08/20/2010 12:55 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Will My Consulting Experience Hurt My Job Search?

Dear Liz,

I have a total of 13 yrs of professional experience ranging from
companies like Accenture to Consulting positions and Corporate roles. The
only gaps in my employment history are two lay-offs from past years. I
am beginning my job search as my current company is begining to down-size and
showing signs of cash constraints. I just had two employment agencies tell me
that b/c I have "consulting" experience on my resume will hurt me when looking
for permanent employment.

Just wondering how much truth there is to what these agencies are telling me
about my consulting exp hurting me or them not wanting to place me in a perm
role b/c of past consulting jobs.




Hi Kevin,

Employment agencies are practically in the business of talking candidates out of
their own requirements. In your case, they're saying that consulting experience
on your resume will hurt you. That's absurd, but if an employment agency person
can get you off your game confidence-wise, you may settle for a lower level
position for less money.

Half the world jumps from consulting to in-house employment every couple of
years. Your consulting experience isn't a problem in any way. I would really try
to wean yourself away from employment agencies. That is not the best way for you
to reach employers. For now, while you're dealing with agencies, you can say,
"Wow! I am surprised to hear that you think my consulting experience could be a
problem for an employer. I can't imagine working for an employer who would be
alarmed about that. Tons of people have mixed consulting and in-house experience
on their resumes, and more and more of them are showing up every day. Why don't
you ask the particular employer we're discussing, whether my consulting
experience is actually a problem, or not?"

You have more influence with recruiters than you may think, because they don't
make money unless a candidate gets hired. Don't lose your mojo in your
conversations with them! You are more than half the equation.