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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Don't say you were a 'consultant' on a resume

It always looks weird. Unless you own your own consulting company, it sounds like a stand-in for a time period in your life where you were unemployed.

It's better to say you were a 'writer' during that period, or a 'researcher' or 'research assistant' than merely a 'consultant.' Everyone in politics is a 'consultant' until they get a real job. Avoid the designation. And most professional consultants are douches,

Even if you were legitimately a consultant during a period of your professional life, find another way to list it.

Use a euphemism. Here are a few: contractor, part-time staff, advisor, freelancer, counsel, mentor, specialist -- any of those are better than "consultant."

If you must use the c-word on your resume, at least qualify it with the type of consulting you've done. Perhaps you were a 'fundraising consultant' or a 'leadership consultant' or a 'programs consultant' or a 'voter ID and turnout consultant' - those all make you sound like you know what you're doing. They make you sound like you've thought out your skill set and aren't trying to be a generalist.

What are some specific skills in politics? How about: graphic design, marketing, sales, data, research, writing, opposition research, media, fundraising, direct mail writing, voter identification, voter contact, recruitment, managing volunteers, etc. -- Figure out your best specialties and be sure to promote those skills, you'll look much better as a result.

When you say you were a consultant, you sound like you were unemployed. And you sound like you're a generalist without any specific, usable, marketable skills.

Avoid the 'consultant' word to describe a period of employment. Instead, use a better word, or a more focused one. By showing a specialty for one thing, you seem valuable even if the job ends up using you in a different role. Don't try to be everything to everyone, show potential employers that you have specific skills relevant to politics.

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