If you want to land a consulting job, it’s important to learn how to write a consulting resume.
Consultants can belong to several different industries, so the details of your consulting resume will depend on your specific career. You might be a business consultant, an IT consultant, a project management consultant, or a consultant for any other profession. To land your next interview, your consulting resume has to be perfectly targeted to your industry.
To make sure you have a great resume, this article will discuss:
Consulting is, in short, giving advice. When you work as a consultant, you provide guidance and expertise to your clients. Companies hire third party consultants to help them analyze problems, propose solutions, and implement new ideas or processes.
As a consultant, you might be self-employed, seeking and managing your own clients, or you might work for a consulting firm. You could be hired to modernize a company’s processes, update their organization or hierarchy, or give advice on a specific project or objective.
This means that as a consultant, you have to be an expert in your field. When a company hires you to advise on a particular issue, they expect you to know more than they know. If you aren’t an expert, why should they hire you?
Consulting can involve interviewing clients, analyzing their processes, diagnosing their problems, designing solutions, implementing solutions, collaborating with clients and their coworkers, teaching and mentoring, and more. Your goal is to improve the client’s processes, and there will be many steps to ensure this happens.
Consultants can work in many different industries, although business consultants are the most common. If you are moving into consulting, you may be working to become a strategy consultant, HR consultant, operations consultant, financial advisor, and more. You must have a strong background in your industry to become a consultant.
For this reason, it’s important to stay up-to-date in your field. If you want to be an IT consultant, for example, you have to be an IT expert. Most consultants only become consultants after they have been working in their field for several years. Further, most consultants have a strong education and impressive accreditations in their field, and have worked on some impressive projects in past roles.
If you want to write a successful consulting resume, you will have to show that you have the knowledge and qualifications to give real, actionable advice to the companies who need it.
A resume is a document describing your skills, experience, and qualifications. You provide your resume to employers when applying for a job.
A consulting resume is a resume targeted to consulting jobs. As consultants have to be detail oriented, highly experienced, and skilled at diagnosing and solving problems, this means consulting resumes are very focused on accomplishments and skills.
When you work as a consultant, employers and clients will want to know what you can do for them. The best way to show this on your resume is to provide concrete examples of your accomplishments. Clients aren’t interested in your responsibilities, they are interested in results. Demonstrating real achievements helps employers and clients understand what you are capable of far better than a list of duties.
These accomplishments can come from past jobs and past clients.
A great way to describe your achievements effectively is to provide measurements. Consultants have to have a strong understanding of the numbers, whether those numbers are representing revenue, team size, customer growth, or budgets. Including quantifiable aspects of past projects and achievements is a great way to make your experience seem credible and verifiable.
Further, be sure to use strong, action-oriented language as much as possible throughout your consulting resume. Words like managed, developed, designed, implemented, and executed all sound dynamic on the page and show that you have leadership capabilities. Your accomplishments are already impressive, and action verbs can make them sound even better.
Managed 4 concurrent projects using Change Management protocols. Administered project budgets varying from $75,000 to $1M. Led project teams of 20-25 members in technical and business environments.
A great consulting resume must have the right experience, quantifiable achievements, and active language.
It’s also important to make sure your consulting resume has all the right sections, as well as the right format and a great template. To make sure your consulting resume is perfect, follow these steps:
Consultants can have many different career paths. You might be qualified for consulting because of your education, or you might be qualified because of your years of experience. When you go to write your consulting resume, it’s important to choose a resume format that best suits your career.
There are two main resume formats to choose from: the reverse-chronological resume format and the skills-based resume format.
In a reverse-chronological resume, you list past jobs in reverse-chronological order, beginning with your current or most recent position and working backwards. In a reverse-chronological resume, your work experience is the largest and most important part of the resume.
This is the most common resume format, and the one most job-seekers should use.
In a skills-based resume, you begin the resume with a large and detailed Skills section. In the Skills section, you provide descriptions and concrete examples of each skill, drawing from all of your past positions. The Work Experience section can then be shorter, with less detail.
This resume format de-emphasizes the timeline of your work history. It is less common than the reverse-chronological resume, but it can be an effective format for job-seekers who have large gaps in their resume or are attempting a career change, and thus want to draw attention to their skills and away from their specific job titles.
When you write your consulting resume, be sure to choose the resume format that best fits your career. You need to make sure your resume can successfully sell your skills and experience to employers and clients.
As a consultant, it’s important to present yourself as serious, professional, and successful. To do this, you will need the right resume template.
The design of your resume can tell employers a lot about you and your personality. As consulting is a high-stakes job that often takes place in traditional industries, it’s important to select a resume template that shows you to be an effective and professional consultant who takes their job seriously.
VisualCV’s Corporate template, for example, is a simple and professional template that is ideal for consultants.
VisualCV’s Oak template, similarly, is great for executive-level consultants, and provides some colour for a bit of personality or personal branding.
Your summary is your elevator pitch to employers. In your Summary section, briefly provide a selection of skills, qualifications, or achievements that introduce you and your abilities. Your summary should be no more than a few sentences or bullet points.
In your Work Experience section, list past jobs in reverse-chronological order. For each item, include the job title, company name, dates of employment, and a job description.
When describing your past jobs, remember:
Your Work Experience section is a very important aspect of your resume. For most consultants, it will be the largest section, and the one with the most detail. Make sure yours is effective.
While you don’t necessarily need a degree to be a great consultant, a good Education section can be an asset to your consulting resume. Clients will be pleased if you have strong academic credentials.
In your education section, list your degrees in reverse-chronological order. For each item, include the degree name, school name, and the date you earned the degree.
A strong skill set is integral to a successful consulting career. In your resume, your Skills section is where you can provide a clear list of your best and most relevant abilities.
There are a few ways you can show your skills.
The easiest method is to list them in a simple bulleted list, beginning with your most relevant skills. This method is great if you want to provide an easily scannable list and save your accomplishments for the Work Experience section.
A second method is to make each skill a heading, and provide descriptions or examples of each skill underneath. This method works great in a skills-based resume. This larger Skills section allows you to emphasize your skills over your work experience, so your abilities are made clear without linking accomplishments to a particular job.
With VisualCV, you can even add strength ratings to each skill.
While the above sections are often enough for a great consulting resume, you might have some other qualifications that don’t quite fit. If this is the case, you might need to add some additional sections. Additional consulting resume sections might include:
Management Consultant McKinsey & Co.
Management Consultant Cornerstone Research
Project Management Consultant Bain & Co.
Design Consultant Boston Consulting Group
MBA Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Business Administration University of Texas
Community Success Manager & CV Writing Expert
Ben is a writer, customer success manager and CV writing expert with over 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their best careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume summary and the power of coffee.
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