Skip to Main Content
by Vault Consulting Editors | May 09, 2011


By Kristine Schoonmaker, MyConsultingLife.Com

New consultants: What can you do to make your transition to consulting easy? On Wednesday, May 11, Kristine Schoonmaker will host a free tele-seminar, in which the former Accenture exec dishes on how new consultants can differentiate themselves from the pack. It's called "3 Questions You Need Answered to Guarantee Your Success the First Year in Consulting", and it's a must-see for anyone who's accepted an offer, worked briefly in the industry, or is just eyeing consulting as a potential career path of the future. It's at 12 pm on May 11th and yes, it's totally free.

Learn more and sign up here!

Picture it. You've made it through the incredibly competitive and rigorous recruiting process, gotten the offer, perhaps just come back from training and you're primed and ready to start the exciting work of partnering with clients to find solutions to their problems. Only one problem…you're not staffed! There's no boss to tell you what to do with your day. Perhaps you don't know anyone in your office—maybe you don't even live in a city where there is an office. There are no deadlines, no deliverables and no expectations…unless you set them for yourself. It can become very difficult to feel connected and valuable.

Getting staffed is, of course, your first priority, but can you really network for 8 hours straight? Here are 11 different ways to make the most of your time and set you up for success all year long.

1.Reach out to 3 new people in your office or practice. Even if it's just over email or to schedule coffee, every connection you make is one more resource to help you with staffing, deliverables, etc.
2.Get on a proposal team. Not only will you get good experience, it's a great way to get picked up by the project team.
3.Set your annual goals. Make a list of the things you want to experience, learn, get exposed to or accomplish this year. Use this as criteria to proactively seek out projects that will offer these vs waiting for HR to put you somewhere.
4.Get required training out of the way. There's always some online training course that you have to complete. Let's be honest, that's the absolute LAST thing you will want to do at 11:15PM the night before the deadline—get it over with now.
5.Close any skill gaps. Are there some areas in which you feel less than confident? Speaking skills, PowerPoint, Excel, industry information and terminology? Figure out your biggest knowledge gaps and polish your skills in a low-pressure environment when you can.
6.Outsource or automate personal commitments so they don't bog you down on the road—online bill pay, house cleaning, yard care and laundry, to name a few.
7.Draft your PPT CV/Resume or update your resume. Again, there's nothing worse than rushing to pull this together in a jam.
8.Build or add to your resource or swipe file. A ready-made file of examples will give you more jump starts when you need them most.
9.Get ready for your annual review. That's right. It's a big deal, so why not take it as seriously as client work? Set milestones and create a process to track your contributions throughout the year.
10.Make time to reconnect with friends. Time at home is precious. Make the most of it.
11.Sign up for reward programs and make your wish list. Corporate perks can save you lots of money. Don't miss opportunities to take advantage of them.

Consider what is going to bring you the greatest benefit. Just tackling 1-2 might make all the difference in the world when you start your next project!

Kristine Schoonmaker is The Career & Lifestyle Coach for Consultants and founder of Her bi-weekly ezine Accelerate offers practical insider advice and quick tips from a former consulting exec to help YOU take greater control of your career and stay engaged in your personal life from the road. If you’re ready to have it all—an amazing career in consulting without giving up the lifestyle, relationships and experiences you want, get your FREE subscription now at


Filed Under: Consulting