Your CV is the one and only chance of progressing to the next stage of the recruitment process. The person reading your CV knows nothing more about you than what you have written. The only other information they may have is what’s written in your cover letter. Hopefully, that has focused your mind on the importance of crafting the best CV possible.
Many people already know the importance of their CV, yet they still send the same document to every job application.
When you consider that jobs at top consultancies, such as McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are always oversubscribed, you need to stand out from the crowd. Around 60% of applicants will fail at the initial screening and never get the chance to impress during an interview.
Getting your CV and cover letter right is the first crucial step to that high-paying role with a top consultancy, so you need to get it right.
A CV for all Seasons
You’ve written a great CV, clearly outlining your experience, qualifications, and skills, which should be perfect for all your job applications, right? Wrong!
If you are applying for several similar roles, this could work, but it’s not a great plan, even with different cover letters. Trying to use a generic CV when you apply for a management consultancy role would be a huge mistake, and guarantee your application joining the 60% or more in the bin.
When you are applying for the top management consultancies, in particular, you must tailor your CV to show why you fit that role and also that specific consultancy firm. Even better if you can tailor it to match the particular consultancy office you are applying to.
Now, you don’t have to start from an entirely blank page. Luckily for you, the internet has some great resources, including pre-formatted consulting CV and cover letter templates. This saves you a lot of time and ensures you stick to an industry-standard style.
What are the Key Consulting Skills?
Applying for a management consultancy role, it is imperative that your CV will convince the person reading it that you have the necessary consultancy skills.
Every line the recruiter reads should link to one of the core skills he is looking for. You can find these in the job description, and your CV should use similar wording so that the link between the requirements and your skills jumps out.
So what are these key consulting skills:
- Analysis – able to quickly pull out the relevant facts from a complex task and organise them logically
- Solve problems quickly – use a systematic approach to produce practical solutions
- Results-oriented – a solution is excellent, but you need to turn that into concrete action the company can implement
- Be a leader – as the management consultant, the company that hired you are looking for answers from you
- Strong drive – you need to convince the company that your solution is practical, will work, and improve their business
- Business expertise – possess practical business experience, and understand how businesses function
- Be a team player – work effectively with others to achieve a common goal
Maybe you’re now panicking, thinking that you can’t show all those skills through work experience. But don’t worry. You can use your experience from outside of work also. Through your hobbies, volunteer work, and anything you do in your personal life that fits one of the key skills.
For example, you may work with a charity group and helped to increase their donations through something you did. Or perhaps you demonstrate leadership skills with a community group you are involved with.
These are all great examples that the reader of your CV will find interesting and memorable.
Focus on your Achievements
Passing out from a top university proves your ability to study and learn. It is a great achievement, but it won’t convince the recruiter that you have real-life skills useful in a management consultancy role.
If you are starting out on your working career, you might think that it’s impossible to find achievements to showcase our skills. But look back over your years in university and high school. Were you given a position of responsibility at any time? Head boy or girl, team captain, member of the sports team that won the local league? All are useful when you are starting out.
If you have already started working, then you may have many more achievements to reference. Did you help to improve the profitability of a particular project? Were you the team lead for a successful program or development at the company?
The point we are trying to make is that recruiters will not simply accept that you can do something because you held a particular position at a company. Holding the position of sales representative doesn’t necessarily make you a good salesperson.
This is why so much emphasis is put on achievements. But don’t go crazy! Be specific, keep it simple, and, if possible, use numeric examples. For example, you may have increased client retention by 50% through actively engaging with them more regularly. Or increased sales of a particular item with a marketing program.
Use a Management Consultancy Format for Your CV
You want to stand out from the crowd, but for the right reasons! Sending a CV for a management consultancy role that does not follow the industry standard will stand out. And it will most likely go straight in the bin!
The person reading it for the first time will be screening many individuals, looking for anything to reject them. They will have just a few minutes for each, and if your CV is difficult to read or in a non-standard format, that is an easy decision for them.
Stick to a single page, with four or five sections, use a formal typeface, and do not include a photograph.
Make use of the free online templates that are available, and study the standard management consulting CV’s to make sure yours matches.
Get Writing that CV Now!
If management consultancy is your goal, then don’t wait to start on your CV. You can build it ow with the experience and achievements you already have, and update as you gain more.
Taking the time now allows you to hone your CV to perfection, and when it’s time to start applying, you’ll be ready to go.