From Employee to Consultant: A Comprehensive Guide
Are you getting tired of your typical nine-to-five? Are you looking for a job with more freedom? Are you looking for opportunities where you can use your knowledge and expertise to make an impact on people? If so, then Consulting might just be the job for you!
What is Consulting?
Consulting is a role where an expert in a particular field gives professional advice to clients who hire them. These experts, called “consultants”, typically help solve certain problems within the company that acquire their services.
Consultants have more freedom to choose which career path to take. Some consultants prefer to work in-office while others prefer to be outsourced by organizations. Your job responsibilities and schedule depend on what was agreed upon in your contract.
For example, an engineering consultant has responsibilities like advising on design, operations, maintenance, and safety of engineering projects. Meanwhile, a technology consultant usually helps a company install programs and teaches them how to use technology to improve their performance.
If you are still confused, the following are some general examples of the responsibilities you may have if you become a consultant in any field:
Listen to clients
One of the most basic responsibilities of a consultant is to listen to what their clients need. This includes asking questions and understanding their goals. These meetings can be through various means whether face-to-face, phone calls, online meetings, or written correspondence.
Provide the best strategies
Consultants are hired for their expertise in their respective fields. Considering this, you—as a consultant—are expected to give the best advice possible for the given situations. It is always better to have more than one strategy in place to ensure a successful outcome.
Coordinate with stakeholders
Solving problems is a given when consulting but in order to make clients happy, you also need to coordinate closely with them. It’s a given that you need to collaborate with stakeholders in order to fully understand the issues and fix the root cause.
Provide necessary training
Consultants are experts in their fields so they are also expected to be expert trainers for people who want to learn from them. Usually, companies expect that you can teach a group effectively, especially in specific fields like technology.
The role of a consultant is important in most, if not all, fields of work. If you are interested in marketing, film, law, design, science, education, architecture, or any field that offers working opportunities, you can definitely be a consultant there!
How do I get started?
Once you’ve set your mind to become a consultant, there’s only a few more steps before you can officially get started.
Step one: Decide on your targeted field
As mentioned before, most (if not all) fields that offer jobs, positions, services, and products require consultations. To choose your target field, ask yourself the question “what would I like to be an expert in?” It can be any niche, interest, or passion you have as long as you are willing to exert the time to expand your knowledge about it. Aside from your interest, you also need to be knowledgeable about everything about it, and around it. For example, if you want to be a consultant for computer programs, you need to familiarize yourself as well with computer hardware. Make sure to do research about consultation positions in your target field.
Step two: Gain credentials and experience
To become a consultant, a degree is not a requirement but an unspoken necessity. Organizations hire consultants because they are experts in their field. This means that a higher degree increases your chances of being hired. The only requirement is to have certification but still, most companies aim to hire consultants who have additional master’s or doctorate degrees specific to their field. Aside from these, you can also improve your credentials with various seminars and trainings where you can get certification.
Paper proof is not the only way to ensure being hired. Gaining real-world experiences in the field you choose can greatly increase your chances of attracting potential clients. Try to not be choosy during the beginning of your consulting career. Any experience is welcome and can help you grow as a professional.
Step three: Build your network
For every job that you are offered or given—whether by big or small companies—do your absolute best to make a good impression. While it’s obvious that you need to accomplish your responsibilities, one of your goals should be to make a great impression on your clients. Since you are aiming to work within a certain field, having good testimonies about your performance and work ethic is a good card to have in your arsenal. Aside from this, it’s necessary to understand that opportunities in consulting usually arise from viva voce—word of mouth coming from direct contacts and recommendations from organizations or people involved.
Creating growing relationships with other consultants can also prove to be beneficial. Having people you trust within the industry is ideal, especially if you are new to the job. In this way, you have individuals whom you can ask questions or get advice from.
What skills do I need to be successful?
When you have already chosen your field, researching and learning more about it is the most ideal path to take. If you are skillful and knowledgeable, mastering your chosen niche is a piece of cake. But is that all you need to have? Of course, not! Although hard skills are important, consulting also requires a variety of soft skills that will help you excel.
Examples of soft skills needed are:
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Analytical skills
- Organizational skills
- Time management skills
Transitioning from one profession to another can be a daunting task but it can be just as rewarding if done right. Becoming a consultant is an option for everyone as long as you are willing to put in the extra effort to succeed in the field you choose.
GO WHERE YOU WANT WITH ON-DEMAND GROUP ON YOUR CONSULTANCY JOURNEY
Whether you’re looking to be a consultant or looking for one, On-Demand Group is ready to assist you on your journey. We specialize in bringing talented professionals like you to your perfect match.
If you’re raring to go, contact us and let’s get on our way!
- Prater, Meg. “How to Become a Consultant: 11 Steps to Doing it Right. Hubspot, 15 Aug. 2022. https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/how-tobecome-a-consultant
- Indeed Editorial Team. “How To Become a Consultant” 22 July 2022. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-become-a-consultant
- MasterClass. “How to Become a Consultant: 10 Types of Consultants.” 3 Nov. 2021 https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-a-consultant
- Alpaio, Kelsey. “Career Crush: Is Consulting the Right Career for You?” Harvard Business Review, 23 Nov. 2021. https://hbr.org/2021/11/career-crush-is-consulting-the-right-career-for-you
- Q.ai Forbes. “Which Comes First, The Recession Or The Layoffs? How Inverstors Look At Tech Layoffs Right Now.” 13 Dec. 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/qai/2022/12/13/which-comes-first-the-recession-or-the-layoffs-how-investors-look-at-tech-layoffs-right-now/?sh=31fcbe5422f8