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Becoming a Consultant, By: Courtney Crites

Mar 21, 2023 05:37 PM
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What is a consultant? 

A consultant is an individual who is an expert in a particular field and who gives professional advice to both individuals and businesses within their area of expertise, typically on a temporary or contract basis until a particular need has been met. 

Companies typically hire consultants to: 

  • Provide objective outsider opinions on processes or systems 
  • Solve for internal blind spots
  • Provide expert guidance on solving a problem or implementing a solution
  • Fill temporary staffing gaps in a scalable way
  • Offer access to expertise that is difficult to source and hire for 

Typical Employers of Consultants: 

  • Consulting firms 
  • Self-employed (consultant works with clients by freelancing their services/expertise)

As a consultant, you will: 

  • Work with clients to understand their needs, set goals for the relationship and understand the scope of consulting projects
  • Learn the existing process of systems in an organization 
  • Perform analysis and diagnose issues 
  • Analyze and translate data into concrete action items 
  • Oversee and track results 
  • Compile and present information orally, visually, and in writing to keep clients up to date on progress

What education do consultants typically have? 

Consultant education requirements are subjective and fairly flexible. The importance of education really comes down to the buyer's perception of educational value, and if you do freelance consulting or work for a consulting firm. 

Most consultants, however, do have a bachelor’s degree. Some popular degree’s for consultants include: 

  • Business
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Law

It’s important to consider a degree that helps you to learn core concepts within the field of consulting like data analysis, strategy, project management, leadership, public speaking, and more. 

Do consultants need to have previous experience? 

Although having prior experience can be an advantage, it is not an essential requirement to landing a consulting job. However, you need to be able to clearly demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to become a successful consultant. 

These days there are plenty of entry-level consulting jobs out there, you just have to showcase your competence and draw from your previous experiences whether those are your education, internships, extracurriculars, etc.

What essential skills should consultants have?

  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Flexibility
  • Oral and verbal communication
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Self-motivation
  • Presentation skills 
  • Comfortability with risk 

What is a typical consultant salary? 

The average salary for a consultant in Canada is $68,000 per year or $35 per hour. Entry-level positions typically start around $45,000 per year, while most experienced consultants will make over $100,000 per year.