Not a day goes by that I don’t get a resume from a candidate who has somewhere on his or her resume, in between jobs, a job function called “consultant.”

But most hiring authorities see the word “consultant” and make the assumption that the candidate has just plain been out of work and is trying to cover up by appearing to be a “consultant.”

So here is the message. If you have been a consultant, you’d better well have actually been a consultant and be able to document the kinds of people and organizations you have actually consulted to or for. List every company that you consulted with, exactly what kind of project you consulted for and exactly the amount of time you spent on each one. Offer even a specific name of someone who can attest to your consulting ability. In other words, a good reference. Even if they were brief consulting gigs, put them down.

This is short simple advice. But if you simply put the word “consultant”, it is going to be automatically assumed that you have been out of work.