Advice for Consultants from Consultants!
We have completed our first month of “Off the Cuff” podcast episodes and can’t wait for our next set of Consultant Chronicles! Consultant Chronicles is a sub-set of our Podcast series that dives into the experience of consultants within the industry. There is nothing more real than learning from the people who are actually doing it.
Below we have extracted important information from each podcast to give you a preview of what you will hear when you tune in!
One persistent theme for our consultants? Exposure. Exposure to new industries, new companies, new people, new learning.
With Joseph Dilascio
A Lead UX Designer and manager role for a leading finance institution, long-term consultant to full-time
What did we learn?
- Consulting helps drive opportunities to work across the spectrum in so many varying verticals in the tech marketing space. It’s a mutually beneficial working relationship as companies don’t have to commit to the “big” salary, yet they get a “specialist” that can be utilized in various roles. A consultant role resists being pigeon-holed into one thing as can happen when you are in a salary position; as a consultant, you can get pulled into many things, to learn new things, especially in tech. You might not be the expert on the one project, but by the end you will be, so it’s a great way to learn and progress. It’s fast-paced, it’s challenging and not mundane. You are always “on” because you have to prove why you are there as the specialist.
- Rarely can a recruiter or staffing expert create a bad experience, but sometimes it can be “sub-optimal.” In some very large companies, you can sometimes feel lost in the herd; working for a very small firm there is sometimes a bit of a limit in budget which can be a hindrance to UX design. A strong, organized mid-level firm was often just right where there was still more of an intimate relationship and ability to grow.
Advice to those pursuing UX Designer as a line of work
- Be a decision maker as “indecision is worse than the wrong decision.” A UX designer must take into account so much feedback and suggestion on what the end-user would want that you can get stuck in an unbreakable loop of what something should look like or how it should work. As a decision-maker, break the loop and insert your decision and be confident in it. You tend to rise in the ranks if you can do that well.
- A hiring manager will look to see if you have that fire in your belly. Are you hungry but humble? A candidate who behaves as if they are doing the hiring manager a favor in applying for the job does not fare well. There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness.
- Watch the negativity – approach issues with optimism and with problem solutions. Especially in a tightly knit software team, we have thick skin, but negativity begets negativity and we can’t let that spiral. Temperament and drive will set you apart from your skills.
With Cathy Hennes
Senior Instructional Designer and Learning Developer; Consulting for 8 years, working with companies when they are bringing in software training employees on its use
What are the perks of being a consultant vs. a full-time employee?
Working with various businesses in various industries doing in-house software training, as a full-time employee, you engage with one vertical at a time. As a consultant, there are no office politics, allowing the ability to do what is needed for the company, and then move on.
Highlights of a contract:
When a current contract that started as a 6-month project progressed to 3 years it created the opportunity to become an expert in Salesforce without prior experience. The consultant has the chance to understand all aspects of each role in an organization, making them a strong go-to SME.
Tips for those pursuing a consultant role:
Take initiative. Always learn what’s new. Be nosy.
Draw maps to show people what to do and where to go. It’s about helping others.
Make what you do relevant. In training, create practical, real-life applications to make it relevant to the user. If you are a bank employee, you need to understand how the new tool allows you to work with your customers. That makes it relevant.
It’s a personal and professional mindset – it’s giving instruction and helping someone learn.
What advice would you give?
Be a knowledge sponge. What you hear, what you see, just soak it all in. Your learning potential is unlimited.