The Best Ways to Find a Short-Term Consulting Project While Looking for a Full-Time Job-Part I

Mitch Paioff
Mitch Paioff is the author of the book, "Getting Started as an Independent Computer Consultant."

Mitch Paioff has been an independent computer consultant for over eight years. He credits much of his success to using creative strategies to land lucrative consulting projects. This is the first in a series of three articles on this topic.

 

As the job market continues to deteriorate, IT professionals need to be a lot more creative when it comes to finding employment. Now is not the best time to be looking for that "ideal" position with lots of paid vacation and 100 percent 401(k) matching.

 

If you're unemployed, between projects, or just plain need to make money, you might consider trying techniques that have worked for me over and over again. These techniques do not include working with recruiters or employment agencies, or applying for jobs online. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I always try to bypass the agencies and consulting firms and talk directly to hiring managers.

 

Here is a strategy that I like the least, mainly because it involves hard work, is only successful about 2 percent of the time, and takes a tremendous amount of patience and discipline. But it is a technique that has consistently brought me lucrative contracts.


 

Cold Calling

 

Never think that cold calling is beneath you. So what if you have college degrees, certificates, and you used to be a high-ranking manager? I have those same qualifications. Some of my best clients were acquired as a direct result of me getting on the phone, calling up complete strangers, and asking them to hire me. I know a lot of successful entrepreneurs who still use cold calling as part of their overall marketing strategy.

 

Let me tell you about a gig that I did back in 2003. I had just finished a long-term consulting project and had very few prospects. One morning, I did a search on Monster.com and found a company in Iowa ("ABC Company") that was looking to hire a full-time financial analyst with a background in "XYZ" software (I am certified on XYZ).

 

I called the company and asked to speak to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The operator told me "I can't connect you to him - you have to have a name." So I did a search on Google for "ABC Company Chief Financial Officer." I came up with a weekly bulletin from a small church in Iowa. An announcement in the bulletin read "Steve Jones, Chief Financial Officer of ABC Company, recently donated $500 to the church's after school program." Now I had a name.

 

So I called ABC Company again and asked to speak to Steve Jones. They put me right through. Then I gave Mr. Jones my standard pitch. "Hi, my name is Mitch Paioff. I saw that your company is looking to hire a financial analyst with a background in XYZ software. I have three years of experience with XYZ. Would you consider hiring an expert like me on an interim basis while you look to fill your position with a permanent employee?"

 

His reply was immediate-"No!"

 

Not to be discouraged, I asked him, "What about training? I could come out there for a few days and teach an XYZ class for some of your employees right in your office."

 

There were about 15 seconds of silence. "Yes, that might be helpful" he said. Then I asked him a few "closing questions"-"Which three days would you prefer-next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, or would Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday be better?" In the world of high-ticket sales, this is called an "alternative of choice question." It is used every day by successful auto salespeople, insurance salespeople and appliance salespeople. By giving my prospect the option of choosing one set of days or the other, I made it easy for him to say "yes." When he made his choice, in effect, he said "you're hired" without ever verbally saying the word "yes." The rest was just paperwork.

 

So I went to Iowa the following week and taught the three-day class. I made about $2,000. Everything turned out great. A year later, they called me up out of the blue and asked me to come back and teach another XYZ class. I made another $2,000.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post

Apr 20, 2009 5:53 AM Tamir Tamir  says:

Thank you for this wonderful information.

Reply
Apr 27, 2009 1:05 AM Abdul Jaleel Khan Abdul Jaleel Khan  says:

Hi

I like your strategy !! excellent job

Reply
Apr 27, 2009 5:46 AM Dave Dave  says:

This has worked well for me.  I too was a consultant before taking a fulltime position with a former client.  After the client company closed its doors I picked up my suitecase again and dusted off my consulting hat.

I enjoy working with my clients and I have found the work to be a great source for networking and researching possible future fulltime employers.  Like the author I have found it most helpful to offer something small and VERY affordable to my earliest clients.  By the time the first, maybe the second deal was closed and completed, I had a strong network of other possible candidates -customers or suppliers of the first clients.  For these new clients I am able to leverage the relationships from the first clients to provide introductions in many cases.

