Best Practices for a Management Consulting Cover Letter

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Strategy Consultant Cover Letter

The purpose of a cover letter can be compared to that of a key: It opens the door. However, in management consulting, recruiters have hundreds of cover letters and they must select those which “fit.” To ensure that your cover letter opens doors for you, it must stand out from the crowd.

The best practices for a management consulting cover letter are tried and true methods which will help you create a cover letter that grabs the attention of management consulting recruiters. By following the strategies below, you will be a step ahead of the competition.

Think before Writing

Before you turn on your computer and start listing your qualifications, decide on which qualifications to include and how to write them so recruiters will take notice. To do this, you might want to try the following:

Online Research Visit the management consulting firm’s website and learn about their humble beginnings, values, goals, and corporate culture.
Ideal Characteristics Identify the characteristics recruiters look for in applicants. Are they inclined to hire academic achievers or people-oriented candidates?
Social Media Follow the firm’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) for relevant details and keep updated with recent announcements and notices.
Networking Network with people who have substantial knowledge about the firm. Nothing beats an insider’s tips and feedback.

At this stage, gather as much information as you can; it will guide you in tailoring your cover letter according to what the firm is looking for in an applicant and what they need as an organization.

Supply the Right Information

Your management consulting cover letter should not rehash your resume. It should be used as an opportunity to highlight information not included in your resume. Consider adding the following:

Name Calling Mention an expert you’ve met at an event and explain how that encounter has inspired you to pursue a consulting career at Bain, McKinsey, or other firms.
Work Gap Explanation Explain obvious gaps in your work history. You should provide the reasons why you were not employed for a certain period.
Motivation and Soft Skills Elaborate on your motivation for transitioning into management consulting and how your soft skills will help you acclimate to and perform well in the workplace.
Accomplishment Driven Emphasize a significant accomplishment you achieved at school or work that earned you honors, distinction, or a promotion.

Check the Grammar and Layout

Before sending out your management consulting cover letter, review it more than once to make sure it conforms to the following:

Sentence Construction It must be free from grammatical and spelling errors. Because excellent written communication skills are an important requirement in this industry, these blunders are a big no-no.
Language Keep the language simple and concise. Cover letters that are too wordy are exhausting and boring to read.
Margins Use correct margins and double space between paragraphs.
Accuracy Does it contain the right information? Check the name, position, and address of the recipient and verify it is addressed to the correct firm.
Font Font style and size must be legible. Conventional fonts such as Tahoma, Times New Roman, and Arial are preferred.
Signature Include your handwritten signature; it adds more credibility and sincerity.

One final thing: Never follow the one-size-fits-all technique for management consulting cover letters. It must be personalized to convey your utmost interest in the position.


How to Write a Cover Letter for Management Consulting

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cover letter

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.

Correct Explanation

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.

Name Dropping

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.

Using Keywords

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.

Mistakes to Avoid in a Management Consulting Cover Letter

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Strategy Consultant Cover Letter

Writing an interesting cover letter is one effective way of catching the attention of recruiters. If you don’t sell yourself perfectly, you will most likely not be considered for an interview. The cover letter demonstrates your written communication skills; skills that are very important for management consultants.

You can avoid these mistakes by completely being aware of the areas where applicants tend to fall short. Five of them are the following:

#1: Resume Rehash

Your cover letter is not a resume revision in narrative form. What you need to do is to highlight your main accomplishments that would prompt the recruiters to refer to your resume for more details. Your cover letter can also explain your main goals, inconsistencies in your resume, gaps in employment, or career shifts.

#2: Grammatical and Typo Errors

Writing skill is an important capability management consultants must possess because they need to:

  • Write progress reports
  • Send emails to clients and colleagues
  • Create presentations for senior management

Hence,typographical and grammatical errors on cover letters may imply incapability to produce those deliverables. Your job application should be thoroughly proofread before it’s sent out. Ask a friend or a professional to help you out for their fresh eyes may notice errors you might have overlooked. As experienced by many, too much familiarity can lead to blunders.

