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Breaking into consulting?

#1 Breaking into consulting?
10/01/2006 15:17

Stuck in Neutral

I'm a mid-life aspiring consultant, with 20+ years experience in team building, project and program management in public or non-profit sector strategy and communications. I've been reading for months about the skill shortage in consulting, where my skill assessments have lead me to seek a second career, yet I can't seem to find the firm or recruiter interested in someone who is not yet an experienced consultant. Can anyone offer some advice?

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#2 Re: Breaking into consulting?
10/01/2006 23:24


As a suggestion to Top-Consultant, it would be very useful if someone could explain how someone who is "out" of the consulting scene can get "in". I have a technology background (not in IT) but have over 5 years of customer facing technical sales experience, including business organizational and technical assessment as part of a consultative sales strategy, and I have almost completed an MBA. I would like to know what I should do to get into business consulting? Any help appreciated.

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#3 Re: Breaking into consulting?
11/01/2006 22:07


I have the same concerns/questions as Dave. I have 20 years in IBM working in customer facing environments in a technical, sales and sales management role. I have been involved in many organisational changes and development and have completed an MBA in strategic Management. I believe I have the skills and personal qualities necessary for consulting and would love to get into a consulting role, yet when I have sent my CV in to a couple of the consulting firms I have been told that they have no positions for my skills?? It would be great to have guidance on how to break into this area.

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#4 Re: Breaking into consulting?
12/01/2006 09:46



Love to hear any private responses that you get. I'm stuck in the same situation. Consultancy seems to be a bit like the Mafia.

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#5 Re: Breaking into consulting?
12/01/2006 12:01


I think you have to look at what you have to offer from 2 angles. What industry have you worked in most and what skills have you applied in that industry. If you can give instances of quantifiable value you added so much the better. you might find the Management Consultancy Association's competency framework helpful. Don't give up I did a mid career change from the Civil Service a few years ago and never looked back.

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#6 Re: Breaking into consulting?
12/01/2006 12:35

Keith Burgess

Have any of you tried IBM Business Consulting Services? - Keith Burgess

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#7 Re: Breaking into consulting?
13/01/2006 14:39

Stuck in Neutral

Thanks for the encouragement and suggestion; will take both on board.

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#8 RE: Breaking into consulting?
16/01/2007 18:57

Zee to Stuck in Neutral (#1)

Hi Sharon,

I have an upcoming interview with IBM for a (Sr. Consultant/Changement Management).

Any advice, tips would be greatly appreciated.


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#9 RE: Breaking into consulting?
17/01/2007 08:53

LAB to Stuck in Neutral (#1)

I did the same move back in mid-90s so don't be disheartened it can be done. I was made redundant after 15yrs in major energy company - hence the change. What can I tell you that is useful and not just "waffle"? Simple things first. Have you identified your transferable skills? Consultancies are not interested in managing widgets so you have to clearly identify where your strong business skills are. How is your CV looking - again stressing skills and how you used them rather than "responsible for ...blah" plus actual achievements. Which industry sector(s) do you have experience with. This leads you to do research (yes you have to do work find this and its not all on the Net) into which consulting companies work in those sectors - your targets. Don't approach all and every recruitment agencies - find out who concentrates on consulting and your sector preferably (use this website to help). Approach companies direct (don't double up though) stressing how you can explicitly help them ... not I'm a poor lost sheep please give me a job. And so on. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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#10 RE: Breaking into consulting?
17/01/2007 09:25

k to LAB (#9)

a tip in applying, if you did not succeed the first time - do not re-apply within 2 years time.

MBBB keep a record of applicants and would

normally reject the failures who re-apply within that moratorium period. Reason: people do not normally acquire significant skills within a period of less than 2 years.

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#11 RE: Breaking into consulting?
17/01/2007 19:36

Graduate to LAB (#9)

Lab, could you assist me by revieving this graduate's resume?

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#12 RE: Breaking into consulting?
18/01/2007 13:34

The Guru to Sharon (#3)

Including IBM's GBS? or is this not considered MC?

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#13 RE: Breaking into consulting?
18/01/2007 13:38

The Guru to The Guru (#12)

@ Sharon, the IBMer, what about IBM's GBS or is this not considered MC

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#14 RE: Breaking into consulting?
18/01/2007 14:31

Tony Restell ( to Stuck in Neutral (#1)

We're currently running a survey of MC recruiters to see what steps they are prepared to take to overcome the current recruitment crunch. The full results we'll be publishing next month, but certainly the initial feedback coming in is that recruiting executives from industry (ie. those without prior consulting experience) is something the firms are very open to.

So the message here is certainly don't give up hope, there are jobs out there for those who can demonstrate they have the right skills...

The key - as expressed elsewhere in the thread - is going to be conveying to the recruiter that you do have skills that are directly transferable to consulting firms. This means you need to demonstrate <b>considerable expertise</b> in an industry or functional area and / or transferable selling skills. The consulting firm is going to be charging your time out to clients at £1,200+ per day - and so you need to have compelling skills and expertise that can be sold on to the client - or to be able to be the one actually selling the consulting project in the first place.

Developing this point, I would sincerely recommend to anyone in this situation that you get your CV reviewed by someone who is an expert in the management consultancy recruitment field. Re-stating your experience in a way that will appeal to MC recruiters is not rocket-science, but it does require an intricate understanding of what recruiters at individual consulting firms will be looking for.

We ourselves do offer this service, the URL for which I provide below. There are also many other organisations that provide similar services - so I say this more as a genuine piece of advice rather than to plug our own offering. Just make sure whoever you use is an expert in the management consultancy field, otherwise the advice you get will not be targeted enough.


<a href= target=_blank></a>

Best of luck, Tony Restell (

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