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Is a cover letter really necessary for McKinsey?

McKinsey appears to discourage writing one on their application website by saying "not needed", and "only to explain special circumstances or clarify issues or gaps in the CV". Yet here on prepLounge it is being recommended. Does it just depend on each individual McKinsey office that one applies for? Or is it something that's seen as not necessary but generally still helpful? Thanks!

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No, McKinsey does not really read the cover letteres. Sometimes they may refer to your cover letter if you are really one of those "borderline cases", but as far as I know that rarely happens.

That being said, if you really have the time or if you already have a high-quality cover letter written for a different consulting firm, it does not hurt to create one for McKinsey.

Hope this helps.

Cover letters are not mandatory to apply to McKinsey but definitely they can help you to stand out among hundreds or other applicants. 

Hi there, as the others have mentioned in my experience it is not necessary. However, sometimes they might ask for it later. Having said that, there is no reason to prepare it initially.

Hi Anonymous,

when I applied to McKinsey it was not compulsory to attach one; however the consultant who referred me said that if I had one ready I could send it as well to strengthen the application. Thus if you have a good one ready (which you probably have since other companies require it) and just have to customize it for McKinsey it could help to include it as well.

Even if the particular office says ''not necessary'', personally I always include one. It can't hurt, the worst thing that can happen is that they don't read it at all ;)

generally no, I would rather go through referral!

The recruiting team does not read cover letters. If you have something ready, no harm in including it. But I would not spend time preparing a cover letter. That time would be better used in interview preparation.

For most applications, a CL is not needed. However, you might need it to clarify certain aspects. E.g. if you're applying to a country where you have not lived previously (not in your CV), you might need to clarify why you're applying to that office.

Usually no, only if you apply online.

I would recommend you add it only if you're for 100% sure that's good CL.

Do you need any further help?

All the best,

I would use the CL:

  • If you are applying yourself via the website it's part of the application
  • If you apply via referral - it's not required at first but once you are invited to the interviews, they'll ask you to submit one anyway

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Consulting cover letter guide (for McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc.)

Consulting cover letter

Today we’re going to explain everything you need to know about writing consulting cover letters.

We’ll start by reviewing an example cover letter that got interview invitations from ALL the MBB firms (McKinsey, BCG, and Bain). 

And then we’ll explain exactly how you should write your own cover letter to land consulting interviews. Here’s a full list of the topics in this guide:

  • Example cover letter

How to write your consulting cover letter

Consulting cover letter tips.

  • The skills consulting firms look for

Consulting cover letter screening process

  • Get help with your cover letter

Let’s get to it! 

Click here for a consulting letter/resume review with an ex-MBB consultant

Example cover letter (which got interviews at mckinsey, bcg, and bain).

Below is an anonymised cover letter from a candidate who got interviews at McKinsey, BCG and Bain. So you can trust that this template works.

The image here highlights the different sections of the cover letter, but we’ll dive deeper into the text later, and you can also get a downloadable copy below.

Consulting cover letter example

Free download of the consulting cover letter example, here. 

In the next section, we’ll go step-by-step through each part of the cover letter and explain how to go about writing it. But before we dive in, please note the following points about the above template:

  • A lot of people use this template. Get inspiration from it, but every sentence in your letter should be written from scratch.
  • This cover letter might sound impressive. It's one of the best ones we’ve seen. But even if you have not achieved as much as this person, you can still get an interview.

With that said, let’s dig into the cover letter writing process!

As a starting point, this video provides a nice overview of the full writing process for a consulting cover letter. 

Now let’s break things down further.

1. Introduction

Example - Introduction

Mary Taylor - [email protected]

DD / MM / YYYY

Dear Sir / Madam,

I would like to apply for an Associate position at McKinsey in London.

This section is a formality. It should simply state the following information:

  • Your name and email address. You can replace your email address with a postal address although those are not commonly used anymore.
  • The date on which you are sending your letter
  • The position, company, and office to which you are applying

Keep it short and sweet.

