How to Get a Job in Consulting
Looking for some tips on how to find a job in the incredibly competitive landscape of the consulting industry? Who better to ask than a a recently-hired consultant, then? James Ozturk recently graduated from Boston University with a degree in Economics and Engineering. As a newcomer to the U.S., he had the added disadvantage of starting his search without a robust network in place, and without any consulting experience to speak of. He now works as an Associate Marketing Director at a legal consulting firm, leading a team of six. Here, he shares some of his tips for navigating the market:
Search: Although it is understandable to start out spending a day perfecting your application to your top firms, if those do not work out (since major consulting groups get hundreds of applications, the odds are against you) and things get rough, the rough must get going. Sending 5-10 applications a day was suggested to us as average by BU’s career service.
Use all of your network: Consulting is all about utilizing your network, and starting early will show the recruiter your capabilities. That means reaching out to your already employed older friends, going to networking events, and keeping in touch (phone call or face to face, don’t hide behind an email!) even with people who could not offer you a position.
Be positive: A lot of applicants apply to the same positions and a lot of the times it is just pure luck who gets the job. Understanding that and not giving up even after the 100th rejection is the key. Feedback from a rejection can even be used to make your application stronger for next time!
Be engaging: It takes 30 seconds to google the company or the person you are talking to and can lead to important knowledge that you can use in a conversation to engage the person and stand out from the crowd. Getting them to do the talking is the key.
Pull, not Push: This is a strategy I used in my job search, and still use in consulting companies. Kind of like a 'show not tell,' instead of trying to sell yourself like an unemployed 50’s home appliances salesman, try to focus on the demand from the company. This may mean delving more into the sides of yourself that fit better to the company as well as talking about the position’s requirements.
Don’t forget, with so many applicants competing for the same jobs, it is not just about qualifying, it is about being a good fit.
At the end, know that you will get a job and do not let anything get you down. It is very hard, but the successful outcome of a consulting search is worth so much more, emotionally and materially, than accepting the first position that comes your way.
James Ozturk graduated from Boston University in May 2014 and now works for Argopoint, LLC. More of his work can be found in Matter Management RFP.