10 lessons from 10 years working in management consulting

Anyone who survives at a consulting firm for 10 years will have some hard-earned lessons. Here are ten I picked up over the last decade.

How I accidentally set a personal record (and how you can too)

Here's a quick story about how one seemingly small decision can lead to your soaring to the next level in your career.

Lessons from becoming an owner at a firm that wouldn't hire me as an employee

If you've ever felt "rejected" during your job search or push for a promotion then this post is for you.

The one question that people from all aspects of my life are asking right now

This is hands down the question I see the most often. The question is telling but the answer is even more important.

The truth about making progress in ANYTHING

I’m going to share something very personal because I think if it can help even one person, it’s worth putting this out there.

Stop looking for motivation and look for this instead

Looking for motivation has a fatal flaw that doesn't get talked about nearly enough. Let's change that today.

My friend Big Mo will change your life

Once I introduce you to Big Mo, you're going to want to make sure to keep him around and this post will show you how.

How to prepare for leadership

Career advice I would give for younger adults looking into leadership positions.

Why it pays to say no

This article explains why you need to consider saying "no" to clients more often.

I just got sucker punched by a client

Let's talk about what to do when you get sucker punched by your client.

Yoda’s #1 career acceleration secret

I'm pretty sure Yoda has a quote for everything. And I pulled this one just for you.

The resume writing technique inspired by… salmon

This resume writing technique will make sure you never miss out on a job opportunity.

The timberland boot steel toe intro for your resume

After reading this article, you'll never wonder what to do at the top of your resume again.

The W.H.Y. formula for writing resume bullets that can’t be ignored

Using this formula consistently produces the perfect resume bullet.

Here’s why you may want to rethink that skills section on your resume

Read on to see the reason why adding a skills section could actually be hurting your resume.

Here’s an example of why you need to change how you’re doing cold DM pitches

If you want to see what type of networking messages will always get ignored, this is for you.

Don't do this when you're asking someone to help you

In this article, you'll see how to set yourself apart by following the most fundamental rule of networking.

How to go from struggling to thriving in your career

Knowing the difference between two key things can be the difference between you thriving vs struggling in your career.

This sandwich could put bread in everyone’s pockets

Learning this technique inspired by a classic food can make you a better leader.

How to make sure you’re focused on the right things in your career

If there's any doubt about the return you're getting on your effort, you're going to want to read this.

What to do if you get passed over for a promotion

Here's how to make sure you next move after a promotion snub is a good one.

Measuring the wrong thing in Your career (and probably other places too)

Are you making the same job search mistake as this job seeker?

“I was looking for help with resumes. Do you help write / improve them?”

This is a quick way to determine if you're getting in the way of your own success.

I’m fired up about resume writing today

Some things sound better in your head before you say them. This is one of those things.

Is your resume making the reader work too much?

In this article you'll see how to make it easy for anyone who is reading your resume to know you'd excel at their job.

Spank me hard and call me baby

This award has a funny name but it's a reminder of one of the most important lessons I've learned in my career.

Career advice from this public enemy will be some of the best you ever hear

Some of the best career advice can come from some unusual sources.

"How to keep from getting mentally week to keep driving on"

Here's a simple 8-step example for how to get any results you're looking for.

I hate New Year resolutions and you should too

If you want results, I'm going to show what to do instead of wasting time on New Year resolutions.

This guy getting knocked out has everything to do with your next career move

A quick lesson on job search through the lens of one of the greatest heavyweight boxing fights of all time.

3 signs your career is at a dead end

Give me 30 seconds and I'll show you a guaranteed way to know if your career headed down a dead end track.

Do you want safety or excellence in your career?

This is a bet of a trick question and I'll show you why in this post.

A job searcher's worst enemy

Sometimes "common knowledge" is the very thing that's holding you back. Here's a prime example.

4 career killing lies to avoid telling yourself

You may not even realize you've been telling yourself any one of these 4 but you won't be able to unsee it after reading this post.