2. Why you? 

Example - Why you?

I started working as an Analyst at Big Finance in New York in September 2020 and was quickly promoted to Associate in a year and a half instead of the average four years. While at Big Finance, I advised a broad range of clients who constantly gave me positive feedback and regularly asked to work with me again. Before joining Big Finance, I graduated as the top student of my MEng in Chemical Engineering at Prestigious University in the UK. While studying, I received two competitive scholarships and awards. In addition, I developed my leadership skills as the President of the Prestigious University Consulting Club. High energy was essential to lead a team of 5 managing the club and growing the number of members by 20%.

This is your "GOLD MEDALS" section. It is the first section of your cover letter and therefore the most important one.

It should state the TOP 3 achievements of your life to date that are relevant to consulting. These achievements should be as unique and as memorable as possible. When your reviewer reads them they should think "Wow, that's impressive. I want to know more about this person."

To write this section you need to step back and ask yourself "What are the most impressive things I've done with my life so far?" This is not an easy question to answer. 

In our experience discussing this with a close friend can help. It's sometimes easier for them to quickly point out the impressive things you have done as they are an external observer.

In addition, notice how achievements are QUANTIFIED in the example above. Saying you have been promoted "in a year and a half instead of the average four years" is much more powerful than saying you have been promoted "quickly." You should quantify your achievements whenever possible.

This section is your chance to grab the reader's attention. If there's nothing impressive in it, they will stop reading and just scan the paragraphs. So don't miss your opportunity!

3. Why consulting?

Example - Why consulting?

There are several reasons why I want to pursue a consulting career. To start with, I know I will enjoy being a strategy consultant because I have already worked in a strategy team in the past. This was in summer 2019 when I was a Strategy Intern at Big Grocery Retailer in London. In addition, I think consulting is a unique opportunity to comprehensively learn about business management by working on a variety of company situations. Over the past two years, I have started building my business skills while advising clients on financial matters at Big Finance. I now look forward to learning more about companies’ management at McKinsey. Finally, I want to work in consulting because I truly enjoy interacting with clients. Throughout my work experiences I have built a successful track record of developing and maintaining relationships with clients including, for instance, the senior strategy team at Big Grocery Retailer.

Once you have convinced your reviewer that you have impressive achievements under your belt they'll be thinking: "Ok, this person is impressive. But do they REALLY want to be a consultant? Or are they just applying because they're not sure what to do with their career."

The third section of your letter should therefore answer the  "Why consulting?" question . But here is the thing about this question: There are some reasons to go into consulting that you should tell your reviewer about. And some reasons that you should really keep to yourself.

For instance, one of the mistakes candidates commonly make in their cover letter is to write something along the lines of "I'd like to spend 2 or 3 years in consulting to learn more about business in general and then decide what I want to do." This is a HUGE mistake. 

Consulting firms want to hire FUTURE PARTNERS. Not employees who will stay for a couple of years. You can watch the video below for more details about this.

The best approach for your "Why consulting?" section is to write about past experiences that really show you know what you are getting into. The perfect situation is if you have done an internship in consulting or in corporate strategy and have enjoyed it. If that's the case, this is the perfect section to write about it.

But even if you haven't done related internships, there are plenty of angles you can use to connect your past experiences to what you will do as a consultant. For instance:

  • You might have enjoyed working with clients when you were in M&A or in Sales
  • You might have enjoyed structuring and solving tough problems as an engineer

You should use these experiences to say that "working with clients" or "solving tough problems" is something you KNOW you enjoy doing; and you look forward to spending more time doing this as a consultant.

When they read this section, your reviewer should think: "Ok, this person is impressive AND they know what they are getting into."

4. Why McKinsey / BCG / Bain / Other?

Example - Why McKinsey?

