Tips and tricks for budding consultants

The current environment is providing numerous opportunities for graduates to pursue a career in consulting. Many budding consultants have joined the industry and are starting to deliver real value out on site, bringing fresh ideas, skills and energy.

So what does it take to be successful as a junior consultant? Although mastering the hard skills is important, in the first instance establishing a foundation of vital soft skills is key. So, we have listed a few tips and tricks below to help aspiring consultants in the early years of their careers.

1. Seek regular feedback

A desire to continuously improve is a significant contributor to a consultant’s success, which enables the development of vital skills and adds more value to projects. Therefore, giving others the opportunity to provide you with feedback allows for positive reinforcement and constructive mentoring, which can be used to create actionable steps to overcome challenges.

2. Learn from the times when it doesn’t go right

Consulting can be a challenging role and there will be ups and downs, so it’s important to have the resilience to get back up and try again. You might not get it right the first time around but every mistake is just another opportunity for improvement. So don’t get disheartened. Trust the process where some work may require feedback, discussions and re-edits. There will always be iterations on how to improve client deliverables so that we can over-deliver on expectations.

3. Practice forward thinking

A question we often ask ourselves is, ‘so what?’ Whenever you’re doing a task, it’s good to have the end goal in mind. An objective helps drive the work with efficiency and purpose and ensures it’s relevant. It also better equips you to test assumptions and dig that little bit further to understand what the root causes of issues are, rather than just observing the surface-level symptoms. We want to avoid carrying out tasks for the sake of task completion, so before you start, ensure you understand what the objectives are. Always ask for clarification where applicable – it avoids misunderstanding the task and heading in the wrong direction.

4. Openly share ideas
Consultants are highly sought after for their natural curiosity and ability to generate innovative solutions to key business problems. Therefore, being unafraid of speaking up and voicing solution-oriented ideas can show strong initiative and raise your profile. Think about how you can communicate those ideas succinctly and ensure they have been thought through, which will help improve people’s buy-in to the idea.

The right mindset and attitude doesn’t necessarily guarantee success but they are necessary prerequisites. Adopting and developing those qualities will not come overnight and they may require practice, and that’s fine. It’s all part of the learning curve. Welcome feedback, take responsibility for your own professional development, seize every opportunity and you’ll be well on your way.