12/29/10

Attached to the bottom of this post you will find the Wall Street Oasis Consulting Resume Template for undergraduate students.

A resume is your first impression. It's the filter that decides whether you're worth considering or not. It's simple: if the company doesn't like what they see on your resume - there are a million and a half things that could turn them off - you get dinged.

For your consulting resume, you need to indicate a few characteristics while maintaining a properly formatted resume.

Additionally, you'll hopefully have some relevant experience or prestigious internships to include. Some form of solid experience is basically a prerequisite for your resume. It doesn't matter if your resume is beautifully formatted and hits on all the right points; if it lacks substantial experience, you will get dinged 99 times out of 100.

Consulting Resume - Characteristics

Firms look for certain features in their applicants. Here are some of the features that you want to show in your resume (show, not tell) and how you could include them:

  • Problem solver: Simple enough, indicate a time you solved a problem. It could be something as simple as improving the allocation of funds at a club, for example. The more related to consulting it is, the better.
  • Leader: Ideally, you have some sort of leadership experience at a club, volunteer organization, etc.
  • Hard worker: An excellent GPA, solid internships, volunteering, etc., go a long way in demonstrating the fact that you're a hard worker. The reality is that many of the applicants will meet all of these standards - it's why consulting is such a competitive field - so anything to get you an edge is massively helpful. Tangible success in any of your experiences is huge and should be included in the resume bullets. The more you can quantify your success, the better.
  • Personable: It doesn't matter if you blow the competition out of the water in terms of intelligence - if you aren't somebody they can see themselves working with, you'll get dinged. This feature is harder to demonstrate than the other features, but leadership experience goes a long way. Additionally, volunteering experience helps in showing that there's more to you than chasing the money.
  • You want to show, not tell, that you qualify as having all four of these traits. If including these four traits seems too abstract for you, understand that if you can demonstrate the four below characteristics somewhere in your resume with evidence, then you're in a great spot (@randombetch).

    - Analytical ability
    - Logical problem-solving ability
    - Data synthesis ability
    - Communication and teamwork skills

    If I were a hiring manager and saw those skills highlighted in a resume, I wouldn't care at all whether the resume shows interest in business because the candidate would seem like a potentially successful consultant.

What Is Relevant Experience?

We said before that, if you lack any relevant experience, you will get dinged 99% of the time. So what is relevant experience, and how do you get it? The obvious answer is to get a consulting internship, but there are limitations on one's ability to get an internship. Those limitations could harm their chances at getting a FT position at a top-tier firm (MBB: McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group).

MBB Internships

If you're gunning for a consulting position at MBB - it's easy to understand why the desire for MBB is so much higher than all other consulting firms - then the optimal internship is obviously an MBB consulting internship. Plan B, however, is not a consulting internship with a less prestigious firm. Here's @Fantastic on why an investment banking internship with a bulge bracket is better than a consulting internship with a tier-two (or below) consulting firm.

Practically speaking, either internship would be fine, as the "prestige" of both positions is relatively similar.

However, if you're really gunning for MBB, I'd probably recommend the bulge-bracket internship, just because it'd be easier to craft a convincing story for your interviews next year.

Think about it from the perspective of interviewing for full-time positions. While the work you do in a mid-tier consulting internship would obviously be more applicable for MBB, you'll also be faced with the unpleasant task of explaining why you didn't make it into MBB the first time around.

In contrast, if you work in investment banking, you can just claim that, "I was initially interested in investment banking, but I've realized that, if I really want to get a cross-functional view of multiple industries, I have to pursue consulting instead, etc." The only difficulty with this path is making sure that you do sufficient case interview prep in the time between when your banking internship ends, and when full-time consulting interviews begin. And, of course, you have to be okay with the higher hours of banking vs. consulting.

The prestige that comes with an investment banking internship at a bulge bracket is undeniable. If you can craft a convincing story out of it, then the interviewers have a compelling reason to consider you. On the other hand, the story coming out of a consulting internship with a tier-two consulting firm is that you failed to obtain an MBB internship the first time around.

