With the number of qualified candidates applying for management consulting positions each year, how will you stand out from the crowd? Simple. One initiative is to write an attention-grabbing cover letter.
Preliminary screening is a tedious job for recruiters. Going through piles of documents regularly can be boring and time-consuming. Truth be told, most of them don’t go over each job application word for word due to lack of time. This doesn’t mean they’re ineffective, though. With their years of experience, they would know within 30 seconds if you are for further assessment or not.
And you will increase your chances, if you follow the guidelines below.
Connection between You and the Firm
The cover letter may be your marketing tool, but it doesn’t mean you should write a litany of your strengths and weaknesses. In fact, your information is pointless if you fail to consider the side of the management consulting firm. Don’t just mention you have good verbal and written skills; include how these can help you formulate reports for clients. Don’t just say you value team work; connect it with collaboration with colleagues and clients’ employees. You must establish a link between your abilities and the firm’s needs to signify it’s you who they are looking for.
It’s true that some recruiters read your resume first before going over your cover letter. However, this doesn’t mean the former has more bearing than the latter. There is some information that only your cover letter can provide. For instance, it can explain why you decided to shift from investment banking to management consulting. It can also elaborate the reason for the six-month gap between your second and third job. It can expound why being a volunteer has equipped you for a consulting position. It is preferable to spend time on both documents equally.
If you’ve been considering management consulting as a career option, you would know that networking plays a huge role in getting a slot in a firm. If you’ve interacted with a consultant of your target firm in an event, mention that person in your cover letter. Describe how he or she answered your networking questions and explain how that encounter has inspired you to apply. Make sure, though, that the person has a good reputation in the industry. Otherwise, your application will be doomed.
Most recruiters would just skim over your cover letter for important keywords. Did you go to Harvard to college or did you get a high GPA? Have you previously worked for Deloitte, Bain or any local boutique consulting firm that is well-known for its excellent training and work values? Have you mentioned problem-solving capability, analytical thinking and other success factors necessary for any consulting position? Mention them meaningfully in your cover letter to grab the attention of recruiters.
Before submitting your application to management consulting firms, proofread the document a few times. Ensure you have the correct name and address of the recipient. Watch out for grammar and spelling errors, too, for they are off-putting.