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How important is the cover letter?

Anonymous A

Does anyone know how important the cover letter is during the selection process? Do only HR recruiters check them or also the consultant who interviews you later? Do they ask questions specifcially about the cover letter or just the CV? How much effort should I put into this?

Any help appreciated! Thanks guys

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Alexey
Expert
replied on 03/17/2017
McKinsey experienced hire consultant

Hi Anonimous A

The cover letter is very important because of 2 main things:
- HR recruiters use it as an information source on your carreer path, motivation and willingness to be a consultant within their firm (and this becames crucial, when there are some gaps or unstandart situation inside your CV such as unusual job positions, not very clear shifts between employers or not correllated education)

- Interviewers do not often but still read your CV mainly for better understanding of who you are and what questions you to ask. CV also shows them your desire to get into the company and your ability to structurally communicate the most important information about yourself

Of cource your CV is not the most important part of the whole selection process but when correctly composed - it could help you a lot to land your dream job in consulting!

Hope it helps
Best Regards
Alexey

Chris replied on 03/21/2017
Ex-BCG Consultant / Interviewed 80+ applicants at BCG / Received offers from McK (US) and BCG (DE)

Hi there!

It's mostly read by the recruiters in my experience. So it is mainly needed to get into the interviews at all.

But even if you have the most amazing CV, it still makes sense to put some work into it and make sure it's free of mistakes and tells a coherent story.

Personally I prefer short letters, but wouldn't generalize.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous B replied on 03/21/2017

I know for a fact that not every recruiter reads the cover letter. It also depends on where you are applying, for example, in countries like India you are not even allowed to attach a cover letter, but only a single page résumé because they receive hundreds of applications when recruiting on campus.

However, I still put a lot of effort into writing them because of course some people do check them and find it really important as Alexey pointed out the reasons. I try to make sure the cover letter adds value to the application and is not just a repetition of CV and empty set phrases.