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Management Consulting Resume Cover Letter for Management Consulting: The Complete Writing Guide and Examples
Every year, big 3 consulting firms McKinsey, BCG, and Bain (MBB) receive a million applications and reject more than 80% of them even before interviews. CV and cover letters are your only chance to impress recruiters. In such tight games with competitors from HBS, Wharton, Sloan, etc., you must be exceptional in every way possible, even to the smallest details. The resume is important, but Cover Letter is another weapon you absolutely need to utilize.
Why Consulting Cover Letter Is Important?
Be outstanding in the applicant pool
A resume is a cold hard sheet. But a Cover letter feels more like a human. It tells stories highlighting your personality and how you will come across as a person.
In the massive application pool, it is increasingly harder and harder for screeners to notice or remember any applicant. And when humans typically remember stories much better than facts, a Cover letter is really a tool to stand out.
Demonstrate interest in the firm & role
A resume is very good at showing one’s qualifications. But it hardly shows the strong desire to get in. History shows that the hungry ones will typically do much better in the job. So it’s not uncommon for screeners to give a slight favor to those with that will.
List additional details beyond the resume
While you mostly have to follow a set of standards in the resume, there is much more flexibility when it comes to cover letters. This opens up opportunities to describe you as a whole package. You can bring another level of detail, much beyond the resume.
Top 5 Writing Tips to Perfect Your Cover Letter for Consulting?
1. Write the cover letter with the standard format
Although we encourage you to think a little outside of the box, a structured and conservative cover letter is always the way to go. The standard format usually includes essential basics below:
Font: Keep it simple and professional. Choose classic ones like Arial, Calibri, or especially Times New Roman
Font Size: Neither too large nor too small. ~12 points is good.
Letter Length: Limit within one A4 page and up to four paragraphs
Spacing: Use Single or 1.15 spacing between lines & Double-spacing between paragraphs
Margins & Alignment: Use Left-aligns & One-inch margins on all sides
File Format: Doc or PDF (and rename the file with the formula: First Name- Last Name-Cover-Letter )
Header: Include date & contact info with the proper format in the top-left corner
Salutation: Greet the hiring managers by calling out his/her name (Avoid “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” phrases)
- Body: A maximum of 3 paragraphs:
- The opening focuses on the self-introduction and your enthusiasm
- The central explains how your skills and experiences are a good fit for the job
- The Call-to-Action sum up your qualifications and ask for a meeting, i.e: an interview
Complimentary close & signature: Close the cover letter in a professional manner, plus with your signature and full name
2. Highlight relevant information from your resume
If you have strong items from the resume that the screener may miss, this is a good chance to highlight them.
It’s not just about repeating the bullet points from your resume. Bring them to the next level with compelling and attractive storytelling. Don’t forget to show how you can bring these achievements to the new role.
3. Tell your story with evidence-based stories
Everybody loves listening to stories. But consultants love stories filled with subjective facts and data. Don’t babble ambiguously; show the recruiters a sense of accountability and transparency instead. Fill them with subjective facts and numbers that nobody can deny or challenge.
4. Make connections with the employers’ demand
Your cover letter is a sales pitch. Show your qualifications, but don’t just repeat words in the job posting. Go another level deeper and show recruiters your understanding of the company’s core values, culture.
5. Never send your cover letter before reviewing it
The same goes for resumes. Simple mistakes like spelling, formatting, etc. can be really costly for you. This can be easily avoided if you really want to: Carefully proofread your letter; integrate spell-check programs; read your letter out loud, or even ask an experienced reviewer for help.
Consulting Cover Letter Sample from successful applicants
As a formal McKinsey screener, I only receive a handful of good consulting cover letters among thousands of applications. It is rare to find a really good one. Indeed, they follow the writing tips above very closely.
Keen to see one?