Your motivation/cover letter should give us a strong first impression of who you are, in terms of both your background and what makes you stand out from the crowd. We are very interested in what you have achieved in your studies, your working life, or your spare time. In addition, it should explain your motivation for applying for a job in consulting and state where you see the fit between yourself and what we look for in our consultants.
Your CV should not only accurately reflect your achievements to date, but also provide some sense of the scale of those achievements. A successful CV will also give the reader a sense for who you are as a person, as reflected in the activities and achievements you view as important in your life. Our CV reviewers look for evidence of achievement in the four key skill areas outlined in What we look for. We find the following information and structure most useful:
We prefer to see details of graduate work and college/tertiary education first. Include your degree subject, university, degree grades, or GPA at each major milestone of your course (for example, magna cum laude overall, summa cum laude in first year) and any major prizes or awards, specifying key dates. You should also include any significant academic projects (e.g., senior thesis, major research work) that you feel help illustrate your academic ability.
Applicants who have taken standardized tests such as the GMAT, LSAT, SAT, etc., should also include their scores. Providing as much detail as possible here is key. If you have academic transcripts showing detailed grades, send us a copy. If you studied in an academic system unfamiliar to most, try to translate your result where possible to help the reviewer understand (e.g., top two percent of students nationally).
If you have work experience, emphasize what you have achieved in each major role beyond your key day-to-day responsibilities. We are most interested in the impact you have had in your career (e.g., the key things that changed because of your direct involvement). You may also describe unique skills and experiences that will help us understand the strengths you bring to the table.
Other skills and achievements
We are interested in any volunteer or charity work, or positions of responsibility in professional bodies – particularly where they demonstrate leadership, initiative-taking, or extraordinary commitment.
Similarly, you should include leadership positions, significant involvement in extracurricular activities, and significant participation in sports, games, societies, or hobbies. For example, a high level of achievement in a sport tells us something about your commitment and drive to achieve. Don't just tell us about your hobbies; tell us what you have achieved in pursuing them.
Generally you should only include items that you feel will help us understand your strengths better (rather than including something just for the sake of having it).
Include any foreign languages for which you have business conversational ability or better. For languages, a good idea is to rate yourself as either basic, competent, or fluent.