Attention Consultants: The Best Way to Set Yourself Up for an Extension
Now that we’re well into 2016, we can celebrate making it through another year and move on to a successful year ahead!
The end of the calendar year can be a stressful time in the world of consulting. The dreaded 12/31 end date can mean uncertainty about the security of your engagement. Many times, the final decision on extending your project comes down to the last possible minute. Consultants often find themselves waiting for budget approval, or for a manager who is taking time off for the holidays, or for a simple phone call from the firm that represents you. Does any of that sound familiar? While you could simply cross your fingers and hope not to hear bad news, there are things that you can do to secure an extension earlier than the end of the year, or set the stage for a successful transition to a completely new engagement.
Communicate With Your Firm
As recruiters, our job is to take great care of our consultants and clients. However, too often, the tendency in the industry is for recruiters to cross their fingers and hope that their consultants get extended. You deserve more! You should be in contact on a regular basis with the firm that represents you. The conversation about your scheduled end date should happen a minimum of 30 days before your contract is set to end. This allows time to get all parties involved and on the same page for the likelihood of extension. If you haven’t heard from anyone, reach out and ask for an update.
Use Your Internal Equity
Good consultants are a very valuable resource to hiring managers. You will build internal equity by doing a great job. Hiring managers will want to make sure that you are extended if they need you, or they will be happy to communicate openly if the end of the project coming. They may not realize the scheduled end date is nearing, so be sure to make them aware that your end date is nearing at the 30 day mark. At minimum, they should be able to give you an idea about the likelihood of extending, or warn you that the project is coming to an end so you can plan accordingly.
Connect with Internal Referrals
You will always be more valuable to an organization if you have previously worked there and understand their basic comings and goings. Network with other hiring managers and make them aware that your project is coming to an end. Your internal references will speed up the process and may lead to a successful transition into another group with the same organization.
The goal with any consultant should be to stay with the firm that is currently representing them, but the reality is that in staff augmentation, you are a free agent if you are not getting a pay check. If the firm that you are working with is not giving you any updates on a transition plan at the 4 to 6 week mark before your end date, that is a great time to reach out to other firms in your network. They will be happy to give you an update on the market and try to get you working for their team.
Update Your Resume
Take the time to update your resume! Waiting until your project wraps up will only delay your transition. It is worth the time and you will feel better having it updated and ready to go when necessary.
Congrats to everyone that was extended into 2016. To those that didn’t, the market is very strong, so here’s to a successful transition in the coming year!
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