McKinsey appeals to me for three reasons. To start with, the different people from the company I have met and worked with all told me they had truly enjoyed their time there. For the past two years, I have worked for Michael Smith, a former Engagement Manager from the London office, who now works for Big Finance. Additionally, I regularly read McKinsey’s reports on financial services and think the insights delivered by Sarah James and others in the Finance practice are truly superior to that of other consultancies. By joining McKinsey, I therefore think I would have an opportunity to work with and learn from the best consultants in the industry. Finally, the fact that McKinsey was selected by Finance Supercorp to shape its digital strategy also played an important role in my decision to apply. This was a first-of-its-kind contract in finance and it shows that while at McKinsey I could get the opportunity to work on truly unique projects.

If you have managed to convince your reviewer that you have an impressive background and that you really want to be a consultant, you have a VERY HIGH chance of getting an interview. 

The only question that's left for you to answer is: " Why McKinsey  / Why BCG? / Why Bain? "

Top consulting firms  have a lot in common. In most regions, they cover the same industries and work for similar clients. They also pay similar salaries, and the career path is more or less the same from firm to firm. So what should you write about in this section?

In our experience, the most efficient way to set yourself apart in this section is to write about three specific elements:

When you write "I've met with Michael Smith," or "I've read report X," or "I've heard about project Y," you are making an argument that's SPECIFIC enough for your reviewer to think: "Ok they've done their homework."

If you stay too GENERIC, your argument will be much less credible. For instance, writing something like "While at McKinsey, I'll be exposed to a broad range of industries which I'm excited about" is a weak argument because you could swap McKinsey for BCG or Bain in that sentence.

In fact, this is the ultimate test. If you can swap McKinsey with another name in your "Why McKinsey?" section you are not being specific enough. You need to work on your paragraph again and mention SPECIFIC people, reports, or projects that you find interesting.

5. Conclusion

Example - Conclusion

For all these reasons, I am very enthusiastic about the chance to work at McKinsey. I am available for an interview at any time and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Mary Taylor

The last section of the cover letter is a formality again. It should include the following elements:

  • A sentence or two saying that you are enthusiastic and available for interviews at any time
  • Your final signature

So how do you make it easy for your reviewer to put your cover letter on the "Accept" pile? We have put together the 10 tips below to make sure you can achieve this and avoid common mistakes.

Consulting cover letter tips

Tip #1 Don't use a template letter

Writing cover letters is painful. But trust us, reading hundreds of them can be at least as painful. That's why you should make every effort to make your letter interesting and genuine. 

It's ok to get inspiration from templates such as the one we provide in this guide. But every sentence in your letter should be written from scratch.

Tip #2 Keep it to one page

One of the unwritten rules of consulting cover letters is that they should not be longer than one page. The trick to achieve this is to only select the MOST RELEVANT experiences from your  resume  and to summarise them. 

The points you decide to highlight should clearly demonstrate that you would make a great consultant.

Tip #3 Standard format and font

It's tempting to use an eye-catching font and format. But that's actually a bad idea. You only risk your interviewer thinking: "I've never seen this font, it looks really weird. Who is this person?" Your cover letter should stand out because of its content, NOT because of its format.

Tip #4 Not the time to be shy

Your cover letter is not the time to be shy. If you went to Harvard and have three Olympic medals, now is the time to say it! Most of us don't, and that's fine. But the point is that you should really push yourself to bring your most impressive accomplishments forward.

Tip #5 Network, network, network

This might sound surprising, but a big part of the cover letter is  how much networking you have done . Having networked with people from the firm you are applying for pays dividends for multiple reasons. 

First, they might recommend you to the HR team. But most importantly, these people will give you insight into what makes their firm UNIQUE. Then you can quote what you've heard in your cover letter (and name drop the person you heard it from) to show that you really understand the firm you are applying for.

Tip #6 Read, read, read

Unfortunately, networking is not always easy or possible. In these cases, your second best option is to read as much as you can on the firms you are applying for. You should read about the firm's projects, reports, and partners and find pieces of information you are really interested in. 

For instance, if you did your master thesis on electric vehicles, try to find who works in this area at the firm and what they have to say about it. And then mention what you have found in your cover letter.

