How a Consulting Career Can Sharpen Your Professional Skills

Are you a professional seeking to gain exposure in the industries and companies within your field, while building your network and client relationships?  Do you desire a reviving change from the predictability and familiarity of a nine-to-five job?  Consulting might just be a logical choice for the next step in your professional journey.

consulting-blue-office-signAccording to Upwork.com, one of the web’s top freelancing marketing services, more businesses are choosing to spend significant amounts of money on consulting services for IT projects, for example.  This number saw a year-over-year 22 percent increase to date, with a noted preference for independent consultants over traditional agencies.

Consulting requires experience and knowledge in your field, as well as quick thinking.  If you are not fond of meetings and constantly being on the move from one client to the next, then life as an independent consultant may not be for you.  However, many agree that the advantages outweigh any perceived negatives, and a large part of this is freedom and flexibility.

If you are considering spending some time as an individual consultant, here are a few ways this particular career choice may benefit your professional skill set and development as a whole:

Communication:

Consulting can help you hone in on your communication skills in a big way.  Since you need to consistently provide your clients with results, you will become comfortable with relaying information in the form of e-mails, reports, meetings, phone calls, and any other various manners of communication.  This will also teach or remind you of the importance of staying connected with clients.  If you don’t communicate, your client will assume you are not working effectively, and that can cost you your job.

Experience on the C-level: 

You may not have yet reached CEO status yourself, but interacting with higher-level executives will only benefit you in your career down the road.  Learning to sell your solutions and yourself as a trusted consultant is an extremely valuable experience in the corporate world.

Solving Problems:

As a consultant, your job is to identify and fix problems.  Since thinking outside the box is a must, your creativity and trouble-shooting skills will undoubtedly be sharpened.  Therefore, you will develop a sense of adaptability which will assist you in any type of work environment.

Meeting Deadlines:

Essentially, when you work for yourself, you have yourself to answer to.  A missed deadline usually means a lost client as well as a less than superb reputation to follow, so it is within your own best interest to complete the goals required of you by the designated target date.  While you don’t have to worry about being called into the boss’ office to explain why you missed a deadline, you will consulting-businessman-on-cell-phonestill have to face the consequences.  Consultants learn on their own to juggle tasks and manage their time.

Financial Management:

As an independent consultant, you are in charge of how and when you get paid.  You will need to consider ways of stretching your available funds for the duration of a project, and assume strategies to become more efficient with your budget.  A nine-to-five job may offer steadier paychecks, but as a consultant, you have command of your earnings and the ability to sharpen your money-management skills.  This can assist you not only with your own finances, but in your future professional career.

Conclusion

Consulting allows professionals to learn invaluable skills which they may not obtain in a traditional job setting.  Remember, that while some people choose consulting as their main career, others spend a designated or limited time enjoying the freedom and nonconformity that comes with being a consultant.  Any time spent gaining insight, networking, and learning important skills pertaining to your line of work is time well spent.

By Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

 

 

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