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Getting consulting positions

#1 Getting consulting positions
29/07/2010 16:12

aspiring consultant

Hi all. I was wondering would anyone have any thoughts on this. I work for a on-the -way-out bank basically in business lending. I did a business masters last year from a university with a great reputation with the intention of starting a career in consulting. I've been trying for close on 12 months to find a consulting job with no luck, not even an interview. I read profiles of consultants on company websites and I'm pretty sick of reading about social studies or geography students who "fell into" great jobs in consulting, yet I have solid business experience with bachelors and masters degrees in business, and a well rounded individual to boot. So whats the story, is anyone else on these message boards looking to get into consulting but having no luck? And do me a favour, if you're going to rant about "why would you want to get into consulting" etc etc, spare me. Just looking for some positive feedback & opinions. Cheers all.

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#2 RE: Getting consulting positions
29/07/2010 16:27

Cynic to aspiring consultant (#1)

Yes, I see those kind of profiles and it makes me wince too. People with degrees in subjects like Modern Languages that then end up working in the financial services division of some large PLC consultancy despite probably not even having the analytical skills to produce a pie chart. Not that I've got anything about Modern Languages (it was just an example), but you don't see mathematicians and business studies graduates 'falling into' jobs as translators, so it seems strange that people with limited analytical qualifications end up 'falling into' analytical roles.

Anyhow, to answer your question: These are tough times and many companies just aren't hiring (despite all their phoney activity on recruitment boards and at shows). Plus, there are too many people in this country chasing too few jobs. There was a discussion on LBC this morning arguing that you may as well leave school at 16 these days, because whether you're a high-school dropout or a PhD, you'll probably end up in more or less the same job eventually anyway.

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#3 RE: Getting consulting positions
29/07/2010 16:37

baykus to aspiring consultant (#1)

I must admit I'm a bit surprised to read this. The consulting market has recovered strongly and pretty much everyone is hiring. Accenture is back to large new joiner groups pretty much on a monthly basis. You really should be at least getting interviews.

Are you applying for graduate positions? What Uni / grade? Maybe you're not presenting your background well in your CV.

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#4 RE: Getting consulting positions
29/07/2010 17:46

Mars A Day to aspiring consultant (#1)

Without knowing more about what you actually do we can only make generic statements. That said, if you have struggled through 12 months without success that tells me either you simply wont make it for whatever reason we cannot ascertain without more detail, or you simply are not presenting yourself in the right way. Consultancy as an industry is certainly hiring, although it has been intensely localised and specific through much of the last 12 - 18 months. As a rising tide floats all boats your chances may now be much improved, but will still be hampered both by whatever you have been doing wrong, and of course in direct correlation to just how widely saturated the market is with your CV.

First question I would be asking is if you are any good, why are you stuck in an 'on the way out bank'? Put bluntly when the bank gets flushed it will take everything and everyone down with it, so you should have been looking for an exit - ANY exit - prior to now. This makes me question your judgement. An extension of this makes me wonder just how many firms have you sent your CV to? Think of it like a bank account - each time you send your CV to a firm it depletes your account of cache in your CV. Send out too many and it becomes of questionable value. You are no longer presenting the company with a window of opportunity to hire you, if you like. And yes I know my metaphors are all over the place, its Thursday afternoon and I'm shattered.

So to repair some of the possible damage you need to rip your CV up and re-write it. 1 - 2 pages max, same font all the way through. Begin each bullet with a positive, action orientated verb. SHOW a company what you can do, where you have added or created value, and what the result was. I do not want to know what your team did, I want to know what YOU did. Your contribution, your results that I can tie back to you directly. Re-position how you look at your current employer also. Instead of on the way out, is is a prime target for significant remedial work to salvage at least some of the value? Can you explain to a firm what you would do there if you had the backing and the frameworks etc a major consulting firm could teach you? Show them you understand, show them you can address the issues, show them you have consultancy potential.

Stop sending your CV everywhere. In its new, shiny version, send it only to qualified opportunities which you can actually DO, and which you know to the best of your knowledge are being actively hired for. DO NO send your CV speculatively - save that for when you are an experienced consulting hire. You need to restock some cache here, and the best way to do that is make yourself rarer.

Reading profiles of consultants on websites will not achieve anything. No more than me reading the what Mervyn King has to say will make me a financial expert. What might - just might - help me become an expert, or at least move me close to it, is to talk with Mervyn King. So contact consultants, ask their advice, show an interest in what they do. You never know- they may recommend you as a willing potential hire who could be a useful, and cost effective asset to the firm.

Finally look outside of consulting for the next 12 months - look for roles in more successful banks which will move you closer to core business architecture. A BA role for example. A decent bank with a solid but not necessarily exciting brand. Read some books on hot issues in banking and insurance too - knowing something, anything about distribution review or the latest fiscal brain fart from Brussels will make you seem engaged, interested, and interesting.

