Listing clients on consulting resume?
March 21, 2010 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Can I include past consulting clients on a resume, even if I haven't actually been employed by them?

I've worked for an enterprise software vendor for the past few years. I'm an implementation consultant, so my assignments have usually been consulting with our customers to get the applications up and running.

While I've only been employed by my company for this time frame, I've spent most of my time working directly with our customers, understanding their organizations, and helping them plan internal processes. Each of these assignments was 6-18 months long, and averaged nearly 12 months, so I spent a significant amount of time working with specific customers.

I want to pursue a position at a company similar to our customers, so I want to specifically name the client companies I've worked with, the projects I consulted on, and the time periods that I worked with them.

Somehow, it seems weird to specifically list organizations that I haven't worked for directly. I'd hate to post a resume with "XYZ company" on it, and have that company see it and say "he never worked for us."

If I make it clear that these were consulting assignments, and I was not directly employed by these organizations, is it okay to name them on my resume? Do I need to check with them first, even if I'm not specifically using them as references?
posted by Tehhund to Work & Money (6 answers total)
You may have a way around this by having a profile on linkedin if you don't already- and then asking these people for a recommendation via linkedin.

this will get you a bunch of written, bona fide, testimonials from these people you can use on linkedin as well as to enclose with your resume - steers clear of issues and yet gets you the goods.

good luck!

(and if you want to give me a testimonial on linkedin for answering your question so well, send me a PM :)
posted by Izzmeister at 1:43 PM on March 21, 2010

ISTM that this depends on the nature of the business your old employer is in. Is it public knowledge that the client companies hired your employer?

I'd think it would be reasonable to list it on my resume along the lines of "2002-2009: BlahConsulting. Did X, Y, Z. Implementation consultant on the following projects: 1, GribbleCorp, 2002, project to blivmatize their frammistan operations; oversaw the gloop process. 2, Snoof LLC, 2003-2004, ..." But maybe it would be sufficient to leave off the names of the client companies ("2002: Project to blivmatize the frammistan operations of a major doohickey supplier; ...")
posted by hattifattener at 1:59 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is pretty standard for people in your industry.

Example. Assume you worked for SAP and that one of your clients was Nabisco. Under the heading of your title for SAP, say "Implementation Consultant" you would say something like "lead Nabisco's implementation of SAP APO over 18 month period. Accomplished X, Y, and Z."

(Yes, I have a previous life of having worked with SAP software; no I never want to touch it again.)
posted by dfriedman at 2:11 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

hattifattener has it just right. If you want the client names to stand out especially well, you could put them in boldface or bullet-point them.

But instead of listing the dates you worked with each client, which could get really confusing, just put in parentheses the duration of each assignment.
posted by DrGail at 2:15 PM on March 21, 2010

In the resume I used to take my last job, I did use client names, and there were no negative repercussions I know of or misunderstanding about who I was employed by.

I was doing a mix of shorter and longer projects, though, so I organized it a little differently. Rather than bulleting out each individual engagement, which seemed impractically lengthy and like too much detail, I started with a bullet at the top saying "Consultant on a number of [foo] projects for large [bar] organizations, including [BazCo], [Quux LLC] and [Thud Inc.]." This was followed by a set of bullet points listing the various types of services I'd performed. That way you're not linking up specific services and periods of time to individual clients, which I think of as getting onto shakier ground w/r/t client confidentiality.

Might not make as much sense to organize that way if all of your projects are basically year-long ERP implementations, though.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:06 AM on March 22, 2010

In addition to listing clients as bullets under your employer, you can also elaborate on the depth of your experience with a select few clients in a cover letter.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:12 PM on March 22, 2010

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