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ImageDo I Have What It takes to be a Consultant?
Dear Career Coach
I've worked in a technology role for the past few years and have worked on various projects for my company. I want to make a change and I like the idea of working for a consultancy as I think I could be good at it. What's your advice for being a successful consultant?

Dayo, Luton

Consultants are essentially advisors who are able to bring their expertise, persuasive skills and credibility to bear when working with clients. While each consultant will have his or her own style, there are some skills that are essential if you are interested in pursuing a career within a consultancy firm.

Firstly, you will need to have the ability to work well with a wide range of clients and colleagues. As you will probably have experienced from your project work in your company, different departments have their own culture and you need to be someone who is adaptable and flexible in your approach. As a consultant, you will be expected to work with employees at your client company, attend frequent meetings and present to your client or manager. So think about your communication and presentation skills and whether you have what it takes in this regard.

In order to be a good consultant and able to add value, you need to have enough in the way of skills and experience to be seen as credible by your client. This means being the kind of person who works at staying on top of your game and keeping up with the technical developments in your sector.

You should also ask yourself how good you are at multi-tasking and working on more than one project at the same time. A good consultant has to be able to manage their time and to take responsibility for meeting client deadlines in a timely manner. You also need to be able to manage difficult situations, have a good sense of judgement and strong diplomacy skills!

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Other key skills needed include good analytical skills - as you will frequently be called up on to analyse data, research information and present recommendations based on evidence – and a capacity for hard work. Consultancy can involve very long working hours and you need to consider if your lifestyle and outside commitments are compatible with the hours you may have to put in.

Ultimately, a good consultant has to be a good salesperson who can sell creative and appropriate solutions, so think about whether you have the necessary persuasive and communication skills to influence your client positively.

If all the above sounds like you, then our advice is to go for it!

All the best!

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