Reply
Apr 29, 2009 10:57 AM Ray Ray  says:

Hi,

Wonderful advice. I have been struggling for more than 3 months to get to the hiring managers to look at my resume. I am in Sales/Business Development so cold calling is not new to me(even though butterflies fly every time I pick up the phone). I will use the technique now, for my job. I have been depending too much on recruiters and recruiting companies.

Reply
May 11, 2009 8:15 AM Md.Sayed Sikder Md.Sayed Sikder  says:

This has worked well for me.  I too was a consultant before taking a fulltime position with a former client.  After the client company closed its doors I picked up my suitecase again and dusted off my consulting hat.

I enjoy working with my clients and I have found the work to be a great source for networking and researching possible future fulltime employers.  Like the author I have found it most helpful to offer something small and VERY affordable to my earliest clients.  By the time the first, maybe the second deal was closed and completed, I had a strong network of other possible candidates -customers or suppliers of the first clients.  For these new clients I am able to leverage the relationships from the first clients to provide introductions in many cases.

Reply
Jun 2, 2009 11:28 AM Nishith Shah Nishith Shah  says:

Hi!

     This is really nice and help full experience to share and i am very thankful to you for giving me this nice idea.Please send some new ideas if had some like this they will definitely help us.

Reply
Jul 2, 2009 2:31 AM Gazi ABM A Hai Siddiquee Gazi ABM A Hai Siddiquee  says: in response to Md.Sayed Sikder

Dear Sikder,

I am very glad to read your wonderful comments. Thank you very much for having a very good and useful comments of you. Actually we are (GHS Foundation for Education, Idea & Development is a Govt. registered NGO) searching one or two Project Consultants for our proposed "Private Schools, Education, Library, IT & H R development Project," Dhaka, Bangladesh. This is a 100% Computer & IT based educational & social development project. We need 3 Computer Software for our Project Management, School Management & Digital & Online Library Managert. Our online & digital Library & Information Centre will be the first in the Bangladesh and for Bangla speaking people of India and other countries. Although this is an Educational & social development project, but also this a highly profitable project also. In this project we need one or two Project Consultants who will provide consultancy on Project Management, IT products purchase & uses and collection of funds (donation, grant, Bank loans or foreign investment). It possible for us to appoint them as a full-time or part time Consultant with the high salary in our project. I think you are the right person who can help us to find the suitable consultants.

I shall be glad if you kindly help us to find IT & Business Consultants for our proposed project.

With best regards & respects,

Gazi ABM A Hai Siddiquee,

Executive Director, GHS Foundation for EID.

Please note that we will every school (of 10,000 member schools) provide the following it products fully free of costs.

a.  Computer, printer, UPS, scanner and web-cam

b.  Mobile phone set with line,

c.  School Management Software and

d.  Internet connection (modem) and monthly using charges.

We also provide them free computer training.

Hai Siddiquee

Reply
Sep 4, 2009 5:20 AM Richard Richard  says: in response to Gazi ABM A Hai Siddiquee

Greeting sir,

I read your post and I find you request interesting,I am an IT consultant and I think I can help you,pls reach me on this email so we can discuss better. gunitsys@gmail.com I hope to hear from you sir

Richard

Reply
Oct 23, 2009 5:16 AM Trianz Trianz  says:

It jobs are very demanding and they will become even more demanding in the future. Combining IT and consulting my be a successful formula, after all every business owner needs solutions not tech talk...

Reply
Nov 10, 2009 6:15 AM Sudhir Singh Sudhir Singh  says: in response to Gazi ABM A Hai Siddiquee

Dear Sir,

I am keen to know more. I work as a non-executive director with a well known education company and am also a senior resource in IT and Project Management. If you are intrested please contact me at sudhir_s@vsnl.in

Regards

Sudhir

Reply
Nov 13, 2009 3:36 AM manas manas  says: in response to Ray

looking for consultant.

