Please what is the best way to write a resume and cover letter that deemed successful?.... Sincerely, I have made more than 10 applications and failed in all... at McKinsey, Bain and Company...BCG .. in Nigeria... Kept amending my resumes severally from Victor Cheng's advice and changing accounts but all were rejected at application level... My conditions : Am a microbiologist from Nigeria... graduated with BSc from an unknown / unreputed university... Just a beginner in consulting.... Please I need your help pals... I need you guys to guide me through please....
Application: Creating a Consulting perfect Resume and Cover Letter...Save Me From Failures!!!
Overview of answers
I don't want to rain on your parade, but as this platform should also serve for some tough feedback (how else would you learn?), I am going to deliver some.
What are consulting firms looking for when they hire junior people?
I would say, it boils down to four major things:
1. Raw intelligence
2. Ability to analyse problems, come up with hypotheses for a solution and a plan how to confirm these hypotheses.
3. Ability to structure both the analysis and the suggested solutions
4. Sellability - i.e. the necessary demeanor (behavior, language, style, appearance) to be able to send this young person to a client and charge a ton of money for it.
And unless you are a totally different person "in the real world" I seriously doubt that you would make the cut.
Because your posts exhibit a total lack of points 2 through 4.
- I assume that you are highly intelligent, so base 1 is covered.
- On 2: you have started to come up with ONE hypothesis why your applications are failing - your resume. What about others? How have you confirmed this hypothesis? You have tried to come up with a solution (amendments following V.C. advice), but you have no clue whether your resume is actually the problem. Besides that, your post also shows that you haven't done your homework - basic research. I mean, come on, as a member of this platform it should not be so hard to figure out what MBB means?
- On 3: Structure? Your posts are random ramblings, incomplete sentences, typos, littered with "...", and no clear line of questioning or argumentation.
- On 4: Closely related to No. 3 - which client is going to pay for someone who shows embarassing knowledge gaps, does not observe basic etiquette in writing and communicating with others and basically expects others to do their work for them?
Sorry to be so harsh.
Now you might say "hey, this is just a social network, we're all "pals" here, when it's about work I am a lot more serious".
But guess what: Wrong! This is serious, and we're not all pals here, we're professional advisors who happen to share some of their time, knowledge and advice for free. Maybe because some like helping, maybe because some expect help in return, maybe because it's good for business. It doesn't matter.
What matters is that time of everyone who you are asking for help is valuable, so it is just plain inconsiderate to expect major help (" Please I need more of your advice"), when you yourself could have probably a ton more beforehand. You show up for training with your running shoes on, not still in pyjamas!
Accept the fact that no one can do the work for you, or you will get eaten alive first week on the job. We can just try to lend a helping hand once in a while.
Hope that helps,
PS: Please don't understand this as criticism against you as a person - after all, we don't know each other, so who am I to judge. I may also be completely wrong in my assessment based on your posts here - you might just be a totally different person in real life. Then ignore everything I said ;-)
Best of luck!
For your CV; I would advise the following steps :
- Use a simple yet powerful CV plan :
education , professionnal experience, projects and business games (optional), additional capabilities (languages, technology, extracullicular)
-For the education part : precise your GPA/metric used in your country if it is relevant and the business related courses
-For the professional experience: Quantify your achievements and use action verbs for your experience. For example: Created a new financial model for 4 M&A Projects, in order to save 9 hours of additional work
- for the languages section: precise your level when it is above conversational
- for the CV layout : keep it simple. Two colours maximum. Highlight the important parts. Do not mess with bold and italic because it has a certain meaning in consulting firms
Best of luck and do not hesitate to reach out to me by private message.
Thanks for reaching out
The cover letter is a crucial step in your application.
I would say there is no check list to be met in the cover letter, just some basics to include. Here are the three most important topics to include :
1 - why you want to work in the consulting firm you are applying to: you have to be very specific about the firm, otherwise the consultant/HR who will screen your CV and cover letter won't find it differenciating. Try to talk to 3 to 4 people in the firm you are applying to, from different seniorities in order to get a sense of how this firm is different from the others, and use their insights in the cover letter (do not hesitate to mention a few names)
2- why you are different from the other applicants: here, you need to describe your academics, your extracullicular activities, potentitial internships and business related activities. Be specific but to the point . Mention the experiences that make you stand out the most.
