Are you looking for a new direction in your career? Consulting offers opportunities in every sector.
by Claire Bradley, Investopedia.com
It's a tough job market out there: people are staying put in jobs they don't like, or are stuck in the unemployment line. If you're one of these highly skilled, educated employees who can't get a solid footing in their field, have you ever thought of consulting? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a staggering 82 percent growth in consulting services across a variety of career fields by 2018. Here's where you can find the top consulting jobs.
Computer and information systems
If you're wondering where to find job growth in the future, look no further than IT--especially in the field of computer software engineering. The industry is expecting growth of 32 percent by 2018, much of which is likely to be in consulting. If you're already experienced in this industry and want to consult, look at specializing in areas like cyber security, networking, troubleshooting, banking, and finance. If you're looking for a new career, this industry may be a good place to start: many consulting jobs require just certification and the skills to do the job.
Often seen as a soft sector when it comes to jobs, human resources is the place to be for consultants--overall job growth in this industry is expected to increase 22 percent by 2018, according to the BLS. Look for consulting positions within a corporate structure, advising on ways to improve anything from hiring policies to record keeping. With a more fluid job market, you'll also find good HR consulting opportunities in recruitment services (like temp services) or headhunting. An undergraduate degree is generally required for success in HR consulting.
It's not easy to run a corporation, which is why jobs in management will see a growth of about 24 percent by 2018. Management consultants comprise the largest part of the consulting industry in general, but expect the competition to be stiff in this sector. To be successful as a management consultant, a graduate degree (like an MBA) and a good sense of sales and marketing are key.
Environmental and conversation
Energy is a hot commodity and so are jobs in the field of conservation of the environment: growth in this sector is expected at 28 percent by 2018. A large portion of work is in the government sector, but consulting jobs will increase in the private sector as regulation and cost savings will force corporations to improve waste management and other practices that have an environmental impact. Consulting makes up 21 percent of the environmental engineering sector--a great place to be if this is your niche.
If you know your way around financial statements, consulting is a great career move. With increased regulation, accountants and auditors will be in high demand; the industry as a whole is projected to grow 22 percent by 2018. For increased success as a consultant, consider specializing in forensic accounting, accounting software, or international finance law, and continuing your education to a master's degree if you don't have one already. CPA licensing is a plus.
Sales, marketing, and public relations
Do you have a nose for sales or marketing? Consulting may just be for you--though expect the competition to be fierce in all sales and marketing consulting branches. The overall industry is projected to grow steadily at 13 percent by 2018. For success as a consultant, look at specializing in areas like international business or Internet marketing utilization.
The bottom line
This is just the tip of the consulting iceberg; if you're an expert in your field, no matter what it is, you can be a consultant. With corporate outsourcing and cost cutting measures being made across the board, you may find that your old job is now being performed by a consultant. Look for new career paths in consulting, for instance as a personal trainer, an image consultant, or a graphic designer. (Learn more about the field of consulting in "Consulting--Everybody's Doing It, Should You?")
If you're unsure about consulting as a career path, consider this: consultants make on average 50 percent more than their employee counterparts. If you use your connections, plan your consulting business carefully, and take the leap, you may find you're blazing a great, profitable new career path.