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Florian

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8

Cover letter specifics

Hello, I have a few questions regarding a cover letter:

- should it be one page long or less? any advice on the font/size required?

- I come from a particular background, unrelated to business, so should I sort of explain why I want to shift to consulting and why I have the skills required?

- I know that it's important to mention GPA, schools etc. But if that is not relevant in my case, should I still do it or would it seem odd to mention grades about a totally different major?

- it would be super helpful if I could get some advice about the structure. I know it should be something like: intro - why I am a good fit and what characterizes me - why I want company X - outro.

Thanks in advance!

Hello, I have a few questions regarding a cover letter:

- should it be one page long or less? any advice on the font/size required?

- I come from a particular background, unrelated to business, so should I sort of explain why I want to shift to consulting and why I have the skills required?

- I know that it's important to mention GPA, schools etc. But if that is not relevant in my case, should I still do it or would it seem odd to mention grades about a totally different major?

- it would be super helpful if I could get some advice about the structure. I know it should be something like: intro - why I am a good fit and what characterizes me - why I want company X - outro.

Thanks in advance!

8 answers

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Book a coaching with Florian

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Hey there,

To answer your questions one by one:

1. One page, font size 12, Times New Roman or a similar classic font

2. No matter your background, you always need to highlight 1. why you want to work in consulting, 2. discuss why you want to work for the specific firm, and 3. demonstrate your skills. I would recommend you to use a story-driven approach in your cover letter, using themes and stories to convey your experience and skills. In general, top-tier consulting firms don't care if you are a business major or something completely different.

3. Grades should be mentioned once IF you belonged to top 5-10% of your cohort. School can be mentioned IF you can build a story about your experience and skills that would appeal to consulting recruiters (see previous point)

4. Structure below

  • Brief statement of intentions and personal contacts via referral if you have any
  • Why you are the best candidate
  • Why consulting
  • Why the firm
  • Brief concluding remarks

Also, be aware that the cover letter is not equally important across firms. McKinsey does not care much about it for instance.

Cheers,

Florian

Hey there,

To answer your questions one by one:

1. One page, font size 12, Times New Roman or a similar classic font

2. No matter your background, you always need to highlight 1. why you want to work in consulting, 2. discuss why you want to work for the specific firm, and 3. demonstrate your skills. I would recommend you to use a story-driven approach in your cover letter, using themes and stories to convey your experience and skills. In general, top-tier consulting firms don't care if you are a business major or something completely different.

3. Grades should be mentioned once IF you belonged to top 5-10% of your cohort. School can be mentioned IF you can build a story about your experience and skills that would appeal to consulting recruiters (see previous point)

4. Structure below

  • Brief statement of intentions and personal contacts via referral if you have any
  • Why you are the best candidate
  • Why consulting
  • Why the firm
  • Brief concluding remarks

Also, be aware that the cover letter is not equally important across firms. McKinsey does not care much about it for instance.

Cheers,

Florian

Thanks, that's very helpful! — Chiara on Apr 30, 2021

Also, should I write mine and the company's address or just ignore that part as I am sending it by email? — Chiara on Apr 30, 2021

No harm in adding it :-) — Florian on Apr 30, 2021

Book a coaching with Ian

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Hi Chiara,

Cover letters are a pain! Feel free to message if you'd 1) Like a cover letter template+examples and/or 2) like to learn how to "automate" or mass produce cover letters with a lot less effort/energy!

- should it be one page long or less? any advice on the font/size required?

1 page. 10-11.5 font size. "Normal" font (i.e. Calibri, Times New Roman)

- I come from a particular background, unrelated to business, so should I sort of explain why I want to shift to consulting and why I have the skills required?

Yes

- I know that it's important to mention GPA, schools etc. But if that is not relevant in my case, should I still do it or would it seem odd to mention grades about a totally different major?

No need to mention GPA/schools. In your cover letter you need to reference skills and experiences. They need to fit within the theme of the paragraph! (i.e. I have strong quantitive/qualitative analytics skills. Here is why)

- it would be super helpful if I could get some advice about the structure. I know it should be something like: intro - why I am a good fit and what characterizes me - why I want company X - outro.

1 - intro: I want the role and I have skills a,b, and c that make me a good fit

2 - paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 - Skill A and why/how, Skill B and why/how, Skill C and why/how

3 - closing: Recap the intro in different words

Hi Chiara,

Cover letters are a pain! Feel free to message if you'd 1) Like a cover letter template+examples and/or 2) like to learn how to "automate" or mass produce cover letters with a lot less effort/energy!

- should it be one page long or less? any advice on the font/size required?

1 page. 10-11.5 font size. "Normal" font (i.e. Calibri, Times New Roman)

- I come from a particular background, unrelated to business, so should I sort of explain why I want to shift to consulting and why I have the skills required?

Yes

- I know that it's important to mention GPA, schools etc. But if that is not relevant in my case, should I still do it or would it seem odd to mention grades about a totally different major?

