Every year, more than 1 million candidates apply for a consulting role in McKinsey.
But only 10,000 people get the final offer. That’s a 1% success rate.
The top 3 consulting companies, McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company, are some of the most selective companies when it comes to hiring.
Most people don’t know this, but they start their selection process by screening the cover letter and consulting resumes.
More than 80% of resumes and cover letters are rejected before the first screening. Less than 15% of candidates get called for interviews in the big three consulting firms.
So, if you think, "How do I become a consultant? How to write a consulting cover letter that gets me the consulting job?” - This blog is for you.
Consulting cover letters are very different from traditional cover letters for jobs. In this guide to writing a consulting cover letter, we’ll tell you everything you need to write on the consulting cover letter to stand out from your competitors.
In this blog, we will discuss:
- What is a consulting cover letter?
- What are the things recruiters look for in a cover cetter?
- How to structure a consulting cover letter?
- How to write an effective consulting cover letter?
- 5 tips to write a stellar consulting cover letter
- Consulting cover letter dample
We’ll also share five consulting cover letter examples to help you get an interview.
What Is a Consulting Cover Letter?
A consulting cover letter is an adjacent document with your consulting resume that helps you introduce your skills and accomplishments to the hiring managers.
It’s an essential part of your application, especially for big three consulting firms, because it’s easy for recruiters to quickly sort bad candidates based on the quality of a cover letter, lack of attention to detail, etc.
However, if done correctly, consulting cover letters is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd and get yourself a job interview.
You don’t have enough space to elaborate on your experiences on a resume. But with a cover letter, you can expand on your experiences and explain the reasons for some potential red flags on your resume.
Why do you have a job gap? Why do you have a low GPA? You can explain the reasons for that in the cover letter.
In short, your consulting cover letter is the deciding factor for getting a job in a big consulting company.
What Recruiters Look for in a Consulting Cover Letter?
The recruiters look for a candidate who has excellent communication and leadership skills. They look into the applicant's skills and experience to understand if they have the qualities to become a successful consultant.
Recruiters look for mainly four aspects from a consultant cover letter. These are:
- Does the candidate have the relevant skills and experience required for the job?
- Does the candidate have a clear idea of what the company does?
- Is the candidate interested in working with the company?
- Does the candidate have excellent communication skills?
If you want to create an outstanding consulting cover letter, you need to address all four points in your letter.
How to Structure a Management Consulting Cover Letter?
A perfect management consulting cover letter must have six distinct elements.
- A Header
- Opening Paragraph
- Closing Paragraph
- Your Signature
Consulting Cover Letter: Header
This is a mandatory part of any professional letter. The header section must include
- Candidate’s name
- Email ID
- Phone Number
- Your Location
Even if your resume has all this information, you need to add these to your cover letter.
Salutation is an essential part of the consulting cover letter. Never start your cover letter with “To whom it may concern.” It will not get you the job.
Instead, find out who is the recruiter or hiring manager and address the cover letter directly to them.
If you don’t identify who the hiring manager is, you can address the letter to the recruitment team. For example:
- Dear members of the BCG Recruitment Team,
- To Bain Recruitment Team,
Consulting Cover Letter: Opening Paragraph
The first sentence of your consulting cover letter is the perfect opportunity to hook the reader’s attention. And the second sentence should state the role you are applying for and how you learned about the position. The third sentence should describe why you are interested in the company you are applying for.
Do some initial research and craft a personalized and customized opening paragraph for the Consulting cover letter. If you can do that, you will improve your chance of getting shortlisted by 1000%.
Here is an example of the Opening Paragraph of a consulting cover letter:
I am a 4+ years experienced digital marketing professional working with top SaaS brands to help them generate $100M in sales year on year. I’m highly pleased to apply for the Associate Consultant position at McKinsey. I appreciate McKinsey’s leadership and sales practices to provide an outstanding experience to clients.
Consulting Cover Letter - Body
The consulting cover letter body part should explain your key accomplishments, experience, and why you are a good fit for the firm.
Don’t write a generic consulting cover letter body. Research the consulting firm, go to their website and understand the qualities they are looking for. After that, you can start creating the body of the consulting cover letter.
Below is a consulting cover letter example of the body paragraph:
Consulting Cover Letter- Closing Paragraph
The closing paragraph is where you place the call to action to encourage the recruiters to take action. It must be short and to the point.
Here’s an example of the Closing Paragraph of Consulting Cover Letter:
Consulting Cover Letter - Ending Signature
This is a formality for any type of professional letter. There are different types of closing signatures. Such as:
- Thanking You
- Thanks and Regards
- Best Regards
- Thank You
How to Write an Effective Consulting Cover Letter - Formatting
It’s not enough to have great content for the consulting cover letter; You need to format it professionally to get the most out of it.
Here are some formatting tips to help you create the consulting cover letter:
Keep it Under 1 Page:
The consulting cover letter should not be more than one page. Recruiters don’t have much time to give to one single candidate. And in this time, if you create a 2-page cover letter, the maximum chance is that recruiters will ignore your application.
Use 1-inch Margin:
A 1-inch margin is standard for any professional cover letter. A margin of less than 1 inch makes your cover letter look cramped. A 1-inch margin ensures enough whitespace to make the letter easily readable.
Use Professional Font:
Always use a professional font in the consulting cover letter. Some professional fonts are:
- Times New Roman
Also, ensure to keep the font size to 12 points. It makes the cover letter very easy to read.
