It should be apparent from the above points that one of the secrets
to securing a new role in this market is a devotion to tracking down and
applying for a (small) selection of consulting roles for which you are genuinely a highly-qualified candidate – and ensuring you have positioned yourself as such.
By way of a checklist when job-hunting, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are you restricting your applications
on job boards to just those couple of roles where there is genuinely a
strong fit between your experience profile and that being sought by the
2. Having identified the handful of roles for which you are genuinely an ideal candidate, have you then taken the time to craft a tailored CV
for each and every one of those applications? (Cautionary note: each
employer is looking for a different balance of skills and experience, so
the "one CV fits all” approach inevitably results in your application
coming across as far less compelling when it hits the recruiter’s desk).
3. Are you working with some reputable recruitment agencies?
It often comes as a surprise to candidates, but across our industry
some 50%-60% of hires are still made via recruitment agencies – despite
employers’ best efforts to hire direct and avoid the expense of
recruitment agency fees. Indeed there is a "hidden market” of open
consulting vacancies that you may simply never tap into if you have
excluded agencies from your career change strategy.
4. Have you leveraged your personal network?
One of the surest ways to make it to the interview rounds is to have
had a recommendation from within the firm that you are a candidate the
firm really should be interviewing. Networking with your contacts at
firms may also uncover openings that have yet to be signed off, meaning
you could be interviewed and could secure the role without it ever even
going out to the market. Ask yourself – have you truthfully researched
in depth which of your contacts could assist with an approach to the
various firms you are considering applying to? Again – this comes down
to putting your efforts into ensuring the quality rather than the
quantity of your applications. (Cautionary note: I have yet to meet a
candidate who is doing this with the rigor and thoroughness necessary
to uncover all the opportunities in their network – so even if you’re an
active networker there’s almost certainly lots of room for
The above list is not exhaustive, but should be
enough to highlight the gulf between the actions of a regular consulting
candidate and someone who is focused on uncovering and applying only to
roles for which they are ideally suited. Make yourself one of the rarer
candidates adopting a targeted approach like this and you’ll be well on
your way to securing your next consulting role – and in all likelihood a
decent pay hike too.