As we’ve discussed, you will want to follow a familiar, easy-to-navigate template. Resume readers go through thousands of resumes, spending at most 2 minutes on a given resume, so you will want to keep it easy for them. If you want to go right to our suggested templates, they can be found here.

 

The sections of your resume

For students and recent graduates, we recommend 5 sections: Header, Education, Work Experience, Additional Experience (e.g., volunteer or extracurricular experiences), and Skills & Interests. 

 

For experienced hires, we recommend 4 sections: Header, Work Experience, Education, Skills & Interests. After a few years of working full-time, it usually makes sense to move your work experience to be the first main section of your resume. That being said, you can also use your discretion if you want to keep an exceptional education front and center or draw attention away from less impressive professional accomplishments. We also recommend streamlining and moving your volunteer work and/or extracurriculars to lines under your Education or Skills & Interests, rather than taking up space for a whole section. 

 

The resume details

You’ll see throughout this section that we have “must-have” content to include, as well as “optional” content. Each resume is unique, so feel free to pick and choose from the suggested content as it makes the most sense for your background.

 

Keep your Header simple and clutter-free. In short, your header is just your name and contact information. You’ll want to include:

  • Full name (must-have)
  • Email address (must-have)
    • Please make sure your email address is professional! You’d be surprised at what we’ve seen. You cannot go wrong with a simple firstname.lastname@gmail.com or something similar. University email addresses are acceptable if you are a student (though make sure that you will have access to it after you graduate). Also, avoid outdated or obscure accounts like Yahoo or Hotmail. 
  • Phone number (must-have)
    • Be sure to include the country code if it would not be obvious to the recruiter (e.g., if you are applying to an office location that is different from the country code of your number)
  • Customized LinkedIn profile link (must-have)
  • Country-specific content (only if specified by the employer)
  • The items listed above are all that is needed for the vast majority of applications but be sure to find out if there is any country-specific resume guidance for where you are applying (some applications may ask you to specify the right to work and citizenship information, etc.)

 

Under Education, include your university, graduating year, and academic achievements. If you are a student, you can also include standardized test scores if you think they will benefit your application. Here’s the full list of items to consider:

  • University name (must-have)
    • Specify university and college within the university if relevant (e.g., University of Cambridge, Judge Business School)
  • Dates of attendance (must-have)
    • This should be the month and year you started, through the month and year of graduation (even if it is an anticipated date)
    • Note: if it took you a usually long time to graduate, you might want to include only the month and year you earned the degree
  • Degree type and field, for example, Bachelor of Science in Economics (must-have)
  • GPA and any honors (e.g., summa cum laude, top 5% of class) (optional)
  • Thesis or dissertation title (optional) 
    • Include this if it’s relevant to the job or if you think it will spark overall interest in you as a candidate!
  • Relevant coursework or modules (optional)
    • Recommended if this is not obvious from your major or especially relevant to the role (e.g., Management Consulting Project)
  • Scholarships you received (optional)
    • Consider including % of people who received them and/or $ amount of the award
  • GMAT or GRE scores, if impressive (optional)
  • High school experience (optional)
    • Only recommended if you are an undergraduate student and have exceptional high school credentials (e.g., top 1% in national standardized test)

 

The further you get into your career, the less relevant your GPA, test scores, or coursework become. However, these are often good additions for students and recent graduates. Of course, pick and choose what you include based on the nature of your accomplishments (if you don’t have a great GPA but have a killer GMAT score, then only include the latter).

 

Under Work Experience, include your prior employers, roles, and accomplishments. You’ll want to make each bullet in this section action-oriented and quantify results whenever possible. Note that if you are tight on space, you can omit early or less relevant work experiences. Make sure to include:

  • Employer name (and division or business unit if it is a large organization) (must-have)
  • Brief description of employer if it is not well-known (optional)
  • Position title (must-have)
  • Dates of employment (must-have)
  • Office location (must-have)
    • One note here: include the City, Country if you are outside of the US, and include the City, State if you are in the US
  • Relevant accomplishments (must-have)
    • Again, this should not be a list of everything you did. This should be a list of accomplishments that demonstrate that you will be a great management consultant. See this article for more information.

 

Under Additional Experience, you will want to write your bullets in the same way that you do your Work Experience bullets. However, keep this section brief if you need more space for your Work Experience (that’s the section to prioritize). Here, you can include volunteer experiences, student organizations, and extracurriculars. Make sure to include:

  • Organization name (must-have)
  • Position title (must-have)
  • Dates of participation (must-have)
  • Organization location (must-have)
    • One note here: include the City, Country if you are outside of the US, and include the City, State if you are in the US
  • Relevant accomplishments (must-have) 
    • Write these in the same way you would under a Work Experience

 

Under Skills & Interests, you will want to include just that, also indicating the degree of your skill. For example, “Mandarin (native-speaker)” or “Advanced Excel skills.” Also, include any certifications. Lastly, list a few interests on the final line of your resume. Try to make these specific and memorable. For example, “attending poetry slams” rather than “reading.” Also, demonstrate any achievements if you can! For example, “running (completed 5 half-marathons)” instead of just “running.” Consider including:

  • Languages (optional)
    • Note your skill level (native, fluent, conversational -- we don’t recommend including anything below conversational)
    • Also, do not forget to include English, if you are a native English speaker and applying to a country that speaks other languages. This is not always assumed even if your resume is written in English.
  • IT/software skills (must-have)
    • At a minimum, you should have: Word, PowerPoint, and Excel (these are considered essential, though in reality, many people learn Excel on the job)
    • Additional skills that are great to highlight, if you have them are: (1) Alteryx or other data analytics software, (2) Tableau, Qlik, or other data visualization programs, and (3) Stata, R, Python, or other programming languages (not commonly used in consulting, but are worth including as they demonstrate your analytical thinking) 
    • Note your skill level (advanced, intermediate, basic)
  • Interests (must-have)
    • You can include all sorts of things here (though don’t include anything that is clearly unprofessional); think sports, arts, unique hobbies. The one must-do: make it interesting.

 

Bonus: resume formatting guidelines

 

Font type

  • Keep it professional -- we recommend Arial or Times New Roman

Font size

  • 11 pt for everything besides your name (though spacing between items can be smaller if needed, just keep it consistent)
  • 20 pt for your name

Font format

  • Bold your name, section titles, university names, and employer/organization names
  • Bold and italicize your degrees and position titles
  • Italicize dates

Margins

  • Maintain at least a 1.3 cm margin around the entire document

Length

  • Keep it one 1 page unless you have 10+ years of work experience 

 

  • See the Prepmatter templates, with the suggested formatting built-in for you, here.