they are often too independent and looking for too much money. Every company wants to know how you are going to react when told to act in teh company's best interests over your own. Create an answer to that question and communicate it early. The main reason for working for a company versus yourself is there is just a limit to the size and scope of success you can have on your own plus hiring execs love to hear that &quot;it is lonely out there&quot;. Finally tell them the contracting period was short and out of necessity because of the poor economy and not some kind of career choice.

Graham V Clark



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#5 Re: Consulting to Contracting and back again - hopefully
14/05/2003 00:00


As discussed in other posts, going back into a large firm, should be a rather easy sell, so long as the work you've done, as an independent, is good, and your client experience positive, you should be fine.

Spinning the truth a bit to the recruiter will help you too, too many times, we 'professionals' get qualified by a 'generalist' in the HR department. You, and your resume should include any and all words, buzz phrases or titles where you are seeking projects. You will be dumped into a text db, and keyword searched...then called, then, de dah....

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#6 Re: Consulting to Contracting and back again - hopefully
15/05/2003 00:00

Linda Valentine-Dean

I suppose the first question to ask yourself is why would you want to? If this is a career goal then there are a couple of solid strategies to put in place early.

1. Make certain that you build a strong reference list during your time as an independent. This will be invaluable when you start to interview in the consulting firms. They like to see that you have built a solid portfolio of contacts which may be useful to them in the future.

2. If you are working with known products or solutions make sure that you are also using well accepted &quot;best practices&quot; to perform your role with the client. This will help you as you talk about what you have done you will also be able to discuss how you did it in terms that are known and understood.

3. If you can get yourself into one of the firms that you would eventually like to join as a contractor this is a good bet. Make certain that you don't challenge the status quo and act like a &quot;company man&quot; even though you are a contractor and not a employee.

4. Build up your own tool-kit of Intellectual Capital from your work as a independent. Be able to demonstrate some of this to your perspective employer and discuss how this will bring value to their clients and therefore to them. Of course on this one you have to be willing to turn it over to them for use.

But really I get back to the real question, why?

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