10 Types of Consulting for a Fulfilling Career

Updated 26 January 2023

After gaining experience in an industry for a few years, some people decide to offer their expert advice to others in that industry as a consultant. Working in consulting allows you to analyse situations and provide potential solutions based on your knowledge. If you're interested in becoming a consultant in your field, understanding the types of consulting from which you can choose may help you choose a career path. In this article, we define consulting, discuss why it's important and describe 10 types of consulting you can pursue depending on your career and experience.

Related: How To Write a Consultant Cover Letter (With Examples)

What is consulting?

Consulting is the practice of giving advice and recommending solutions using expert knowledge of an industry or specific career. The people who work in consulting are consultants, and they're typically independent or freelance professionals who've worked in an industry or career for a few years and understand how to help others succeed.

It's common for companies to hire consultants to solve certain problems or provide assistance during challenging times. As a consultant, you might work with companies as clients for a short time and use your experience and their information to advise the company on the best decisions they can make in a situation. The terms of a consulting contract typically depend on the scope of a company's problems and can determine how long you work with a client, how many other clients you can have at the same time and how much you get paid for your services.

Related: 9 Consultant Interview Questions and How To Answer Them

Why is consulting important?

Consulting is important because it allows companies to seek help from experts on specific issues only when they need it, which allows them to use their resources elsewhere when business is running smoothly. This also allows expert consultants to focus their work on what they can do best rather than on a job that expects them to perform various duties. When companies and consultants can concentrate on what's important to them, companies can make more advancements in their market and consultants can further develop their abilities to become a greater help to their industry.

Related: Consulting Skills: Definition and Examples

Reasons to work in a consultancy firm

While your decision to work as a consultant depends on your preferences and skill level in a career area, there are many reasons working in a consultancy firm can benefit you. Consider some reasons people choose to work as a consultant below:

  • Client-focused work: Many consultants enjoy working with clients and using their skills to help people improve their businesses and their lives.

  • Flexible and challenging environments: Another benefit of working with a firm is the flexibility you have in choosing your clients and challenging yourself in various learning situations.

  • Work with a supportive team: Consultancy firms also offer you a supportive team of other consultants and managers who can help you through work-related obstacles.

  • Opportunities for high salary: While independent consultant work often varies, a consultancy firm can offer you a stable base pay with opportunities for performance bonuses, commission fees and other compensation.

  • Personal and career development: It's common for consultancy firms to offer training and career development courses or grants to employees, but this work can also help you develop your personal skills like problem-solving and critical thinking.

Related: How To Answer: 'Why Consulting As a Career?' Questions

10 types of consulting

Here's a look at 10 types of consulting in different career areas for you to consider:

1. IT consulting

An IT, or information technology, consultant works with digital information and technological systems for a company. In this role, you may offer suggestions to improve IT systems like company email servers, computer networks or other technology related to the operations of a business. These professionals may instal computer systems for a company, repair and upgrade those systems and ensure they protect the sensitive information of employees and customers by including virus and malware protection software.

Read more: What Is an IT Consultant?

2. Cybersecurity consulting

Cybersecurity consulting typically involves preventing or fixing the outcomes of cybersecurity attacks from malicious hackers. These consultants work with companies to improve their cybersecurity systems and teach them how to monitor suspicious activity within their company's online servers and databases. Consultants for cybersecurity often have a deep understanding of how to protect information within a company's databases by finding the strengths and weaknesses of a computer system and upgrading it to prevent cyber attacks.

Related: What are consulting internships? (And how to find them)

3. HR consulting

In human resources (HR), consultants assist companies with operating and improving their HR department by examining aspects of the workplace management system, training and learning opportunities for employees and the company culture. HR consultants may introduce new management techniques and ways to increase employee satisfaction, which often leads to greater outcomes and better performance for a company. This type of consulting may last for a few weeks or a few months as consultants observe the work environment, interview employees and create plans to enhance the HR department.

4. Legal consulting

Legal consulting is a service in which professionals in business law advise and assist companies with legal matters. Often, a company may hire a legal consultant if they don't have an internal lawyer or other associated legal personnel, which is often the case for businesses with smaller budgets or that are just starting. Since legal consultants give legal advice and help companies interpret and follow laws, it's important for you to have a degree in business law before joining this career.

5. Marketing consulting

When a company needs assistance with marketing campaigns, it may hire a marketing consultant to assist an existing marketing team and develop new ideas to reach a target audience. As a marketing consultant, your client may ask you to improve various aspects of customer outreach, like creating specialised campaigns for specific audiences and increasing interaction with potential and existing customers through email lists. Understanding market trends and popular products for certain demographics is useful for appealing to customers in new ways in this type of consulting job.

6. Management consulting

A management consultant develops or introduces new management techniques to businesses that want to improve productivity and create a more organised work environment. The goal of many management consultants is to use their expertise in managing a business to improve the overall operation of their client's company, including increasing profit and making employees happier at work. If you work in this type of consultancy firm, you may perform a wide range of duties with the goal of improving various areas of management.

7. Financial consulting

Financial experts may choose to start a career in financial consulting and work with clients who want help to analyse their financial situations and plan for the future. In this job, you may review budgets and past fiscal reports for a business, identify areas for improvement and suggest new financial plans that allow a company to reach their profit and spending goals more easily. This consultancy service is important for businesses to operate efficiently, so clients typically expect you to have a degree in finance to prove your skills.

8. Sales consulting

Sales consulting provides clients with new perspectives on how to sell products effectively and increase the success rate of sales representatives in different situations. With a deep understanding of sales techniques, you can research your client's market and competitors, recommend training courses to the sales team and find areas in which your client can improve customer relationships for their brand. This guidance is valuable for businesses that want to increase sales and raise awareness of their products.

9. Fitness and wellness consulting

Consultants who work in fitness and wellness may work more frequently with individuals than businesses, also this type of consultant may develop wellness plans and benefits for a company's employees. In this career, typical duties include discussing a client's dietary and exercise needs, designing nutrition and exercise plans that fit their ability level and motivating clients during regular meetings to guide them towards a healthier lifestyle. You may work with multiple clients for longer periods as a fitness and wellness consultant to accommodate them slowly to their health plans.

10. Strategy consulting

In strategy consulting, professionals work with high-level managers and executives as their clients and give them advice about how to overcome obstacles in specific areas of business. Strategy consultants typically analyse a situation and develop potential solutions or improvements that may help their clients implement business strategies that improve their reputation, productivity and revenue. Some focuses for this role include consulting clients on how to navigate economic policies, what environmental strategies to create or which business decisions benefit them most.

Related: How To Become A Consultant (With Roles and Responsibilities)

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