It Is Not Just an Assignment

It would be so easy to tell yourself each assignment is just a short snippet of work which has to get done by a certain deadline date. Don’t get involved in anything else, just focus on what you are contracted to do.

But, as a consultant, you have a very unique perspective and opportunity to impact a client and boost your career in ways you may not imagine. 

Our advice…make yourself indispensible! It is simple to do and could pay dividends for years to come.

1. Obviously, you need to deliver what they contracted for and to do so by the agreed date. You could put your blinders on and stop here, or…

2. Go the extra mile.  Take the opportunity to share things you have learned from other assignments which could add benefits to the current project. But beware – this must be done with respect and professionalism.  You must not gossip about previous clients or share proprietary information.  Share only the facts relevant and necessary to make your point.

3. If you share your ideas and the client choose not to implement any of those suggestions, accept the result with grace. Don’t grumble and sulk – just go back to work and do the job to the best of your ability.  There could be other circumstances to which you are not privy which keep the client from doing what seems reasonable to you.

4. When a project runs into difficulty, jump in with both feet. Be proactive, contribute to the team, make suggestions, and be a part of finding the solutions.

5. Be a team player.  Share your knowledge with others and help where you can.  Don’t be afraid that if you share information you will lose your edge on others.  To the contrary, the more you help the more the team and the client will rely on your talent and increases your chances of being invited back.  

6. Take the opportunity to learn something new.  Every client is different.  They provide different products, tools and access to their employees and customers.  If given the opportunity to participate in a portion of the project with which you are unfamiliar, do it.  You can never have too much knowledge.  The skill just might open new doors for marketing your skills to other clients.

7. When your assignment is complete, take the time to thank the team and management staff of the client in person (if possible) or via a well written letter.  Manners always matter.

This is your career. It is not just an assignment. Make the most of every project to which you are assigned. Remember, stay open to new ideas and continue to learn.

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