Attention aspiring consultants!
Did you know there are steps you can take while still in school to help prepare you for a successful consulting career?
Whatever career path you have in mind post-grad, there are always useful steps to take while you’re still a student to help you get there – and consulting is no exception.
This top 5 guide will help you identify those steps so you’ll be ready to tackle the professional world when you graduate!
1. Case competitions
Getting involved in case competitions during your studies allows you to use the knowledge developed in the classroom and put it to work. This means that when applying to consulting jobs, you’ll be bringing a potential employer not only your classroom knowledge but your applied knowledge as well.
In addition to developing hands-on experience, you’ll build new connections, gain a new perspective on your area of expertise, develop strong communication skills, learn to time-manage, and put your problem solving skills to the test – all of which are beneficial attributes to have as a consultant!
2. Talk with professionals at your school
Often times, professors who teach consulting related courses (e.g., Operations Management, Strategic Business Development) or career counsellors have tons of industry knowledge that’s just waiting to be shared! Going to them with interests and questions will open up doors that wouldn’t exist otherwise.
For example, I have a friend who was looking into graduate schools in different countries. This friend went to one of her professors, who she knew had studied abroad. Through the ensuing conversation, my friend gained valuable insight into various program options and developed a rapport with the professor. The professor then regularly updated her on relevant job and study opportunities because of the relationship they had built. Building your network is clearly a vital step in hatching a successful career!
3. Prep your resume
Prepping your resume so it shines to a potential employer isn’t difficult! You just need to ensure that you showcase your experiences and qualities in a way that will resonate with the viewer. Here are some of the key things employers look for in a potential consultant to keep in mind when building your resume:
Teamwork skills: Whether you’re in the office or out with a client, success will come when you work together toward a goal. That’s why highlighting your teamwork skills is crucial to impress an employer – they want to know that you can not only use your ideas successfully but also collaborate with others.
Problem solving skills: As a consultant, it will be your job to develop solutions for every client! And your clients will come in all sizes and from all type of industries – so highlighting varying experiences where you have challenged your problem solving skills and developed solutions for them will help sell you to the person viewing your resume!
Communication skills: Whether it’s in person, on the phone, or online, communication is an attribute that all consultants need to have. This is why it’s important to highlight how you have used your stellar communication skills to successfully complete a goal (whether it be professionally or personally).
4. Build your credibility
During your studies, try to gain as many references as possible for you to use when applying for consulting jobs. Being able to support what you’re saying on paper through professional and personal references will give your application an edge!
5. Enhance your communication skills
During school, get out there! You may not realize it, but being sociable can develop vital communication skills you’ll need as a consultant. Communicating efficiently with your employer, team, current and potential clients will help launch you into a successful career path.
On a more serious note, building your communication skills through school projects, student groups, or your part-time job are all skills that can build up your integrity to an employer and help them see that you can communicate in any type of situation.