How Consulting Will Help You Land Your “Right Fit” Job

When people are looking for work, I recommend that they consider consulting – using their skills on projects for pay. There are many reasons to consider consulting.

Reason #1: Multiple activities help fight the discouragement that comes from continually looking for and not yet finding the right thing and the “yes, you’re hired!” that signals the end of your search. A key benefit is having a reason to get up in the morning and having actual work to do.

Reason #2: Usually, people need to make some money to pay bills. Generating income is one big benefit of being a consultant.

Reason #3: Consulting keeps your skills current, and gives you something to put on your resume that shows you are continuing to work.

A less obvious benefit to consulting is that you get to look at what you really want to do, what skills you love to use and are really good at, and the value you deliver sufficiently to get paid for it. Knowing exactly what you can and want to do is the key to finding your “right fit work” whether that is working at a job or being a consultant.

Think about yourself as a consultant. What would you do? What services would you offer? What could you do for a client that they would love to pay you for? How would you talk about what you do? What would be your 5-second pitch description of what you can deliver to a client? Chances are those are the same things you want to do in a job, too.

I’ve worked with a few people to develop a consulting “brochure” to help them make some money while looking for work. The exercise of writing the brochure is extremely helpful to zero in on what you want to do.

A consulting brochure doesn’t have to be fancy and printed; in fact, it’s better as a 2 to 4 page electronic PDF attachment to an e-mail. A simple format is:

Section 1: the problems or challenges you can address for what type of clients

Section 2: the services you offer that address and provide solutions to those problems and challenges

Section 3: examples or case studies that illustrate your effectiveness, that come from your work experience

Section 4: a short biography with contact information (at least: your name, telephone, and e-mail).

Remember that you are working to communicate a message to others, so you need to get feedback about whether the reader has received your desired message. Ask someone with writing and editing skills to read it and provide some feedback and perhaps editing. EVERYONE needs an editor, no matter how skilled and experienced a writer they are.

If you have trouble writing, ask someone to interview you about what you love to do for work and what you want to do again. Tape the conversation and transcribe it later (low-cost transcription services are available via elance.com). That can be your rough draft for the brochure.

Once it is written and edited to your and your reader’s satisfaction, put it in a simple format. Use a nice readable typeface, such as Arial, Tahoma, Verdana or Calibri, and a legible font size (11 or 12 point). You can use some formatting to highlight section starts and key point, like caps, bold and italics. If you know someone who is a little artistic, ask them to format it for you. The final piece should be a PDF. There are free conversion softwares, such as cutepdf.com.

You can use your consulting brochure to network, announcing to people that you are launching a consulting practice and they should feel free to pass this on to people who might be interested. In this way, your name gets out there attached to precisely the kind of work you want to do full-time.

Having a great consulting brochure will lead to consulting work and also help you get a full-time job. In fact, all of the people I’ve worked with on brochures have gotten both consulting work and then full-time work doing exactly what they described doing in their consulting piece. All of them say it is because the brochure helped them get very specific about their “right fit” work.