Contractors’ Questions: How to break into the private sector?

Contractor’s Question:  I’ve worked in the public sector for a couple of years – I’m not a career civil servant,  but am still finding it difficult to break into the private sector. My recruiter’s not being very forthcoming; can you give me a few tips?

Expert’s Answer:

1.     Be careful what you say

During interviews remember that the private sector is more about outcomes than process. It does not encourage cutting corners but does measure success on the end product. Adjust your jargon accordingly.

2.     Stress your return on investment

If you have the ability to structure, control and manage large budgets, that experience will be attractive to the private sector.

3.     Tap in to your social network

This is true of any job hunt. However, many public sector employees will be well networked with the private sector. Do not be afraid to use your contacts.

4.     Talk to game-changers

The government will increase levels of outsourcing. Turn this to your advantage. If you understand policy delivery, regulatory procedures and the workings of government, make sure you are talking to future employers who would value that experience.

The expert was Mark Staniland, managing director of Hays Career Transition Services.

Editors’ Note:  Further Reading -  How IT contractors go from public to private