Tip #7 One letter per firm

One question we often get is: "Should I write one letter per firm?" The answer is YES. But it's not as hard as it might sound. 

Every cover letter needs to answer three questions: Why you? Why consulting? And why this firm? The only paragraph you will need to change in every letter is the one about "Why this firm?" For each firm, you will have to do the networking and reading mentioned above.

Tip #8 Start writing early

Writing an outstanding cover letter is VERY HARD. Most candidates underestimate how much time it takes and start this process too late. You'll need to take a step back and reflect on everything you have done to date to highlight your most relevant experiences. 

This takes multiple iterations. Start early.

Tip #9 Get feedback

In our experience, great candidates all look for feedback and iterate on their cover letter until it's truly as good as it can get. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it.

It’s best to get feedback from peers or consultants. These people will be able to point out which parts of your letter they don't get or don't find impactful enough. If you’d like to have an expert review your cover letter, check out our team of  ex-consultant coaches .

Tip #10 Proofread multiple times

Finally, you should check and double check your letter for typos and grammar mistakes - multiple times. A cover letter is (not so secretly) a writing test and you should really treat it like one.

What consulting firms look for

To get multiple interviews at  top consulting firms , it’s extremely important to understand what those firms are actually looking for. 

The good news is that most of the leading consultancies are looking for basically the same skills. 

To illustrate this point, here’s what  McKinsey  and  Bain  say that they’re looking for in candidates, along with our own translation of what they mean:

What consulting firms look for

There are also a few unofficial items that consulting firms will look for on your resume, and you can read about those in our  consulting resume guide .

Next, let’s talk about the typical cover letter screening process.

Screening process

Now let's talk about HOW your cover letter will be handled once you send it. Here's how it works.

Your application will be sent to a JUNIOR CONSULTANT who recently graduated from your University. They will score your documents based on a grid provided by the HR team. 

Consultants usually have to score 200 to 400 applications in about 2 weeks. And this is sometimes on TOP of their normal project. It's not uncommon for them to leave the job to the last minute and to have to do it on a Friday night just before the deadline.

Why is this important? The point we are trying to make is your application is part of 100 other applications. And the person who will review it will be tired by the time they get to your cover letter. If they don't understand something, they won't Google it. It's your job to make their job easy.

Why consultancies ask for a cover letter

There are two main reasons why consulting firms ask for cover letters.

First, partners bill several thousand dollars per day to their clients. The opportunity cost of interviewing you is HUGE for the firm. Put yourself in the shoes of a consultancy for a second. What are the top 3 questions you want to answer before investing money in interviewing a candidate?

  • Have they demonstrated the skills needed to be a consultant?
  • Do they know what consulting is and what they are getting into?
  • Are they genuinely interested in working for our firm?

If you don't answer these three questions in a structured and impactful way, your chances of getting past the screening process are very low. This is why every cover letter should be structured as follows:

  • Why consulting?
  • Why this firm?

The second reason consulting firms ask for a cover letter is to test your writing skills. Consultants write all the time: emails, PowerPoints, Word documents, etc. They spend about 50% of their day writing. And a lot of the time their job is to summarise very large quantities of information in a succinct way.

This is exactly what you have to do in your cover letter. You have to a) look back on all your past experiences, b) select the relevant experiences to convince the reviewer that you are the right person for the job and c) summarise all these experiences in a way that's easy to read and digest.

Cover letters are a disguised writing test. Candidates who end up getting invited for interviews recognise this early on. Making a good impression on paper is way harder than making a good impression in person.

Are many candidates ready to invest HOURS in writing the perfect cover letter? No. That's the whole point. That's how you can set yourself apart. If you spend enough time making sure that your letter is as impactful as it can be, you stand very high chances of getting invited for interviews.

Another reason that it can help to have a cover letter is to explain anything on your resume that may look unusual to a reviewer, such as a time gap or a non-traditional background for consulting. 

Whatever your unique situation is, if you’re not confident in how your cover letter looks today, then we can help you. 

