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I-O Career Paths in Consulting

The career paths for Consulting were found to have five job levels (see figure above). Those hired as an Individual Contributor often take one of two different tracks: an Expert Individual Contributor track where they became a specialist in a given area(s), or a Management track where they are responsible for supervising others within the organization. Oftentimes the decision on which career path to take is dependent on the individual employee, but other times it depends on the organization’s needs and structure.

Within these tracks, additional career paths could be further delineated for Project Consultant and Research Consultant. Many I-O consulting organizations mix the research and project career paths- consultants are responsible for both client-facing and research-based projects, while others maintain a separation between the two. Where there is a separation, Project Consultants are primarily responsible for client-facing duties, whereas Research Consultants often conduct internal-facing work and do not regularly interact with clients.

It should be noted that not every consulting organization is large enough to create this extensive of a career ladder and thus may only have 3-tiers consisting of Individual Contributor, Manager, and Executive.

Across all levels of the Consulting career paths the following competencies and experiences were identified as most important.

 

 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as an Individual Contributor in the Consulting career path are presented below.


Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Communication: Written
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Communication: Verbal 
  4. Interpersonal Skills 
  5. Knowledge of Validation Principles 
  6. Initiative
  7. Problem Solving 
  8. Attention to Detail
  9. Conscientiousness 
  10. Ethical Behavior

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Contribute to the success of projects or consulting assignments
  2. Work independently with minimal supervision
  3. Maintain composure under pressure
  4. Collaborate with others on various projects
  5. Present information at client meetings
  6. Develop strong relationships with client contacts
  7. Attend client meetings to build client relations
  8. Follow timelines and budgets on project work
  9. Monitor outcomes of assigned projects
  10. Assist with project delivery

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as an Expert Individual Contributor in the Consulting career path are presented below.


Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Communication: Verbal
  2. Ethical Behavioral 
  3. Communication: Written
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Integrity 
  6. Trustworthiness 
  7. Interpersonal Skills 
  8. Conscientiousness 
  9. Problem Solving 
  10. Self-Discipline

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Contribute to the success of projects or consulting assignments 
  2. Work independently with minimal supervision 
  3. Maintain composure under pressure 
  4. Present information at client meetings 
  5. Attend client meetings to build client relations 
  6. Develop strong relationships with client contacts 
  7. Interact with clients regarding requests, inquiries, and questions 
  8. Serve as a subject matter expert in a given area 
  9. Follow timelines and budgets on project work 
  10. Collaborate with others on various projects

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as a Manager in the Consulting career path are presented below.


Top Competencies   Top Experiences
  1. Communication: Verbal
  2. Ethical Behavior
  3. Communication: Written
  4. Interpersonal Skills
  5. Adaptability 
  6. Trustworthiness 
  7. Customer Service 
  8. Ethical Behavior 
  9. Project Management 
  10. Decision Making

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Contribute to the success of projects or consulting assignments
  2. Interact with clients regarding requests, inquiries, and questions
  3. Assist with project delivery
  4. Develop strong relationships with client contacts
  5. Present information at client meetings
  6. Attend client meetings to build client relations
  7. Follow timelines and budgets on project work
  8. Maintain composure under pressure
  9. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization
  10. Understand how to apply I-O psychology consulting skills in a way that enhances business

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as a Manager of Managers in the Consulting career path are presented below.


Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Communication: Verbal
  2. Decision Making
  3. Problem Solving
  4. Strategic Thinking
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Ethical Behavior
  7. Prioritization
  8. Interpersonal Skills
  9. Adaptability
  10. Initiative
  11. Integrity

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Monitor outcomes of assigned projects
  2. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization
  3. Oversee and guide projects of others
  4. Manage performance of subordinates
  5. Attend client meetings to build client relations
  6. Serve as a subject matter expert in a given area
  7. Allocate resources effectively
  8. Present information at client meetings
  9. Contribute to the success of projects or consulting assignments
  10. Provide developmental opportunities to subordinates

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as an Executive in the Consulting career path are presented below.


Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Integrity
  2. Trustworthiness
  3. Communication: Verbal
  4. Ethical Behavior
  5. Interpersonal Skills
  6. Critical Thinking
  7. Initiative
  8. Adaptability
  9. Communication: Written
  10. Decision Making

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Develop strong relationships with client contacts
  2. Maintain composure under pressure
  3. Attend client meetings to build client relationships
  4. Contribute to the success of projects or consulting assignments
  5. Present information at client meetings
  6. Interact with clients regarding requests, inquiries, and questions
  7. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization
  8. Maintain high client retention rate
  9. Expand number of clients
  10. Work independently with minimal supervision

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

Top Competencies and Experiences for Consulting

 

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
 
  1. Communication: Verbal
     
  2. Ethical Behavior
     
  3. Critical Thinking
     
  4. Integrity
     
  5. Trustworthiness
 
  1. Contribute to the success of projects or consulting assignments
     
  2. Develop strong relationships with client contacts
     
  3. Maintain composure under pressure
     
  4. Present information at client meetings
     
  5. Attend client meetings to build client relations

 

Job titles among I-O psychologists in Consulting may vary substantially. The table below identifies some of the more common titles.This list contains general types of job titles that may appear within each of the different career levels. They are meant to further clarify the different responsibilities between career levels and may not present actual job titles in your organization.

 

Individual Contributor

 

Project Assistant
Associate Consultant
Professional
Lead Professional
Consulting Associate

Expert Individual Contributor

 

Senior Consultant
Senior Professional

Manager

 

Manager
Team Leader
Program Manager
Director

Manager of Managers

 

Senior Team Leader
Principal Consultant
Program Director

Executive

 

Director
Officer
Executive Consultant
Vice President
Sr. Vice President
CEO

 

Click here to view a matrix of common job titles across each career sector.