Applying for a job

Landing a job in the consulting industry is no easy feat. Consulting firms maintain high entry requirements for potential candidates - the majority of jobs require at least a college or university degree, as well as a specific set of skills and competencies. Although there has been a small increase in the number of consulting jobs, management consultancy is an increasingly popular career choice, and, for that reason, competition remains high for certain job openings.

To increase the chances of successfully navigating the application process, it is crucial to be well prepared for every step in the process. The application chapter walks professionals and graduates, who are interested in a consulting job, through all of the steps in the consultancy recruitment and selection process, from drafting a CV and a motivation letter to preparing for the final round of interviews and case studies. The chapter starts with an overview of the typical application process in the consulting industry, which, despite differences between consultancies, generally has a number of common steps. The sections that follow present some general and specific components that should be included in a CV to land a job in the consulting industry, as well as a list of tips and tricks and do's and don'ts.

Besides a clear CV, recruiters often ask for a cover letter. Given the high number of applications recruiters receive, it is especially important to stand out above the crowd – as only the very best are invited to take the next steps in the process. The Application section and Application Tips section that follow, cover the key areas that needs to be considered when drafting a cover letter. In the majority of cases, the candidates are asked to send in their application online, and also here, it is important to meet a number of important requirements and meet the desired format of the consultancy firm. The Apply Online page elaborates on the applicable guidelines.

If a candidate passes through the initial selection process, an online assessment process often follows. These online tests can range from verbal and numerical reasoning to personality and other ways to assess the skills of candidates. Preparation for, and practice of, these kinds of tests can significantly increase the chances of success. The good news is that there are numerous possibilities for preparation and practice, with a considerable number of websites and examples available that can help candidates prepare. For some positions the tests require being physically present at a testing centre – here too, preparation and practice is crucial. In the section Assessment interview aspiring candidates are taken through the various tests that may be conducted on site, highlighting what is expected of them and how they can prepare for it.

Finally, there are the interviews themselves, which constitute the most important step in the whole process. If you have successfully navigated through the various rounds of talks with recruiters, (senior) consultants and partners, chances are very high that your dream job is within reach. For candidates applying for a job in the strategy consulting and management consulting segment, there are also case studies – which form an important part of the discussion rounds. This part of the process is seen by many students and applicants as the most difficult step of the application process. Here it is obvious that a thorough preparation in advance (sometimes weeks) is crucial for the successful execution of the case studies, and that it will pay off at the end of the day.