Get an Ex-MBB consultant to review your cover letter

The guide above, in addition to our guide on  consulting resumes , should go a long way in helping you craft documents that will get you interviews. 

But if you still feel you need additional help, we have a team of ex-MBB recruiters and interviewers who would be happy to provide feedback on your cover letter.

You’ll get feedback on how to immediately improve your cover letter, including what experience to focus on, how to optimise your phrasing, formatting, etc.

Start by browsing profiles for available coaches.

Interview coach and candidate conduct a video call

4 ways to start your McKinsey cover letter, according to recruiters and a former McKinsey manager

  • A consulting job at McKinsey is hard to get but comes with a salary that can reach the high six figures. 
  • Your cover letter is key to getting your foot in the door, recruiters and a former McKinsey manager said.
  • They recommended demonstrating problem-solving skills and leadership abilities, and keeping your letter short.

McKinsey and Company is tough to break into but well worth the effort when it comes to salary. Partner salaries average more than $800,000 in total pay, according to job-review site Glassdoor.

One of your first chances to prove your value to this uber-competitive management consulting firm is through a cover letter. As stated on McKinsey's website : "Your application (i.e., cover letter, CV/resume) is our first and primary evidence of your written communication skills, so present it in a thoughtful and compelling manner."

While the company's website notes that a cover letter isn't required in an online application "unless you wish to alert [McKinsey] to an unusual circumstance or to provide information on a reapplication," recruiters emphasized that it's still an important part of the hiring process.

"McKinsey recruiters expect to see applicants with elite problem-solving and leadership abilities who can articulate their achievements, accomplishments, and diverse experiences concisely," said Caroline Stokes, the CEO of executive search and coaching firm  FORWARD , who has experience recruiting and coaching job seekers for many top firms, including McKinsey. "A person's leadership style and executive presence can be determined from this letter alone, so it needs to fully represent how the person would operate in this management consultancy environment with other high-performing talent and clients."

Portia Kibble Smith, an executive recruiter at  Karat  who has four decades of corporate experience and has placed many candidates at McKinsey, added: "The single biggest reason for a cover letter is that when I talk to hiring managers, they're probably reviewing each resume for 10 to 30 seconds. They're shuffling through them so quickly that you need some way to make the strongest part of your resume pop. That's what a cover letter is for." 

These experts and others shared their best tips for writing a letter that gets a hiring manager's attention.

Emphasize leadership, entrepreneurial drive, and passion for client-facing work

Smith said you should first make it clear that you're interested in working with clients — not just interested in working for McKinsey. 

"Demonstrate your passion for client-facing roles, and that you have the tools to hit the ground running on day one," Smith said.

Second, Smith pointed out that the cover letter is your opportunity to pull out the single-most impressive part of your resume and bring it to life. 

"Draw them in with a compelling story so they know your resume is worth more than half a minute of their time," she said. "One example of this is from a candidate that I helped place, who went into detail about their experience leading teams in the telecommunications industry and the value they helped create in a client-facing role."

Lastly, she advised not shying away from your background, but instead leaning into it. 

"If your MBA is from KU [University of Kansas] and not Harvard, the hiring manager already knows this, so there's no need to hide it," Smith said. "What opportunities did you have in Lawrence that may not have been available in Cambridge? Is there a unique perspective you're going to offer to the clients that they can't find anywhere else? That will get you noticed." 

Will Bachman spent four years at McKinsey after business school as an engagement manager, plus another year at the firm during his pre-MBA tenure. Within his management role, he was involved in recruiting for the firm — specifically vetting prospective MBA students and conducting interviews — before he left to cofound Umbrex , a global community connecting top-tier independent management consultants.

Bachman emphasized that McKinsey evaluates applicants on four dimensions: personal impact, entrepreneurial drive, problem-solving skills, and leadership abilities. As a result of this focus, he said that all successful candidates must meet the high bar on all four dimensions, and need to be absolutely distinctive on at least one of those four — which should come out in your cover letter.

