The management consultant resume is the most important document in the recruiting process, yet it is so often overlooked by naive candidates. That’s why we are here to help you craft the perfect management consulting resume. In this Complete Guide to the Consulting Resume, we’re sharing our top tips, consulting resume examples, common mistakes to avoid and more – all from the perspective of seasoned consultants who help thousands of candidates per year land interview invites through our resume editing services.
Consulting Resume Examples Overview:
(Click on item to jump to section.)
- Consulting Resume Tips
- Resume Example Walkthrough Video
- Ways Consulting Firms View Resumes
- Common Resume Mistakes To Avoid
The Consulting Resume
On average, management consultant resumes are reviewed for less than 1 minute.
This means that your resume needs to make an instant good first impression. To do this, your management consultant resume must be catered to the consulting industry by exhibiting the attributes required for the actual job. These include the following:
- Strong academic background – Indicates intellectual curiosity, strong work ethic, and ability to thrive within a structured environment
- Meaningful work experience (with quantifiable achievements) – Shows an ability to deliver results in the real world
- Interesting extracurriculars – Demonstrates leadership ability and that you’re a well-rounded human
In short, the message you should aim to send is this: “I am a top performer, and have been a top performer everywhere I’ve been. This, combined with my transferable skills, mean that I will succeed as a consultant.”
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Consulting Resume Tips
Here are our top 10 tips to improve your management consulting resume.
Tip #1 – Include 5 Key Sections
Your management consulting resume should include the 5 key sections below. Check out our consulting resume examples to see it all put together.
Name and Contact Information
The very top of your resume should include your name in large font (roughly sized 16-18 on a resume with 11-12pt font). You should also include your phone number, email, and address. There is no need for your LinkedIn URL – consulting resumes are reviewed physically, meaning that no one will have the chance to click through to your profile. Furthermore, everything important should be on your resume anyways. Note: An overview isn’t recommended unless you have 10+ years of experience or a diverse background that needs to be tied together.
This section should come first for those currently in an academic program, but should come second to last for those who are 2+ years out of school.
The education section should include your school name, GPA (if above a 3.5/4.0), graduation year, and location (city and state). Some optional sections include relevant coursework, honors and awards, and standardized test scores.
This is the most important section of your resume. The majority of your management consulting resume should consist of your professional experiences, whether they were internships or full time jobs. As a general rule of thumb, keep this section to a max of 5 different roles (with a max of 5 bullet points each).
You get bonus points for working with or for brand name companies, but don’t worry if you don’t have that kind of experience. Focus on showcasing your transferable skills (i.e., analysis, leadership, stakeholder management) and ability to drive results.
This section may not be necessary if you have robust professional experience, but students should almost always including a Leadership section on their consulting resume.
In short, leadership experience is anything you haven’t been paid or graded to do. Highlight your people/project leadership experience, budget management, ability to gain buy-in from multiple stakeholders, and above all, how those things led to impact.
This is a dangerously overlooked portion of the resume, and is NOT optional. The Skills line is really just there to reinforce the technical skills you’ve integrated into bullet points across the resume (it can be helpful for a reviewer to see them in one place).
And the Interests line is the only line of the resume that humanizes you. Keep this line to 2 lines max (like all the others) but be specific! Don’t tell us that you like to travel – tell us that you take an annual ski trip to somewhere different, and that skiing in the Alps has been your favorite trip so far. Quality beats quantity in this line.
Tip #2 – Use Consistent Formatting
Looks matter. In a detail-oriented, client-facing profession like consulting, how your deliverables look are as important as what they say.
The same is true for your management consulting resume.
Consistency is the name of the game. Make sure to align and space everything equally. If you are going to bold / italicize certain words, make sure you consistently bold / italicize the same type of words (i.e. company names and position titles).
No matter how great your experience, a poor and inconsistently formatted resume will get tossed into the trash. Remember to review our consulting resume examples to see what consistency looks like.
Tip #3 – Fill up 1 Entire Page
Your management consulting resume should demonstrate that you know how to prioritize the right information and concisely communicate it.
