Cover Letter Tip 1: Opening Paragraph
Your opening paragraph should include:
The position you’re applying for.
Qualities that make you a good fit (e.g., leadership experience, analytical thinking skills).
Optional: very brief highlights on work experience.
Cover Letter Tip 2: Body Paragraphs
Your body paragraphs (no more than 2) should include:
Work highlights if not in the opening paragraph.
A section to describe one experience in detail (work, student group, etc).
Focus on the impact you had and the skills you learned that would make you a good consultant.
This should be your “star” experience and the one you want every reader to remember.
A section or paragraph on your interest in the job, your career goals, the research you’ve done to learn more about the firm.
Cover Letter Tip 3: Closing Paragraph
The closing paragraph should be brief and restate why you’d make a good consultant. Include your contact information here as well:
Please do not hesitate to contact me with further questions. I can be reached at (647) 888-8888 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover Letter Tip 4: Avoid Extensive Background
Avoid an elaborate discussion of your educational background. A sentence about your school and major should suffice.
It’s OK to expand this section if you have a very high GPA, nationally-recognized scholarships, and fellowships, etc.
Cover Letter Tip 5: Drop Names
It’s OK to drop names of current firm employees – but integrate them well.
Here’s a poor example:
I had a conversation with Amanda Dales, a current case team leader at Deloitte campus talke. I learned a lot from her about consulting and gained a deeper appreciation for the company.
Why is this a poor example? It doesn’t make a point. The interaction was generic, and it feels like a setup to name-drop.
Here’s a good example:
Deloitte is not only a prestigious firm, but one that really invests in the development of its consultants. My conversations with Amanda Dales, a current case team leader, reinforced my belief that this separates Deloitte from the other firms, and is my central reason for applying.
Cover Letter Tip 6: Use Anecdotes
Use anecdotes in consulting cover letters. Instead of saying “my past experiences have allowed me to become a strong leader of teams,” say this:
My projects at Oracle – where I led groups of up to 5 analysts on implementation projects – have made me a strong team leader and partner for my colleagues.
Cover Letter Tip 7: Current Contact Info
Include current contact information at the top. Don’t assume it’s unnecessary because the information is on your resume.
Cover Letter Tip 8: One Page
Never use more than one page and use PDF format when possible. The margins are messed-up, it’s set for A4 rather than 8.5 x 11, or any of a million other problems that wreak havoc on your careful formatting. Worst of all, “track changes” might be turned on! Putting it in PDF avoids all these problems.
Cover Letter Tip 9: Too Long
If it doesn’t fit with size 12 font and 1″ margins, it’s too long.
Cover letters with size 10 font, 0.5″ margins, and minute paragraph spacing hurt the reader’s eyes and hurt your candidacy.
Cover Letter Tip 10: Double Check
Make sure the consulting cover letter is addressed to the right firm and person. Back to my initial thought – the risk is greater of messing up than standing out, and this is mistake number one. Label and save each cover letter by a firm, and double-check to ensure the firm name, address, and position applied for (eg, Associate vs Senior Consultant) is correct.
The last thing you want to happen is for an Accenture recruiter or consultant open your cover letter and see that it’s addressed to Deloitte HR. At best, you’re incompetent. At worst, your application may not see the light of day.
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