Human resources consultants are employed by consulting firms of all sizes (from industry leader Mercer LLC to small “mom and pop” shops with only a handful of employees). They also work for government agencies, nonprofits, and any other organization that needs assistance with human resources issues. About 18 percent of management consultants are self-employed.
Larger HR consulting firms such as Mercer LLC and Aon Hewitt recruit on college campuses, while others prefer to find and screen candidates via their Web sites. Internships provide a good way to obtain experience and get your "foot in the door" at a company. Other useful job-search resources include social media, professional associations, and consulting job sites.
At large management consulting firms, new hires (sometimes called associates, business analysts, consultants, or fellows) begin as generalists before gaining experience in HR consulting. They either become specialists at the firm, move on to specialty HR consulting firms, or work for other employers that have a need for HR consulting expertise. Consultants typically have a 35 percent chance of making partner (also known as principal). Partners are consultants who have a financial stake in their firms. With experience, entry-level internal consultants can advance to become managers or to corporate-level positions such as chief human resources officer or vice president of human resources. Some consultants decide to open their own consulting firms. Others become college professors.
Visit the Association of Management Consulting Firms’ Consulting Career Connection Web site (http://www.consultingcareerconnection.org) for advice on networking, interviewing, and other aspects of the job search, as well as to access career development webinars.
Conduct information interviews with HR consultants, and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. Visit the IMC USA Web site, http://www.imcusa.org/search/custom.asp?id=2065, for a database of consultants (including those specializing in human resources). SHRM also has a member directory (https://community.shrm.org/home).
Become a college student member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Attend the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition and other industry conferences to network and to interview for jobs.
Become certified by the National Association of Human Resources Consultants and IMC USA in order to show employers that you’ve met the highest standards established by your industry.