How to job search like a man

Men and women job search differently but the reason probably isn't because of the reason you think.

The one blog post that saved this consultant’s job

One reader credits a single post for saving their job. You can read their exact words here.

One person's sad milkshake is another's gold career lesson

Even though the milkshake was awful, at least we got something out of the experience!

Resume tips from a sparring session with a Tae Kwon Do blackbelt

Getting your resume seen is surprisingly similar to sparring in Tae Kwon Do. This post will teach you one of the single most important concepts to always have in mind before sharing your resume.

Are you sure what you’re doing is “networking”?

If you get this part of networking wrong, it really doesn't matter how good your resume or offer is.

I hugged a cactus this weekend

Hugging a cactus doesn't feel very good but sometimes is exactly what you need.

Are you looking for answers or excuses?

If you want to find success in your career, there is a key mindset shift that has to happen in your decision making.

Are you making this resume mistake?

This article covers how to craft a resume that gets your expertise across without rambling.

How to find the right words for interview-getting resume bullets

Let's talk about resume bullets, why they're the most important part of the resume, and how to write them.

How to Take Notes in Meetings Like The Rich and Powerful

There are 6 key elements you want to capture coming out of any meeting. I'll show you those plus 5 tips for what to do when you're feeling lost in a meeting.

This one line from Lord of the Rings will save you from a multitude of career limiting moves

Okay – I admit it. I just wanted to try to find a way to refer to another one of the most iconic scenes in movie history, but I promise you it works.

Job Search 101: Less is More

So much of surviving and thriving in the corporate world is about mindset, particularly when you’re in search of a new job.

Are there forbidden words in client meetings?

"Should using the word 'sweet' in a client meeting always be forbidden?" I'll answer that question here.

What’s the common thread between Baskin Robbins, Dr. Pepper, and Management Consulting?

This idea randomly popped in my head today about the similarities between Dr Pepper, Baskin Robbins, and the world of management consulting. The answer: flavors. I’ll explain.

Help me help you

What we should spend a bit more time talking about is what coachees / staff can do to help people help them. You know, in the spirit of controlling what you can control.

Don’t panic even if you feel like there’s no way you’re going to survive

You ever wake up and you have that one thing on your calendar that has you feeling all kinds of nerves?

You really need to focus right now

Aside from you only being able to control so much, you worrying about what somebody else is doing can have a real negative impact on your performance.

You have to be odd to be number 1

A while back my daughter came home with one of those inspirational quote type of sayings from one of her teachers.

5 reasons you need to rethink telling people to smile more at work

All kinds of articles exist about the benefits of smiling, both socially and personally. And it all makes sense, yet you still should avoid telling people to smile more.

5 things you should do to stand out at a job fair (plus one thing to avoid)

I’ve discussed the importance of showing up to conferences and job fairs , but never really talked about what to do once you’re *at* the job fair. Here are the 5 keys to job fair success.

Here’s why you NEED to take all of your vacation every year

The more you move up the ranks, the more scary it is to take vacation, but there are several reasons you NEED to make this a priority.

Nobody Eats Unless Everybody Eats

This post isn’t about overindulgence but instead it’s abut how to work most effectively with a team, especially one under constant pressure to produce results.

How long should you wait before job hopping?

A couple of weeks ago, someone sent me a question how long should you wait before you can consider job hopping. Here's my response.

Here’s the best way to secure that next promotion

The answer to getting promoted applies to practically any industry, at least any job that requires you to interact with people... Which -- by math -- covers… just about everyone.

How to Give Constructive Feedback After Mistakes Have Been Made

It's a struggle trying to figure out how to deliver hard-to-hear information without making the person on the other side feel like trash, but it is possible.

How to Receive Feedback Like a Pro, Even If You Don’t Agree With It

What should you do when confronted with news that something you worked on missed the mark?

