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3 Key Consulting Skills and How to Demonstrate Them

Consulting is one of the most popular career choices for graduates. There are several great reasons to choose consulting, such as:

  • Exposure to a variety of fields resulting in fast-tracked learning
  • Good starting salary
  • Fast-paced and dynamic work environment
  • Great colleagues who are hard-working, diligent, and ambitious
  • Opportunities to work and learn from seniors such as CEOs, CTOs, COOs, and CFOs

A consulting job will also bring you lots of intellectual stimulation because you have to work on critical aspects of the business. Your teammates can be from various educational backgrounds, bringing different perspectives to the table. You will also be working on multiple projects, each one using a different skill set more prominently than others. One project could capitalize on your marketing skills, and the next one could use your people skills more than anything else. 

A consulting job also has other perks regarding the lifestyle you enjoy, which few other jobs can afford. If all these points excite you, then a consulting job is the right career choice for you. Once you get started, you can grow your skillset and gain valuable work and life experience. To get you started in the right direction, the top 3 skills consulting firms are looking for are listed below.

Commercial awareness

Consulting essentially entails working with companies from any and every sector. For this reason, you must be commercially aware of the happenings in all major sectors. You must be mindful of what is happening around the world, the latest business practices, industry norms and trends, and hot topics associated with various industries. 

Your ability to quickly grasp information and understand how an industry function is critical to your role as a consultant. You must be able to gather and analyze the fundamentals of any industry quickly and effectively.

How can you demonstrate commercial awareness?

All the consulting firms you apply to will expect you to understand the firm and the business environment in which it functions. Do your research before you apply for the job, make notes, and remember the details when you interview. Some other ways you can demonstrate your commercial awareness are:

  • Remember to ask at least one or two insightful questions surrounding the company’s business environment. 
  • When they answer your questions, you can summarize what you gather from their answer and reflect it to the interviewer. It will show them that you are attentive and can process information quickly.
  • Research about other industries and sectors before the interview. The interviewer may be enthusiastic about green energy, for example. If you’re aware of what’s happening in that sector, they will know you stay up to date with other industries, too. 

Critical thinking and problem-solving.

As a consultant, you will primarily be hired to solve a problem that a business is facing. You must be great at critical thinking to analyze the situation, issues, and the underlying factors causing the problems. When you have diagnosed everything, you will have to find the best possible solution to resolve the problem.

It’s crucial to have a solid problem-solving attitude and ability. While working on one project and resolving the problem, you might have to face several more minor issues along the way. 

You will have to fix them efficiently so that the project can progress and meet the deadlines. You must be detail-oriented, observant, and meticulous in your approach so you can find and implement the best possible solution you have identified.

How you can demonstrate your critical thinking and problem-solving skills

You can talk about an internship or university project you worked on and the problems that came up. Highlight how you analyzed the situation, any tools or metrics you may have used for the analysis, and the solution you came up with. Make sure the interviewer knows the contribution you made to the project. Some other ways to show your critical thinking and problem-solving skills are:

  • Make sure you practice active listening when the interviewer is talking – it shows attention to detail, which is critical in problem-solving. 
  • You should also fill out the application form carefully. You might be presented with a case study, so ensure that you study it carefully, analyze it, and find the best possible solutions to the problems offered. 
  • Be impeccable with your language and grammar – these minor details can leave a lasting impression about how meticulous you are. A well-drafted application form and answer to the case study shows the employer that you are the right candidate for the job.
  • You can also emphasize a system you used to organize and keep the project on track. It shows the interviewer that you are methodical and organized in your approach.

Business sense and strategic planning

It is imperative that you understand business environments and how they operate. Since you will be solving critical business problems, you must be aware of your solutions’ impacts on the overall business. For example, you might be working on a technological implementation project, but you must know how it impacts other functions such as finance and marketing.

It would be best if you plan your solution and its implementation strategies to optimise the overall business. Your critical thinking and analytical skills are also essential factors of strategic planning.

How you can demonstrate your business sense and strategic planning skills

You can highlight that you understand how one business function impacts the others and how they are all interlinked. You can do this, especially if you have a management degree, by emphasizing that you’ve learned about all management functions of a business. Some other ways you can demonstrate your skills are:

  • Talk about a project you worked on in a management role rather than a specific business function. It could be an internship or a college project where you took the lead and managed it end-to-end.
  • Talk about how you used your strategic planning skills to complete a project fast and deliver optimal results.
  • You can also highlight your interpersonal communication skills and discuss how you brought a team together and used teamwork as your project strategy.
  • You can refer to business articles that you’ve read. It showcases your understanding of the underlying issues behind the stories and the strategic choices made by the companies. You can talk about how you think those strategic moves impacted the business or something that you might have done differently.

Some other skills to have are teamwork, leadership, persuasion, and working under pressure.

Protect your consultant business

The above skills are essential to become a successful consultant. However, despite the best talents, you might run into problematic clients from time to time. It’s a good idea to get insurance for consultants to safeguard yourself and your business against any claims made by dissatisfied clients.

You can visit this website to learn more about professional liability insurance and find the right one for your business.

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