#3: Inaccurate Information

At times, when you’re sending your application in succession, you tend to forget to change the name of the firm, the contact person or the position you’re applying. This projects your carelessness, something detrimental to your application.

To let you understand the scenario empathetically, imagine yourself getting a letter from a random stranger. When you open it and notice it’s addressed to someone else, what will you do? You will perhaps stop reading it because it’s not meant for you anyway. If a recruiter does the same thing with your application, you will lose your first opportunity to get through the process successfully.

#4: Generic Cover Letter

Are you just using, “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “Dear HR Director,” for your recipient?  Then perhaps you are just using a one-size-fits-all cover letter. Using generic cover letters isn’t that terrible, but it is a lazy approach of reaching out to the management consulting firm. Recruiters will readily notice if you’ve written your application specifically for a specific position because of its personal feel. Hence, if you’re after of a good impression, go an extra mile in preparing your cover letter. It might be time-consuming but the value it creates is worth the effort.

#5: Irrelevant Information

The cover letter you send for a management consulting firm must contain relevant information. Babbling in detail about your life story or work history bores recruiters, and in consequence, it may put your application aside. Keep your thoughts simple in four or five paragraphs. Research on what needs to be included in the document. Remember that this document is not an autobiography but a marketing tool. Write only what the recruiters need to know.

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Five Things to Remember in a Consulting Cover Letter

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Before the management consulting recruiter allows you to take the tests and appear for interviews, he or she would read your cover letter first and answer the reject-or-process question. To get through this step, read this article and learn five tips you must keep in mind while writing one.

As an aspiring applicant, you wouldn’t want your application to be discarded right away. To prevent this from happening, the very first step is for you to write and proofread an excellent management consulting cover letter. As a vital marketing tool, it summarizes your suitability for a job in a one-page personalized document. To guide you in the process, enumerated below are five tips you should remember during cover letter preparation.

Tip 1: Writing Complete and Accurate Contact Information

Your application letter may be easily detached from your well-written consulting resume. Hence, it should include your complete name, home address, mobile and landline numbers, email address and other contact information for the recruiter or hiring manager to be able to contact you even without referring to your resume. If you want to get a call from the management consulting firm, be sure to include this information.

Tip 2: Addressing the Letter to the Right Person

Take one more step further and figure out who the letter should be addressed to. It would be better to write the name of the Human Resources (HR) Manager since its the HR Department that conducts the preliminary screening. Using the the general salutation, “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” is too trite and will therefore not distinguish you from the rest. If you have the exact name, it will give the impression that you are truly interested in the company and this may push you on top of the others.

Tip 3: Making the First Paragraph Attention-Grabbing

The first paragraph of your management consulting cover letter sets the recruiter’s mood. If you can get hold of his or her attention, he or she will most likely finish reading the entire document. You can begin by describing how you stumbled upon the job advertisement. If you were referred by somebody from the company, you can state it in this part. End it with a sentence that describes why you are the perfect match for this position.

Tip 4: Elaborating Relevant Skills and Qualifications

In the next two paragraphs, you can highlight your core competencies for the position. Do you have previous work experience that will support your application for Deloitte? What are your skills, abilities, interests, trainings and certifications that will prove you have the best qualifications for a BCG position? Elaborate them in a way that seems beneficial for the management consulting firm. Provide a link between your qualifications and the requirements for the position.

Tip 5: Ending the Letter Smartly

There are a few things you can state towards the end of the letter. You can thank them for considering you for the position or you can reiterate your interest to be a part of the management consulting company.  You can say you are willing to provide references, certifications, recommendation letters and other details should it be necessary. You can also ask for an interview to be able to prove your worth. Here’s an article on what answers to give to some experiential fit interview questions.

