Things to avoid mentioning in cover letter/interview?

Cover letter Interview
New answer on Apr 28, 2020
7 Answers
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Febrian asked on Dec 21, 2019

Hi all, I have questions regarding what to say in cover letter and interview. Are there any specific things I should avoid mentioning in cover letter and interview?

For example, when I was in University, I was a bit lost and did not really know what to do. Is this a bad thing to mention? I was planning to mention that I was lost in University, which led me to intern in many different companies. But now that I have interned in many places, I am certain that I would like to work in a dynamic, fast pace, and challenging environment, such as career in management consulting. How does this sound? Is it too much detail? Or is it too generic? Or is it too negative?

Any advice and help would be really appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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Clara
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replied on Dec 26, 2019
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

When interviewing, "how" you say things can be as relevant as "what" you are saying.

Instead of saying "I was a bit lost and did not really know what to do, which led me to intern in many different companies", try something like "I have always been a very curious person, so during University choosing my interships was never easy, as I had inquisitiveness among diverse areas from economics to physics (for example)!"

Consulting is precisely about knowing little about a lot, and being able to create transversal value about it. Someone who has been "a bit over the place" is never going to be perceived badly, if you know how to tell the story and how that makes u a natural for that job.

Hope it helps.

Cheers,

Clara

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Luca
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replied on Dec 22, 2019
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

I would avoide to say that you were lost, but you can give the idea that there was nothing that was convincing you as "work of your life". It's not a bad thing, it gives the idea of a dynamic person (and you can easily link it to motivate why you would be a good profile as consultant).

Best,
Luca

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Febrian on Dec 23, 2019
Thank you Luca for your answer! I will definitely keep that in mind.
Anonymous replied on Apr 28, 2020

Dear Febrian,

it all depends on how you actually sell the things.

You description as “being lost during the University” sounds really negative. On the other hand you can bring it as follows: “during the University I was very excited to explore many opportunities the economy may offer, and I have done versatile experiences during my internships and now I'm very confident that I want to work in a fast pace collaborative environment which consulting may offer. Therefore I'm highly motivated to bring all my skills and experiences for the benefit of your company.”

How does it sound to you? I think a way better.

In general, there are a couple of things that you need to mention in your “very good” cover letter:

1) Your professional and personal tier to the company that could be established through internal networking with employees

2) You need to show that you have relevant skills which could be used in consulting. This might include leadership experience, excellent content delivery as well as being a good team player.

I hope it helps you.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out.

André

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Vlad
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replied on Dec 22, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Why would you give them arguments against you? Try to build a story and explain logically all your decisions. Also, don't mention things that can be considered as weak points unless they ask themselves. The point of the cover letter is to provide:

  • Your interest in the role
  • Your background
  • Reasons why you are interested in consulting and company

There is no room in the CL to explain your career choices

Best

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Febrian on Dec 23, 2019
Thank you Vlad for the advice! I will keep that in mind when writing my cover letter.
Antonello
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Content Creator
replied on Dec 21, 2019
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi Febrian,
feel free to send it for a quick feedback

Antonello

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Febrian on Dec 23, 2019
Hi Antonello, that would be very helpful! Thank you for offering. I will send you through private message once I finished writing the draft of my cover letter.
Anonymous A replied on Dec 21, 2019

Hi, I would not give them insights into your process of being lost. Instead, better argue how all your different experiences make you the perfect candidate since you have looked into so many industries already. Always try to come from a position of strength! Good luck!

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Febrian on Dec 23, 2019
Hi thank you for your advice! That is a good idea, I will keep that in mind.
Katherine replied on Apr 17, 2020

Every year, big 3 consulting firms McKinsey, BCG, and Bain (MBB) receive a million applications and reject more than 80% of them even before interviews. CV and cover letters are your only chance to impress recruiters.

In such tight games with competitors from HBS, Wharton, Sloan, etc., you must be exceptional in every way possible, even to the smallest details. The resume is important, but Cover Letter is another weapon you absolutely need to utilize.

I recommend that you can get your free management consulting cover letter template here that actually works at MConsultingPrep!

https://mconsultingprep.com/cover-letter-for-management-consulting/

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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