Do consultants and freelancers need resumes?

Do consultants need resumes? You need them for just about every other kind of job, so why wouldn’t you need one in the world of independent consulting?

Well, you may want to have a resume on hand. But you probably don’t need to show it to clients. You should be focusing on your skills, experience and education as part of the sales process — not simply shooting your resume over to prospective clients. You’re not applying for a job, so you shouldn’t need to use a resume.

What do you do?

Alex says:

Hey Andrea, a colleague of mine just sent me a link to this blog entry. You ask a very interesting question, and I agree with your views even though I myself am not a consultant. I come from the other side of the picture; I’ve hired numerous consultants and consulting firms over the years, and although I’ve never been presented with a resume, I’m always reassured when resume-type information is disclosed during a consultant’s pitch, because it makes me comfortable that the person I’m talking to is qualified. Handing over a formal resume to a potential client is probably overkill, but conveying content that might normally appear on one (such as experience, education, references) in other ways, as part of the sales process, can be very effective.

Of course, in my shoes, I’m also always thinking about credibility, as in, is the experience, education, etc being discussed by the consultant for real, or is it being hyped or worse? It’s not even a judgement call or anything…the fact is that over 50% of resumes contain false information, so my gut reaction to resume-type information is to look for some way to confirm what I’m being told. So that’s something else to think about. How do you convey the trustworthiness of your credentials during your pitch?

[Full disclosure: I started Crederity over at crederity. com to help solve problems like the above, so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, but research shows that trustworthiness is indeed challenging to establish online for consultants due in part to fears of identity and credential fraud]

Ryan says:

I personally think I’ll need a resume but won’t announce it unless people ask. I think it’s funny when you see recent consultants who still have resume-speak on their websites and other materials. Ultimately that gives clients the “maybe he/she isn’t fully committed” message.

If you can get this far, presumably you shouldn’t need a resume. Concentrate on speaking to your audience and you won’t need one.

Liz Greer says:

I agree. A resume will sometimes still be needed as part of your back-up materials, but essentially the more relevant information is what business problem you specialize in solving, your methodology, and your credentials. A well laid-out one-page data sheet can be much more compelling than a resume.

Andrea says:

Yes, swaying your clients involves a lot more than just a resume. You need to build up credibility.