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How to start my career as an SQF Consultant?

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 09:21 PM

I have 6 year experience in implementing and maintaining SQF system. I have implemented from scratch for a small manufacturing company and managed SQF system for a produce company.

I feel that I am suited for a role where I get the chance to develop and maintain food safety plans, write polices and procedure, develop training decks and provide training to the employees in the food safety policies.



Can anyone guide me how to start my career in SQF consulting and what are the challenges involved?






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Posted 10 August 2020 - 07:50 PM

I second your question. I have over 10 years experience ranging from food, beverage, medical device and nutraceuticals and have been exposed to many different codes and standards and have also developed QMS's from scratch that meet SQF and similar requirements and been through countless successful audits. Although I could opt for QA management at any manufacturing company, I would be much more interested in consulting for different types of businesses and giving help where its most needed and appreciated, plus owning my own business and being able to travel for work would be a dream come true.


Can anyone who is doing quality consulting share their experience in how they got into it?




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Posted 12 August 2020 - 02:49 PM

Kudo's to both, for giving this consideration. I suspect a lot of people will be evaluating their career paths over the next little while.


I'll give my perspective, based primarily on feedback from industry experience with consultants. Primarily good, by the way, the old adage of things can be done well, cheap, or fast, but only two, never three. A good, qualified consultant can certainly be an asset. 


People will generally pay for verified competency. Having appropriate credentials to back up your claims is essential - if you want to implement SQF systems - get the official training to show competency, and stay up to date. Same for category experience - make sure your resume and industry experience claims are in line. This is the type of substantive evidence that allows you to stand apart from the crowd.

Finally, get your references, people who are willing and able to stand behind your experience and capabilities.


That, and being good at sales and marketing. From discussions I have had, you would spend upwards to 40% of your time seeking new business, so going in with a well developed network and some personal brand recognition would be an asset.


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Posted 05 October 2020 - 08:16 PM

Hi Kiran and David,


I would second John's comment that "being good at sales and marketing" is critical, and without meaning to steer you away from consulting, I would say it's more important than the actual "consulting" work you enjoy and are good at.


One thing to note as well.


Niche category expertise may be valued higher than category agnostic experience - one may be better off branding themselves as an expert in a category with all its nuances, regulatory requirements, etc. versus a broad generalist.


Another route for you, and I've recently written about this on my site re: alternative career paths, are with SaaS and PaaS companies who sell QMS, Food Safety, Food Traceability and general ERP solutions into food and beverage companies.


When considering consulting and going off on your own, a good book to read(the summary is good enough) is the E-Myth - it describes the trap subject matter experts fall into when they go off on their own; the example in the book is a pie maker who goes off on her own with the dream she'll bake pies all day, not realizing that she is now a business owner, people manager, sales person, visionary as well as the person making the pies.


Hope that helps, 



Bob Pudlock
(561) 450-9490

Food Safety Recruiting

Food Safety Insider


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