Sophomore Consulting Internship - Is it Possible?

As far as MBB consulting internships go, getting an internship sophomore year is incredibly difficult. Even if you're an absolute rock star, there's a very slim chance you'll manage to land an internship. So, what else can you do to set yourself for solid consulting internships?

There are three typical options for internships going into sophomore year to prepare yourself for consulting:

  • Consulting at a less prestigious firm
  • F500 internship
  • Investment banking at a bulge bracket/elite boutique (Note: it's very difficult to land an investment banking internship sophomore year as a non-minority)

At first glance, you might be tempted to hone your efforts on obtaining a consulting internship with a lesser-known firm. Even though it's the most relevant option, it's not the best for the same reason mentioned above. Beyond the prestige, having a prestigious bank or a F500 company on your resume is indicative of the fact that you're a hard worker as they're not easy internships to obtain. Here's @pnb2002 on why going for the bigger name is beneficial.

F50/100/500 internships would set you up very well for consulting recruiting, as long as it's more strategy related than operations related (even in marketing, etc., departments). 90% of F500 interns that I knew at my school, including myself, got FT management consulting offers. (It isn't too difficult to figure out why.) Similarly, the vast majority of people in my class at the firm did IBD, F500, or consulting (management or tech) internships before FT recruiting.

I'd imagine the same would work going from one internship to the next.

Ultimately, relevant experience is not exclusive to consulting internships. Prestige carries a big load in these waters, so it would be beneficial to consider internships beyond just consulting. Come junior and senior year, you'll hopefully have a solid name on your resume that you can leverage to get your foot in the door.

Format - Font Size, Tense, and More

The format for your consulting resume isn't something that gets your foot in the door, it's something that gets you dinged. Inconsistent margins, font, or too much/little spacing can get you dinged. Attention to detail is critical in consulting, so you better pay close attention to every tiny detail on your resume.

Font Size and Spacing

What happens if you have too much information to include? On the other end, what do you do if you don't have enough experience, leaving you with an empty resume? Enter font size, which you can adjust accordingly to leave your resume looking pretty.

Many of you won't have enough information to pack a resume. With our resume template, you can reduce 5-20% of the content and up the font size by a point. This strikes a balanced resume with a good amount of content and enough white space.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself with too much content, you need to reduce that. The content to white space ratio on our resume template is as high as it should be; any more and your resume will look cluttered. You can reduce the word count by either lowering the font size or by eliminating some of your content. We recommend eliminating some of your content and keeping the most critical bullets unless you are post-graduate. Undergraduates aren't expected to fill a page to the brim with details of their work experience.

Tense

Plenty of people get FT positions using past and/or present tense; it's preferential more than anything. Some people prefer using past tense because (1) your resume is a snapshot of everything you've done in the past and (2) it's consistent. Some prefer past tense to describe past experiences and present to describe everything you're currently doing because it's proper. There is no right or wrong answer, do as you please.

Page Count

Rule of thumb for every resume ever: never go over one page. Just don't do it.

Additional Information

The additional information section on your resume is somewhere you can highlight some of your random strengths. If you don't have any certifications, delete that part entirely. Speak three different languages? The additional information is the perfect section to include that fact. It's a great area for the recruiter to get an idea of your identity outside of work.

You're lucky you stumbled upon this page because it means you have a format already made. The spacing has been checked, the margins aligned, and the content fills the page just enough to present everything you need without clutter. Simply fill in the blanks, get it proofread, and you'll have a quality resume.

Consulting Resume - Bullet Points

The content of your resume is the most important aspect of it. This is where you highlight what you've done and why it makes you qualified for the job. Here's what you need to know for you bullet points:

  • First, the length of your bullets should never exceed two lines.
  • The start of your bullets should use action words. Here's a list of them to give you an idea of what they should look like:
    • Analyzed
    • Led
    • Founded/Co-founded
    • Managed
    • Addressed
    • Coordinated
    • Executed
  • Get your bullets to the point. Hit the how/why/what/result.
  • Tangible contributions you made should be prioritized, and anything that can be quantified is especially useful.