Finally, use a formal closing such as ‘Sincerely,’ ‘Respectfully’ and “Kind regards.” Don’t forget to sign the letter if you’re sending a hard copy of your application.

The cover letter is a printed reference that recruiters look into when screening applicants.

Five Things to Avoid in a Consulting Cover Letter

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Strategy Consultant Cover Letter

Many applicants don’t exert sufficient effort in writing a cover letter. Some even believe their resume would already speak for their credentials. This mindset often leads them to writing letters at the eleventh hour, committing a few stumbling mistakes in the process. Read this post and be familiar with these common errors.

The candidate’s resume was exceptional. It has highlighted relevant skills for the management consulting position. It has stated valuable accomplishments in his previous work experience. It follows the resume structure we suggested in this blog post. The presentation was neat and impressive.

However, when the recruiter read his cover letter, his application was instantly put aside. Most probably, he has committed one of the common mistakes applicants make when writing a cover letter.

Mistake 1: Writing a Generic Cover Letter

Recruiters feel the sincerity of your cover letter. The more personalized it is, the greater the chance of getting through. It may be wise to keep a standard management consulting application letter but make sure that you edit it for every vacant position you apply. Each company has a different set of requirements and your letter must be tailored in such a way that their needs can be met if they choose to hire you.

Mistake 2: Neglecting the Face Value

The content of a management consulting cover letter is much more important than its form. However, it doesn’t mean you can disregard the letter’s face value. Use a neat and standard-sized paper. Mind the margins and spaces between the paragraphs.  Limit your font to the formal ones (e.g. Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, etc.). Never use colors and fancy fonts; keep your cover letter simple and professional. Send it in a PDF file.

Mistake 3: Restating Resume Information

Do not just restate your work history on your cover letter in a paragraph form. Concentrate on how you would connect the company’s goals to the services you can render from a general point of view. You can also explain the noticeable inconsistencies or gaps on your resume. For instance, if you are an engineer turned into an aspiring consultant for popular consulting firms like PWC and Monitor, state the reason for the career shift.

Mistake 4: Being Too Casual

You are encouraged to write your resume with a tinge of your personality to get easily noticed by the reader. However, you can’t be too comfortable or informal to include slang words. You must still use the correct tone, language and style. Stay polite because recruiters also assess how professionally you can compose your thoughts.

Mistake 5: Forgetting to Proofread

Ask someone to check the letter for you before you submit it. If you proofread it yourself, you might overlook typos, spelling errors and grammatically incorrect sentences. “Deaf Mr. Williams” or “I am billing to come for an interview” are too embarrassing; they must be avoided.  Getting some objective feedback from another party would be helpful as well. We can do this for you. Our experienced team can provide you with feedback on your cover letter and resume, and increase your chances of landing an interview.

Management Consulting Cover Letter Sample

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resume or cv job application

As an aspiring management consultant, you should do everything to get an invitation to an interview. To get there, you need to nail the first step: writing a concise, informative and enticing management consulting cover letter that presents you as the ideal candidate.

Your cover letter must capture a balance of directness and confidence within the span of a few brief but compelling, descriptive paragraphs. Writing about yourself can be one of the most difficult challenges but is imperative in giving a valuable, powerful first impression and in conveying that you have written communication skills on par with others in the management consulting profession. It can help to see how others have presented themselves.

In the competitive landscape of pursuing a career as a management consultant, you already know that you need to be aggressive, hungry and know what you want, what you have to offer and how to sell yourself. Your management consulting cover letter is your best tool for making the sale. This is regardless whether you apply to top-tier firms such as McKinsey, Bain and BCG or whether you apply to boutique consulting firms.

