How to get a job in IT consulting
You are an IT professional, but routine is not what you are made for? Then maybe a job as IT consultant would be something for you.
I've been working in this field for almost 20 years and I've never been bored in those years. You get to know and appreciate new people, you can deal with new areas and technologies and help your customers, as well as pass on your knowledge. And most importantly, you always and constantly educate yourself.
Interesting for you? Then read on! The rest of the blog will help you to prepare yourself in the best possible way to get such a job.
🧠 The basics: What does it take to become a valuable IT consultant?
First and foremost, of course, very good IT skills, ideally in several sought-after technologies and methods. But that is something that can be learned. And that brings us to another important quality, or rather three: the will and the ability to constantly educate oneself and the foresight to see in which direction it is worthwhile with a view to the future.
And in addition, of course: practical experience! After all, "all theory is grey", which is why one or two successfully completed projects will naturally have a very positive effect on your CV.
Even more important than all this theoretical and practical knowledge, however, are your soft skills. These are not as easy to learn as a new technology stack.
In consulting, excellent communication skills are in the foreground, because the best problem solving - which is also a very important quality - does not help if no one understands it.
Since you can and have to organise your work yourself, a certain organisational talent and self-discipline would be very helpful. But that doesn't mean that lone warriors will make it in this job. Because the ability to work collaboratively on the usually complex problems and to maintain an excellent communication with the many contacts are must-haves for a successful IT consultant.
You are probably flexible, otherwise you would have stopped reading after the first paragraph.
After all these requirements, are you still considering a career as an IT consultant? In the next section I'll show you how to get there!
📍 The how: The path to a new job in IT consulting
At the beginning of the career path, you should think about what exactly you want to do and how you want to develop. What are your current strengths? What interests you? What would you like to learn or discover in the future?
Then you can start researching potential employers.
In the consulting sector, proactive applications are welcome. Consultants are expected to have personality, leadership and decision-making skills. Therefore, this is an ideal field to score points with the right approach. But since you can't see inside a company from the outside, the best and most direct way is to get in touch with someone who works there. You can find them through business networks, Meetups or among your network of acquaintances. Here you can informally gather information about whether you could fit into the team and what the company thinks of new colleagues. It allows you to reflect in a relaxed atmosphere and prepare your proactive application.
Of course, there is also the obvious in consulting: The application for a vacancy, such as the one we have on our website (https://trendig.com/#jobs).
No matter which way your CV reaches the target: it should be short and concise and contain your skills as well as the most important projects and achievements of the last few years.
What happens afterwards, depends on the company. I'll just outline the process at our firm, but it's at least not dissimilar to those at other consultancies.
First, a colleague, we take it in turns, will have an initial short video call with you to get to know each other, so that you can find out together whether we are a good match.
This is followed by two interview appointments with a few more participants.
The first interview is primarily about you and your skills and expectations, i.e. a classic job interview. However, with one special feature: we are always happy to discuss a practical topic with you, or, if you are more technically oriented, to discuss possible solutions with us based on a small task from your special field.
The second appointment is then a chance to get to know your future colleagues. This is particularly important to us at trendig, because even though we often work alone, we have a close bond within the team and help each other wherever we can. You can imagine this meeting as something like a joint break meal on our premises. From last weekend's leisure activities to the specific project of the working week, we talk about all kinds of things that currently move us and that we would like to share as colleagues.
The last step is then a contract offer, which hopefully suits you, and then we can get started.
⚡️ Tips and tricks for a successful interview
As you have probably noticed, there is a lot of talking during the recruitment process in consulting. You should get used to this quickly, as these conversations are very similar to those with a potential client.
So here are a few tips and tricks to help you score points:
- Be prepared
"In all things, success depends on preparation," said Confucius. This is even more true for a job interview in consulting.
The supposedly easy part is that you are aware of what you want and how your skills make you the ideal candidate.
But you should also know your counterpart well, e.g. their corporate culture and the most important key points about the job or the project. This will give you a head start over many others and, in the age of the internet, can be done with relatively little effort.
- Be specific
If the interview is about your skills, experience and projects, be prepared for intensive and interested questions. The more details and evidence you can provide of your previous successes, the better. And potential clients in particular are always very interested in the concrete effects of your actions. The best way is with numbers, data and facts.
- Be interested
Interviews are not a one-way street. You can also learn a lot through them and, as a positive side effect, express your interest in the company and the job.
So ask all the questions that interest you.
- Be authentic
If I could only give you one tip, it would be this. Don't be afraid to reveal something of yourself and your personality in such an interview. The times of uniform and optimised consultants are over and a personal touch is definitely desirable.
Besides, you will spend a lot of time with some of the people in the future - so it makes no sense to be pretending. Because that's exactly what the meeting is for: for both sides to assess whether they would like to work together in the long term.
You have the job! And what happens next?
First of all, congratulations!
Normally you don't take your first steps in a new consulting company alone. At our company, for example, a colleague who has been with us for a while will welcome you and explain everything to you. This colleague doesn't disappear after a few hours, but is available to answer your questions and provide other assistance.
Then comes the interesting part, the search for a project that matches your skills and interests. At trendig, we do this as a team and your opinion and ideas are what counts here first and foremost.
You will probably pass the time until then with trainings and other further education, and then it starts: your new project!
And to make sure it's a success and you get the most out of your career in IT consulting, here's some final advice.
- Never stop learning
With every project, you and your colleagues and clients gain new experience. These form the basis for further successful projects.
But you should also stay curious and get new ideas for your interests from various sources, such as trainings, technical literature and blogs.
Just keep your eyes and your mind open, and maybe you'll have the right feel for the next megatrend in IT.
- Share your knowledge generously
Building knowledge is one thing, but knowledge grows primarily through sharing. So be generous with your insights and experiences and share them with your clients, colleagues and maybe through a blog post, like I just did here, with everyone.
- Build a sustainable network.
And finally, the most important thing: you will meet a lot of people in your projects and beyond. Take a genuine interest in them and their interests and problems and you will, without much effort, have a large network of friends, mentors and helpers over time.
And it is not unlikely that some of your future clients are already there.