"McKinsey consultants are taught to 'lead with the answer' when creating a presentation, and applicants ought to do the same in a cover letter, opening with a powerful anecdote that illustrates one of those four qualities where the candidate is most exceptional," Bachman said.

He also advised not diluting your message by trying to demonstrate competence on all four; instead, you should wow the reader with a story that shows how you are amazing on one of these dimensions.

(Finally, he shared that at McKinsey, the consultants like to capitalize the word "firm" when referring to "the Firm," so for extra credit, you can adopt that practice in your cover letter.)

Keep it short and don't just rehash your resume

Atta Tarki is founder and CEO of ECA , an executive search firm in which 10 out of their 11 managing directors are former consultants themselves with experience at McKinsey and other top consulting firms, and formerly spent six years as a management consultant at LEK Consulting . As such, Tarki works with hundreds of McKinsey consultants aiming to transition out of the firm a year, and has placed consultants with eight out of the top 10 strategy consulting firms.

Tarki advised focusing on something unique in your cover letter that's not in your resume to make your note stand out. 

"Most cover letters are just checking the box and rehashing the resume," he said. "In the extremely rare event that someone looks at it, that [approach] won't help you, and instead it should try to highlight some of your hobbies or things that make you interesting as a person/for the role."  

Tarki added that in the age of Twitter, less is more, whether you're talking about your cover letter, resume, or other communications related to your McKinsey application. He also hammered the point that it's important to get the basics right when applying, such as keeping your emails to HR brief and professional, not having any typos in your cover letter or other parts of your application, and being very responsive when communicating with the firm. 

"Within hours is great and within the hour is excellent," Tarki said. "Within 24 hours is acceptable. Anything slower than that raises yellow flags."

He also emphasized making sure every single sentence in your application adds value. "Don't replace quality with quantity," he said.

These experts offered some examples of great cover letter lines

Bachman suggested that your cover letter to McKinsey could begin with something like this opener, which he wrote himself:

[Partner's first name],

I'm interested in joining the [name of practice] as an experienced hire.

Recognizing the value the Firm places on entrepreneurial drive, I thought I'd share the story of how I conceived of a new revenue stream for my current employer, developed the business case on my own time, managed to gain alignment among senior managers to approve funding, and then, as the head of this new service line, built a $50 million annual revenue business with a 22% EBITDA margin ...

Here's another example of an opening paragraph of the kinds of notes that stood out to him when vetting candidates:

Recognizing the value the Firm places on personal impact, I thought I'd share the story of how I built a nonprofit that has distributed a free interview suit and interview coaching to 3,000 low-income residents in my city ...

If you know a partner at the firm, then your cover letter should be addressed to that person. Bachman suggested that in this case, your cover letter could begin like this:

I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you and your colleagues over the past several months, and as we discussed at [venue] on [date], I'd like to be considered as a candidate to join the [name of practice] in the [desired city] office …

Smith also shared the following cover letter template that she uses to help her candidates craft their introductions to McKinsey:

Delivering exceptional results for clients isn't rocket science — it's a lot harder. 

It takes a genuine desire to understand a client's business and goals, from both a granular and big-picture perspective. It takes insight into the client's business trajectory, products, market trends, untapped opportunities, and competitors. It takes critical thinking, robust analytical skills, leadership, and a passion for strategic problem-solving. 

It takes someone who can partner with clients and colleagues to find innovative approaches to problems and work as a key member of the team to develop impactful recommendations. 

These are the things I truly enjoy doing. I use a systematic approach to problem solving that includes analyzing the issue, defining desired outcomes, asking the right questions, looking at the challenge from both creative and strategic viewpoints, and brainstorming in a team environment to form possible solutions. A brief example of my success in problem solving is [example, including results for company or clients].

As a recent graduate of [school] with a [degree] in [major], I am eager to work with an organization like McKinsey, where my education and experience in [area of experience] will add value to both clients and the firm. 