Pre-Writing Activity

Before you write your management consulting cover letter, come up with a list of your qualifications that match the requirements of your target firm. Take a look at the table below as an example:

  • Internship program or consulting experience
  • Researches conducted while you were a student
  • Relevant coursework
  • Achievements as a student
  • Awards, certifications and honors received
  • Milestones in your previous job
  • Written or spoken languages
  • Attended debates and case competitions
  • Journals and articles published on magazines or newspapers
  • Positions held at school
  • Team leader experience
  • Group projects where you acted as the leader

Writing the Management Consulting Cover Letter

You can be told ad nauseam how crucial your  management consulting cover letter is, and while you undoubtedly believe it, this document is still a troublesome point for many applicants. Putting together the right cover letter with all the necessary elements can be a lot of work. All the “scare tactics” about the make-or-break nature of this document will still not give you the step-by-step guidance and tools you need to get down to the business of actually writing the letter. A good approach is to break the letter down into parts and focus on each, as we will help you do below.


Breaking the Letter Down

A typical management consulting cover letter sample for consulting is organized like the illustration shown. While some items are self-explanatory, such as your contact information, the date and your signature, some things are much more ambiguous. How do you narrow down your experience and your personal skills enough to reflect your value to the desired hiring firm and maintain the brevity and concision required?It can be daunting to approach writing a cover letter that may play a significant role in determining whether or not you will get a chance at a future in management consulting. The process can be broken down into smaller, manageable pieces, giving you the ability to focus on one step at a time.


The opening of your letter provides an opportunity to introduce yourself and immediately get the attention of the reviewer. You have only seconds to make this impression. To succeed, your letter needs to lead to something that differentiates you, is personal, reflects your voice and makes you unique. All this while fitting into the constructs of what the major consulting firms seek in management consultants.

Some good examples of lead-ins include:

Networking Refer to people working at the firm with whom you have had contact and briefly describe your connection to them, how it relates to your application or fit with the firm, particularly if those individuals can act as references for you.
Events Lead with references to any events or seminars in which you have taken part that have involved or been sponsored by the firm in question/to which you are applying. Personal connections and your existing network and experience with the firm can make a difference in tipping the scales in your favor.
Motivation Touch on your motivation for wanting to be a management consultant as well as why this firm, what you know about this firm and how you fit into this firm.

Here’s an example:

I participated in a leadership seminar offer by X & Company in April 2011. My analytical skills and experience in public policy primed me for the workshops run by your firm’s government specialists, David Jones and Anne Smith. Mr Jones and Ms Smith encouraged me to put my dual MBA and MPA degrees to use at X & Company, citing my superior cross-functional and multidisciplinary communication skills and my passion for public policy and governmental affairs as particular strengths. Management consulting creates a perfect marriage of my expertise in the convergence of public and private business interests.

Experience and Education

Next part of the management consulting cover letter sample is experience and education. Depending on your experience level when you apply, you may emphasize experience over education, while a new graduate will not have much experience about which to write. Your resume will provide a formal list of all your education and experience, so you will not need to write extensively about every experience. The most important thing to reflect here is the most relevant experience and education.

Your job here is to sell yourself. You will do a bit of self-selling in all the sections of this management consulting cover letter, but it will be most prevalent in the experience and education section and again in your recounting of personal skills. In a way, these sections are related. If it flows better and makes more sense, you can feel free to switch sections around, so your motivation statement comes earlier or later, and experience and skills follow one another.

It is imperative in writing this section that you are specific and detailed. That is, choose specific and highly relevant and impressive achievements and accomplishments and illustrate them with solid action words and, wherever possible, concrete evidence or results of your efforts. If your effort on a project led to a ten percent increase in sales, a 25 percent increase in productivity, a five percent reduction in production budget or some other tangible result, back up your claims about experience with hard data. Similarly, you can highlight leadership roles you have assumed, programs you have organized, clubs or organizations you founded or contributed to and so forth.

