that’s a good question. As many candidates apply to 5-6 different companies, they usually find challenging to weight whether to (i) do proper research on firms, which may take relevant amount of time, knowing the cover may not be even read at the end and (ii) don’t do research and have a copy-pasted cover which may lead to poor impression if actually read.
In the end, in the company part of the cover, consulting companies mainly look whether you have done a minimum of due diligence or if you have copy-pasted your content. I would recommend focusing on three areas to personalize your cover letter, choosing at least one of them to put in it:
- Growth of the company in recent years. That may come from the number of offices or, if available, revenues growth rate
- Relevant sectors covered, with reference to clients/projects
- Relevant alumni of the companies, ideally coming from the office you are applying for
Each of the previous areas should require 5 minutes of online research to be covered, so you can get a personalized cover in max 15 minutes.
Identifying the best employer is a bit trickier; the best thing would be to talk to current and former employees to get candid feedback, as the online material would probably miss critiques – I used that approach when I had to choose between other companies and BCG from my side.