3- Describe what you are looking for in an internship experience in a consulting firm : why you are applying, what you want to get out of it and how it fits into the company's culture. Try to talk to a current/former intern from your school to get insights.
Again, the more unique you letter is, the more people will remember you.
Last but not least, be concise, statistics show that the screening process takes 3 minutes maximum. Better stand out.
Best of luck in your application and do not hesitate to reach out to me by private messages if you want specific advice.
Internal (consultancy) recruiters usually have a software (or even do so manually by setting up a spreadsheet) that screens the resumes by filtering and scoring them across several dimensions. Usually these dimensions are:
-School tier/rank (based on company's internal tier/rank definition, but very similar to published ones)
-Previous work experience relevancy and likelyhood to transfer skills
-Previous employer tier/rank (based on company's internal tier/rank definition)
-Languages known and proficiency
-Test scores (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, ...)
-Software/Analytical tools skills
-Internal company scoring of candidate if participated in company events
Resumes are filtered, scored and then ranked according to these (and more) dimensions. Once filtered recruiter might/might not read cover letter to further reduce the number of resumes to be considered for interview/invite to an event.
Hope it helps,
But the best recommendation that I can give is actually to “bypass” the resume screening by getting a solid referral. With referrals you still go through a soft screening, but is more about minimum thresholds rather than only top X of Y resumes get invited to interviews.
hope it helps!
Scoring criteria are (for non-experienced hires):
-school prestige correlated with degree type or major
-prestige of internship companies and type of internship role
-leadership positions held at school or outside
-test scores (SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc)
-awards and recognitions in academic/work fields
-extracurricular that show you are able to juggle between school commitments and intense time commitment outside school (e.g. track and field A team, chess master, etc)
depending how far out you are from graduation focus on the above in that order, or as close as you can.
You seem like an earnest guy so I'll spend some time on your question. Like you, I graduated with a BS in Biomedical Science from a nontarget school. I ended up getting interviews from MBB+Strategy& but rejected from Deloitte, ATK, Accenture, etc. This highlights the problem in your question. As a consultant you'll learn the most important thing isn't the answer, but first the question that you're asking.
Your resume is not the problem here. Your question is. Inherently, you assume that with a good enough resume you'll be able to get into a consulting firm. Especially from a nontarget school, that's false. What gets you into a consulting firm is networking plain and simple. Have a good resume, good consulting prep, good interview skills but you come from a no name school and no connections? Tough luck, it'll be a hard sell to a consulting firm simply because of numbers. Review the Victor Cheng material on networking and you'll be fine.
What you're really asking is how can I, a microbiologist from Nigeria, get into a top consulting firm. To answer that question in full takes much more than this space, and frankly coaching costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars to do that. If you have the money, there are prep services like at preplounge and others on the internet.
The thing I want to emphasize as others have is, do you really want to go into consulting? "I am passionate about problem solving and business efficiency." Your answer is way too generic and leads me to believe you don't really understand the role at hand. As a microbiologist, have you had experiencein business efficiency? If you want to solve problems, why don't you become a doctor, lawyer, nurse, or any other position in the world? I'm asking this question of you because I had the SAME exact thoughts going into work at Strategy&. Not thinking about this closely enough led me to leave the firm to pursue work which I really wanted to do. This isn't to discourage you. If you can find a better answer, it should motivate you even more to go towards consulting. If it doesn't lead to a better answer though, you may want to reconsider.
All the best to you and I wish you a world of happiness.
Agree with the list below. Some offices may have automated the process but for sure a lot of work is still done manually. Thus make sure that you have the keywords in your resume (universities, brands, etc). The most important is - the ranges for these criteria are not set in stone. There may be a lot of factors influencing the cut-offs:
- Targeted recruiting. For example, the Firm may decide to hire more MBAs rather than pure experienced hires. Or the Firm may hire more female candidates and thus more females will pass the screening. Some offices have the special recruiting cycles for technical and non-technical graduates
- Competition - for example among all MBAs they will hire more graduates from top universities. And among them, the screening will pass only the people whom their ex-mbb classmates personally recommended.
- Office specifics - in some offices like New York it's hard to pass the screening even if you have a referral
- Economic cycle - in a bad year it gets harder to get in
...and many others. You should do your best (Resume, CL, get a referal, smartly select the preferable offices) and keep your fingers crossed.
