The independent world can be unpredictable at best, so it’s important to maximize what you can control as a consultant:
Do you really need a LinkedIn? Yes. As an independent consultant, you are your own brand and having a LinkedIn presence is important. However, if LinkedIn isn’t really your thing – that’s okay! You don’t need to be super active, you don’t need 1000+ connections, and you don’t even need a ton of detail… That’s what your resume is for, right?
What is important are the essentials (which can be set up in 30 minutes or less): your title, a short summary of what you do, and current/previous employment. Then, simply update it every few months with new skill-sets, certifications, and projects. Remember, it’s not just recruiters that are looking at LinkedIn profiles – hiring managers are too.
If you already have a LinkedIn and want to maximize your profile, ask for recommendations. It’s very easy to request endorsements from managers and coworkers right through the platform. Just view your own page, select the drop-down below your picture, and locate the Additional Information tab.
2. Cover Letter
While traditional cover letters might be a thing of the past, catering a few bullet points geared toward the position you are applying for can go a long way in catching the eye of a hiring manager. What do you want them to know about you if they didn’t have time to open your resume? Think of it as your own elevator pitch for their project. Work with your recruiter, as they will likely have some insight as to what is most important to the client. Use the job description as a point of reference to highlight your strengths as it relates to the scope of work.
- Be as quantitative/specific as possible in relation to their need: “I bring eight years of experience across five full lifecycle implementations in both the US and Canada.”
- Paint a picture of how you helped previous clients with a similar initiative: “My last client was having trouble gathering KPI’s so I built a custom report that cut data processing time by 70%.”
I have two words for you: Keyword. Search. Let’s say your profile has caught the attention of the hiring manager… Although they might spend more than six seconds, they are NOT likely to read every word of your resume. However, if they perform a few keyword searches and your resume isn’t peppered with the skill-set they are looking for (even if it’s innate), they might move on to the next resume. This disqualification method does not mean you are not proficient in the role, nor does it mean that you need to redo your resume.
If it’s in the job description and it’s something you have experience with – take five minutes and make sure it’s on your resume.