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