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I work as a junior consultant for a medium-sized firm; one of our clients is one of the largest companies in the world, let's call it Company ABC.

One of our contacts in Company ABC, Mr. X, is mid-to-upper management; I have met him and have worked with Mr. X, but always next to a senior consultant/manager from my firm.

During our time together Mr.X has expressed satisfaction with the team and mentioned specifically my understanding of the situation and ability to follow the topic. This happened 3-4 weeks ago, after which he was no longer present and I have now switched projects.

What Mr. X does aligns almost perfectly with my field of studies and my personal and career interests; I am always looking around for potential job opportunities and would like to start looking more seriously in the immediate future.

Is it acceptable to write mr. X an e-mail asking him to consider my profile should he have any openings in his team? What should this e-mail say?

To clarify, I have his e-mail address, but I was always CC'ed to e-mails between him, my manager and my boss. We have never e-mailed each other directly.

EDIT to answer Laconic Droid's comment: it is not a contract issue to go work for a client; in fact, according to some in my field it is supposed to be the "next step" in your career. There is no binding clause in my contract.

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    Before the discussion starts on ethics, appropriateness etc. you might want to check what your contract says about going to work for a client. – Laconic Droid Jul 10 '18 at 19:35
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Is it acceptable to write mr. X an e-mail asking him to consider my profile should he have any openings in his team? What should this e-mail say?

Several things to consider here.

First, like Laconic Droid stated in comments, check your contract before doing so, as it is most likely that there are some sort of restrictions preventing you from privately working with company clients.

The problem here is that you don't know what sort of contract you company has with ABC, and finding about it won't be easy to do. Maybe you are not restricted to contact company clients, but ABC may have some restrictions or legal limitations to work with employees from your company.

Now, that being said let's talk about the "acceptable" part. Personally, I consider poaching your company's clients not professional, or at least not something I would recommend doing.

Maybe it could be acceptable (or less unacceptable) if you weren't currently working for you company, but doing what you ask while still being employed by them could be a career-limiting move.

It's not just your current company who may not like this move, but also Company ABC, which can easily interpret this as "huh, laureapresa dumped the las company to come with us, what prevents him/her from doing the same to us?"

  • Interesting that you highlighted the more legal angle of this @DarkCygnus! – sfidf12489 Jul 10 '18 at 20:09
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    thanks @sfidf12489 I also agree that, if any, this should be done via the official ways, and not by cashing favors from contacts. However, even the official way may be a no-go if there is some legal aspect preventing it. – DarkCygnus Jul 10 '18 at 20:23
  • yeah great point. – sfidf12489 Jul 10 '18 at 20:34
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I wouldn't do this. Emailing the person you mentioned seems like dangerous territory to me. As per @LaconicDroid's comment, this could not only seem like a murky legal situation but also has the potential to alert your current employer that you are searching for a new job. Especially given that you have no personal relationship with the person you'd be asking for consideration from I wouldn't ask for a job the way you are suggesting it. From the position of Mr. X, why would I risk damaging a fruitful consulting relationship?

If you are intent on applying to this company, I would apply via the normal routes and mention that you have experience working with this particular person. That way they could provide a positive internal reference without having to deal with the ramifications of directly contacting them.

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