The first step to writing your résumé is gathering and organising information. You will need to:
- Research the company – so as to give a direction to your résumé,
- Scrutinise yourself – so as to gain a holistic view of your records and achievements.
Know the company
Your résumé has to be tailored around what the company you apply for looks for in applicants. More specifically, you will need to research:
- Company values,
- Competencies sought in applicants,
- Which functional practices the company focuses on,
- The functional practices you want to join.
Attending a company presentation and networking with current employees are usually the best ways of getting a proper understanding of what the company stands for. Once you complete your due diligence you should be able to answer to few basic questions:
- What the company does,
- Who the key competitors are,
- What the company’s positioning in the market is,
- What makes the company stand out among competitors,
- What the culture inside the company is like.
There are three areas you need to focus your attention on:
- Factual information,
Factual information includes your personal details, your academic history, employment history, extracurricular activities and details about the company you are applying to.
Collecting and organising all the information in a precise and structured way helps both to highlight the necessary skills for the company you are applying to, and to build up your achievements.
Consulting firms look for candidates with very specific skills; you need to refer to each of these in your résumé, together with 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|
Creating models from data,
Solving particularly challenging problems in any scientific area,
Analysing data to extrapolate conclusions,
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.
Having a position of responsibility in university clubs or societies,
A position of responsibility in previous employment,
Any evidence of managing people,
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.
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.
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.
Skills are useless if not put into practice. Power without control. Achievements show how you managed to leverage your skills to achieve impact, which is what consulting is about. Recruiters are not passionate about your past roles. They are looking for an achiever with the best fitting skillset. Our guide turns your responsibilities into eye-catching, relevant achievements in 5 steps.
STEP 1: What did you 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 readerwith 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:
- Revenue: 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?
- Did you participate in client meetings? What contributions did you make to the team? What results did you bring?
- Did you create any important reports or presentations? Who was the intended audience? What results did they bring??
- 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 to. 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 at the end of this section, 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.
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).
Never forget that recruiters will have to go through hundreds of resumes and will only spend between 30 seconds and 1 minute for each. They will evaluate your resume mechanically rather than creatively, looking for specific words, a.k.a. buzzwords, that signal achievement. Find out the most relevant buzzwords for the most commonly skills sought in consulting below:
Example in context: Presented to the CFO on a weekly basis concerning implementation of newly introduced budgeting policies.
Example in context: Led a team of 20 in the roll out of a new IT system over a 3-year period.
- Dealt with,
Example in context: Built analytical model forecasting inventory needs with an 80% accuracy rate.
- Accounted for,
Example in context: Devised a new procurement strategy leading to a 10% saving on commodities purchased.
Example in context: Co-founded student support groups with 200 volunteers to provide help during flood.
Example in context: Teamed up with 10 fellow students to raise funds for war widows.
Example in context: Investigated correlation between foreign investment and level of corruption.