That's a good question and I just went through the process of going through a professional services agency to obtain a position in SAT! It's a contract to hire position, so I'd work for the 3rd party for set contractual time and have opportunity to direct hire with Client when end of contract is reached. For some, working via short or long term contacts are what they like. They get to work for same services company, for variety of clients, which helps maintain the "newness" feeling.
I've been a contractor before working a client site, but those companies were not just an agency handling talent. It felt no different than working directly for company other than the name on your paycheck.
If you're considering what's best for you, start with asking yourself if it matters who you work for as long as you're doing what you like. The main differences will be benefits and politics. In my experience, I've found that the contractor has better benefits than the Owner, as they are often more flexible in their options. As a contractor, you've got a buffer between you and normal office politics of the client.
Some fields of work are more suited to consulting environment, as they are to solve temporary/short term needs and are usually specialized, like the Business Continuity you mentioned. Large companies may hire direct, mostly for confidentiality, but you'd be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement regardless.
Good luck in your career endeavors.
Mary recommends the following next steps:
- Job searches for your field will help you understand what the education and skill set requirements are, what types of companies are hiring and salary ranges.
- Set up a profile on LinkedIn and do a search for several key words specific to your career choice. See if there is anyone local to SAT with experience that you can reach out to in order to talk to someone who has done it. Invite them for coffee or ask if they're open to a phone call to chat for 15 minutes. Most people like to help others, but have limited time. Having a list of questions you want to ask and providing them ahead of time would be great. Then the person has a chance to think about their answer before they talk to you and can maybe provide you recommended material, videos etc.