Many energy consultants work in the private sector for firms that provide consulting services to companies, government agencies, and other organizations. Major environmental/energy consulting firms include Jacobs, Black & Veatch, EnergySolutions LLC, FTI Consulting, Hart Energy, and Stantec. Large management/professional services consulting firms such as Deloitte LLC, A.T. Kearney, Bain & Company, and the Boston Consulting Group have energy consulting practices. Government agencies (especially the U.S. Department of Energy), corporations, and nonprofit organizations also employ consultants. Approximately 18 percent of management consultants are self-employed.
There are many ways to land a job in the energy consulting industry. One excellent strategy is to attend college job fairs and meet with recruiters from consulting firms and businesses that hire internal energy consultants. Be sure to research the firms that will be in attendance so that you are ready with questions for the recruiters. If you make a good impression, you’re apt to land a job interview. Be sure to utilize the resources of your college’s career services center for job leads and for assistance writing your resume and acing your job interview. You can apply directly to large consulting firms at their Web sites, or at least visit these sites to learn more about career paths. Visit social networking sites (especially LinkedIn) to “follow” potential employers and to network with recruiters and hiring managers. Join professional consulting associations, and utilize their various job search resources such as networking events. Do you have any friends or classmates who work in the consulting industry? If so, ask them for advice on breaking into the field.
Advancement prospects vary by employer. At large management consulting firms, for example, new hires (who are known as associates, consultants, business analysts, or fellows) begin as generalists before obtaining energy consulting experience. After three to five years, they can advance to become energy specialists at the firm, move on to boutique energy consulting firms, or work for other employers that need the services of energy consultants. Those who remain at consulting firms can advance to become managers or eventually become partners (also known as principals)—consultants who have a financial stake in their firms.
Consultants at corporations can advance to senior management and director positions within their company.
Some consultants advance by leaving their employer to start their own energy consulting firms, or to become college professors. Others work for industry associations such as the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Tips for Entry
Conduct information interviews with consultants, and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. Visit the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) Web site, http://www.imcusa.org/search/custom.asp?id=2065, for a database of consultants (including those who provide consulting services to the energy industry).
Become a college student member of the IMC USA to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Read Consulting magazine (http://www.consultingmag.com) and Strategic Planning for Energy & the Environment (https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ustp20) to learn more about the field.