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I have degrees in biology and fisheries science. I have >6 years of experience managing data, analyzing data, writing technical summaries of the analysis results, writing technical RFPs to secure new opportunities, and presenting results to administrators of large natural-resource management agencies, including decision makers in Washington, D.C. I work well with others, enjoy helping non-technical people understand technical concepts (and have a track record of doing just that), and started a small statistical, environmental, and data-management consulting firm last April (I am its sole employee) after leaving my previous position. (I left because my wife was offered a job in a different state and they could not allow me to work remotely.)

I'm interested in moving into the business consulting world but, with my background as a quantitative fisheries scientist, have the sneaking suspicion that I'd have little chance of making it past the "resume screening" stage.

  1. What's the likelihood of a business consulting/strategy firm taking a chance on a fisheries scientist without little business/accounting background (outside of the experience I have at my own firm)?
  2. What's the best way to write my resume (I assume a one-pager is best rather than the 8-page CV I've used in the past): functional? Chronological with bullet points? Chronological with prose?
  3. How can I best show that, even though I'm a quant-head, I communicate well in person, enjoy working with others, and giving presentations?

Thanks for your thoughts!

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, Vietnhi Phuvan, gnat, Jim G., Garrison Neely Jan 19 '15 at 15:38

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. For more information, click here." – IDrinkandIKnowThings, Vietnhi Phuvan, gnat, Jim G., Garrison Neely
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  • to the person who down-voted, be a good stackexchange member and comment as to how the question can be improved or point out an appropriate alternative stackexchange. – WetlabStudent Jan 17 '15 at 4:09
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    mckinsey.com/careers/your_growth_at_mckinsey/… and nytimes.com/2000/10/01/business/… You need to do your own research. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 17 '15 at 5:00
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    Thanks for the links. However, I'm wondering how appropriate a 15-year old NYT article is to today's jobs economy. I've been doing my own research regarding transitioning into a new career; I posted here as a means to get some additional information that I may not have otherwise found. – Steven Jan 17 '15 at 5:21
  • The state of the economy is irrelevant. What's relevant is whether McKinsey is still relying on this program to train their non-MBA hires. The NYT article is 15-years old. But the link to the McKinsey website is fresh and consistent with the NYT article. You can do your own research and put the pieces together by yourself. On another note, I am voting to close because we don't give career advice. Nothing personal. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 17 '15 at 5:39
  • hello, consider editing the question to make it better fit site topics laid out in help center. In particular, this guidance may help to learn what is expected of questions here. Good luck! – gnat Jan 17 '15 at 7:53
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What's the likelihood of a business consulting/strategy firm taking a chance on a fisheries scientist without little business/accounting background (outside of the experience I have at my own firm)?

Be prepared to shore up what relevant experiences you have had with facts and anecdotes (running your own business is something not everyone has done, for instance), and don't worry unduly: consulting firms typically cast their nets wide. Big firms who hire a lot will give hiring managers more latitude and they'll be more willing to take a punt on what might be a great catch. Don't bother pushing the boat out when it comes to applications to small companies with temporary vacancies: they will prefer a safe pair of hands who knows the ropes, they won't want to risk hiring someone who turns to be all at sea. Other than that it's hardly as if what you've been doing and what you want to do are oceans apart.

What's the best way to write my resume (I assume a one-pager is best rather than the 8-page CV I've used in the past): functional? Chronological with bullet points? Chronological with prose?

Begin by describing loud and clear what skills you use, and clearly indicate your direction of travel careerwise. Don't be afraid to reel off a list if you have a diversity of experiences. Equally, cast away anything that doesn't allow you to flag up an achievement etc.

How can I best show that, even though I'm a quant-head, I communicate well in person, enjoy working with others, and giving presentations?

You can't really signal that on your résumé. The right plaice to do that is once you've landed an interview. Just keep things friendly and positive, speak about the universal things you enjoy just as you have above... but if you enjoyed applying a knowledge set which you won't get to again, row back on your enthusiasm just a little (don't carp, though!). At the end of the day, either they like the cut of your jib or they won't.

You won't know until you try, and it sounds like you have income to tide you over, so why not start trawling those job ads?

Good luck!

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    With nice puns, too! – Steven Jan 17 '15 at 18:42
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Perhaps there's a business opportunity as an EPA/environmental regulation consultant?

We've gotten this type of questions over on Programmers a number of times. Someone wanting to switch to programming from another career. What I always recommend is trying to leverage their skills as a domain expert, rather than trying to work their way up from the entry level in a new career.

I often point out in those posts that I've gotten more than one programming job because of, not in spite of, my background being from another field.

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