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German Cover Letter Advice Needed

Anonymous A asked on Jan 03, 2019 - 2 answers

Hey everyone, I'm not German but I studied my MA here in Germany and am applying to MBB/2nd tier/in-house firms. I've written cover letters for positions in Germany previously but they were for low-stakes Studentenjobs/Nebenjobs. Obviously consulting firms are a different level.

My contacts in several of these firms have informed me that the cover letter is extremely important, which is quite different from several other countries where I've lived where the cover letter is just a formality which is rarely even looked at. My contacts have kindly offered to refer me, but of course, not without a cover letter.

I will be writing it in English, but does anyone have any advice about certain things which may be super important to do/not to do in a German cover letter which might be unique to Germany or consulting firms? Or just tips in general? Like I said, I know how to write a cover letter, but I come from an untraditional background and really need my cover letter to stand out.

Thanks in advance everyone!

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Sidi
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replied on Jan 05, 2019
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 100+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Hi Anonymous,

I would strongly recommend to always start with your strongest argument, i.e., what YOU bring to the table. Your motivation is rounding off your storyline.

So here is a structure that tends to work very well:

0. Subject line which clearly indicates the purpose of the letter (i.e, application) and the position

1a. Short first paragraph* outlining ~3 central requirements that you believe are needed to excel at the job you apply for (--> ask yourself "what makes an excellent consultant?" --> https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-makes-a-good-management-consultant-1710)

1b. Second paragraph where you give evidence how your skills, experience, and track record lead to a strong match with exactly these previously outlined requirements

2a. Third paragraph outlining your motivation to work in consulting

2b. Fourth paragraph outliningyour motivation to work at the specific firm

Cheers, Sidi

* If you use a referral, you can start the cover letter with a short sentence where you mention the corresponding person within the firm.

Anonymous replied on Jan 03, 2019

Hi,

As far as I know, some of the MBB firms do no longer require a cover letter in Germany. Nevertheless, the (optional) cover letter can be useful to elaborate on your motivation + skills.

As for the content, try to not duplicate the cv and add colour to your profile. Instead of mentioning what you did, explain why you did it. I would also recommend to write the cover letter in German. As you know, German consulting firms expect candidates to speak sophisticated German, so I would see it as an opportunity to showcase that you are indeed able to meet the language requirements.