Consulting Cover Letters: How to Write Them

Writing a cover letter for a consulting position is different from cover letters for other professions. For one thing, consulting is a highly specialized career field and requires a smorgasbord of skills not needed for other jobs. It is also a fairly high-profile career, and the competition is fierce.

Your cover letter should not only be an introduction to your resume, but also a document that can stand alone. It should make your skills, assets and experience look better than anyone else who might be applying for the job, and it should also outline those unique abilities that hiring managers might not find in other candidates.

Short Letter; Brief Paragraphs

If a hiring manager receives 250 resumes for one position, he or she will get tired of reading long, drawn-out cover letters, all of which will say the same things. From your cover letter, the hiring manager will answer two very important questions:

1. Does the candidate understand what this company needs and wants; and
2. Does the candidate have the skills necessary to benefit this company?

If the hiring manager answers these two questions with a, “Yes!” then you will make the cut into the call-back pile.

Knowing this, your cover letter should address those two questions only. If you’ve done your research about the company, you will know what the hiring manager is looking for. Aggressiveness? Check. Logical thought? Check. A positive attitude? Check. Each company has a different culture and a different style; if you hope to gain employment with them, then you must fit into that culture.

You should also have researched the job requirements closely, and picked out four or five things that are most important. Be very emphatic about the fact that you have those skills.

Use Common Sense

Starting a cover letter with a statement like, “I’m sending you my resume because I would like to work with your company,” is ridiculous. The hiring manager knows that you want to work for them because if you didn’t, your resume wouldn’t be in his or her hands. Knowing that, use common sense when composing your cover letter.

Likewise, know what will grab the hiring manager’s attention. For example, if you were invited to apply for the job by a senior partner, say so right away. That is valuable information that the recruiter needs to know. If you’ve had previous experience in the job specified, state that as well. Don’t go on and on about previous employers, but highlight what you did for them and explain briefly how it can be applied to this job.

Get to the Point

It is not advisable to apply with a company unless you know specifically the job for which you are applying. Don’t say, in your cover letter, that you will work in any department on any pay schedule. If you want to work in Operations and you won’t accept anything less than $50,000 per year with full benefits, say so. It will save both you and the hiring manager time in the long run.

Fact-Check

Run your spelling and grammar check before printing off a copy of your resume, but that will not catch all mistakes. Make sure that the names of employees, divisions and the firm are all spelled correctly. You should also address the cover letter to the hiring manager by name, if it is available. And be sure to make sure that you are correct in assuming the gender of a recruiter. Addressing the letter to Mr. Rory Johnson will earn you a rejection if Rory is a divorced woman.

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