Most jobs and careers fall into one of three categories: they primarily focus on working with people, things, or ideas. What makes a management consulting career unique is that it fits into the “all of the above” classification. You have to be able to show that you have the client-facing or leadership (people) experience, practical business acumen (things), and quantitative analysis (ideas). If you’re launching your consulting career or already have a couple of years under your belt and are looking for new opportunities, the better you are at networking, the easier it will be to achieve your objectives.
As in any field, consulting networking is all about making contacts and nurturing them into fruitful relationships. Your ability to do this effectively can make the difference between a successful career and one that barely makes it out of the starting gate — or never even starts in the first place.
Benefits of Consulting Networking
While developing strong networking skills requires time and a good deal of practice, it is well worth the effort. The advantages of building a thriving consulting network include:
- Getting Your Foot in the Door: Landing that first job is tough in any industry — especially in the ultra-competitive consulting field. A strong resume and solid credentials aren’t enough anymore. Networking is essential for getting to know the people who make the hiring decisions (hint: it’s not recruiters) and gaining an advantage over the other candidates.
- Building Your Brand: Networking is the equivalent of a company using marketing to build its brand. Done correctly, networking will allow you to promote yourself and build your brand and reputation. You’ll become a known commodity among key players in a variety of consulting firms.
- Putting the Numbers in Your Favor: While you should certainly focus on establishing quality contacts, getting opportunities in the consulting world often comes down to a numbers game. Each person in your network is likely to have his or her own network of contacts that can ultimately lead to an excellent opportunity for you at some point. Think of it this way: One direct contact can lead to 10 indirect connections, but 100 direct contacts can help you build a network of 1000 indirect contacts. Remember, being a “friend of a friend” is almost as good as being a close friend in the consulting business.
- Boosting Your Confidence: Networking can be a little scary and intimidating at first, especially if you’re somewhat of an introvert by nature. However, you’re likely to find that the more you network, the better you will become at it. You will also gain confidence that will benefit you immensely as you attempt to move your consulting career forward.
- Learning a Lot: As you build your consulting network, you will get to “pick the brains” of people who already are where you want to be. The knowledge and insight you gain will prove invaluable in your job quest and as you perform your role as a consultant.
The Best Time to Start Developing Your Consultants’ Network Is Right Now
The sooner you begin to build your consulting network, the sooner that fantastic opportunities will begin to present themselves. Management Consulted offers a comprehensive course that’s chockful of networking advice that will help you get started on the right foot. Contact us to learn more today.