Maybe the image you have of consultants is that they work a lot and very hard, that they are never doing the same job (because when a project ends they start another one), that they work for different and very varied kinds of clients belonging to different organizational environments, that they work in teams made up of different professionals, etc. What is most curious about all this is that these and other aspects are the ones adding value to this profession and, instead of being “cons”, they are advantages. Are you still not aware of all the benefits of working as a consultant?
1. More job possibilities
If you’re in the process of finding a new job, you’ll probably see that most of the profiles requested by companies have to do with the consultancy world: for example, InfoJobs currently has 3.394 posted jobs. The consultancy business increased in a 4.9% in 2016, reaching € 11.818 million.
2. Working in diverse teams
The consultancy world offers you the possibility to work with very different cultures, different working methodologies, different business environments and languages, etc. The fact of working for different clients allows you to get to know and learn more about different companies, knowledge which in the end you can use for offering solutions to other projects at other companies.
3. Taking on different kinds of projects
The fact of taking on very different projects provides you a very broad view of your expertise area. Berta Cayuela, IT consultant, thinks that “engaging in diverse projects, besides from completing both vertically and horizontally your experience, can also help you analyse and decide towards where you would like to focus and direct your professional career.”
4. Diversity and change
If you are a consultant, each of your jobs will always be different. Changing projects every ‘x’ time will keep you away from the boring routine and, in addition, it will help you acquire a broader knowledge of different areas of the company (Finance, Human Resources, Quality, Marketing, etc.), which in the end will result in a greater professional versatility and will provide you greater options for fitting in at a new job too.
5. Potentiating your interaction capacity and broadening your contact network
The fact of having to interact with many different people will help you reinforce your social interaction capacity. This capacity is very important at a professional level and it allows you enlarge your contact network. In fact, this is frequently an aspect to improve in technical areas.
Working as a consultant may get you to take part in projects from first class companies, as Berta Cayuela explains: “being a consultant allows you to integrate in the sector’s leading companies, and it provides you with both personal and professional experiences of great value”.
7. Broadening your technical background
By working in different projects you’ll be able to improve your skills and learn new ones at the same time that you gain experience, thus making your CV more attractive. “Working as a consultant allowed me to perfect my existing skills and develop new ones, which in some cases I didn’t even know I had!”, says Eduard Martín, IT consultant. For her part, Berta Cayuela, IT consultant too who currently works at BETWEEN, claims that “it is essential to receive the necessary tools for training yourself in those things you enjoy. I feel that BETWEEN is the perfect place for growing as a professional and for having the possibility to work in different projects and clients around the world, with all the inherent benefits you get at a professional level”.
8. Having support from your hiring company
When someone is hired by a company, but works at another one as a consultant, there might be a feeling of not really belonging to any of these two, but of being somehow between them. That’s why at BETWEEN we count on the figure of the Service Manager, whose aim is to make consultants feel that they are part of the company. The Service Manager is in charge of keeping in constant touch with the company and the consultants working at different clients. Eduard Martin thinks that this figure “is key so that both the company and the consultant are in the loop on all the news, needs or doubts of the other part, at the same time that it increases the feeling of belonging to your company”.
Don’t you think that all of these advantages are worth it? Compare this sector with professionals from other sectors and decide whether, by making the same effort, you get the same benefits.
Remember too that these advantages will help you develop and potentiate the following competencies, which will add a greater value to your professional profile. If you analyse job offers you will see that in almost 90% of them the following competencies are required:
Organisation and planning
Open to change
Generation of alternatives and solutions
Advice from experienced consultants
To wrap up, I would like to leave here some good advice from experienced consultants which will be really helpful for getting started in the consultancy world:
- Observe and learn
“When you’re at the client’s premises: observe, learn, retain and think of how you could model both the client’s future and yours as a professional.” (Tania Rodríguez – Engineering sector consultant).
- Adapt to the client and be proactive
“I think that it is essential that you do your best to adapt as soon as possible to the client’s way of working. You need to know how to listen and how to work as a team, and you should not be afraid to contribute with ideas or suggestions if you think that they are going to be beneficial for the tasks you will be taking care of in your day-to-day.” (Eduard Martín – IT sector consultant).
- Show availability
“Being always available for helping in any other aspect, not just for the task you have been called for.” (Tania Rodríguez – Engineering sector consultant).
- Be flexible and open-minded
“Show interest in other subjects, not just yours, to offer the parent company other solutions.” (Tania Rodríguez – Engineering sector consultant).
- Look for and benefit from the opportunity of working as a consultant
“If you have the opportunity of working as a consultant for a given period of time in your life, don’t miss the chance to make the most of it, you’ll learn too many things in record time and you’ll be able to use it forever.” (Tania Rodríguez – Engineering sector consultant).
- Move away from false clichés
“It depends a lot on the project you are working on, but usually the schedule is stipulated. Moreover, the fact that you work as a consultant usually gives you more flexibility, since you can work in other schedules while being part of the same project, or you can either switch projects and work in another one in a different shift. In my case, I’ve had no problems with the work-family balance; it’s true that in exceptional cases I’ve had to cover broader time slots due to a given extra service, but these have always been planned well in advance, so I’ve had the chance to organise myself ahead in time.” (Eduard Martín – IT sector consultant).
Finally, I would like to point out a great definition of what a consultant is, which perfectly summarizes why this job can be a great job!
“A consultant is a dynamic, flexible, well disposed, happy person with great knowledge on the subject to cover… We are sharp people, and we don’t like being too comfortable or stuck in routine. We are curious, we move around, we don’t matter the part of the world to which we need to go to work, we just want to satisfy our client in the best possible way so that he trusts us and sees us as a positive help that adds value to the traditional company". (Tania Rodríguez – Engineering sector consultant).