It’s officially 2016, and you’ve updated your resume with new positions and new technologies. You’ve done the same with LinkedIn and even earned a few more recommendations. That online portfolio you’ve been meaning to do for a while now is complete. Interviews are taking place, and offers are starting to roll in. You’re on your way to achieving the goals you set for yourself for 2016. So how do you select the right project to achieve your goals? Before signing that contract, consider these key areas.
Technology: part of creating your goals included selecting projects that exposed you to new technologies. If you’ve traditionally worked on projects developing in Captivate with a Moodle LMS, then look for projects that allow you to work with a different LMS, like Cornerstone or Lectora. You may have to compromise on your rate or location, but ultimately it will be worth it to learn a new skill.
Rate: Doesn’t it bother you when a recruiter/client doesn’t include the rate when they email you a project opportunity? “Why can’t they just put the rate in the job posting?” Sometimes the recruiter/client wants to determine what the market rate is for a particular type of project. If this is the case, then have a rate range in mind when a recruiter or client contacts you. The lower end of the range may be for straight development work, whereas the upper end is for more design work. Either way, have a rate range ready to share.
Location: REMOTE vs. ONSITE. Every consultant’s dream: Mostly off-site with occasional onsite meetings. Recruiters, like myself, love this type of client request. Unfortunately, depending on the project, it’s not always possible. If there is a lot of SME contact, the client will want you to be onsite. If you are the Project Manager and the team is onsite, most likely you’ll be asked to come into the office. No one wants to be commuting an hour each way to work, so see if the client would consider remote with occasional onsite. It’s worth a shot. Whichever the case, bring this topic up BEFORE the interview. No one wants to spend their time interviewing a great candidate only to find out that they will only work remotely. You may have to compromise on your wish list to find the right project.
Company Culture: There are some companies that are a bit frugal when it comes to providing resources to consultants. Some expect the consultant to provide their own laptop and, in some cases, their own software. Since some software can be pretty expensive, make sure to address this prior to accepting an interview. If working onsite, ask for an in-person interview with the hiring manager. This way you can take a look at the workplace before you decide if you will accept an offer. This will allow you to try out the commute, parking situation, and the department set-up (offices/cubicles/dress code/etc). Hopefully, you will get a sense if the company has a traditional and corporate or millennial and laid-back vibe. Culture is an important area to consider especially if you are working onsite.
Selecting the right project is important so make sure you give some thought to the key areas mentioned above before diving in. Remember, you may have to be flexible and willing to give a little here to gain a lot there.