July 08, 2015

Let’s face it, while it can be very rewarding, being an IT consultant can be more challenging than it appears on the surface. While in the role of IT consultant, you are often tasked with in-depth, strategic projects that need to be completed in order to maximize your client’s success and this can come with a variety of demands on your time and skills, as well as having to find a new job every 3-6 months or trying to factor in the possibility of whether or not your contract will be extended when it comes to making future plans. An IT consulting career may not be for everyone, which is okay! But, if you enjoy picking up and working in new environments fairly regularly, can handle a little bit of job uncertainty, and work well with people, then IT consulting may be the path for you!

While there is no go-to guide for being the best IT consultant you can be, we have provided a few tips for succeeding in the industry. We welcome you to share the best practices that have worked for you in the comments below!

  • Know the Industry and the Business – Researchthe industries in which you want to work and stay aware of any changes and technology advances that are introduced. Know what companies are hiring, as well as the relevant vendors in those spaces. Using networking groups is another way to make connections and enhance your knowledge of the industry.  This will set you up for success both in interviews and on the job!
  • Look and Listen – Be observant and use active listening to understand the needs of your client and the project. Pay attention to anything unusual or unexpected that may actually be a hindrance to the organization instead of an opportunity.
  • Execute Effective Communication – It almost always comes down to communication. Meet as many people as you can, be open and honest, and communicate often.  Communicating effectively will not only build trust and rapport with team members, but will reflect positively on your personal brand.
  • Respect the Organizational Culture – Showing your integrity and respecting the client and their privacy is critical. Also, always be on time, dress appropriately, and manage the project strategically to meet deadlines to boost the overall outcome. Know how this particular organization works and make sure you operate accordingly.
  • Respect the Budget – Deliver quality solutions while managing the budget that has been given to you. Although the latest advances in technology may seem shiny, they may not always be the most practical. Using your expertise, help guide your client down the most cost effective path that will help them be successful.
  • Exude Confidence – IT consulting is a business; part of which involves meeting with new faces, shaking hands, sharing knowledge, and giving presentations, just to name a few. Having confidence in your ability to achieve client satisfaction and deliver quality services is important. But remember, confidence and cockiness are two different things!

IT consulting is hard work, and if you do not plan ahead and educate yourself on the industry, your client, and the demands of an IT consultant, you may find yourself a bit surprise or disappointed. Be resourceful, do your research, and build a strong brand before diving in!

What advice would you give someone starting as an IT consultant? Share your best practices for IT consulting that have worked for you!

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Posted By: Anastasia Hoosman

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