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Get a consulting job without a formal internship

I don't have a consulting internship - how will I get a job?

What should you do if you haven't managed to get a consulting internship this summer? First of all, don't panic. Here's some practical advice to boost your employability.
Use your existing skills to help others or take time to build new skills.

Competition for consulting internships is fiercer than it has ever been, so what should you do if you don’t manage to secure one? First of all, bear in mind that most consultancies offer many more graduate level consulting positions than they do internships. Secondly, remember that they are not the only way to demonstrate desirable attributes. The key is to get involved – use your existing skills to help others or take time to build new skills. Find ways to participate and take on responsibility. You might consider:

  • Applying for internships in other sectors. Consultants work on a wide range of clients from different sectors and work experience in ‘industry’ may be viewed as relevant when assessing your CV once you’re after that full-time consulting job. Work experience in other client-facing professional services firms is also likely to be viewed favourably
  • It's worth visiting your careers service and its website for a wealth of information available on alternatives that will be seen in a positive light by potential employers
  • Volunteer work – ranging from helping local charities in everything from shop work to caring, through to national or international volunteering (eg VSO)
  • Getting involved in local community activities, either through formal associations or informal ‘self-starting’
  • Earning extra funds by signing up with a temp agency to place you in ‘real’ working environments
  • Take off on that adventure! Genuinely interesting stories of trips abroad create opening conversations at interviews and show a human side to your CV. Difficult challenges and those with a charitable angle are likely to be viewed more favourably than lying on a beach in Thailand.
  • Generally being proactive – not all opportunities are advertised, so consider making a speculative call or writing to offer your services. Corporate websites and LinkedIn are good sources for contacts.