Your application is your chance to sell yourself to a potential employer and prove why you are perfect for the job. L.E.K. Consulting tells us what consultancy employers are looking for and what key information you should always provide.
The first stage to achieving a job in consulting is the application process. Before you start applying for consulting jobs it is so important to make sure you have taken the time to do your research. You will find that most companies provide information on their website about their application process, details about deadlines as well as what happens at various stages. Understanding these will ensure you give yourself the right amount of time for each application.
Application processes will vary between companies. For some you will have to complete an online application form and for others you will be asked to submit your CV and covering letter online. You will also find that for many consulting firms you will be asked to complete an online test as part of the application process. This is why it is so important for you to check the company website well in advance of application deadlines so that you are fully prepared for their specific application process.
To help you prepare and get organised for the application process, a helpful tip would be to put together your own document with the company name, application deadline and the documents required for each consulting firm you are applying to.
All application forms are likely to ask slightly different things, however there are some questions that you can expect to crop up throughout your job search:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What does consulting involve? What do you think makes a good consultant?
- Give an example of when you have shown leadership or been particularly persuasive.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Give an example of an achievement you’re particularly proud of.
- Give an example of when you have used your problem solving abilities.
- What have you learned from previous jobs/work experience?
- Do you have any additional skills, such as IT or languages?
Allow yourself plenty of time to complete the application forms. Remember to answer all the questions, and make sure you read through all of your completed form before submitting. At this stage attention to detail is really important, so make sure you check your spelling and grammar.
Ensure you have uploaded all the documents that each consulting firm has asked for. Once you have submitted the application form you will receive an acknowledgement from the company. If you do not receive the acknowledgement, get in touch with the company to confirm that they have received your application; it will be too late to do this once the application deadline has passed.
CV and cover letter
Your cover letter is a great opportunity for you to sell yourself and demonstrate that you have researched the company you are applying for.
Recruiters can easily spot a generic cover letter, so it is important that you explain why you are applying for the role at that particular company, and what attributes you have to bring. Take the time to check the application page on the company website to ensure you address the cover letter to the correct recruiter.
Within the cover letter demonstrate how you have interacted with the company you are applying to by visiting their stand at careers fairs, attending their workshops or reading their publications.
The majority of consulting firms now have recruitment/application videos uploaded on their website. Ensuring that you look through what is available will give you a good feel for the company and what they are looking for.
Make sure your CV has a clear and simple layout, and ensure that it highlights your key skills and achievements. Your CV should include:
- Personal details – your name and contact details.
- Qualifications – your university and degree title, attained or expected result, followed by your A level and GCSE results or equivalent.
- Work experience – whilst it is great if you have commercial experience, recruiters are very aware that it can be difficult to find such internship opportunities. It is really important that in this section you demonstrate how you have tried to gain commercial or consulting insight. This can be through work experience, work shadowing, business insight days or interaction with consulting clubs and societies.
- Skills – in this section recruiters are looking for you to demonstrate your teamwork, communication and self-awareness skills; highlight your key strengths and give the evidence to back them up.
- Hobbies and interests – when applying for a management consulting position, it is really important to include extra-curricular activities on your CV. These activities highlight important transferable skills that are extremely valuable in the workplace. Extra-curricular activities will also highlight your ability to manage your time effectively, work well within a team environment, and demonstrate your commitment to personal and professional development, all of which form an important part of the overall skill-set of a successful associate.
Online presence tips
For many companies your online activity is now an important part of the application process. LinkedIn is an excellent way to promote yourself and your skills outside of your CV. Update your LinkedIn page so it includes all of your relevant experience and qualifications.