To help their businesses grow or to overcome problems, business owners often turn to business consultants. It’s often a well-paid, well-respected position, but it’s also one that can be difficult to get if you’re just starting out. If you’re trying to find a job in business consulting, here’s how to get started.
Do you have enough expertise?
When you’re tasked with giving advice to business owners, you’d better have some experience successfully managing a business, or running one of your own. That experience might come from earning a Master’s in Business Administration, running your own small business, or serving in a managerial role for a larger corporation. Without that sort of experience you’re going to be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to hire you or pay you for consulting services.
Secure some recommendations
When you’ve gained some experience, get recommendations from those with whom you’ve worked. Ask your clients, customers and former managers for letters of recommendation, or get them to write you a review for your LinkedIn profile.
Get your online presence in order
As a consultant, it’s essential to use relevant online resources -- as well as having a portfolio website and social media profiles -- to promote yourself as a consultant and connect with potential employers and clients. Think carefully about how you’re presenting yourself on all of those channels, especially LinkedIn. Use a professional-looking profile photo, include a well-crafted resume that highlights your strongest skills near the top of the page, as opposed to a reverse-chronological resume.
Networking goes way beyond online channels, however, join your local chamber of commerce or other business networking groups near you. Attend mixers, conferences and social meet-and-greets to get acquainted with business owners in your area who might be ready to hire consultants. Also ask former colleagues, classmates and well-connected friends or family to refer you to potential clients or hiring managers. Send letters of inquiry to consulting firms in your target area to introduce yourself. Use your local job listings as well as online sites such as Indeed or Monster to locate business consulting jobs near you.
Talk to a Recruiter
If you’re not having much luck finding a job on your own, talk to a recruiter. While they’ll take a percentage of your income when they find you a job, the time saved -- and the higher salaries they tend to fetch -- can be worth it. In addition to this, recruiters often have long-standing connections with consulting firms.
Going Out on Your Own In the world of business consulting, working for a consulting firm is just one route to success. Plenty of business consultants also work for themselves, building their own client base and income from the ground up. If you go this route, you might have to juggle your current duties as a business owner or manager while you build up the business. Take on a client or two on the side for a lower rate than you might charge in the future, do good work that produces positive results, and then ask your clients to recommend you to another business owner. Over time, this method can translate into a full-time job.
While there’s no one totally-prescribed way to find a job in business consulting, these techniques should get you well on the road to a new, successful career.
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