Is Consulting the right career path for me?
Vaco Author, Vaco RaleighCategory: client, candidate
Consulting has been around for years, but is becoming increasingly popular with the US workforce. Many professionals are attracted to this career path in the pursuit of work life balance, while others are unfortunate victims of company downsizing. As the economy continues to become more volatile, managers are embracing the consulting model in place of making a full time hire. This has created a market place of highly qualified professionals seeking work, with companies reluctant to hire despite the critical deadlines that must be met. Consulting can be the answer to both sides of this equation.
Most professionals fall into two consulting categories: full time professional consultants who are not interested in permanent placement and talented individuals who seek project work while conducting a permanent search. There is a place in our job market for both. Some of the following points can help guide you in determining if consulting is right for you and should be the next step in your career path.
The Triangle offers a wide variety of companies which have numerous software applications to navigate. Most professionals have had experience in one or two of these applications, but with rapidly changing technology, project work allows for exposure in additional packages. These additional skills will ultimately make you a more marketable permanent candidate or a more marketable consultant. This would also hold true for breaking into a new industry.
Capitalize on Prior Experience
Consulting allows individuals who have a wealth of experience in business to capitalize on their prior successes by providing similar services to companies struggling with the same issues. These engagements glorify the more seasoned professionals allowing them to immediately add value to a struggling company. This fills the gap as clients want professionals with specific experience who can hit the ground running with minimal client involvement.
One of the first questions always asked is how quickly does a consultant have to be available to start a new project. The short answer is "tomorrow!". Most companies are in a critical situation by the time they reach out to bring a consultant in to assist. Consultants should be available to start within 48 hours and be able to commit to the duration of the project. For professionals who continue their permanent search, honest communication between you and the agency regarding your permanent job search is critical to the engagement success and exceeding client expectations.
Special project work allows for flexibility in work schedules as well as flexibility in income levels. The tradeoff between life balance and income can be explored from project to project and vary for different times of the year. This also allows the consultant to select the type of work and sophistication level of each assignment they accept.
Unplug from the Politics
Many career consultants enjoy the freedom from office politics that often are associated with "climbing the ladder" in a permanent position. These types of work environments can rob the joy of the job from the employee. Working on a consulting basis allows the person to provide their experience to the project and keep an autonomous viewpoint. If new work environments and challenging new tasks are intriguing then consulting work is very fulfilling.
In the Triangle we are faced with a rapidly changing job market that requires local professionals to explore new arenas in order to stay on the top of their professional game. If you feel like project consulting is something you would like to explore, please call the professionals at Vaco to discuss market opportunities.