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When you are applying for a new job in management consulting, the way you present yourself in the cover letter is the first thing the prospective employer learns about you. Other than doing the obvious – checking for typos and using clean paper to print the letter on – you must make sure that the picture you paint grabs the employer's interest and prompts him or her to read your resume.
The first and most useful thing you can use for guidance is the job advertisement. The employer has already made it clear what kind of skills and work experience he or she is looking for in a consultant and all you need to do is highlight these skills and experiences in your resume and make sure you bring them up in the cover letter. In this way, you are not only letting the employer know what your qualifications and abilities are, you are also telling him or her that you understand what it is that he or she is looking for.
When writing a cover letter, keep in mind that the aim of both the letter and your resume is not to get you the position in management consulting that you are applying for, but to make the employer want to meet with you. After reading your cover letter, he or she must know that inviting you for a job interview will not be a waste of time and that you are a serious candidate for the position. For this reason, your cover letter needs to be succinct and to the point. The other reason is that the employer is most likely swamped with other consultants' cover letters and resumes and does not have the time to invest in any particular application or read anything that is not relevant to the job that he or she advertised.
Cover letters are generally not longer than three paragraphs. In the first one, you introduce yourself and say why you are writing, mention where you saw the job advertisement and briefly explain why you wish to apply for the position. In the second paragraph, you generally provide some insight into the skills, qualifications and experience in management consulting that you feel will make you stand out among other applicants. In the third paragraph, you can simply reiterate your eagerness to join the employer's company and ask for a chance to be interviewed for the position.
Here is an example:
33 Bedford Row
November 5, 2007
123 Camden High Street
London, NW1 7JR
Dear Ms. Smith,
I was very interested to read on your website about the Strategic HR Management Consultant position opening at your London office.
I am an HR advisor with ten years of experience in business management. My experience in consulting extends far beyond HR strategy, as the projects I worked on were often related to product advertising and corporate strategy. After earning an MBA at XY University, I worked in Human Resources at Firm Z for a year and a half, before moving to management consulting at Company X. For the last two years, I have worked as a Senior Consultant in the Human Resources Strategy and Management Department at Company Z.
I feel that joining such a high profile management firm and industry leader as BCX Consulting is the next challenge for me to tackle in my career. My experience and skills, as I hope you will discover, have given me both the necessary insight into corporate HRM and trends in business strategy, and honed my interpersonal and team leadership skills.
I have attached my resume for your review and I look forward to being given an opportunity for an interview.