A lot of companies look at the resume of a consultant and assume we are like most industry people, that we got on a project and take a few months to get acclimated before we started doing anything. But those that are consultants can attest that we, as consultants, are billing from day ONE. So consultants are expected to be productive from day one. So before we start a project we usually grill the account team, the sales team and anyone on the account to figure out what we are going to be doing. Then when we get onsite we grill the people that are the product owners, developers, and anyone on the team to figure out where they are in the process.
I’m finding a lot of companies that are interviewing me for industry jobs don’t get that as a consultant sometimes we spend years on projects as well. So we aren’t job hoppers or always looking to leave. But we are more experienced in a wide variety of Industries and can talk to you about things other than what you may initially have thought of hiring us for.
For instance I did Data Visualizations at one company, and in doing so helped them figure out how to load products onto their truck for more efficient delivery. Strange thing for a UX person to know, yet there it is, a practical application in a real world environment. We also saved that grocery chain over 200 million in “Out of Stocks” and “Expired Shelf Life” for products in their stores as well as looking at user buying patterns based on demographics. So I didn’t just make pretty screens that showed the data in a pretty way. I used insight to figure out what data would help the company be more successful and what was meaningful data to begin with. When I heard some companies were using the data to forecast their own stock based on sales through this national chain, I sat up and took notice and asked how I could replicate that report for others using the same data I was giving them.
Listening is another skill consultants are better at, I believe too. Because we aren’t there for the politics and in-fighting we are there to achieve success on a project and if we listen, we find more we can do for a customer. So I find people who have been successful consultants tend to be more drama free and better industry performers. They are usually grateful to get out of the role of consultant as well, if they are tired of flying all over the US and sometimes Internationally.
I have worked Industry, don’t get me wrong, but when I did so, I tended to hire more people with consulting and entrepreneurial backgrounds. They tended to be drama free and work more and find more ways to help than I ever initially planned for them. I like hiring people that are smarter than myself, I learn from them. This is the one thing I will probably never grow out of, the need to learn more, grow more and be better. I read constantly, I watch industry trends, I buy gadgets and use them around my house or on my wrist. That is a part of that consultant in me that wants to know what the latest thing is and get ahead of it.
I am by no way bashing Industry people, but compare an industry resume to a consultant’s and you will see a lot more interesting things that they might know and be able to add, than someone who has done the same role in the same industry for years.
Let me know if I am wrong I welcome your comments and chastisement, and if you can change my mind I will retract my position. See, I am up to learn if I am wrong…