Intro to Consulting Resume

Three reasons why your resume is crucial

REASON #1: 400 WORDS TO CONVINCE RECRUITERS

No matter how good your background is, a poorly written CV will not land you an interview. In such a competitive sector, every aspect of your CV needs to be impeccable

REASON #2: 40% of the outcome

"Poor fit" is becoming one of the most common causes of rejecting candidates. In firms like McKinsey you'll spend about 40% of your interview talking about your past achievements, i.e. your resume

REASON #3: 30 SECONDS DON'T ALLOW FOR MISTAKES

Your CV will be screened in about 30 seconds. Putting the right information in the right place is crucial if you are to have any chance of success. There is no second chance

Is the consulting resume really different?

The resume is usually seen as a standardised chronological record of your past roles and experiences. However, the consulting resumes is different: 

SKILL-ORIENTED

There are specific skills and sets of behaviours required to be successful as a consultant. Consulting recruiters carefully select the candidates whose achievement signal specific desirable skills. 

ACHIEVEMENT FOCUSED

Consulting recruiters are not passionate about roles. Unless you were an astronaut or a secret agent, you have limited chances of impressing a recruiter with your past positions. Consulting Firms are looking for achievements. Each bullet point on your CV should show how you made a difference in your role, not the title you had on your business card.

Skill-oriented resume

Consulting firms look for candidates with very specific skills; you need to mention each of these in your résumé together through supporting factual evidence from your experience. The table below summarises the key consulting skills and offers suggestions for supporting evidence.

Skill Example of supporting evidence
Analytical Creating models from data
Solving particularly challenging problems in any scientific area
Analysing data to extrapolate conclusions
Programming skills
Problem solving Experimental work in any scientific area
Solving a problem by identifying root causes and proactively addressing them
Finding an alternative and more efficient solution to a problem you previously encountered.
Leadership Leading teams
Having a position of responsibility in university clubs or societies
A position of responsibility in previous employment
Any evidence of managing people
Organising events
Teamwork Playing any team sport
Team projects at university or at previous employment
Taking part in volunteering groups
Ability to deliver results Evidence of completing a task with a quantifiable outcome
Designing and completing a demanding project with a tangible outcome, such as a website
Improving the efficiency of a process at previous employment or at university
Raising funds for a charity
Learning a language
Functional expertise Collaborating with industry at university
Internship in a particular sector
Work experience in a sector
Evidence of skills in a specific sector
Working extensively in a specific area
Following the development of a particular industry
Entrepreneurial spirit Starting your own business
Writing a successful blog
Proposing volunteering activities
Evidence of putting an idea into action
Finding a solution to a problem in a short time

HOW TO EXPRESS SKILLS

You will showcase your competencies in the list of achievement-based bullet points. Some résumés outline competencies directly e.g.

“showed analytical skills by creating a model for the tyre market forecast”

Recruiters, however, prefer you to list the achievements using the right buzzwords, e.g.

“analysed trends in the tyre market and created a model which forecast demand for the
next 5 years”

There is no point in outlining what skills you displayed, as the reader will guess them if you
use the right buzzwords. For a comprehensive list of buzzwords and step-by-step advice on writing your resume, download our guide for free.

Build your achievements

WHAT IS AN ACHIEVEMENT?

Each bullet point on your CV should show how you made a difference in your role, not the title you had on your business card. It takes multiple iterations and a lot of refining to nail the shift from roles to fact-based achievements, but the difference is striking, as shown by the following example:

Role oriented
“Organized monthly review meetings with CEO, set agenda and sent updates to top management”
Fact-based achievements oriented
“Streamlined intra-company communication flows by organizing weekly review meetings with the CEO, identifying key issues to be discussed and aligning all top management”

Even if content is the same, the rephrased version shows the way in which you brought change to the company, and thus transforms an executive assistant role such as “agenda setting” into highly appreciated prioritization skills such as “identifying key issues”. Below you can find a simple, four steps method that you should follow in your case interviews. 

STEP 1: WHAT DID YOU DO?