WSO Resume Services

Getting a second set of eyes on your resume is critical. There are a thousand tiny details on your resume that need to be properly aligned, properly sized, and properly spaced - that means there are a thousand different opportunities for you to fudge your resume, risking an automatic ding. The WSO Resume Service offers two services, one free and one paid. At the very least, utilize the free service to get your resume critiqued by the professionals who browse this site. Ultimately, your resume format could be the difference between an auto ding and a foot in the door.

Original Thread - Consulting resume critique

Looking for an MBB internship this summer. Do your worst.

Interested in Consulting - Breaking In

Consulting is one of the most exclusive industries in the world, particularly management consulting. It's one of the best career choices for building a lucrative career because of the versatility it offers. But the simplest of mistakes during the interview will get you dinged; that's how competitive these positions are. Less than 1% of applicants get a top consulting job, which is why preparation is absolutely critical. The WSO Consulting Case Interview Guide is the only crowdsourced guide available, perfected by countless professionals to give you the edge you need.

Consulting Interview Course

Comments (16)

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12/29/10

There is nothing on your resume that alerts me to any interest in business, let alone consulting, let alone MBB.

Tell me more about your NSF grant, your aircraft leaseback experience, tell me why anything you've done makes you want to do business. And if you actually want to do consulting, apply somewhere besides MBB because you have an outside shot at an interview for an SA position, at best.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

12/30/10
petergibbons:

There is nothing on your resume that alerts me to any interest in business, let alone consulting, let alone MBB.

Tell me more about your NSF grant, your aircraft leaseback experience, tell me why anything you've done makes you want to do business. And if you actually want to do consulting, apply somewhere besides MBB because you have an outside shot at an interview for an SA position, at best.

Lol, tell? Resumes don't do the "telling" - the cover letters do that. Resumes do the "showing."

12/29/10

Couple of thoughts:

1.) Center your name and information - make sure that the font looks crisp and "pops"

2.) Does your school instruct you to put Georgia Institute of Technology? When I read the first line I thought you were attending a college that advertises paralegal degrees on TV. Unless you are applying for Atlanta offices I think putting Georgia Tech would make more sense.

3.) Since you are an SAT/PSAT tutor I assume you did fairly well on the SAT - might consider putting scores on as another data point with GPA if both > 650.

4.) Either list one or two of your most impressive speech awards or get rid of both the activity and awards completely: your accomplishments in high school don't hold much water at this point

5.) As suggested above elaborate on your descriptions:
For TA - did you help with any curriculum/research, what was the selection process like?
For RA - has a paper been published? give a more in-depth explanation of what you were working on but in
layman's terms
For Mentor - how did the kids you helped improve? did they win any competitions?
and so on...

6.) If any of these activities/experiences involved teamwork (air patrol?) include details about that on the resume

7.) Sell yourself and your experiences more - there is nothing that currently jumps off the page enough for me to remember you in a stack of resumes

8.) The previous poster is spot on in terms of your chances; the summer internships for MBB are ridiculously competitive and your chances for an interview are slim at best - take a look at other consulting and finance firms to try to get some experience

Hope this helps and good luck with the internship process.

12/29/10
Dimension:

2.) Does your school instruct you to put Georgia Institute of Technology? When I read the first line I thought you were attending a college that advertises paralegal degrees on TV. Unless you are applying for Atlanta offices I think putting Georgia Tech would make more sense.

Don't slaughter the school name. What if people started listing CalTech, UC (Colorado, Cal, Fullerton, Berkley, what?), BU, Miami (U of M or [email protected]), UM (Miami or Michigan), etc.? You get the point.

12/29/10

Thanks so much for the tips guys, I figured I would need to expand on my experiences, although as was pointed out, it's tough when I haven't really experienced much.