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#5 RE: Getting consulting positions
29/07/2010 21:05

aspiring consultant to Mars A Day (#4)

Thank you all for your comments. Just to clarify, especially on Mars a day's points, the masters was my "out", as you put it, to move into an industry in which I have a genuine interest. I studied part-time while working full-time to make myself more marketable as well as make a living, and I got a first class honours while doing it, so I think I display all the traits of someone who can deal with pressure and multiple projects and who also has 2 brain cells to rub together to call his own. I admit I was rough around the edges job-hunting wise when I started this, but I have always been very careful about only sending my cv to firms that are hiring, or whom I've met at various open evenings and recruitment events. My CV has been written and rewritten by college advisors, recruitment consultants, senior bankers, HR people and other management consultants. I think I've purged the rubbish on it. The thing is, I need experience and to start somewhere, to be taken in and trained up and I will work the backside off myself, all the hours god sends, to get up to speed in any job I get but not getting the first foot on the ladder, after spending so much time & money going about it in what I thought was the right way, is pi**ing me off no end. And Cynic does have a valid point. What is a geography degree holder doing working as a financial consultant when someone like me who can actually interpret a set of accounts and chair client meetings with company directors and financial controllers and talk about the issues that companies face in an intelligent manner is told that I don't quite have what's being looked for. Ridiculous. I rant, I'm sorry, but I'm frustrated at this stage.

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#6 RE: Getting consulting positions
29/07/2010 22:16

turn_this_onitshead to aspiring consultant (#5)

I would turn this on its head a little bit and rather than take your emotions out on the consulting firms, I would be a bit more self-critical of the situation.

One thing I can guarantee you, unlike the cynic above who read an article about recession 2 years ago and who is still quoting it; consulting firms are hiring in mass!! I am too making a move into consulting from industry and IBM, ACN, the big 4's etc... all had my CV and many of them gave me interviews.

Re the points about degrees, majors etc... consulting firms could not care less about your degree - they want intelligent, driven, talented problem solvers- you don't need a business degree for that.

Looking at the issue, and I make no apologies for being blunt here, but the problem is with you.

You are doing something wrong: be it either 1) your approach (how you market your self, your CV, the medium and contacts you are utilising etc...) or 2) your experience is not suitable for what you are applying for.

On that basis, be frustrated with yourself but channel that into analysing (after all you have a business degree) what it is that you are doing wrong - if unable to see what it is then problem solving is obviously not your best asset, nevertheless, posting specific details on this forum might result in someone helping you.

Don't give up, quit blaming the world and figure out where you have gone wrong!

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#7 RE: Getting consulting positions
30/07/2010 08:58

Cynic to turn_this_onitshead (#6)

I'm not sure the problem is with himself.

He sounds pretty intelligent and articulate to me.

I think the real reason he's having problems is that the jobs just aren't out there.

Sure, you'll get people chipping in with anecdotal examples of their own personal experience to the contrary and stories about how millions are joining anderson consulting every month, but on the whole, the economy is stagnant at present. I guess that's what happens when you try and cram 70 million people into a tiny little island that's a quarter of the size of Texas. Too many people chasing too few jobs.

Basically, don't let it affect your confidence. It's not you, it's the economy after a decade of Labour's mis-management.

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#8 RE: Getting consulting positions
30/07/2010 09:39

anon to Cynic (#7)

You mentioned MC's, senior bankers, HR people all looked at your CV. I assume these are your friends, if so use them to get your foot in the door - to me this is the only way of getting a job.

I have a very good relationship with HR and partners at my firm, and have been able to get good guys into the firm as a result.

Use your network - go out and meet people face to face - cold call companies...Try something different, you don't need a good CV - people just need to know who you are, and if you present yourself in a good light/professional - you will make it

Been there before - keep at it!

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#9 RE: Getting consulting positions
30/07/2010 12:04

turn_this_onitshead to Cynic (#7)


I beg to differ - the economy might be stagnant at a macro economic level and yes the country is in debt etc... but eh job market is realtively buyant and especially in financial services.

Think about it, banks just like consulting firms are now starting to re-hire for the positions they laid -off 2 yrs ago.

There are a lot of jobs out there; my inbox would be the proof of it. I am not anymore special than any of you all on this forum and I certainly do not blame the world, the weather of the economy for mistakes I make.

Yes the guy is articulate and is probably intelligent - I am not questioning his integrity but there is clearly something wrong about his approach and I am not sure your view of blaming the economy is going to help him realise where he is going wrong.

Aspiring consultant - good luck to you

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#10 RE: Getting consulting positions
30/07/2010 21:19

baykus to Cynic (#7)

Cynic, you're plain wrong.

The consulting market is buoyant. Any recruiter out there will back this up. All the major consultancies are heavily hiring. The larger economic situation is irrelevant - probably not as irrelevant as the population density and party politics, but still, pretty irrelevant.

If you can't get a single interview in 12 months of job hunting you're doing something wrong, plain and simple. And saying this is absolutely not about wanting to make someone feel bad - the original poster presented a well-written question, and this answer is sincerely meant to help.

If it's not the CV, maybe you're pitching at too high a level - have you tried going in at an analyst/beginner grade?

Another thought that comes to mind is that while the jobs have been flowing for a while now, things did of course look bleak a year back. Was that when you made the majority of your applications? Given that many firms won't accept re-applications for 12 months, you may have badly mistimed things.

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