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Consultant Job Profile

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Consultant jobs are becoming ever more prominent in our increasingly diverse and information-saturated business world. Consultant jobs are like jobs for ''floating coaches'', overseers who come into an organization and help them get a more objective and technically oriented handle on problematic situations or challenges. People with consultant jobs are typically paid by the hour and their fees, like the fees of other professional superspecialists such as doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists, and ''life coaches'', can be substantial.

Those who have consultant jobs are looked upon as fortunate in other ways as well. They set their own hours, they frequently get to travel, they work when they want to and for whom they want to, and they get to be involved a wide array of different jobs and assignments. However, with greater freedom and possibility for earnings always comes increased risk. Those with consultant jobs are risk takers all the way. They don't have company health benefits provided to them; they don't have administrative or infrastructure help provided to them for free by somebody else; they don't have steady pay unless they completely create it for themselves, so if they don't work they don't eat; and they have to be utterly self-motivated and driven to be successful. And they will have to be very, very competent, because if they let down just a few clients they will ruin their reputation and probably go out of business.

Those with consultant jobs thus don't have any ''official'' education requirements any more than do people such as writers, musicians, or entrepreneurs. However, they will most definitely need to be highly educated about what they consult about, and whether or not they know their stuff will be proven, not by any degree, but by whether or not they perform in the real world of business.

Often times, college graduates with masters degrees will go into consulting soon after they graduate because it does seem to fit in with their expertise and at the same time they don't have to rely on going into teaching (which would require two more years of school if they want to do it on the collegiate level), and they don't have to put themselves through the often frustrating experience of seeking employment through another employer. This is quite a good idea for people who have the ambition, but they should not just start marketing themselves as professional consultants; they have little real world experience at this point. Instead they should present themselves as contracted workers for modest hourly pay and no benefits needed. Employers often like to hire such people because they are less costly financially and legally than full-time employees and they can be set to many different tasks. In this way the person who wants to land consultant jobs racks up considerable experience over time while making pretty good money and not having to be burdened with more years and expenses of yet more education.

But it can also be very rewarding for someone who has been working for a number of years in the real world and has developed great expertise in her industry or in some hobby to leave their job and become a consultant. There may be boredom with the job, or too much lack of freedom, or not enough upward mobility financially. Besides their experience, these people may have built a considerable reputation for themselves and made some significant contacts that they can use to open doors. These people can apply their expertise to the field of consulting and, again if they have the ambition and the drive, become amazingly successful financially and personally. The fields of marketing, financial matters, writing (editing, ghost writing, storyboarding), graphic design, business management, health, and direct selling are all hungry for consultants, and this list will continue to expand as the need for specialization expands.

While many people go for the money as a motivation for becoming a consultant, there are others who mainly want to change their lives. Either motivation is fine as long as you are self aware. Children are often a factor in this decision. Some people wish to work from home because they have small children to take care of or they want always be available for their children after school. Yet, others may get laid off and have a ''eureka'' moment where they see their misfortune as an opportunity instead of an obstacle. This may also take the form of being on the blunt end of the stick of downsizing; you find that in your industry many businesses need your expertise but only on a freelance basis. Yet others may just find that they do better not working for somebody else or they have an insatiable yearning for freedom. And there are those who have medical conditions that may hinder them from working a full time job with set hours for somebody else.

Again, the main trait needed for being successful in consulting jobs is a burning desire for success or big money, a willingness to take risks, a definite expertise, and self-motivation.
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