Peter: You're right that there's really not much establishing my interest in business, etc. I want to fix this but the difficulty is, as you can tell, I haven't done anything business related with the slight exception of the aircraft leaseback situation. Would a cover letter or objectives section where I wax philosophical about my consulting dreams be better suited for establishing that?

Gekko: I will try and expand on my research, I'm struggling over the line between too technical and too simplistic currently.

Dimension: Much appreciated, I will incorporate those.

12/29/10

Yes, a cover letter would be a good place to address your interest in consulting.

Post a 2nd draft on here, and maybe look at using the M&I or management consulted template, if your career center doesn't have anything better in terms of using the white space.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

12/29/10

I agree with abacab about the school name. UPenn kids don't write Penn, they write University of Pennsylvania. You shouldn't abbreviate. Only in college football is Georgia Tech the proper name.

I hate to be unoriginal, but I had the same reaction as petergibbons. Your cover letter is a good place to talk about what sparked your interest in business or whatever, but your resume would improve with some business spin (if you have things that can be spun). Like PG said, you have at best a slim chance at an SA interview: your background seems to consist primarily of being an involved student in the physics department, and you need more than that. You have room to add, though, as each of your bullets is really short.

One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

12/29/10

Biggest problem is that you need to describe your results and contributions (rose students' scores by 15%), not your process (taught classroom of 10 kids).

12/30/10

I'd say Georgia Tech is better. That's just what everyone knows it as. Kinda like Virginia Tech is actually Virginia Polytechnic and Science University or something like that.

12/30/10

Is there no Consulting Club at your school?

12/30/10

If he can tell the story in a way at all relevant or understandable to someone in consulting, it will portray an understanding of what the fuck actually matters.

Show, tell, whatever. You still need to frame your experience in a way that is relevant.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

12/31/10
petergibbons:

If he can tell the story in a way at all relevant or understandable to someone in consulting, it will portray an understanding of what the fuck actually matters.

Show, tell, whatever. You still need to frame your experience in a way that is relevant.

Why should portraying an interest in business supercede portraying abilities that may be helpful in consulting, such as leadership (from TA-ing), analytical thinking from research, persuasive speaking (from speech and debate), etc? If I were hiring for my firm, I would want those who have the most potential to be great consultants, not those who can only demonstrate they've wanted to be a consultant since the womb.

12/31/10
petergibbons:

If he can tell the story in a way at all relevant or understandable to someone in consulting, it will portray an understanding of what the fuck actually matters.

Show, tell, whatever. You still need to frame your experience in a way that is relevant.

Things that are relevant to consulting:
-Analytical ability
-Logical problem solving ability
-Data synthesis ability
-Communication and teamwork skills

If I were a hiring manager and I saw those skills highlighted in a resume, I wouldn't care at all whether the resume shows interest in business because the candidate would seem like a potentially successful consultant.

1/3/11

RB, when I say 'frame your experience", I mean not many at MBB are going to know what Epitaxial Graphene is. I also mean show some results. Of course a tutor tutors. Tell me something meaningful.

I'm not saying those skills you listed are irrelevant. In fact, many people I work with came from science backgrounds, and worked in labs. Some people were in the military. Some were econ majors. Some did business. It really doesn't matter, as long as you have the mental horsepower and want to do the job.

That said, when it's 3 AM, and you're running through a deck for the 29th time because the numbers keep changing and you have an 8 AM meeting, I want someone who gives a shit about the job on my team, not someone who's going to crawl back to what they were doing before because it wasn't worth it. In my experience, more people from science backgrounds have this issue than kids from Wharton who interned in IB beforehand.

OP, it's great that you've supervised a lab, tutored, mentored, and done research. You seem like a smart, motivated guy, and that definitely counts for something. If you get good at the case interview, that will show that you know what the job is, you care about business, and this isn't something you're doing on a whim. Like I said, make some edits, and repost. MBB definitely isn't out of reach for you, but post-MBA may be a much easier path.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

1/21/11

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