Perhaps you've seen the writing on the wall that your layoff is imminent. Maybe you're tired of corporate life and want to \n\nditch The Man and become your own boss. But if you are considering becoming a consultant, listen up: Some CIOs aren't cut out \n\nfor the job. \n\n\nMore on CIO.com\nTough Times Yield New Role: Private Equity Partner\n\nIf you have power-hungry tendencies, for example, you may want to keep your day job. Consulting differs from being a career \n\nCIO in that a consultant doesn't rule an IT department. He or she can offer advice, but not issue directives, says James \n\nSutter, senior partner at IT management firm The Peer Consulting Group, and former CIO of Xerox and Rockwell. In the absence \n\nof hierarchical authority, influence and persuasion are now important parts of the job, says Sutter. You need to get things \n\ndone, much like a CIO does, but you may have to emphasize different skills than you've used in the past. \n\nAnd if you ask those who've done it, you'll hear that the transition won't necessarily be easy. Consulting involves marketing \n\nthat may not come naturally to everyone, especially when the product you're selling is yourself, says Jesus Arriaga, president \n\nand CIO of CIO Strategic Solutions, a consulting firm he started two years ago after CIO stints at Keystone Automotive and \n\nSpirent Communications. Arriaga doesn't do much formal marketing by using brochures or advertising, he says. Rather, he does \n\n"a lot of networking, talking to a lot of people all the time." \n\nTo those who aren't ready for that, he advises signing on with an established IT consultancy with its own marketing function. \n\n"Then you can slowly transition into managing your own company and relationships." \n\nWhen Rick Carney left his CTO post at Barr Pharmaceuticals, he joined Melillo Consulting, an existing firm where he is vice \n\npresident and general manager. Going this route is less risky than starting a business, Carney says, since you have the \n\nbenefit of marketing, a sales force and existing customer relationships. However, your ability to build relationships remains \n\ncritical.\n\nTransforming yourself from a full-time, on-staff CIO into a consultant can unlock career options\u2014especially at a time when \n\nbudgets are down. According to Martha Heller, a managing director at executive search firm ZRG Partners and CIO columnist (See: Tough Times Yield New Role: Private Equity Partner), not \n\nmany small or midsize companies are hiring CIOs these days but they are willing to hire good consultants for high-level IT \n\nstrategy and project work. \n\nBe smart when you frame your pitch. "If you consider yourself an innovator and you need financial investment to make things \n\nhappen, that won't sell now. But if you're a great cost-cutter, that's a skill set to sell," she says. Fashion your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 to \n\nemphasize diverse company and industry experiences, she says, plus past consulting engagements.\n\nFinally, remember to adjust your attitude. As a consultant, you're considered a vendor now, Heller adds. But you do have an \n\nadvantage: As a former CIO, you can align emotionally with the client because you've hired consultants before and know exactly \n\nwhat bugs IT managers about these outsiders, she says. That may help you win engagements. You want to be clear you're not \n\nthere to rack up billable hours, she says, but to get a job done.\n\nDo you Tweet? Follow me on Twitter @knash99. Follow everything from CIO Magazine on Twitter \n\n@CIOMagazine.