Top ten resume writing tips for consultants

This post will help you write and shape your resume for management and strategy consulting jobs by giving you the top ten best resume writing tips. Your resume is your personal marketing material for landing an interview. You should be thinking of it as one of the tools in your portfolio in addition to networking and recruiting efforts to get you the right interviews.

1. Demonstrate leadership

You may be doing a lot of analysis and report writing in your first several years in management consulting; however, eventually you manage teams of consultants and clients. Also, you will be leading people that do not report to you to help you do many things. Teaming is short term for the projects and client work and you need to have an impact in a relatively short term. Beyond project work, over time you also lead people to build new business, service offerings. Therefore, leadership is valued. Make sure you bring out those kinds of experiences in your resume, whether it is in your job or as team captain of your basketball team.

2. Include your GPA and Test Scores

Not having your GPA and test scores on your resume’s education section is a big red flag. Given high number people apply for these jobs and many with similar backgrounds, these metrics are used as filters. So if you have high GPA and score, make sure you have them in the resume. If they are not good at all, then it may be OK not to include them, but you may not make the cut from the HR filtering before consultants review your resume. If you do make the cut, make sure that you have a good story around why they are not in the resume.

3. Demonstrate your interest in management consulting

Be sure to include your affiliations with management consulting club in your school. Well, if you’re not a member, make sure you join, better yet, actively participate by working on the management committee as club president, social chair, etc. This is great way to network with consultants that come to your campus through event organizations. No consulting club in your school? Take initiate and start one.

4. Highlight your experiences relevant to the profession

When you explain your experiences in any former job, you should be thinking about their relevance to management and strategy consulting. Think about how you interacted with senior management of your company or your clients. When did you present findings? When did you lead a team or contributed to a team? How did you achieve results, what was the impact of your work? For example, “I analyzed customer data, created a presentation, etc.” is not really useful. What was the analysis used for? How did the analysis help management make decisions? What was its impact? Focus on these rather than the mechanics of what you have done.

5. Keep it reader friendly, clean format

Given that the consultant who screens your resume has a couple of minutes at most, make sure your resume can be scanned easily for your best qualities. Use an easily readable format. Do not go below 10pt font (12pt is ideal), choose an easy to read font, e.g. Arial. Have decent margins, so your resume prints fine. Print it before sending via email, read it carefully, check spelling, punctuation and overall look.

6. Keep it short – one page is standard

Your resume is not meant to be autobiography, you only need to include relevant highlights of your career to get an interview. The resume is not going to get you the job, just the interview along with your efforts. Be concise and keep it one page.

7. Include your achievements

You should include any awards in school (scholarships, etc.), in your activies (e.g. sports), military achievements, etc. in your resume. These should be things that relatively few people achieve that show dedication to an endavor.

8. Use action oriented language

When you explain your experiences, use language such as “developed XX”, “improved XX”, “led XX”, be action oriented and use a positive language. Talk about your job experience in terms of things you achieved rather than a list of your responsibilities

9. List your languages and activities

Additional languages, activities you are fond of give the resume a personal touch, it is good to include them. For activities list the original things you are into, such as travel 30 countries, or professional lifeguard. Everyday activities such as eating and reading are interesting only if they are focused on a particular aspect.

10. Tailor the resume for each firm

As you learn more about each firm during the recruiting process, tailor the resume to that firm before you send it out. For example, if you are applying for a high tech practice of a firm, bring out your IT expertise. If you are applying to financial services focused firm (e.g. Oliver Wyman), highlight those kind of experiences.

That’s it for the best resume writing tips. If you need help, you can get resume feedback from Consulting Junkie admins for FREE, at the Consulting Forum. We will review these resumes periodically and answer your questions. Good luck!