Consultants can work in any field, so pinning down the job duties of a consultant is difficult. There is, however, one underlying thing that runs throughout all industries: Consultants help companies solve problems by applying their vast experience working in the field. For experienced professionals, consulting offers an opportunity to change up the standard nine-to-five workweek, as well as to work for yourself.
One of the primary job qualifications of a consultant is experience. This is largely what you are being paid for—knowing things that only experienced professionals know. Your experience should include working for others, as well as managing people underneath you. As a consultant, you may be called upon to delegate responsibilities. Further, you will have to provide information on how to implement your strategies. This makes management or executive experience essential.
Companies often call consultants to help them solve problems. To solve a problem, you will need to come with a game plan. This game plan should include both broad, long-term strategy as well as short-term tactics to implement that strategy. Consultants should have a background as both planners and doers, and your plan for the company must reflect your ability to make the plan come to life. You will delegate tasks as well as coach employees on how best to implement a plan.
Many consultants work on recruiting new talent for their clients. This requires knowledge of what makes for a good employee in the industry. This area is another one where management experience is essential. Some consultants work specifically to find talent spanning a number of industries in a geographic area. Other consultants do the opposite, looking for single-industry talent all over the world. Human-resources professionals may seek employment in this area of consulting as a natural fit for their talents and experience.
Consultants are sometimes called in to fix problems, but are other times called in to find problems. Experienced professionals can find flaws in any organization, as well as provide constructive criticism for a more efficient and profitable enterprise. Accounting and management skills serve well in analysis, and an attention to detail cannot be overvalued. Companies will pay top dollar to turn themselves around when the bottom line is shrinking.