What Skills Does a Good Consultant Need to Succeed?

No matter how many frameworks, reference sheets, or strategy models you have up your sleeve, good consulting always comes down to analytical skills. What matters is whether you can effectively deconstruct and categorize information, identify new correlations, and draw conclusions from all of this. Strategic thinking is a unique combination of a conceptual understanding of a business situation and an understanding of its practical applications.


must have an extraordinary perspective at all levels of strategy, from the most abstract and visionary ideas to the daily routine.

Today's graduate hiring market is more competitive than ever. As a result, employers are looking for very specific skills and attributes in candidates for their companies. And perhaps nowhere else is this more true than in Consulting. With the advice of our in-house experts and partner consulting firms, we have compiled a list of the 11 things that consulting firms look for in successful candidates.

Academic success is essential for the most important positions in consulting.

Your academic background reveals both your ability to learn and your ability to graft, two key attributes of a consultant

. Therefore, a good record of school results (including A levels or equivalent and any school award), as well as good university performance to date (including detailed module results, 26% of the expected grades) will show that you are a candidate worth considering. Consulting firms are also looking for candidates who have already put their skills to the test in a relevant work experience position. Ideally, this would be a vacation or internship plan that demonstrates your interest in the consulting world, as well as providing you with some ideas about what you're looking for in a consulting firm.

Other professional work experience with well-known brands is also great, especially if you can talk about the transferable skills learned, such as data analysis, presentation skills, teamwork, and so on. Whatever the experience, make sure you can talk about the cases in which you took the initiative and the impact of your contribution. Submission is a fundamental success criterion for any consulting applicant. If you are successful in becoming a consultant, you can expect to be charged clients several hundred pounds per hour, so it's imperative to demonstrate your attention to detail and high standards from an early stage. The firm must be able to trust you to develop documents for FTSE100 companies and to attend meetings with their CEOs, so you must show that you are up to the task. This includes everything from a clear, well-articulated application form free of typographical errors, a well-structured resume with a coherent format, a readable font and good grammar, and a well-dressed, polished, clean, and confident interview assistant.

Once you have passed the interview stage, a consulting firm is looking for someone who is absolutely cut out for consulting rather than any other corporate position. Your curriculum will have given them confidence in your studies; now is your opportunity to show them your ability to solve difficult problems, develop strong relationships, and be part of high-performance teams. Make sure you have some success stories on hand related to your academic, extracurricular, and work experience. You should be able to talk about situations where you have faced a challenge and how you have diagnosed and then resolved the problem in a methodical and measured way. Consultants usually work 60 hours a week and sadly they spend more time with colleagues than with friends and family. Therefore, consulting firms are looking for candidates who can get along well with the rest of the team; who have the ability to establish relationships at all levels of an organization; and who are fundamentally good at meeting new people. Having some interests is a great way to start conversations so consulting firms will look for evidence of interest outside of your work; this is your opportunity to show that you are a fun and interesting person and not just a set of academic background and work experience.

However remember not to exaggerate: if you say that you love golf you will most likely be invited to play at some point so be honest. In addition to communicating well in the interview itself try to refer to cases in which you have used your communication skills with good results; to disseminate a heated situation; to communicate a challenging idea; or to excite your sports team. In my consulting course one of the exercises is a set of false quotes interviews and survey data from a fictitious company. Nobody will tell you how to conduct a consultation session or what your next steps should be so this profession requires an entrepreneurial spirit especially if you work as an independent consultant. This makes sense because the fast pace of work combined with generous investments in learning and development means that consultants can quickly develop skills that allow them to work in many sectors in positions after leaving consulting. You may be focused on the needs of your customers right now but even the best consultants spend time investing in themselves. The best way to take a leap forward in your consulting career is to focus on your weaknesses and consciously improve them. While this is true from a managerial point of view the best consultants are the ones who can be creative after learning how to succeed within constraints. A certification is not legally required to become a consultant but there are other ways to gain these important skills; get some tips on how to attend an interview with confidence from leading communications consultant Gwyn Day. Much of business consulting is about moving these layers closer and farther away and finding the points where they are disconnected.

From the outside you might think that the default position in consulting is for young consultants to pretend they know everything.

Ernest Oesterling
Ernest Oesterling

Certified tv guru. Passionate social media aficionado. Infuriatingly humble music buff. . Lifelong tv junkie. Professional food expert.

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