No need to mention GPA/schools. In your cover letter you need to reference skills and experiences. They need to fit within the theme of the paragraph! (i.e. I have strong quantitive/qualitative analytics skills. Here is why)

- it would be super helpful if I could get some advice about the structure. I know it should be something like: intro - why I am a good fit and what characterizes me - why I want company X - outro.

1 - intro: I want the role and I have skills a,b, and c that make me a good fit

2 - paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 - Skill A and why/how, Skill B and why/how, Skill C and why/how

3 - closing: Recap the intro in different words

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Hello Chiara!

I also came to consulting from a non-business background, and I know how hard it is and how lost you feel at the beggining! Don´t worry, it gets easier and easier as you advance, promise :)

CLs are honestly not very important documents, many times they are not even read.

However, your case and mine, as people who come with different background, this may be different. Think about it as a way to explain those things that the rigid CV format does´t allow you.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello Chiara!

I also came to consulting from a non-business background, and I know how hard it is and how lost you feel at the beggining! Don´t worry, it gets easier and easier as you advance, promise :)

CLs are honestly not very important documents, many times they are not even read.

However, your case and mine, as people who come with different background, this may be different. Think about it as a way to explain those things that the rigid CV format does´t allow you.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Hi Chiara,

Answering your questions:

1. 1 page max, ideally no smaller than 10 font size. Agree with Ian on Calibri and Times New Roman as a font

2. Definitely have a paragraph on “Why you” – see point 2 in the structure below

3. No need to mention GPA in the cover – they will see that in the cv

4. You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  • Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  • Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and/or teamwork depending on the company
  • Why you are interested in that particular firm, with 2-3 specific reasons mentioned
  • Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.

For some offices (eg the Middle East) you should also make it clear why you are applying to that particular office.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi Chiara,

Answering your questions:

1. 1 page max, ideally no smaller than 10 font size. Agree with Ian on Calibri and Times New Roman as a font

2. Definitely have a paragraph on “Why you” – see point 2 in the structure below

3. No need to mention GPA in the cover – they will see that in the cv

4. You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  • Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  • Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and/or teamwork depending on the company
  • Why you are interested in that particular firm, with 2-3 specific reasons mentioned
  • Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.

For some offices (eg the Middle East) you should also make it clear why you are applying to that particular office.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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The best cover letter I've seen have a few things in common

  1. Specificity - whatever statements made are backed up with tangible reasons and specific examples e.g. why consulting / why this firm / why they think they are a good fit - no empty platitudes
  2. Demonstrate deep research and thought - really why this firm, don't say things that would be true for ANY firm. Be specific by doing your research
  3. Don't recycle content - when talking about what you have to offer, don't just use the same content in all your cover letters. Tailor the skills and anecdotes you mention based on what skills/values that particular firm mentions
  4. Be concise and use simple language - don't pad out words with complex vocab for the sake of it. It is transparent. The more crisp language you use the better. 3 solid paragraphs of 5 lines with real specific examples are far better than 5 paragraphs of 8 lines each. This isn't easy
  5. No spelling mistakes please!

The best cover letter I've seen have a few things in common

  1. Specificity - whatever statements made are backed up with tangible reasons and specific examples e.g. why consulting / why this firm / why they think they are a good fit - no empty platitudes
  2. Demonstrate deep research and thought - really why this firm, don't say things that would be true for ANY firm. Be specific by doing your research
  3. Don't recycle content - when talking about what you have to offer, don't just use the same content in all your cover letters. Tailor the skills and anecdotes you mention based on what skills/values that particular firm mentions
  4. Be concise and use simple language - don't pad out words with complex vocab for the sake of it. It is transparent. The more crisp language you use the better. 3 solid paragraphs of 5 lines with real specific examples are far better than 5 paragraphs of 8 lines each. This isn't easy
  5. No spelling mistakes please!
Book a coaching with Udayan

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Hi

Anwers below

  • 1 page long max. I would also stick to 500 words MAX
  • Font - min 12
  • It is always good to explain why consulting would be a good fit for you
  • No need to mention GPA and grades in the cover letter
  • My guide has detailed notes on structure and what goes in each paragraph :)

All the best

Udayan

Hi

Anwers below

  • 1 page long max. I would also stick to 500 words MAX
  • Font - min 12
  • It is always good to explain why consulting would be a good fit for you
  • No need to mention GPA and grades in the cover letter
  • My guide has detailed notes on structure and what goes in each paragraph :)

All the best

Udayan

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Hi, I confirm it should be less than a page, answering the 3 most important motivational questions: why you, why consulting, why the firm

Best,
Antonello

Hi, I confirm it should be less than a page, answering the 3 most important motivational questions: why you, why consulting, why the firm

Best,
Antonello

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Hi Chiara,

there are a couple of threads on this topic already. In-short:

- 1 page length
- structure by paragraphs - introduction, why consulting, why specific firm, what you bring to the table that make you a good consultant

Make sure the actual CV is high quality in terms of content / formulation of bullets

Best,
Denis

Hi Chiara,

there are a couple of threads on this topic already. In-short:

- 1 page length
- structure by paragraphs - introduction, why consulting, why specific firm, what you bring to the table that make you a good consultant

Make sure the actual CV is high quality in terms of content / formulation of bullets

Best,
Denis

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