6 Ways to Give Directions So You Don’t Have to Give “Constructive” Feedback Later

One of the most underrated skill great managers have is the ability to give constructive feedback, but the great ones avoid the need do so whenever possible.

3 Reasons Virtual Meetings Will Always Be a Secondary Option

Relationships might be built online but they are solidified in person, whether that be business (think client buyers) or personal (think online dating).

4 Ways to Win When You’re Against the Odds

Finding ways to win against small odds is one of the best ways of differentiating yourself versus your competition.

What the Atlanta Falcons’ Unprecedented Collapse Can Teach Us About Business

There are 3 important lessons you can draw from the Atlanta Falcons' epic shortcoming.

I got called out by a kindergartener for underperforming (and he was totally right)

Isn’t it great how you can always trust your kids to hold up a distortion-free mirror with a reflection of ALL of your behavior?

How to Account for Client Retainers and the Mistake Many Small Businesses Make

If you’re starting a service business, you may have concluded that it makes sense for you to charge a retainer up-front. Here's how to do it right.

5 reasons you should be proud to ask dumb questions at work

I was in this restaurant, home of some of the best pulled pork I’ve had in some time, and a noticed a sign on the wall that resonated with me. It said...

Life as a consultant: the 10 best pieces of advice I ever received

There is no one path to success in consulting, so it’s interesting to hear what people remember as the most useful advice they’ve picked up so far.

[Guest Post] Three things I’ve learned in one year of management consulting

Most people will tell you that college is the time in your life when you learn the most, but I have to disagree with those people.

Promotion advice for new consultants

You know what the worst thing is that can happen to a consultant trying to get promoted? You telling them exactly what they need to do to lock in that bump to the next level. I'll explain why.

Not getting promoted might be the best thing to ever happen to your career

As painful as it is in the moment, not getting promoted might be exactly what you need to boost your career.

The surprising truth about maximizing client satisfaction

Aspiring management consultants often think maximizing client satisfaction is all about doing whatever the client wants to make them happy. Those people are wrong.

Consulting basics: 10 details you need to start double checking today

With great prestige (and high bill rates) comes great scrutiny.

3 ways to know if you’re wasting your client’s time (and money)

Odds are your clients have a day job in addition to supporting the consulting project where you spend full-time hours. That means wasting client time needs to be a top concern for you.

The art of crafting the perfect executive summary

One of the hardest things to produce as a management consultant is an executive summary.

An iterative process to creating deliverables saves time in the long run

When you work on a presentation or a project deliverable, do you like to sketch out the full document first or polish each section in sequential order before moving on?

7 tips for building relationships every consultant should know

You often hear about how you need to make nice with gatekeepers (which is true), but you can’t stop there.

The fastest way for your client retention to go straight down the toilet

Client retention is tricky. If you don’t watch yourself, you current client can quickly turn into an ex.

4 undisputable reasons why you need to set boundaries with your clients

You might be thinking your business can’t afford to turn away money because of some stupid policy. You’d be thinking wrong.

How to get people to prioritize meeting deadlines

Part of your job as a consultant is to make the unreasonable possible. This often entails assigning a ton of action items and dates to people who probably would prefer you faded away into oblivion.

How to get due date commitments for ANY action item

When it comes to building a career in management consulting, you learn that many of the success habits build on each other. One such habit is setting due dates for every action item.

3 unforgivable mistakes consultants make when pitching a client

Consider these three points below next time you have the opportunity to pitch a client.

12 habits of highly successful consultants [pdf download]

I've observed 12 common habits in those who stick around and find success in consulting.

The ultimate guide to starting a management consulting career

The credentials you need also depends on where you want to live in the consulting world.

Where is the line between self-confidence and cockiness?

Trying to describe cockiness vs self-confidence almost reminds me of that famous quote from the Supreme Court trying to describe obscene pornography.

How to cultivate your will to win

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about someone saying or implying I can’t reach a goal that I’ve set that really activates my “will to win”.

