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What are the best ways for a military officer to transition to a consulting role?

Veteran

William O'Donnell El Paso, TX

What is the best way to network with individuals inside of consulting firms to get an interview?

What are things I can do now to prepare myself for a consulting career?

What are the best ways to prepare for a consulting interview?

Where in the corporate structure can I expect to enter the workforce?

How will COVID-19 impact my transition to the civilian world?

22 May 2020 6 replies Military to Civilian Transition

Answers

Advisor

Jennifer Polhemus Santa Monica, CA

Consulting isn't a career as much as a service delivery mechanism. What do you see yourself consulting ABOUT? Outline the specific expertise that you have and then prepare yourself now (during "quarantine") by reading all the major thought leaders in your area. Also read up on consulting as a service mode, client retention, needs analysis, communication (especially of unpopular news), & navigating the space between advisory roles and authority. Onward!

24 May 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Galon Miller Minneapolis, MN

As a company, Accenture does a good job hiring Military Veterans to hire Military Veterans. A good friend and Army Officer was part of a cohort of 250 consultant trainees who received consulting roles at Accenture last year. If you email me at <gmiller@cics.co> I will put you in contact with him. Galon

24 May 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Noel Anderson Waltham, MA

Credentials are important, and will vary depending upon your focus in industry. Consider online education to add more to your resume, and knock out some of that stuff.

Networking is important. You should be always building your contacts on LinkedIn and in your own contact database. Manage your 'go to' list of mentors and centers of influence so that they know who you are and the position you want. It's always that 2nd or 3rd person away from you who can help you the most.

Practice video conferencing - it's harder than it looks. The platforms (Zoom, Skype for business, MS Teams, even FaceTime and Google) have their own quirks, so invest some time getting familiar, and rehearse with a friend so that you have good eye contact, mannerisms, and a fairly controlled environment. Nowadays, it can be easier to establish a personal relationship on video.

As a PCSing Captain, you're in a good spot to transition to something beyond entry level, depending upon how your translated military experience matches the position.

COVID-19 makes it weird. There are companies that are still doing well, and others that are struggling. Employees with many talents are valued; one hit wonders aren't, so tout your varied experiences in conversations and in your online presence. Gig work is OK, and volunteering for nonprofits that match your skill set helps both networking and job preparedness.

Reach out if you have questions and commentary, happy to talk. I left the Army as a captain almost 30 years ago - you're coming in with a lot more available to you now. I would wish you luck, but you don't really need it - persistence and perseverance are the key ideas.

24 May 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

I agree with Jennifer, consulting is simply an alternative structure to hiring employees. The answers to your questions are tied to what industry you want to work in, as well as, how you would like the role to look (which is a spectrum from you as an full time employee of a consulting firm, to you working directly with clients as a side job, and everything in-between).

A little more background may help folks help you a bit more.
Thanks, Paul

Advisor

Frank Forte Fayetteville, NC

A good resource is Flawless Consulting to levelset you on what it is and what it is not.

Advisor

Mary M. Burns Chicago, IL

Good morning Captain O'Donnell,
You raise important questions about the Consulting industry.
Many of the firms like Accenture (mentioned in another response) have active Veterans groups who manage some recruiting efforts for the Consulting firms. Deloitte, Bain, ATK, Strategy& among them. If you are note familiar with Vault.com, I encourage digging into the career site. It covers the Consulting industry in a substantial way and you'll find many resources available including case prep. Mastering the case interview is an essential part of the recruiting effort and this will vary some by firm. What you can do now to prep for networking conversations: 1) learn about Consulting and WHY you want to join the industry; 2) build a target list of firms and learn about each one; scour their websites and learn more about their practice areas, their leaders and more (review the Media/News section of the company sites -- it contains a lot of valuable content that can help you learn more about the firms); 3) Review job postings from any of the firms for the Associate level Consultant; check out the key skills and competencies required -- see how your background and your skills, strengths and competencies align with the roles. Finally, if you have interesting a corporate career, many Consultants will shift to corporate/industry after a few years. This is very common and is often based on preferred industries that the professional works in during their Consulting career. If you would like to spend 30-45 minutes talking about a career in Consulting, I'm glad to be a resource. Many I have coached in the last 10-12 years have taken this path. Feel free to reach me at mary@adviseu.net.

Thank you for your five years of service and dedication. Stay well and healthy during this unusual time! -- Mary

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