What's fresh

FRESH FRIDAYS: The consultant’s network

I'm sure that for many of you the thought of networking will conjure up memories of striking up conversation with unfamiliar faces in the hope that an advantageous connection can be made. However, those of you working in consulting will know that some of our most valuable networking takes place closer to home, or to be precise, in the workplace.

When it comes to successfully navigating a career path within consulting, it is key to network both outside of your business, and internally with colleagues. This means that in consulting internal networking can take on a different level of importance.

Why is internal networking so important?

Staff placement in consulting isn't a one-way process, and even though your interests and preferences may be taken into account, it can ultimately be swayed by your ability to build strong relationships with the firm's leadership team. This means that within consulting, there are recognisable elements of the Darwinian approach of "survival of the fittest" in the pursuit of the best projects.

Consultants who proactively seek the 'crème de la crème' of projects navigate this journey most smoothly, and this is largely by creating contacts that can act as a foot in the door. This means that it's necessary to quickly identify your best internal sponsor, who will be able to vouch for you as you approach the roll-off and roll-on stage of each project. Having built this network of advocates you will naturally gain project exposure, as ultimately they will be making the staffing decisions for their projects, and you will be the next 'go to' person when a project comes up.

What else can I do to work on high demand projects with wish list clients?

  • Let your voice be heard - It's important to express your opinions without being afraid to impose the art of effective "pushback" - expressing your honest opinion in a self-aware manner . This will stand you in good stead for projects, getting you where you need, and want, to be! Get a birds eye view of projects
  • Proactively meeting with partners and managers can give you an insight into their future postings and industry interests, meaning that you can form a bigger picture of how this can fit alongside your aspirations.
  • Get on the radar - Make yourself visible by doing more than just your 'day job'. Whether that’s getting involved in the firm's sustainability team, or CSR efforts, these extra acts will place you in the forefront of people's minds, as well as increasing your knowledge of the firm.

Not only is internal networking really important when making a name for yourself within a company, getting on the right projects will lead to higher levels of job satisfaction. Even if you're not actively on the look out to make a move, it is important to periodically take a step back and assess how you see your career moving forward and the boxes that you need to tick to get there. This may inadvertently help you when deciding which project to undertake next or even which one to unearth and chase after!

If you want to have a chat with FreshMinds about making your next career move, get in touch!