As the co-chair of the X committee on X, negotiations between my department at the Department of XZ and an external agency were on the brink of collapse. My data analysis skills and fast thinking bridged the gap between the agencies when I created a data report and presentation that illustrated the 23% cost savings the external agency would reap over five years. One of my greatest professional contributions has been contributing to real savings and results by applying my creative thinking and problem solving skills coupled with the ability to strip conflicts down to their basic parts and offering solutions. In an advisory capacity, I have bridged many gaps between the public and private sector as the boundaries between these sectors blur.

My expertise and education in both private business and public agencies has given me unique insight into finding synergies between the public and private sectors.


While you may feel strongly that you are destined to be a management consultant, your passion and drive has to be conveyed as strongly in writing. Presenting your motivation for wanting to have this rewarding career can be difficult. One aspect of management consulting cover letters that is often missing is the sense of why and how much the applicant is motivated. It is important to infuse this section with your own voice, tone and personality. The danger is that you can come across sounding generic at best and careless at worst (for example, if you are cautious, you have left your motivation as an afterthought). This section should be carefully crafted and well thought out. Concrete motivations for your desired career choice will come through as being sincere.

Having worked extensively in the public sector and driven many hybrid public-private projects, it became clear that my skills and experience would best be employed in management consulting. In my work with ELW and Partners, the collaborative and deeply analytical, sober approach to making recommendations and strategic plans informed my decision to apply to ELW and to leave the public sector. In particular, the large-scale XX public works project in which ELW worked closely with my government agency and a third-party corporation demonstrated to me the potential of collaborative management and my future in it.

Personal Skills

Your personal skills should set you firmly apart from other applicants and paint a picture of you as a unique applicant with something to offer that is unlike anything anyone else’s personal portfolio can rival. Again, you are selling yourself with confidence and honesty. Along the same lines as how you presented yourself in your experience and education section, you will highlight your personal skills using examples that are as tangible as possible.

Personal skills cannot be demonstrated as readily as quantifiable results. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to trigger the flow of thoughts on personal skills and abilities:

  • What can you bring to this firm that no one else can?
  • Why would this firm regret losing out on hiring you?
  • Why would this be a perfect marriage between you and this firm?
  • How are you a leader or a driver?
  • What unique things have you done or accomplished?

More specific to the realm of personal skills, ask yourself how you have demonstrated the following in relation to your past experience and education:

  • problem solving and analytical skills
  • communication skills
  • team working skills
  • personal impact and leadership skills
  • business judgment skills

Here’s an example for this section:

If you were to ask any of my colleagues about my professional strengths, all would say without hesitation that my approach to problem solving and analysis is key to my success as well as the success of the teams I have led. In particular, in terms of breaking problems down into manageable parts and dividing them among the best-prepared team members, I have been a leader and have displayed keen team building and organizational skills. My teams have consistently reported stronger annual results and higher team morale.

My leadership has been instrumental in helping to keep these communication and teamwork channels open.


Your closing is your opportunity to conclude, recap briefly and to thank the reviewer for their time and consideration. You may restate your motivation or encourage the firm to contact you. In any case, this is meant simply to close the letter politely.


Close your cover letter using professional words such as:

  • Kind regards,
  • Respectfully,
  • Sincerely,
  • Most sincerely,
  • Yours truly,

Don’t forget to attach your signature as well to express your sincerity in applying to the firm. Simply scan your signature, crop the image and insert it to your cover letter accordingly.

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Review Service for Your Consulting Cover Letter and Resume

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The consulting business “runs a tight ship” so-to-speak. This profession is one that has its’ most critical eye on every single detail. Consulting firms seek specific traits in its consultants, and therefore it’s important that you showcase your skills, your education and your ability to excel, in a creative and impressive way. Read more…

Employers in general usually spend less than one minute on reviewing a resume/cover letter so you want to be among the select few “eye-catching” applicants.