If you want it, you will find a way. This thread has everything you need. Please book a meeting if you want to discuss more
If the market is telling you something, listen. Who do they hire? Become that person. So if they hire MBAs with a few years of industry experience and if your really want to do consulting, go to industry for a few years and do an MBA. Or find an easier consultancy to join.
Before you invest all this time and money though, are you sure you know why consulting? What do you want to do after? There is usually more than one path to every destination
MBB, McKinsey, Bain and BCG.
Lower your sights... there are no bad company. Apply to the ATK, Strategy&, Deloitte... of this world, or even to local, specialised (aka 'boutique') firms. After a couple of years of work there, your profile will look better and you will have better odds of getting into MBB if that is still what you want.
I'd be happy to help you craft a "perfect" letter and resume, but don't think this is necessarily the problem. When we decide who to grant an interview to, we have a grid and assign points to various things such as school reputation and grades (of course), but also extra curricular activities. In my office at BCG Dallas, we had 60 applicants per opening, easily 15 or 20 of whom were highly qualified and could pass the interviews. What makes you stand out?
If you have read Victor Cheng, you know that networking is extremely important as well. I probably wouldn't have gotten an interview without that for example. You need consultants to know you and talk to the recruiting team on your behalf.
Here are my recommendations:
- lower your sights a ltitle bit. OK to apply to MBB, but if they do the show interest you need to apply to the tier 2 and boutique firms. Say you get in, you can always reapply to MBB in a couple of years with a much stronger profile
- network, get to know people at your target office
- depending on your current profile, engage in activities we value, such as leadership responsibilities, entrepreneurship or non profit, better grades.
- fine, keep fine tuning your resume and letter, but that is probably the least important here.
Again, I don't have much info so my advice is very generic. Happy to talk more; I am actually writing a book on all of this.
Can you clarify what do you mean with your question? Are you referring to how to write your CV in the best way to enhance your chances to be shortlisted for an interview or are you referring to which (extra-)activities can you try to perform over the next 2-3 months to improve your CV?
If it's the second option, please check the thread below where I've addressed that question:
"My question is basically is: what are examples of consulting projects I can do to add to my resume? Are there online resources or playgrounds I can accomplish in order to add it to resume?" >> I don't think you will benefit significantly from doing any online courses, as those will not be highly valued by McKinsey screening criteria anyway.
Try instead to get any (relevant) volunteer experience or do some consulting project at work/university if you can.
Thanks a lot Mr Guennael.... I really appreciate your contribution, but I still need to be clarified on this your recommendation,.. "lower your sights a ltitle bit. OK to apply to MBB, but if they do the show interest you need to apply to the tier 2 and boutique firms. Say you get in, you can always reapply to MBB in a couple of years with a much stronger profile"...Enlighten me more about applying to Tier 2 and boutique firms... What do you mean by that?.... Even the abbreviation, MBB.... Throw more light.. Please
Thanks sir .... I desire consulting because I am passionate about problem solving and business efficiency .... Again, I can analyze issues with ideas (a good analyst without any training) ...As a microbiology graduate, I know I have to develop myself a long way...but what's the best way to go about it?... Which role or job functions would I take up during this time to add value to my resume towards consulting career?.... Which course should I go for now as a microbiologist?.... If I eventually have an opportunity to apply to boutique firms, do my application have the chance of being accepted as a microbiologist?.... I recently applied for masters in business analytics, how good is this course and what future opportunities can it provide for me?.... All these questions run on my mind now ... Please I need more of your advice...
AT Kearney and others have no branch here in Nigeria
AT Kearney and others have no branch here in Nigeria
Thanks a lot..Mr Guennael.... The issue is that I tried to apply for Deloitte, Accenture and KPMG Nigeria but can't find any reliable way to do that .. Because here in Nigeria, these companies rarely recruit for business consulting trainee or associate.... They majorly focus on advertising and recruiting for audit trainees.... I tried looking for ways to submit application for consulting, but up till now, I have not seen any relevant opportunity....
Thanks a lot Miss Anita..I will chat u up on that...
Hi Josephine, WOULD BE HAPPY TO HELP FINE TUNE YOUR COVER LETTER/CV. I always pass through the screening stage due to some tips I would like to share.
We can chat up
feel free to reach out if you are still struggling
You may get a dozens of advices and read hundreds of articles of on how to make you CV and CL amazing. But in fact you just need somme professional look on it.
Feel free to send it me and we can discuss it.