Consulting careers offer many opportunities for highly skilled professionals, including the ability to pursue diverse projects and earn competitive compensation. More than nine in 10 (ninety-four per cent) Canadian CFOs consider consulting an attractive career choice for senior-level accounting and finance executives, according to research by our company. However, to stand out in this competitive field, you need not only in-demand skills and experience, but also a rock-solid consulting resume.
Here are five tips to help ensure that your consulting resume will catch a potential client’s attention:
1. Provide concise but thorough descriptions of previous work
When describing projects or initiatives you were involved in — whether it was helping a company prepare to meet new regulatory compliance requirements, get ready for an initial public offering or navigate a merger or acquisition deal — explain what you accomplished clearly, but succinctly.
Tip: The consulting resume should always highlight a professional’s track record of completing projects on time and on or under budget. Be sure to include quantifiable outcomes so clients can visualize how you might be able to save them time and money.
2. Choose a functional format for your consulting resume
A functional format works better than a chronological format for a consulting resume because it focuses on a professional’s abilities.
Tip: Use a functional format to highlight your specific level of involvement, responsibilities and accomplishments on projects rather than just presenting a list of job titles and dates of employment.
3. Emphasize the range and depth of your experience
New consultants have a lot to demonstrate to potential clients because they are just embarking on a specialized career path where expertise and proven experience are musts, which is why it is important to underscore your hands-on knowledge of financial systems and tools, along with your breadth of industry exposure. Also, be sure to include details about your education and list all relevant designations.
Tip: Download our latest Salary Guide for the accounting and finance profession to find out which Canadian designations are in demand right now.
4. Describe your work ethic
To meet targeted milestones and deadlines for projects, consultants are often asked to work more than the normal 40 hours per week. Many employers will therefore want to get a sense of a consultant’s work ethic, and whether he or she possesses valuable attributes such as versatility and flexibility, before engaging that person for an assignment.
Tip: Use langugage like the following to provide insight into your work ethic, "The project had very tight deadlines and key milestones, all of which were achieved by working an average of 55 hours per week."
5. Underscore your interpersonal skills
After a consultant reaches a certain level of experience, technical abilities are a given and interpersonal skills are often the key to project success. Describe your soft skills by detailing your role on a project team and how you interacted with other members of that team, as well as with key stakeholders at the client site.
Showcasing your leadership abilities in your consulting resume could also help give you an edge when vying for an assignment. Leadership abilities can be validated by detailing your leadership role on a project and your impact on the successful completion of that initiative. A proven ability to lead by example can be just as valuable as a title, like project manager, in the eyes of a potential client. This is especially important for new consultants to keep in mind, as they may have limited experience serving in leadership roles on projects.
Tip: Read this blog to find out which softs skills Canadian CFOs value the most and make sure to include them on your resume.
With companies relying on consultants to augment their core teams, serve in interim management roles, and assist with specialized projects, it’s a good time to break into consulting. Creating a compelling consulting resume is an important first step along what could become a rewarding new career path.
Considering a career in consulting? Check out this blog to see if consulting is the right career path for you.