When I was in school, I couldn’t help but think about what I would do once I had my Bachelor’s degree, then my Masters in Business Administration (MBA). There were so many options for career paths, and I wanted to pursue a line of work about which I would be passionate. Maybe you’re in a similar boat. Maybe you just graduated college and are joining the workforce, or maybe you’ve been out of school for a few years but want to find a new rewarding career. In either case, consulting is a great option. Here are just five reasons to become a consultant to jumpstart your career.
1. You get diverse experience.
When you’re fresh out of school, the first thing you want to do is get practical, real-world experience in a variety of service offerings. As a consultant, you get to work in a variety of different industries and in different job functions within an organization, which helps you get this level of experience quickly. For example, at CrossGen Solutions, we offer services in project and program management, strategic planning, people change management, and staff augmentation, so I’ve been able to get experience in all those disciplines. Even if you only choose to pursue consulting as a short-term career path, you will bring your knowledge of a variety of industries to your next position.
Consulting is also the workforce version of being in school. Since consultants work on short-term problems and focus on outcome-driven solutions, they have the opportunity to work with several organizations over the course of their career. This short-term, outcome-based work aligns with the rapid-fire Millennial and Gen Z mindset and is also more similar to a semester-like schedule. As such, it may be easier to adapt to consulting work than to a traditional full-time, salaried job.
For us, projects most commonly last between 3 months and 2 years.
2. You expand your professional network.
With consulting, you often work with managers and senior-level staff who have been part of the business community for many years and are well-connected. As a result of your work, you also work with a variety of organizations, which multiplies your professional network even further. In the space of a couple years, it’s feasible to work with and get to know hundreds, if not thousands, of people who come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives.
Consulting also helps you expand your professional network because you might also be on the sales end of the process, participating in consult meetings and attending networking events. In this way, you’ll be building relationships with influencers from across your community who will come from different industries and could prove to be valuable contacts down the line.
3. You become a better communicator.
As a consultant, you naturally learn to become more comfortable communicating with other people in professional business settings and having challenging conversations. Because you’re often transforming a business and need to get people on-board with the project, you have to be clear and compassionate with your communication. Communicating with the client and other stakeholders could account for up to 90 percent of a consultant or project manager’s job. As a consultant, you get lots of practice communicating in the workplace.
Becoming a better, clearer communicator empowers you to manage projects, other people, and organizational change more efficiently, but being able to communicate with others clearly and empathetically also enhances your personal relationships and friendships. As a result, becoming a consultant could improve your personal relationship skills, too.
4. You develop strong project management skills.
Regardless the company, industry, or consulting engagement, project management skills are important, and they are incredibly transferable. Nearly every manager uses project management skills to a certain degree since they are overseeing the projects on which their employees are working and need to ensure that projects don’t go outside scope or budget. Having this skill and familiarity with the project style of work will put anyone ahead in his/her career. Even in a more creative workplace, certain guidelines are usually in place for most employees to make sure that time is spent wisely and efficiently.
After a few years doing business transformation or management consulting, you will likely have gained the necessary experience that you could apply to any industry at many different management levels. While this isn’t true for every industry, the soft skills that consultants develop like leadership, communication, and professionalism are highly sought in the workplace and are becoming more invaluable.
5. You earn more and have more job flexibility.
Many people may see consulting as a riskier profession, but depending on your skill set, you can have the ability to earn a significantly higher income than most recent graduates. For example, students graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in business can expect to earn about $55,000 annually if they pursue a traditional career path, and recent grads with an MBA earn about the same if they don’t have any other work experience.
However, as a junior consultant, it’s possible to make 10-30% more than this average starting wage, and there’s generally more flexibility between engagements. At a full-time job, you have to be there, day in and day out. If you work as a consultant, it’s important that you’re dedicated during a project, but you can take a break between projects if you want to travel to Europe for six months or go back to school.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.