Consultant resume tips

Do Consultants Need a Resume or a Different Marketing Piece?
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Whether you call yourself a consultant, independent contractor or entrepreneur, you may wonder if you need a resume to promote your services.

As a consultant, you have a number of marketing tools at your disposal. But before you get started, determine your promotional piece’s purpose. Here are the most popular options:

Traditional Resume

A traditional resume provides an account of your employment history, key qualifications, education or training and other important credentials. The most common resume formats are reverse chronological, functional, combination and narrative bios.

A variation on the traditional resume is a business resume, which details your company’s achievements rather than your personal career progression. A business resume is normally presented on company letterhead and might include a client list, significant projects, qualifications, services offered, target market and professional activities.

If you are a consultant transitioning to employee status or looking for a long-term consulting assignment, create a traditional resume. A consultant seeking capital funding will usually require a narrative bio with a business plan. Some free agents might benefit from having an updated traditional resume on hand in case it’s requested.


A portfolio lets you show potential clients your capabilities and achievements by providing examples of your work. A portfolio may exist in hard copy or digital format. The contents would depend on your industry, but may include examples of your work, references, testimonials, a publication list, media clips, awards and other evidence of your accomplishments. If you’re in a creative field, consider setting up an online portfolio.

Free agents searching for a powerful way to demonstrate skills, capabilities, past results and potential value should create a portfolio.

Corporate Marketing Collateral

As an independent businessperson, you may not need a resume at all, but rather corporate marketing materials. These include brochures, business cards, letterhead, Web sites and demos.

If you run a company, invest in quality corporate marketing materials. If you are not confident in your desktop publishing abilities, partner with a design firm that understands your business goals and target market. Effective marketing materials will level the playing field when you’re competing against larger firms.

Resume Business Card

Using a standard or fold-over business card, include a brief description of your products, services or qualifications.

Contractors who network frequently and want a brief overview of their offered value on a business card.

Contents of Your Marketing Materials

Once you decide on the best formats for your needs, follow these guidelines:

  • Refrain from using any information that would violate contract confidentiality or reveal proprietary client information.
  • Present the experiences most relevant to your goal.
  • Remember that even a traditional resume should be a persuasive marketing document, not an autobiography.
  • If you’re pursuing a specific opportunity, find out which resume style or marketing piece is preferred by the organization.
  • Focus on achievements and skills that demonstrate what you offer potential customers.

This article was written by Kim Isaacs, director of and author of The Career Change Resume book. Visit to learn more about resume services to jump-start your career.

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