Job market outlook
Traditional consulting firms are recruiting consistently, with a consistent intake each year. Management consulting in general is expected to grow very strongly, with more businesses each year requiring assistance navigating ever-changing business models throughout the digital revolution.
On the other side of the coin, while the traditional consulting firms have dominated for over a hundred years in some instances, freelance and transactional-style consulting services are gaining traction in the marketplace. Wikistrat, Hourlynerd and Australian-based Expert360 are three such platforms, with Wikistrat claiming to be entirely crowdsourced.
The consulting business model is sometimes referred to as 'recession proof'. When the economy is strong, clients have more money to spend on consulting services. In a downturn, business challenges often become more pressing, and consulting services are in demand to help solve problems quickly!
How to get hired
Consulting is practically degree-agnostic — candidates from all kinds of backgrounds can find success, as long as they have the right aptitude. Consulting companies intentionally hire for a diverse range of skills and experience, drawing on the benefits that a tapestry of thinking styles provides.
Extracurricular activities count enormously in this industry, with employers telling us they value these experiences equally or almost equally with academic achievements, so be sure to highlight yours — particularly any experiences that have required you to take initiative, show leadership or model the values of your desired organisation’s values.
Nearly all consultancies will require you to undergo psychometric testing, so find out what type of test the employer you’re applying to uses and find a practice test online to complete so you can brush up on any areas that give you pause.
Key skills you need
Consultants are hired primarily for their problem-solving abilities, and being able to help an employer by unpacking a problem and finding solutions through innate aptitude and techniques you learn on the job will complement a natural confidence and agility in your decision-making.
While it’s important to have general knowledge and problem-solving skills, recruiters are always on the look-out for candidates that can tie those skills together with creativity. Being able to consider a problem with a unique perspective might trigger an idea that is practical, but provocative.
Collaboration is essential with both colleagues and clients, as you work in a team to solve a complex problem or work through changes in project scope. Knowing how to keep a sense of purpose, get things done and leave for the day with relationships in tact is vital.
Alternatives to consulting
If you’re considering consulting, you might also like to consider…