Save the Cover Letter in PDF
Make sure to submit the cover letter in PDF format. It ensures that your cover letter format is intact, no matter who views it.
10 Tips for Writing a Consulting Cover Letter
Writing a solid consulting cover letter allows you to present your candidacy to the hiring managers. Here is a list of tips for writing a stellar consulting cover letter.
1. Research the Company Requirements
Interviewing candidates is expensive; it takes time and money to get excellent people on board.
So, the company also wants to ensure that the candidate they are interviewing is interested in the job.
Therefore, consulting firms look for signs that:
- You’ve researched the company
- You have a proper motivation or reason for entering into consulting
- You have a good answer to why you’re the right fit for the company
- You have impeccable speaking and writing skills
Use your cover letter to showcase that you have all the signs that a consulting firm looks for in a candidate. This will set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
2. Link Cover Letter To Resume
Your cover letter should complement your resume and strengthen your candidacy.
Start the cover letter with unique experiences and skills to hook the recruiter’s interests.
In resumes, there is less space to explain anything to the recruiter. You can complement it by going into detail about your achievements and skills in the cover letter.
Here are some points consulting firms look for in a consulting cover letter:
- Big brand name: If you are from a reputed university or worked with reputed brands
- Good Academic Performance: 3.5+ GPA
- Leadership experience and good communication skills
- Excellent Analytical Skills
- The ratio of your accomplishments and career year: the more experience you have, the more accomplishments you should get
3. Don’t Use a Standard Cover Letter Template
Writing a cover letter is difficult. It takes a lot of contemplating and self-reflection to make it right. You have to edit and rewrite the cover letter multiple times to make it interesting.
Some candidates try to use standardized cover letter templates to avoid the pain of writing a cover letter.
This is a big mistake, mainly if you apply to prestigious consulting firms. The recruiters in these organizations are experienced in identifying a standard cover letter.
Don’t write a consulting cover letter for the sake of it. Write the cover letter to make each sentence count and help you get closer to your dream job.
4. Use Evidence-based Storytelling
Everyone loves a good story. And in your cover letter as well, you should tell the story of your experience, don’t list down your skills and accomplishments without any context.
Demonstrate how various experiences have given you certain skills that nobody has.
For example, instead of saying you have led marketing campaigns in your past organizations, you can say that You’ve managed a marketing budget of $50,000 and coordinated with the content team to launch two successful campaigns and generated $5mn sales.
This is evidence-based storytelling, and this gives more context to the recruiter about your experience and helps them evaluate your skills.
5. Avoid Repeating Things on Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter and resume go hand in hand — they should complement each other, but they should not be the same.
You can reference elements of your resume but focus on aspects that aren't covered very well there or put a different spin on things, so it's still interesting for them to read about it again.
6. Pick Your Best Stories And Accomplishments
A cover letter is an opportunity to tell great stories from your work experience that are relevant to the consulting firm you're applying to.
If you have accomplishments, such as helping previous employers save money or increase profits, put these front and center where hiring managers won't miss them. Don't just list your skills — explain how they helped your previous employers meet their goals.
However, make sure to include only 2-3 such stories. And keep them short and crisp. Nobody has the time to read through a 2-page cover letter.
7. Quantify Your Results and Impact
Consulting firms want to know that you have the potential to deliver results for their clients — so make sure you mention how much impact or value you've created in past jobs or internships. For example: "I helped ABC Company reduce its customer service costs by 20%." Or: "I generated $100K in annual savings for XYZ Company through process improvement initiatives."
8. Keep Your Cover Letter Crisp
Many consulting firms get hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for each job opening. It's important to keep your cover letter as brief as possible so that recruiters don't lose interest.
Keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page. The most successful cover letters have three identifiable sections: who you are, why you are applying and why the firm should hire you. This can be covered in three paragraphs or about 300 words.
9. Namedrop Employees You Have Talked to
If there is someone at the firm who referred you or whom you have spoken to about this position, mention them by name in your cover letter, preferably in the first paragraph. This will help the reader to associate your application with that particular employee. It will also help if that person has put in a good word for you!
10. Double-check You're Addressing The Cover Letter Properly
Address the right firm. Take the time to research the firm and make sure your cover letter is addressed to the right person.
Most firms will have information on their websites about who is in charge of recruiting.
The more personal you can make the cover letter, the better for you.
Failing to address your cover letter correctly may be discarded without even being read.
Here’s a Management Consulting Cover Letter Sample For Your Reference:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do All Consulting Firms Require Cover Letter?
Most consulting firms keep cover letters as an optional document. However, you must add your cover letter with your resume to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Writing a unique cover letter can help you stand out from the crowd.
What if The Cover Letters are Optional?
Consulting firms like McKinsey and BCG have made their cover letters optional.
It certainly helps the candidates with strong resumes to get out of the hassle of creating a cover letter. However, if you have some red flags on your resume, such as a low GPA or an employment gap, you should write a cover letter to explain these potential red flags to the recruiters and increase your chances of getting hired.
Writing a consulting cover letter doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember the following tips:
- Write a proper cover letter header and ensure that you are not making any mistakes in your contact information
- Always start the cover letter with a proper and professional salutation
- The first paragraph of the consulting cover letter should hook the recruiter to read the whole cover letter
- In the second paragraph, explain your experiences and show why you are the perfect candidate for the job
- Always end the consulting cover letter with a call to action
If you want to create a consulting cover letter, go to the Hiration Cover Letter Builder tool and pick from 20+ consulting cover letter templates to make an excellent one for yourself.
If you have further questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to help you out.