WHAT THE INTERVIEWER WILL DO:

Create a list of all the things you were responsible for in the roles you held in your professional and academic career together with some key duties you had. For example:

  • SUMMER INTERN: Schedule meetings with investors
  • BUSINESS ANALYST: Created excel model forecasting demand
  • COMMUNICATION INTERN: Helped directors in preparing presentations
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT: Responded to customer calls
  • TREASURER OF UNIVERSITY SOCIETY: Managed funds and introduced new sponsors

STEP 2: WHAT DID YOU REALLY DO?

Create a detailed list covering all of the most important aspects of the key actions you performed, both on you own or as part of a team. The key here is not to overwhelm the reader with minor details, but to give a concise fact-based overview of the steps you took in order to achieve the desired outcome. Avoid general statements, such as increased customer satisfaction, and add figures, percentages, and other quantifiable information to the story. Use numbers: they are the most straightforward action based expressions and stick to recruiters’ minds.

  • Scheduled and coordinated monthly meetings with 3 major investors
  • Created analytical model forecasting demand with a 90% accuracy rate
  • Helped 2 directors with market analysis in preparing client proposals
  • Responded to over 50 customer complaint calls a day
  • Managed £ 5k funds and introduced 2 new sponsors

STEP 3: SO WHAT?

Reflect on the implications of each of your actions. What results did your actions bring? Always focus on the difference you made vs. the status quo. Think about all the impact you had on the organization you worked for in these key areas:

AREA IMPLICATIONS
Revenues Did you increase the company's revenues by contributing to the acquisition of new clients or by boosting revenues from existing ones? By how much?
Costs Did you reduce costs? By how much?
Processes Did you increase productivity or reduce downtime? By how much? How did the savings affect the bottom line?
Customers Did you improve interactions with customers? In what capacity? What were the main results?
Clients Did you participate in client meetings? What contributions did you make to the team? What results did you bring?
Awards Did you receive any awards, bonuses. or promotions?

Examples, connected to the previous list could be:

  • Forging a stronger relationship with 3 major investor funds
  • Achieving a 30% reduction in working capital thanks to better accuracy in demand prediction, currently implemented
  • 3 new projects sold worth 2 m
  • Over 85% of customer concerns solved within 3 hours
  • Increased sponsor funding by 30% by introducing 2 new sponsorship contracts

STEP 4: SIGNAL SKILLS THROUGH ACHIEVEMENTS

Your résumé is not a one size-fits-all document. Once you created a list of your most significant achievements you should clearly identify the expected set of skills for the job you are applying for. You can link your achievements to the most sought after competences by using the right buzzwords: verbs and nouns popular among top recruiters that signal certain skills. You can find a list of all key buzzwords in our guide, clustered according to signalled skill.

STEP 5: SYNTHESIS

Finding the right words to describe your achievements is essential. Make sure you don’t exceed 2-3 lines for every achievement and insert only the best 3-5 for each role you covered. The following examples show how to build your achievements and link them to your skills:

ACHIEVEMENT SKILLS
Strengthened relationship with 3 major investment funds by organizing and coordinating monthly analyst meetings Communication skills (interacting with external stakeholders), organization skills (organizing meetings).
Developed analytical model forecasting demand with a 90% accuracy rate, leading to a 30% reduction in working capital. Pitched ideas to top management and launched multi-phase implementation plan. Analytical skills (build analytical model). orientation to results (reduction in working capital).
Supported 2 directors with market analysis to prepare persuasive client proposals, leading to acquisition of 3 new projects worth £2 m Analytical skills (market analysis). Communication skills (interacting with internal clients).
Enhanced customer satisfaction by solving over 90% of 50 daily customer complaints within 3 hours interacting with over 12 departments in the organization Communication skills (interacting with clients and internal departments). Entrepreneurial approach (solution in 3 hours).
Increased society's budget by 30% (from £ 3.5k to £ 4.6k) by negotiating and signing 2 new sponsorship agreements Communication skills (convincing external stakeholders). Entrepreneurial approach (negotiation and signing).

Our editing services: from a good to an outstanding resume

Writing a résumé is a long and iterative process. Make sure you are not blinded by your own biases towards your résumé, because recruiters won't be. Get feedback from experienced consultants before submitting your résumé. Not doing so is simply a risk not worth taking. Even minor nuances can make a difference.