Reply
Nov 14, 2009 6:58 AM Karthick Karthick  says: in response to Richard

Hi Richard,

I am tech lead in a reputed IT firm, I wanna to do Part time consultant jobs in IT, can you please provide some suggestions and ideas

Reply
Nov 16, 2009 7:05 AM James Markowski James Markowski  says:

Independent contractors need contracts.  Lawyers "do" contracts.  I am a lawyer with 28 years of experience.  I spent the last 10 years at BearingPoint, the now bankrupt global technology company.

If you contractors need legal help with your contracts, please contact me.

Jim Markowski

james.markowski@gmail.com

914 764 9178

Reply
Nov 17, 2009 2:19 AM Suhail Suhail  says: in response to Gazi ABM A Hai Siddiquee

Dear Mr. Hai Siddiquee,  I read your requirement of having three computer softwares for your foundation. I am working in online software market for more than seven years and offer my services to develop you computer softwares at low cost. My speciality is database desktop applications. I use Microsoft tools Visual Basic6 and Visual basic.net, C# at front end Ms SQL, Ms Access , mysql at backend.( You wont need to purchase any software for running the program except if you want to run the program on net work which require Ms SQL server)) I can send you screen shots of my previous developed projects for your kind review just to let you know my experence in this field.

If you give me chance I can devlope you software at low cost.

I shall wait your rpely.

Regards,

Suhail

Reply
Nov 18, 2009 4:47 AM j. lee j. lee  says: in response to Tamir

that is so stupid.

Reply
Jan 9, 2010 7:32 AM Knighthammer Knighthammer  says: in response to j. lee

Hi,

I am an It professional with 17+ years of experience in It infrastructure and Enterprise business systems deployment specialization. If anyone needs consultancy, I may be able to help you there.

Reply
Jan 25, 2010 12:40 PM Thomas Echevarria Thomas Echevarria  says: in response to Knighthammer

We are a computer consultant company that can assit in any IT related project

Give us a call we would love to help.

Reply
Jan 30, 2010 3:00 AM naveen naveen  says:

hi guys, i am an final year engineering student of computer branch. i am need of part time job that suits my studies

Reply
Feb 4, 2010 6:54 AM saroj kumar sahoo saroj kumar sahoo  says:

thanks for your valuable informations....

Reply
Feb 15, 2010 10:57 AM akash deep akash deep  says:

waiting for some good information about good jobs in delhi

Reply
Jul 26, 2010 10:43 AM Jarrod Jarrod  says:

The strategies detailed are very good.  I run one of the employment agencies in Perth and we often use similar phone selling techniques to hire out contract staff.  Often a recruiter will have more success as candidates have been vetted and verified by a reputable recruitment agency.  We have some self marketing tips at www.allstarrecruitmentgroup.com.au , good luck.

Reply
Aug 3, 2010 1:56 AM Essex IT Support Essex IT Support  says:

It is important to teach while applying for a full-time job especially for those who are unemployed. IT jobs are booming and there is a tight competition because there are many people nowadays who are specializing in IT. It is better to have a sideline job while waiting for the opportunity to have a full-time job.

Thanks for the information. It really helps a lot.

Reply
Sep 30, 2010 7:46 AM Kraig Godden Kraig Godden  says:

Hi Mitch

great blog, I agree with Essex IT Support  we are finding that IT jobs are booming but there is a lot of competition out there and having said that having a sideline could open up many more doors for you.

thanks for the info

Reply
Aug 21, 2013 12:03 PM Mike Joe Mike Joe  says:
Very nice article, which give more confident to get a good job. Sure IT professionals need to be more creative when it comes to finding employment. Reply

Post a comment

 

 

 

 


(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.

 

 

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.


 

Resource centers

Business Intelligence

Business performance information for strategic and operational decision-making

SOA

SOA uses interoperable services grouped around business processes to ease data integration

Data Warehousing

Data warehousing helps companies make sense of their operational data