The consultancy role you are applying for or being considered for could well prove to be a source of repeat business and recommendations to others and therefore has to be considered to be potentially huge.
The person reading your CV may well be the person who assigns work, so although it isn’t easy to quantify the size of the prize, it is potentially of great value. In any business, an opportunity like this means harnessing the skills of your best people and making sure that you were maximising your chances of success. Make sure that you treat the creation of your CV and profile in exactly the same way.
For example, if you are working towards a consultancy role with a specific company, that CV should have significant differences to one that you might upload to LinkedIn or The Consultant Hub. The audience of the network for LinkedIn is a broad one and your purpose is to be visible and to let people know what your capabilities are. However, if you are responding to a perceived need for a consultancy role or if you have been invited to meet people who may well need a some consultancy services, then this is your opportunity to match your skills with their needs.
Do your research
Carrying out a detailed research exercise on the company you are interested in is an essential first step. You need to immerse yourself in who they are and grasp the key facts about their company, products, people, locations and turnover. You can look at LinkedIn and see if you have any connections to people who already work in that company. You may decide not to contact them, but at least you will have a view on who is working with them.
Once you have completed the research, you can then match this with any details that you have about the project or role itself.
Be the solution to their problem
Measure your skills, experience and successes against the needs of the role and against what you know about them because of your research. Revamp your achievements so they are positioned in a way that will more accurately match with what they are looking for. This is examining your experience to highlight specific examples that are more relevant than the ones you chose for a generic CV.
It is your chance to sell yourself positively when you are looking to move into a different sector. It is down to you to reflect on how your skills are transferable. Leadership, management skills, commercial nouse, strategic thinking are common to all senior roles so show that you have them. Highlighting how you achieved business success in your role establishes you as a business manager who is now offering those skills as a consultant.
Focus on your elevator pitch
If you were in an elevator and found yourself alongside a high profile business person, how would you introduce yourself in the the two minutes available? What is your elevator pitch? Most people can give a convincing account of themselves if they have long enough, but they struggle to be succinct. The hard point is to remember that you are defining yourself and not the company you work for or the function that you lead. You need to make sure that it is compelling and leaves the audience wanting more. One possible framework for a powerful elevator pitch could be:
“You know how…Well what I do is...And the consequence of that is…”
Whilst the elevator pitch is something that is usually spoken, preparing one now will mean you truly have to focus on the essence of your success, particularly if you imagine yourself presenting to a CEO who is seeking a consultant.
Let your achievements be your champion
You cannot just set out everything you have done and everything you have achieved and expect the reader to interpret these facts and work out how this could apply to their organisation. The responsibility is firmly and squarely with you. Your goal is to fire up someone’s interest so that they invite you for a meeting or give you a call.
At the heart of every assertion you make in your CV, you must match it with a specific example. Have you backed up every claimed achievement with an example of how it worked for you?
Consider your tone and language
The biggest danger in any CV or profile is using cliches that no longer make an impact and that only irritate. Research shows that this is second only to spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in irritating potential employers, so make sure you avoid hackneyed phrases. You are creating the CV of a consultant - this is the occasion when you should be using the language that you would expect a consultant to use.
You now have a new version of your CV and it is ready to go. The prospective client will want to know that you have taken time to create something especially for them. They will appreciate that you have taken time to reflect, rather than sending out a CV that you pulled together 6 months ago.
Don’t neglect your cover letter
The accompanying email or letter is another chance to stand out from the crowd. Please don’t do what so many people do which is to cut and paste from an email to someone else. This leaves you open to the possibility of the cardinal sin of using the wrong name or showing through some small error that this email is one of many. There is not much point in saying that you are excited by this particular consultancy opportunity if you get a fact wrong. Use the email to highlight why you think you are right for the role or the project. Draw comparisons between the needs of the role and your skills.
You should now have a CV and a covering email that you are happy with. You have the structure that you will follow for every application or every situation when someone asks you for your CV. You will tailor it for the specific project and it will impress. Everyone should keep their CV up to date, regardless of whether or not you are seeking a new role.Check other articles