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Ken

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6

Cover letter/motivation value-add component

In cover letters, applicants write about how they would add value to the firm (e.g."How would your addition to the team bring...", "Why you"). But compared to entry-level applicants with 0 experience, consultants in the firm have much more expertise in terms of industry knowledge and strategic thinking. So what kind of value-add are they looking for from entry-level applicants?

In other words, how should we approach writing about the way we could add value? Considering that we're not likely to bring forth extraordinary specialties to the firm.

Thanks very much!

In cover letters, applicants write about how they would add value to the firm (e.g."How would your addition to the team bring...", "Why you"). But compared to entry-level applicants with 0 experience, consultants in the firm have much more expertise in terms of industry knowledge and strategic thinking. So what kind of value-add are they looking for from entry-level applicants?

In other words, how should we approach writing about the way we could add value? Considering that we're not likely to bring forth extraordinary specialties to the firm.

Thanks very much!

(edited)

6 answers

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Book a coaching with Ken

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You're absolutely right and it's more about highlighting examples of your past experience and achievements that can be easily extrapolated with what they are looking for and how you can consequently add value if you were to join.

I would frame the cover letter more around "fit and potential" than "how you would add value". I know there's not a huge amount you can mention in a cover letter but overall, I would try to craft a coherent personal (this is super important!) story that covers the following three questions:

+ Why consulting: would be helpful to include max 1-2 lines around why you are interested in consulting (vs. banking, tech, etc.)

+ What are they looking for: most consultancies are very clear on what they look for in candidates. Without going into to details, which you can do in your CV, try to list/highlight a few examples of your relevant experience and achievements that link with that. (e.g., inherent passion for solving complex problems from your engineering degree, building clean water access in developing countries, engineering internship designing a new engine part, etc.)

+ Why a good cultural fit: this is an opportunity for you to show that you know more about the firm than what is on the website. You can mention (current and/or former) consultants who you have spoken with and things that resonated for you (e.g., diverse and inclusive teams, etc.)

You're absolutely right and it's more about highlighting examples of your past experience and achievements that can be easily extrapolated with what they are looking for and how you can consequently add value if you were to join.

I would frame the cover letter more around "fit and potential" than "how you would add value". I know there's not a huge amount you can mention in a cover letter but overall, I would try to craft a coherent personal (this is super important!) story that covers the following three questions:

+ Why consulting: would be helpful to include max 1-2 lines around why you are interested in consulting (vs. banking, tech, etc.)

+ What are they looking for: most consultancies are very clear on what they look for in candidates. Without going into to details, which you can do in your CV, try to list/highlight a few examples of your relevant experience and achievements that link with that. (e.g., inherent passion for solving complex problems from your engineering degree, building clean water access in developing countries, engineering internship designing a new engine part, etc.)

+ Why a good cultural fit: this is an opportunity for you to show that you know more about the firm than what is on the website. You can mention (current and/or former) consultants who you have spoken with and things that resonated for you (e.g., diverse and inclusive teams, etc.)

(edited)

Book a coaching with Gaurav

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In this case, you can make an argumentation "Why you" based on your previous experience - internships, grants, scholarships, and how it goes in line with your qualities of leadership, teamwork, conflict solving, entrepreneurship. I'm sure you have smth to say about it.

Was it helpful to you?

If you need any further help with your documents, feel free to drop me a line.

GB

In this case, you can make an argumentation "Why you" based on your previous experience - internships, grants, scholarships, and how it goes in line with your qualities of leadership, teamwork, conflict solving, entrepreneurship. I'm sure you have smth to say about it.

Was it helpful to you?

If you need any further help with your documents, feel free to drop me a line.

GB

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Hi Anonymous,

First of all it's clear to any interviewer/evaluator of your application documents that as entry-level hire you won't bring the skills of a senior manager. So don't worry too much about the experience you bring to the table.

The trick here is to focus on the key aspects relevant for a strong consultant (for McKinsey specifically leadership, personal impact, entrepreneurial drive, problem solving, but it's the same across the board for MBB). This will make you a valuable contribution to the team nevertheless!

Important: Don't just mention those points. You need to prove them. Each day I hear and see a lot of BS ... but without any prove for those aspects (i.e. real-life situations in which you built those skills) I completely ignore them in the valuation and it's furthermore demonstrating a lack of persuasive communication (not good by itself).

Hope this helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button below!

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

First of all it's clear to any interviewer/evaluator of your application documents that as entry-level hire you won't bring the skills of a senior manager. So don't worry too much about the experience you bring to the table.

The trick here is to focus on the key aspects relevant for a strong consultant (for McKinsey specifically leadership, personal impact, entrepreneurial drive, problem solving, but it's the same across the board for MBB). This will make you a valuable contribution to the team nevertheless!

Important: Don't just mention those points. You need to prove them. Each day I hear and see a lot of BS ... but without any prove for those aspects (i.e. real-life situations in which you built those skills) I completely ignore them in the valuation and it's furthermore demonstrating a lack of persuasive communication (not good by itself).

Hope this helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button below!

Robert

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Hi there,

You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 – the one you are referring to – 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.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi there,

You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 – the one you are referring to – 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.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Hey there,

I advice I give undergraduate students I coach, is to look at the value statements/principles (e.g. Leadership, Problem Solving, Customer Focus, Innovation etc etc) of their target firms and provide examples from their education, work or personal adventures that show a fit with those values/principles. You dont have to meet every single value/principle but 2-3 in a cover letter will do the job. In the closing of the cover letter show that you have a plan/vision upon joining the firm.

Dont get bogged down by finding extra-ordinary examples. Anything you have done that made yours and/or others life better is a great example.

Adi

Hey there,

I advice I give undergraduate students I coach, is to look at the value statements/principles (e.g. Leadership, Problem Solving, Customer Focus, Innovation etc etc) of their target firms and provide examples from their education, work or personal adventures that show a fit with those values/principles. You dont have to meet every single value/principle but 2-3 in a cover letter will do the job. In the closing of the cover letter show that you have a plan/vision upon joining the firm.

Dont get bogged down by finding extra-ordinary examples. Anything you have done that made yours and/or others life better is a great example.

Adi

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Sorry, could you reword this question? I'm not sure I follow...it's worded quite confusingly.

Sorry, could you reword this question? I'm not sure I follow...it's worded quite confusingly.

Hi Ian, thank you for the message! Sorry about that, hope the reworded version is clearer now. — Anonymous on Oct 23, 2020 (edited)