Recently a new Consultant posted a comment on Reddit: “I just came back from training last week and I’m just waiting around at home for my first project, which my manager is still working on. What should I do in the meantime?”
If you’re in a similar position – that is, new to consulting or you’ve started a new job, the tips below will help you focus the activities you do to promote yourself and aid your career.
Having worked at KPMG and Deloitte and lots of smaller, boutique consultancies, here are my suggestions….
“ENJOY! Your schedule is about to get BUSY!”
I can understand your eagerness, especially after you’ve applied for your new role, successfully completed interviews, provided referees, and the excitement of hearing that “You’ve got the job”!
Starting in a new job brings up lots of emotions and since I’ve worked with over 200 organisations I can say that the first few weeks in consulting is even more loaded!
It’s partly because you’ve so many people to get to know, and there’s so much to learn: new subject matter, processes, systems, training, business development, expectations, new clients and more.
Until you’re on a new project, I’d work from home 2 – 3 days/week and be in the office 2 days/week. It won’t last long.
Here’s how you could fill your days (choose what works for you):
1. Make sure your online profile is rocking
* Get your Linkedin profile ready so that when potential clients check your profile you’re credible, engaging, professional and relevant to their industry.
Here are our Linkedin tips to start you off: runwaydigital.com/category/linkedin-tips
* Check your online profile looks as professional as you can and update anything as needed. Do a Google search on your name and see what comes up (I use an “Incognito Window” on Google Chrome browser so that Google isn’t influenced by my search history).
* Work out who you want to attract to your Linkedin profile and your online profile. Potential clients? Employers? Impress your colleagues? Be clear on your target audience
BONUS EXTRAS for your online style:
* Setup a personal professional website with a blog and potentially an email newsletter for updates (Mailchimp is good). Have it be attractive for your target audience.
* Do a monthly blog about your areas of interest and write direct to your target audience’s questions / pain points – answer their questions. Share your posts on Linkedin and your other relevant social media. (Don’t chew off more than you can in Social Media – work out how much time you’ll have each month and work out what this can be spent on.)
* With the time you have now, you could prepare blogposts for the next few months
2. What should I do in the meantime? …spend a day doing what you enjoy!
Perhaps it’s cafe hopping, enjoying a walk – your schedule will be full soon so make the most of a free day now! You could take your computer or books with you and:
* read anything you’re fascinated by that’s related to your new role
* gain more insight about consulting if you’re new to it (Google search to find blogposts, read relevant books, ask colleagues, peers in other organisations)
3. Get to know your colleagues and new group
There are plenty of ways to do this:
* Pop into the office and ask the Executive Assistant (of the Partner/Director of the group you’re in) how you can get a list of the names of the people in your area as you’d like to meet with them.
* You could also use internal systems to find out names or your Manager (go easy on loading them with too many requests from you) or do a Linkedin advanced search for people who work at same organisation.
* Then organise meetings with your colleagues – if they’re not in the office, organise a phone chat or virtual meeting or travel to where they are – they may give you a tour and insight to what they’re doing to help you on future projects, plus, them knowing about you may help get you on to future projects with them (especially as you’re showing you’re proactive).
4. Get to know your work environment
* Meet with / finding out who are the influential partners, directors, managers are… perhaps you have a mentor who could answer these questions for you and then you can organise meetings with each influencer. This first month or so you’re excused from usual protocol so it’s a GREAT chance to meet with senior people. Take along relevant, insightful questions from having researched them beforehand.
* Go to the monthly / weekly get togethers (at KPMG and Deloitte we used to have monthly “Fly Home Fridays” where everyone came into the office from whichever client site they were working at.
5. Get in touch with your Manager to help to do proposals etc.
Once you’ve done whatever has resonated with you from the above ideas, get in touch with your Manager to help with Business Development. Having recruited you, they know your level of expertise so when offering, provide new information to them – e.g. you can proof read (and it’d help you learn about the subject matter), organise printers for the proposals as needed, upload documents to correct systems, be there as a runner/helper for your Manager or others who are managing the proposal writing. You might want to let them know that you’ve been working on improving your online profile and other activities you’ve achieved. Show that you’re being proactive.
6. For the next month and beyond…
* Always remember that you’ve been chosen for this job. Many consultants are high achievers who sometimes can give themselves a hard time in high pressure environments. Save yourself that angst! Do your best work and know that you’re always doing really well!
* Keep your mentor close at hand for any moments you’re needing support.
* Maybe even gain a couple of mentors outside of your organisations to help for those moments. Always get the support you need to play your best ‘game’.
Enjoy! Trust your intuition on what to do next – it’ll serve you well.
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