Consulting resume should be visually black-and-white, with four main sections: Education, Work Experience, Extracurricular Activities, and Other Information. Each section must be populated by highly result-oriented and data-driven (i.e. using facts and numbers to display achievements), and written with professional and concise language.

In this article, I will explain each attribute of a consulting resume, and reveal the top five tips you can apply to craft winning consulting resumes. Keep reading!

1. What Consulting Resumes Should Look Like

At first glance, a consulting resume is just like any other resume. You have typical main sections: Personal Information, Education, Work Experience, Extra-Curricular Activities, etc. 

But when looking closer, there is a world of difference. While a normal resume is a quick summary of your professional life, a consulting resume is a celebration of consulting skill sets and qualifications.

Most importantly, consulting resumes strictly follows the “consulting style”, where every word, every bullet, every phrase must scream “consulting”. If you know the consulting industry along with its culture well, every detail of your resume will look “consulting” without you even thinking about it.

#1. Consulting resumes should look Data-driven

The first attribute of consulting style resumes is data-driven and result-oriented. No matter how trivial a task is, you must clearly show the outcome/impact of that task and back it up with measurable figures. This shows output-driven thinking, and consultants love that!

For example, if you flipped burgers at a local fast-food restaurant, show the screeners your record-breaking speed, or your perfect customer satisfaction rate!

Example:

Input way of thinking: “I went grocery shopping”

Output way of thinking: “I went grocery shopping and ensured my whole family will have enough food for the next week.”

#2. Consulting resumes should look Explicit 

When talking about yourselves in consulting resumes, the way to go is through objective information. Screeners don’t care about YOUR opinion about yourself. You need to let your achievements make the noise. 

Example:

We don’t write: “had excellent negotiation skill”

We write: “negotiated the biggest deal in company history, resulting in XX% revenue increase…”

#3. Consulting resumes should look Specific

Effective people always talk with specifics. Consulting people are shaped to be specific. And they are trained to ask follow-up questions every time encountering non-specific communication. So if you write vaguely in your resume, we screeners will notice really quickly.

Example:

I had just participated in the Paragliding World Cup event.

A vague way to brag is: “I finished strong.”

A specific person will say: “I ranked #3/90 pilots in the competition.”

#4. Consulting resumes should look Conservative

This is somewhat similar to how we dress up for interviews: As conservative as possible. Conservative here should be understood as professional

Consultants look for creativity in your content, not the creativity of your resume format. The easiest way to get eliminated is to use creative formats. 

#5. Consulting resumes should look Perfect 

Consultants spend countless hours perfecting their PowerPoint slides to the finest details. Every space, every dot, every word is perfect. Your resume should be flawless

If you want to be a consultant and don’t use Grammarly (not sponsored), your mistakes will not go undetected, and your resume will be discarded. All the effort to make it data-driven, specific, explicit, and conservative will go to waste. 

2. Standard Consulting Resume Format

Now, we will take a look at how a standard consulting resume is formatted and how the criteria above are actually applied

consulting resume example

This is an example of a good resume overall. It is nicely formatted, with good consulting language (verbs with past tense). 

Format-wise, this resume strictly followed the standard, conservative format of a consulting resume:

  • One page resume
  • Black and white texts
  • Traditional fonts (Times New Roman)
  • Small font size (10-12 points)
  • Ordinary margins and spacing
  • No colourful or vibrant designs.  

While consulting firms love creativity, they look for it in your writing and structuring of information, not in fancy colorful designs. A standard resume should look absolutely conservative, with black and white texts, traditional fonts/font size, and limited to one page. 

I highly recommend you checking out my Consulting Resume Premium Package, which contains the secret toolkit to crafting a winning “consulting-like” resume and over 60 resume samples corrected and graded on the standard consulting resume evaluation form. 

3. Five Tips for Consulting Resumes

I recommend checking out the video Consulting Resume A to Z guide below for a comprehensive understanding and easy-to-follow visuals. Alternatively, use the five tips below to elevate your consulting resume. 

Tip 1: Explicitly display consulting skills screeners look for

Content-wise, write your resume bullets in a way that explicitly displays consulting skills. Consulting firms look for 3 attributes in their candidates:

  • Leadership: The ability to influence people and to work effectively in teams
  • Achieving: The willingness to go beyond requirements and strive for best results
  • Problem-solving: The ability to solve problems with a structured, top-down approach

Tip 2: Write great bullets

Each bullet is a building block of a great resume. At the end of the day, there’s no escape from it. We need to write exceptional bullets over and over again based on less-than-perfect experience.

Typically, a great bullet has 3 parts:

  1. The work
  2. Explanation of the work
  3. The output

For example: (A) went grocery shopping – (B) at the most crowded supermarket – (C) ensuring adequate food supply for the whole family for the next 7 days

Tip 3: Use professional and structured language

Consultants are structured and strategic in everything they do, so make sure this trait is clearly shown in the language of your resume too!

Always organize your phrases and explanations in a professional, structured, consistent, specific, and to-the-point manner.  

Tip 4: Use the conservative consulting resume design

You should strictly follow the standard format of a consulting resume

  • One page resume
  • Black and white texts
  • Traditional fonts (Times New Roman)
  • Small font size (10-12 points)
  • Ordinary margins and spacing
  • No colourful or vibrant designs

Tip 5: Double-check, triple-check, quadruple-check

A consulting resume should go through at least a dozen reviews before submission. You need to review again, again, and again to iron out all possible errors. 

The best strategy is to ask for a lot of feedback – preferably from a working or former consultant (this is one instance where networking becomes extremely helpful) because they know exactly what screeners look for. 

Additionally, try to look for resumes of other applicants, assess the quality of your own resume vs theirs, and see if there’s anything you can learn. 

***

Your resume is the first impression, the window for consulting firms to see everything you’ve accomplished in your lifetime. It is also the first step of getting into consulting.

Consider the importance of crafting a winning resume, I recommend checking out the Consulting Resume Premium Package. And before that, you can also get a free resume template from this starter pack:

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