The job of an IT consultant can be a demanding one. Especially in today’s climate, where many IT professionals are being overwhelmed and overworked. Dealing with work frustrations in a professional manner, however, can lead to future work opportunities and success.
Working as an IT consultant, the primary goal should be to meet, and wherever possible, exceed the expectations set by the end client. And at Westgateit, it is our goal to help our consultants along in their journey. From the interview stage to how to proceed once a contract ends.
While it’s easy to assume that all IT consultants inherently know what they should and should not be doing while onsite at a client, that premise is not always true. In nearly 30 years of business, we have seen many successes but also a handful of failures.
The Dos of IT Consulting
- Always Be Respectful. Treat others with the same dignity and respect that you would expect in return. When working for Westgatesit, we ask our consultants to uphold themselves to the same standards that we hold ourselves to.
- Keep Accurate Timesheets. Clients are paying an hourly rate for your services, so be honest about the time you spend working on their projects.
- Communicate. Do so early and often.
- Be a Team Player. While you may not be a full-time employee, you are expected to act as such while on assignment. So do your best to conform to the client’s company culture.
- Manage Client Expectations. Your abilities should have been fleshed out during the interview stage, but if presented with a challenge that falls outside your realm of expertise, be honest about it. Then, go and learn how to do it!
- Get Acquainted with Fellow Colleagues. Though not a full-time employee, remember that you are still a part of the team. Your team-members are your coworkers.
- Keep Client Informed of Your Daily Activity and Provide Good Documentation. When your contract is completed, the client will be able to review and understand how you approached certain tasks and see what you delivered.
- Dress Appropriately.
The Don’ts of IT Consulting
- Don’t Be Unprofessional. This includes surfing the web while on the clock, taking personal phone calls, treating yourself to extended lunch breaks, and playing games on your phone/laptop.
- Don’t Discuss Your Hourly Rate. While there are experts who suggest doing so in order to fight pay inequity (a good thing), consultants on contract assignment are there only temporarily. Discussing pay rate can cause significant problems within an office.
- Don’t Leave a Contract Early. As an IT consultant/contractor, you agreed to work for a certain length of time. Honor that agreement. You’re not obligated to renew the contract once its initial terms have been met, but you are expected to stick to your original commitment.
- Don’t Speak Inappropriately. Treat all in a professional manner.
- Don’t Download Unapproved Software. Doing so can expose the client to security risks and lead to immediate dismissal.
- Don’t Procrastinate. While on contract, you’re on the client’s time so be respectful of that. That means handing in timesheets, meeting deadlines, and completing projects on time. If there are issues with reaching milestones, convey them with your manager to discuss the most appropriate course of action.
- Don’t Ask for a Rate Increase Mid-Contract. Rate increases, or pay raises, can be requested during contract renewal negotiations.
Consulting can at times be difficult to get right. By following this simple advice, though, clients will be clamoring for your services time and time again.