Choose your most important experiences, communicate them in a relevant way, and stick to one page.
At the same time, fill up the full page. If your resume doesn’t reach to the bottom of the page, it just communicates you don’t have enough relevant experience for the role.
Tip #4 – Use Strong Action Verbs
The first word is the first thing consultants will see in each bullet. Utilize strong, relevant and unique action words to start each sentence. Communicate the context of the problem you faced or project you were on, demonstrate the skills you utilized, and then end with a measurable result (see the next tip!).
Tip #5 – Focus on Measurable Results
You don’t have a consulting resume if you don’t include the quantifiable results you have achieved. Activity doesn’t matter nearly as much in consulting as impact. Showcase that you haven’t just completed a bunch of tasks, but they meant something to the organizations or clients you were working for.
Measurable results can include revenue increases, profit increases, cost decreases, market share gain, # of new customers acquired, funding raised, etc. If it was too soon to measure results, projections count! At least in strategy consulting, projections are the entirety of your deliverable.
Tip #6 – Numbers, Numbers Everywhere
Quantify, quantify, quantify. Clients demand quantifiable results/projections, and as a consultant, you’ll be working with data often.
So, consultants speak and think in numbers. Communicate in their language by adding as many numbers as you can throughout your resume. Go through every single bullet and add metrics where you can. Numbers make stories more specific, which in turn makes them more interesting and easier to pick out of a word document.
Tip #7 – Start Building Your Resume ASAP
Remember that you’re up against thousands of other qualified candidates who are vying for the same spot as you are. You should aim to produce a high quality resume, and we guarantee that it won’t come overnight.
This is the most important document in your recruiting process. Make sure to put in a lot of thought and effort into your management consulting resume!
Tip #8 – Get Your Resume Reviewed by Others
Ask people you trust to review your resume in order to receive advice and suggestions. Ideally, your reviewers should be people who have previous consulting experience, but anyone with a strong set of professional experiences is a good place to start.
Sometimes, even when you proofread multiple times, you will miss mistakes that others catch in their first read. More importantly, they should be able to suggest content edits that strengthen your story.
Tip #9 – Submit and Send as a PDF
The last thing you want is for all your hard work to be ruined by computer formatting errors. Whether you are sending your resume before a networking encounter or submitting it for an application, make sure the resume is in PDF format.
Sending in the file type (i.e., Microsoft Word or Pages) in which you created the resume is risky – these file types often don’t load properly on mobile and don’t display correctly in an email preview.
Tip #10 – Double, Triple, Quadruple Check
Before you send your resume anywhere, proofread until you’ve almost memorized the document. Any mistakes will point to a lack of attention to detail. If this seems harsh, it is. But so is the consulting recruiting process.
Consulting Resume Example Walkthrough Video
The Ways Different Consulting Firms View Resumes
You don’t need 12 different resumes for consulting applications. You need 1 best practice resume that highlights your skills and impact you’ve achieved.
Inside of a sector of consulting (i.e., strategy, operations, implementation, tech) firms are looking for the same skills and abilities. So, spend your time crafting one really great resume instead of 12 so-so ones that are “tailored” to the firm but won’t actually help you at all.
Common Resume Mistakes To Avoid
We’ve told you what you should do while working on your management consulting resume. Now, here is a list of what you should NOT do.
- Copy an online template verbatim
- Make your resume over 1 page long
- Use small font or small margins to fit everything on 1 page
- Have any typos or grammatical errors
- Use different fonts on the same document
- Lack specific details in your bullet points
- Rely on yourself – send your resume to others and receive suggestions
- Include high school information
- Have conspicuous gaps in your education and work timeline
- Over exaggerate and make up lies – eventually it will catch up to you!
Though building a strong management consulting resume takes time, the good news is that it’s absolutely worth it (just look at those salaries!).
For tailored help, work with our expert team to get your resume ready for consulting applications. Our bespoke editing service will help you tell the most powerful version of your story so that it resonates with firms like McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte and others!