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July 17, 2001
Job Opportunities in Consulting Poised for Continued Growth
By Sherril Steele-Carlin

If you're thinking about starting your own consulting business, there are some hot, growth areas of business that are constantly looking for experienced freelance consultants. Consulting grew like wildfire in the 90s, and it's continuing this upward trend in the 21st century. Management Consultants International predicts double-digit growth in the industry in the next few years, especially in the management and IT sectors. Many MBA graduates are playing on this growth, and passing up traditional business careers. Instead, they are opening their own consulting businesses.

There are many factors contributing to this amazing growth in consulting. They include the downsizing of many large corporations, creating a need for consultants to fill in gaps in personnel, the start-up of many new small businesses, who'll need help with everything from marketing to accounting, and the significant growth of some industries, even as the economy weakens.

In an article for InfoWorld.com, author Jim Battey says the highest hourly consulting rates go to "Network architects, team leaders, database administrators, and senior programmers." The lowest rates go to "Operations, technicians/technical support, trainers, and technical writers."

According to an article by Streetwise Internet Consulting on BusinessTown.com, some of the hottest businesses for consultants right now include:

The Internet
While business on the Internet is rapidly changing and rearranging itself, there are still plenty of opportunities for consultants. They can create and maintain web pages, write content, consult on telecommunications, software, and business issues, and systems design and implementation. They can also train staff, and install computer components.

Telecommunications
Consultants can help with networking, developing software, microwave installation and maintenance, and satellite communications and links. Telecommunications is a booming field, and consultants with expertise in this area are in high demand. In fact, in her article for CIO Magazine, "The Latest in Suits," Jennifer Bresnahan says, "The business world is desperate for consulting help. Running leaner than ever, most organizations lack the technical, strategic and project management skills to handle the benumbing rate of technological and market change."

Health Care
Our nation is facing a critical shortage of nurses and health care professionals. Consultants can help in the human resources areas of outplacement, benefits, and recruiting, and also outsourcing patient care, and administration. Finding qualified staff is becoming more and more difficult, and consultants can help with the crunch.

Government
Most consultants working for the government work with defense related functions, or with private contractors who do work for the government. They help these contractors decipher government contracts, train them how to bid, and also expand their businesses to the private sector.

Environmental
Consultants can work with companies who aren't used to handling harmful chemicals, or evaluate toxins and chemicals, or do site testing for hazardous chemicals. They also may offer expert testimony in court cases.

Not-for-Profit
Non-profit agencies offer a wealth of opportunities for consultants in fund-raising, grant writing, financial and management issues, sales and marketing, and events.

Finance/Banking
Consultants can offer computer and software training, development and training of managers and staff, and computer installation.

Companies can also use consultants to manage special projects, and analysts who can look at their current operations and find ways to simplify, and improve them. So, if you're thinking about consulting, and have expertise in one or more of these areas, you should be able to find plenty of clients that can use your services. Many small businesses may also be able to use your services as a temporary employee, so when you're starting out, you might want to register with local temporary employment agencies, too.

Sherril Steele-Carlin is a full-time freelance writer from Reno, Nevada. She's published numerous articles in print and online publications. She's also the author of the new e-book "How to get a Life by Living and Working in a National Park." http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/dltg0002.html?10402 Visit her web site at http://www.powernet.net/~carlin.

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