Back to Class: Consulting for the Next Wave of Professionals

September 2, 2015 by FlexPro

As the realities of fall begin to set in as August draws to a close, none are more impactful on daily routine than the beginning of a fresh academic year.  Last week, we took a look at how working parents are turning to consulting as an alternative to the day-to-day rigors brought on by a traditional work week.  In the second part of our ‘back to school’ series, it’s time to examine the perspective of the future leaders and decision-makers of the American workforce.

In an earlier piece, we highlighted the abilities, differences, and mindset that millennials are contributing to the corporate world.  Younger minds are utilizing technology to dissolve static office culture and replace it with an office that knows no borders or classic timecards.  The digital age has brought sweeping change to employment commonplace and the ability to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

The ability to travel, customize a schedule, and work on meaningful projects has gone from being a bonus of a basic job description to a near universal expectation in the eyes of ambitious young professionals.  And with that movement comes a rapid increase in the consulting industry, projecting a 19% growth by 2022.

We’ve covered what makes consulting an attractive option before, but the unique job arrangement seems to cater to those who can provide industry expertise.  So how can a recent graduate break into a selective, experience-heavy employment situation?  It may not be as complicated as you think.

As students return to college for their final years and others who have recently received their diploma continue to search for the right fit, a consulting gig could be the answer.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you seek to launch a specialized career:

Flexibility

The age-old buzzword thrown around in job descriptions and interview.  While every professional role you encounter may ask for the ability to adapt, consulting truly demands the capacity to change at the drop of a hat.  Expect no day to be the same and you’ll never be surprised.

Successfully mastering the trait, however, can take your career to the next level.  Consulting early along your professional journey provides invaluable experience on cross-functional products.  As with most skills in life, expertise needed to be a more effective employee in any role is built through practice.  Get a jump start though the willingness to work hard in all situations.

Change of Scenery

No matter the industry, consultants are reeled into an engagement to accomplish a goal and are often sent to the next job before finding the right height on the desk chair.  The consulting world is perfect for professionals who are content and relaxed meeting new people in entirely different situations.  In fact, those who can step outside their comfort zone regularly thrive as the environment changes.  Being able to seamlessly assimilate into a new office is a crucial skill needed to succeed from one engagement to the next.

Self-Motivation

Regardless of your level of expertise, the amount of supervision at a client site will also adjust frequently.  Without someone looking over your shoulder, it’s vital to ingrain a strong sense of internal motivation when walking into a new site.  Working to meet commitments made to a project team or timeline are at the heart of a consultant’s responsibilities and an external stimulus may not always be present.  Acting on personal ambition and a dedication to a job well done, consultants can be relied on to accomplish important client goals.

Are you the right fit for a consulting career? Take our quiz here!

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