Consultancy is increasingly attractive as a career: you advise other people’s businesses as a respected expert, your job is varied and success leads reliably to bigger opportunities. With an appropriate degree you can begin as a graduate or make a decision later in your career to turn the insight you’ve gained in a more conventional job into an entry into the consulting field.
It can be exacting job however, with a healthy work-life balance difficult to maintain, and particular skills needed to make sure you stay on top the multiheaded projects clients require from their consultants.
We’re going to run over some of the key qualities consultants need so you can make a more informed decision about if a career in consulting is the right one for you.
Consulting is time intensive, with a heavy emphasis on presenting information and talking through projects in meetings. Time outside face to face meetings is valuable because it allows you to review the data you need to speak with authority in those presentations, create new solutions and keep up to date with news in the sector you are consulting in. You need to be able to identify what is a key priority for you, and what can delegated to others.
This not only keeps your own burden pared down, but also practises the skills you’ll need as you hand out new processes to companies to action: micromanages will not flourish here. You need to be able to let go and let your client act on your recommendations in the end.
Attention to Detail
Your clients will be putting their business in your hands, and could be making decisions to hire or fire large numbers of people based on what you tell them. If you aren’t giving them recommendations based on data you have reviewed in detail, your reputation will soon be non-existent, and your reputation is the foundation of your business.
When a business signs a consultancy contract with you, it’s likely because they’re too close to a problem to see the solution, or know the answer will be difficult for them.
A successful business consultant needs the confidence in their convictions to stand up for them even in an initially hostile boardroom. If you don’t have the bravery to tell people unpleasant home truths you won’t be able to survive past that first meeting.
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