After spending 5 years working at Deloitte, Al Dea made the move from management consulting to become a Product Marketer at a tech company. In addition to working as a Product Marketing Manager, Al also is a career coach, he runs CareerSchooled, a career advice blog, and advises professionals including many consultants on career changes of their own. In this article, he talks about how you can prepare for a move out of consulting.
Predicting the future is hard and there’s so much that can change, but there are a few things that you can do to help set yourself up for success if and when you do decide to move on from consulting.
Figure out what your experiences are in
Consulting moves so fast that sometimes it’s easy to forget what we actually did on that case 6 months ago, or what role we had on that one project late last year. Take time to write down all the projects you worked on, the roles you had, and the experiences you gained from the process. Reflecting on this should give you a sense of potential opportunities.
Figure out what you like doing and are good at doing
Ideally, your next role will be a mix both of what you like to do and what you are good at doing, so answering these questions is a great place to start. Take stock of what you like doing and what you enjoy doing based off of your past consulting experience. Eventually, you’ll want to figure out where your skills/interests map to specific roles, but it starts with knowing what you like and are good at.
Figure out where you do your best work
Knowing what you want to do is great, but an underrated thing is knowing where you do your best work. So not only about what kind of work do you want to do, but who do you want to do the work with, or what kind of culture do you want to do the work in?
For some, this may mean a competitive environment with colleagues that push and challenges you to perform at your best. For others, it’s a collaborative and supportive culture where people work together to achieve results. Knowing what type of environment you thrive in is helpful as it can help you identify a company, industry, or role that fits you best. And when you do select that company and its culture that fits your needs, you are putting yourself in a great position to be successful in that next job
Looking at your past projects and the culture/environment that was created is a great place to start. Identify where you felt the most energy or excitement and dig deep into what the partner/project manager did to create that team culture.
Think about what path you want to follow
I think it’s always healthy to spend a little time thinking about your future career, and it’s even more critical if you’re anticipating making a transition within the next year. But I think it starts with self-reflection. Every job is a combination of skills, experiences, and a market need, so one simple exercise you can do is to understand your own skills and experiences. Write down all the projects and cases you’ve worked on in the past year, and identify the unique skills/experiences you have that you could use in your next role. Furthermore, get some guidance from your peers/mentors. Find out from them what skills or strengths you have that are valuable, as those are great potential tip-offs as to what another company might find value in you.
Have an idea of the transition
Another thing you can do is to get a sense of what the transition process can look like. You probably know a few people who have made the transition – reach out to them to understand how they went about the process and how they like their new role. Furthermore, your firm may have resources for you to use (ex: paid time to search for a new job, placement services) but in addition to that sites like Movemeon are great because they can show you exactly how other people like you are navigating the change. It should also give you the confidence to know that if other people are able to do it, you can too!