Among the list of areas that can make or break your cover letter and resume are:

  • Specific content – Consulting firms seek some very specific skills so your content should make you stand out and display your innovativeness in a strategic way.
  • How aesthetically pleasing and professional your format is – This can include the way you use numbers & numbering, bullets, margins, spaces, fonts and more.
  • How much content you provide – “Just enough” content should be used in each section. Too much content or too little content can be a deciding factor in your fate.
  • The way you address coursework, awards, scholarships, etc..– Be mindful of how much you “list”! Pick the few that will showcase your unique path but don’t overwhelm the reader with every single accomplishment.

Leading Consulting Firm McKinsey & Company state “We look to hire individuals with leadership potential, integrity, a sharp analytical mind, creativity, and the ability to work with people at all levels in an organization.” Notice some of the keywords, “leadership potential”, “sharp analytical mind”, “creativity” – it is massively important to present these skills in the proper way; the key is to display these skills in your document, not just to say that you possess them.”

Another leading Consulting Firm, Bain & Company, has been known to consider applicants based on more than just their educational background. One of their Managers out of San Francisco said, “Bain was open to my non-MBA experience and valued my real world business experience”. provides a review service that will help you perfect your resume and cover letter so that you can ‘make the grade’ when it comes to those cherished consulting positions.’s Resume and Cover Letter Review Service will review your documents within 48 hours and provide detailed guidance on how you should improve your application to increase your chances in securing that coveted position of Consultant.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch and see how we can help you!

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Proofread Your Consulting Application

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We’re sure that you have heard the importance of proofreading your resume and cover letter to make sure you don’t make any mistakes. It is not good enough to have someone make sure your grammar and mechanics are in top form. You need people who truly understand the position that you want to obtain. Read more…

You Can’t Do It Yourself

The proofreading and editing process is not a one-person job. If it was, top reporters and journalists wouldn’t need a copy desk at their paper, and authors would just send their manuscripts to be published. Even if you don’t have a lot of time before your deadline, you can still make your application look more professional and reflect your best attributes.

Professional Editors

We think that there is value in getting a professional business editor to look over your resume and cover letter before you send your application package to a top management consulting firm. This site and our work have benefited from top-notch writers and editors who help us make our writing crisp.

Freelancers are one option, but be sure to ask for samples of work they have done in the past. Also consider looking for business management editors who specialize in the field.

Contacts Within The Industry

If you have done your homework and networked with mentors or other experts in the management consulting field, you should take the advantage you have and ask them to review what you’ve written. They may not pick out the usage issues that others will, but they can point out areas that would confuse a recruiter or keep your application out of the interview file.

This works well for people who have already established a relationship with someone in the sector. If you have, be sure to find something thoughtful as a thank you gift. Favors done for you deserve the same follow-up skills you will put on display throughout the interview process.

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Write Great Consulting Cover Letters

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cover letter

Writing your cover letter is the first step to a career within a top tier management consulting firm. Your cover letter is not as important as the resume. However, it is still important that you make it professional and sell yourself in a best way. Read more to get tips on how to write great cover letters.

1. Proofread Your Cover Letter

Proofread once and do it once more! Make sure that your letter is grammatically correct and without typos. Also, double check all firm names, people’s names and addresses. Consulting cover letter mistake number one is to include the wrong consulting firm name – say sending a McKinsey application to Bain. This will not land you the interview!

2. Tailor Your Cover Letter to Each Firm

Sending generic consulting letters will lead to failure. You need to take the time to customize your cover letter by including firm specific details. This sends a strong signal of true interest.

3. Market Yourself

The cover letter is your chance to sell yourself. Remember that top tier consulting firms look for extraordinary people, hence the reader should be left with that impression after having read your cover letter.

4. Stick to the Facts

State the facts i.e. your skills and your qualifications and do not exaggerate them. Moreover, let the employer judge your skills. It can appear arrogant and presumptuous to conclude that you are the best person for the position. Impress the reader with your skills and let him or her reach his or her own conclusions.

5. Have Other People Give You Feedback

Use your network and let another person read your cover letter and then give you feedback. It always helps to have a “fresh set of eyes” look it through before submitting.

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