Staring at a blank piece of paper can be scary, especially when you know your future depends on what you write and how you write it. After struggling to write about yourself, you have to condense it to highlight one question — How do I represent myself in the best possible light? Never fear! We at High Bridge are here to help!
There are so many articles on how to write a consulting cover letter and a resume, many with contradictory advice. So how do you decide what to follow when there are so many different voices out there? At High Bridge, the faculty come from ex-MBB backgrounds, and we know what these companies expect and the experience of going through thousands of management consultant or consultant CVs for all the High Bridge applicants.
CONTENTS: PART 1: How to write a consulting cover letterPART 2: How to write a consulting resume
At our bootcamp, we teach students how to improve their entry-level cover letters and resumes to place them at top companies.
Our blog is a definitive guide on how to improve your application and give yourself the best chance of getting your dream job.
The first section gives you tips on cover letters and the second section focuses on your resume.
To submit an application to one of the leading consulting firms, use the following links: McKinseyBCGBain
PART 1: HOW TO WRITE A CONSULTING COVER LETTER
A cover letter tells your story. Which story do you want to tell the recruiter? Here are a few tips to get through the crucial next stage of the job application process.
1) Write Concisely Your cover letter for a consulting or management consulting job needs to be between 3-5 paragraphs and a page long at the maximum. Recruiters have to skim through thousands of cover letters, so keep it simple.
Take time to read the job description and figure out the main skills your role is looking for. Remember skills and anecdotes you choose to include should best demonstrate your ability to excel at work. Stick to your best selling points!
2) Follow a structure that works Paragraph 1:
Mention the position you are applying for, the position you currently have, a brief explanation of why you are applying to the consulting firm and position, and finally, a thesis statement to describe what main points you will cover in the rest of your cover letter. Paragraph 2-3:
Highlight your main skills that fit this job and demonstrate them through examples.
Think of any "spikes" you have in your resume and focus on highlighting those. A spike is an experience or an accomplishment that sets you apart from everyone else. For example, did you start a successful venture in college or while working? Were you the youngest presenter at a conference? Did you win any case competitions?
In every example, make sure you describe your role, how your actions led to a quantifiable success, and how it connects to the position you are applying for.
Consulting cover letter examples:
"My work as a research assistant overlaps with consulting work wherein there is a question that needs an answer, and one utilizes a systematic method to find the answer. I have been successful in this role as I have worked closely with 4 professors and have co-authored and published three academic papers at international conferences. I have had the privilege of presenting these papers to a room full of professors, where I was the youngest presenter."
In this example, the writer first explains how her role as a research assistant at university is connected to consulting. Then she shows how her work is a "spike" by listing her accomplishments. Or
"As president of the Debate Society, my leadership capabilities, and teamwork-oriented mindset helped me build an almost non-existent club to have 20+ members within one semester that topped the charts in the debate league. These results happened because I investigated students' reasons for not participating and collaborated with other executives to adapt our club structure and formulate an impactful marketing strategy."
In this example, the writer connects her qualities which match the job description and how they helped her in a situation and led to an accomplishment. Then she explains her process to really show her approach to solving a problem, which is similar to what a consultant needs to do. Paragraph 4:
Specify why you want to work in this company. Use news stories, conversations with employees, and interesting insights from the company website for this. Remember to be specific. If you can copy-paste your current cover letter, and use it for another firm, then it is not specific enough.
Finally, be grateful! Thank the recruiter for the opportunity and the chance to apply for this role.
3) Resume ≠ Cover letter Don't repeat your resume twice! Your cover letter provides you a unique opportunity to craft a story of yourself and create a warm connection with the recruiter before the interview.
You may want to take this time to explain topics such as a switch in industry or a low GPA. Emphasize transferable skills if you applied for a role you do not have direct experience in.
This is the chance to expand on an achievement that you're proud of!
4) Personalize it. Adapt each cover letter to match the company's values and the particular position you are applying for. It is okay to recycle a few important sentences about yourself. However, make sure to use the same words they mention in the job description and showcase the values the firm puts on their website. Tip: Use WordClouds and paste the job description to see which words are the biggest: those are the ones they value most.
5) Yes, you should name drop If you know people that work in the company, mention them in your cover letter. It shows that you have done your research and know the firm well.
When addressing your cover letter, try staying away from a generic phrase such as "to whomever it may concern". Instead, do your research to find the name of a recruiter in the office you are applying to.
Many times, the recruiter's name is given on the company website, and if not a Google and/or LinkedIn search can help you find that information.
If you want more tips, why not sign up for our upcoming workshop.
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PART 2: HOW TO WRITE A CONSULTING RESUME
A resume condenses all your relevant experiences in the last few years and demonstrates the impact you have made in every position and activity.
Here are a few tips to improve your resume:
1) Keep it short and simple A one-page strategic consultant resume format isn't easy, especially if you have many experiences. Thus, these two steps should help you out:
- Decide the top roles and firms you want to apply for. Then, only include relevant experiences to the position you are applying for. It is more than acceptable to have a few versions of your resumes for different industries and positions.
- Create bullet points that showcase how you created impact and went above and beyond what was expected. Do not fill your resume with a generic job description that anyone else in the same position as you could have.
2) Use strong action verbs and quantify when possible Action verbs are keywords that resume screeners are looking for, as they showcase your leadership and drive. Use strong action verbs to begin your sentence to have the most impact. For example, instead of saying "reduced costs by 35%" say "slashed costs by 35%". In addition to this, using numbers and percentages is the best way to back up your arguments and really show the impact that you've had.
3) Create a smart structure Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about the structure. Every experienced consulting resume should be split out into five different sections: Personal Information, Education, Work Experience, Extra-Curricular Achievements and Additional Skills
4) PROOFREAD! Needless to say, this is a crucial step. Typos and spelling mistakes in your resume not only display your lack of attention to detail, but it might also make you seem lazy and uninterested.
You have a lot of time to edit and proofread your resume, and if there are mistakes, the recruiter will wonder about the quality of work you will put in when there are deadlines.
Thus, make sure your design is consistent, your dates are correct, and there are no spelling errors.
Now that you're ready, we wish you the best of luck applying!