"I was fired today"

Last week, I received a message from someone that gave me chills. It started with a simple declaration, “tomorrow is my last day at the firm.”

What a deep dish pizza taught me about the dangers of multi-tasking

Who knew something that sounded so right could turn out so wrong.

The dirty secret about why following your passion doesn't equal success

Most people won’t want to admit smart people give bad advice too until they’re on the receiving end of it. Enter "follow your passion."

Client proposals: how to know when to skip 2nd and 3rd revisions

Sometimes less is more when it comes to preparing client documents.

How do you find the right mentor?

After reading the post about the 12 reasons you NEED to have a mentor, a reader asked a great question in the comments about how to find the right mentor. Here's how you do it.

How to convince your boss he’s wrong without being a jerk

I had a great question from a reader this week, one that highlights the age-old dilemma – how to convince your boss when you know he’s wrong but he has no idea.

12 humbling reasons you need a career mentor

“I get by with a little help from my friends” is more than a catchy theme song for one of the most memorable shows of the early 90s. It’s how you need to think about managing your career.

How to delegate effectively when you're not the boss

You don't have to be a boss to be able to delegate work when you follow this simple advice.

Two things you need to stop doing that annoy your boss

Address these two things and you’ll be ahead of the game.

3 reasons average students become great accountants

Academic success isn't always a good indicator of success in the accounting industry.

Accounting is the language of business and every entrepreneur needs to learn to speak it

No matter what kind of entrepreneur you are, there are some basic accounting things you or someone you hire needs to know to keep your business from imploding.

3 reasons your management consulting resume didn’t get a call back for an interview

Without even seeing what you submitted, I can give you a some direction on where you may need to change your approach to improve your odds on the next application.

5 resume mistakes to avoid looking like an amateur jobseeker

Explaining what a good resume looks like is best done by demonstrating what it’s not. I think you’ll feel the same way by the end of this post.

3 words that will kill your career

Sometimes it's not what you're saying but how you say it.

What does it mean to have a sense of urgency?

I hate the phrase "sense of urgency" but if you don't understand what people mean when they say it, it can become a major roadblock your career progression.

Why it's important to take the time to meet your people

The importance of managing down doesn't get talked about nearly as much as it should.

Why all your years of experience mean nothing

Have you ever heard the saying “Practice makes perfect?” Well, I have news for you – that’s not quite an accurate statement.

7 ways to know you travel too much for work

When you talk to people that work in client service type of jobs, they'll always tell you travel is part of the job and if you don’t like to travel, you should choose a different career.

5 ways you should never work from home

One of the perks of being in management consulting is the flexibility that you have when you’re not on site with the client. You have to be careful not to abuse it though.

What I learned from the promotion that got away [case study]

People often learn best from things not going according to plan. Here's a prime example.

3 favorite things about working in politics

I love working in politics…well, public service or government as I like to call it. And it was totally a pleasant surprise.

5 reasons you shouldn't go to law school

Law school isn't for everybody, especially if one of these five rules applies.

5 ways to influence gatekeepers who want nothing to do with you

Interacting with clients always has a certain element of surprise, but it gets especially fun when the client’s fiscal year is the same as the calendar year.

5 ways to avoid the manager power trip

Here's how to avoid letting the influence of managing other people go to your head.

The best and worst thing about management consulting

When I got involved in Accenture’s recruiting process, someone told me the best and worst thing about consulting, but it didn’t really resonate with me until much later.

What you need to know about getting promoted

This article discusses how to make your self a no brainer choice when a promotion becomes available.

How I got my management consulting interview

As MBA recruiting began, I emailed a close mentor to test my conclusion that consulting was the right move. He agreed but that wasn’t all he said. If he stopped there, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

3 reasons why all CPAs should be licensed

If you’ve been around accountants long enough, you know that there are some people out there who take the CPA exam and leave it at that. That's a major mistake.