How to get to your uniqueness as a consultant in tech

Written by on December 9, 2019

In 2013, I struggled to get new clients into my funnel.

My resume wasn’t getting enough attention it came to enjoy.

I was targeting Program Management positions with no luck.

My connections drained up.

This happens to everybody as they move up the promotion pyramid

I had two choices: Either I needed to up my game, or tune down and do something that’s more on demand (i.e. development, technical architecture, etc.)

The first approach was the obvious winner for my career goals. But how would I go about it?

I had the experience. I had the certifications. There were jobs on the job web sites. Heck, I even had a good network of recruitment agencies to fill me with leads.

What was missing?

Competition was my ultimate obsession at this point. I started to check other consultant’s resumes to see what I lacked.

Why were other candidates with similar experience as mine not having the problems I had?

A conversation I had with a recruiter agent had opened my eyes.

She explained me: Your skills can’t set you apart from the competition. Your qualifications don’t position you as unique.

I was utterly baffled.

I was used to getting offers automatically. Now I had to compete?

The answer was surprising: NO; I didn’t need to compete.

I had to get to that cozy space where I stick out easily.

After I had the epiphany, the consequence was obvious: I needed to define my USP: the unique selling proposal. 



1. What is uniqueness for an independent consultant?

Did you notice that companies bring high ticket consultants (i.e. BIG 4) into assignments regardless of an economy downturn, or in times of prosperity?

They are a class of consultants never affected from lack of contracts. They don’t suffer from feast and famine cycle. Sure, having a big name on their card helps too.

Clients turn to them when they get stuck at a specific issue without fail.

You need not be a strategy consultant to be unique.

Take, Software Engineers for instance.

There are Software engineering contractors who never spend a day unpaid

Even when their main tech expertize falls out of grace.

Even when their main industry is taking hit after hit.

They always get contracts after contracts.

One factor that makes SW engineers stand out is this: They adapt to every new technology and learn quick, apply them and create value. It results in more experience for their CV.

Their uniqueness is their ability to learn fast.

Add that to their industry knowledge, interpersonal skills: they have a unique combination that can others can never successfully replicate.

But Sidar, wouldn’t that shrink my client potential?

The bitter truth: You’ll not attract every possible client in the world.

And you don’t want to.

You only want to work with the crème de la crème.

That’s why uniqueness is so important. It lets you choose instead of being chosen.

2. The formula for powerful uniqueness  

Your uniqueness is your “one thing” you’re/you want to be known for.

It tightly correlates with your experience, but  not a 1-1 relation. I define the formula for a powerful uniqueness:

Powerful Uniqueness (PU) = (E) Experience x (V) Value created x (S) Skills

Let’s check at what you’ve done for all years: which one created the most value for the clients?

What were the outstanding results?

What skill has helped you to achieve that?

When you got an answer to this question, you have your PV at hand.

Here are some examples of powerful uniqueness 

Let’s take 3 common profiles and try to come up with a uniqueness that stands out.

A project manager: Leads complex digital transformation projects, consistently delivering a 10M+$ in slashed costs and multiplied revenue.

A security consultant: Creates ISO-27001 compliant systems for sensitive government systems that hackers could never compromise. 

An IT Architect:  Builds ultra-integrated, high-performance architectures that serves more than 1B+ transactions per day.

You get the idea.  

3. How do I get to my uniqueness? 

3 simple steps, let’s remember the formula:

Powerful Uniqueness (PU) = (E) Experience x (V) Value created x (S) Skills 

What do you see?

We all have uniqueness built-in throughout our careers.

Your uniqueness comes from a combination of different skills.

As you gain more skills and experience, your combinations amplify exponentially.

Step 1: Scrutinize your experiences with the highest impact

Maybe you’ve developed a solution blazing fast.

Or perhaps you’ve managed a project that has helped meet a giant client’s yearly goals.

You could be an expert in some specific sector processes.

Or an expert in a regulated environment.

Write them down.

Step 2: Come up with 3 Powerful Uniqueness statements 

Take your 3 most powerful experiences with most value delivered and add the crucial skill that helped achieve this.

Filter out the top 3 skills that helped you to achieve that.

Make a note of your findings.

Step 3: Come up with the ultimate phrase 

Time to eliminate and get to ONE.

Use a powerful “achiever statement” like in the examples given. The sparkle that makes you unique should come right through it.

BONUS: Where can I use my uniqueness?

The establishment of your uniqueness is an exercise that costs you nothing, yet its effects are dazzling.

You’ll use it EVERYWHERE throughout your professional career once you pinned it down.

Use your newly minted uniqueness in your elevator pitches 

How often have you stuttered at the question “what do you do”?

Stutter, no more.

Your powerful uniqueness is the best way to craft your elevator pitch that creates opportunities in networking moments.

Use your Powerful Uniqueness in your interviews and client acquisition calls

What’s the most common question in the interviews?

It is “Tell me about yourself,”.

Here’s where it gets interesting: This question is your opportunity to shine. 

The question looks about you, and it ultimately is. But if you frame it from the client’s perspective, it will get you jobs.

Enter the conversation with a bang by using your elevator pitch powered by your uniqueness.

By definition, it will set you apart from the competition.

Use your uniqueness in your resume  

Your Executive Summary is the perfect place to let your powerful uniqueness shine.

Bonus points if it is memorable and speaks to the client.

Summary

We often look at the question of setting ourselves apart hastily.

It is much more powerful and effortless to define our uniqueness first.  

We get to our uniqueness using the power formula below:

Powerful Uniqueness (PU) = (E) Experience x (V) Value created x (S) Skills 

Once we get to our uniqueness statement, we can use it in an incredible number of our client acquisition efforts.

Next steps 

Take a shot at writing your own uniqueness statement. One or two sentences. Send it to me here, I’ll review and send you my comments.

Credit: Uniqueness concept is inspired by Sean D’Souza. Check his great work for more info here.





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