This post is by Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, an award-winning, innovative career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance, and part-time jobs. All this week, WealthySingleMommy is partnering with FlexJobs to bring you “Flexible Work Week.”
The right consulting job can have huge benefits for moms looking for more scheduling freedom, more time with your family and improved work-life balance overall.
Many people want to know: What exactly is a consultant? A consultant means working with organizations across a range of industries to determine weak spots, develop strategy, or implement new procedures designed to improve productivity and efficiency across specific aspects of the organization. The biggest industries for jobs in this area are business consulting, education consulting, healthcare consulting, and IT consulting. Companies often hire consultants to get an outsider’s objective, expert, opinion. These are typically contract jobs for a finite amount of time, and consultants are usually self-employed.
Below are five tips on how to find a consulting job:
1. Think it through
Before committing, or even entertaining the idea of a consulting position, give this decision the time and attention it deserves. Consider all aspects of what it means to be a freelancer. Develop a business plan, including time and financial investments, and a strategy for finding clients. Realize that most freelancers — especially those starting out — have erratic income. Are you comfortable with this? How will you manage your money between jobs?
2. Find Your Specialty
Many professionals have skills that are easily translatable across industries, and you likely do, too. Such consultants include management, sales and IT. In order to select your focus, first identify the credentials or skill set that is most valuable to the marketplace. For example, an expert in virtual teams could speak to the development of virtual work policies, how to engage and effectively manage telecommuters, or the best practices in recruiting and hiring new talent.
Now it’s time to make a place for yourself on your industry’s scene. Identify the decision makers in companies that could benefit from your services. These people may be in HR, heads of the departments in which you would work, or in small companies — the owner/CEO. Seek out media opportunities to be quoted as an industry expert, and share those articles with your professional network via your website, newsletter and social media networks. Attend industry events and seek out speaking opportunities — including panel discussions and facilitating workshops. Keep your name fresh in people’s mind and showing that you are considered knowledgeable in your sector is a great way to maintain your professional image.
4. Maintain an Online Media Profile
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, websites, blogs … We are inundated with social media options, and maintaining all of them can be overwhelming. At a minimum, invest in a professionally designed website and post a few articles positioning yourself as an industry expert. Create a professional profile on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+, and spend time learning the basics on each one. Be sure to keep your professional consulting message clear and cohesive across all channels, so that you present yourself as an organize, and easily-identifiable consultant.
5. Consider working for a consulting firm
If entrepreneurship is not right for you now, consider seeking out opportunities with a consulting firm. Some consultants find success in partnering with companies that source consulting work, and usually provide health care and other benefits. There are numerous small and specialized firms to consider, as well as the well-known firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst&Young, Bain & Company, and McKinsey & Company.
Successful consultants can enjoy high income, a measure of control over their careers and income, and work making meaningful changes for their clients. Find amazing consulting jobs through our partner, FlexJobs.
Readers, what other ideas to find consulting jobs do you have to share? Tell us in the comments!