It would be a privilege to speak with you about a consulting role with McKinsey, my qualifications, and a potential match. My resume is attached for your review, and I look forward to the next steps in the selection process. Thank you for your consideration.

[Your name]

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

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StandOut CV

McKinsey cover letter examples

Andrew Fennell photo

Did you know that McKinsey receives 200,000 applications a year from professionals who want to join the business?

That’s some pretty big competition.

So if you want to stand out and make it through to the interview stage, your application needs to be pretty spectacular.

Find out how to make an impression using our detailed guide and McKinsey cover letter examples below.

CV templates 

McKinsey cover letter example 1

McKinsey cover letter 1

McKinsey cover letter example 2

McKinsey cover letter 2

McKinsey cover letter example 3

McKinsey cover letter 3

The example cover letters here should give you a good general idea on how your McKinsey cover letter should be formatted and written.

The rest of this guide gives more specific guidance on how to create your own cover letter in this format, and even includes some templates you can copy and paste.

How to write a McKinsey cover letter

Here’s a simple process to write your own interview-winning cover letter.

How to write a cover letter

Write your cover letter in the body of an email/message

When writing your McKinsey cover letter, it’s best to type the content into the body of your email (or the job site messaging system) and not to attach the cover letter as a separate document.

This ensures that your cover letter gets seen as soon as a recruiter or employer opens your message.

If you attach the cover letter as a document, you’re making the reader go through an unnecessary step of opening the document before reading it.

If it’s in the body of the message itself, it will be seen instantly, which hugely increases the chances of it being read.

Write cover letter in body of email

Start with a friendly greeting

Cover letter address

Start you cover letter with a greeting that is professional but friendly.

This will build rapport with the recruiter whilst showing your professionalism.

  • Hi, hope you’re well
  • Hi [insert recruiter name]
  • Hi [insert department/team name]

Avoid overly formal greetings like “Dear sir/madam ” unless applying to very traditional companies.

How to find the contact’s name?

Addressing the recruitment contact by name is an excellent way to start building a strong relationship. If it is not listed in the job advert, try these methods to find it.

  • Check out the company website and look at their  About page. If you see a hiring manager, HR person or internal recruiter, use their name. You could also try to figure out who would be your manager in the role and use their name.
  • Head to LinkedIn , search for the company and scan through the list of employees. Most professionals are on LinkedIn these days, so this is a good bet.

Identify the role you are applying for

After you have greeted the recruiter, it’s important to state the job you are applying to.

Recruiters are often managing multiple vacancies, so they need to know exactly which job you are referring to.

Be as specific as possible and use a reference number if you can find one.

Here are some examples you can use;

  • I am interested in applying for the role of admin assistant with your organisation.
  • I would like to apply for the role of Sales assistant (Ref: 4057393)
  • I would like to express my interest in the customer service vacancy within your retail department
  • I saw your advertisement for a trainee project manager on Reed and would like to apply for the role.

See also: CV examples – how to write a CV – CV profiles

Highlight your suitability

The bulk of your cover letter should be focused around highlighting your suitability for the job you are applying to.

Doing this will show the recruiter that you are suitable candidate and encourage them to open your CV.

The best way to do this, is by studying the job advert you are applying to, and find out what the most important skills and knowledge are.

Once you know the most important requirements, you then need to highlight your matching skills to the recruiter. In a few sentences, tell them exactly why you are a good fit for the job and what you can offer the company.

Cover letter tips

Keep it short and sharp

When sending a job application to a recruiter or hiring manager, it is important to remember that they will normally be very busy and pushed for time.

Therefore, you need to get you message across to them quickly (in a matter of seconds ideally). So, keep your cover letter short and to-the-point. A long waffling cover letter will overwhelm recruiters when they are running through hundreds of emails in there inbox, but a concise one will get their attention.

So, keep your cover letter to just a few sentences long, and save the extensive detail for your CV.

Sign off professionally

To round of your cover letter, add a professional signature to the bottom, giving recruiters your vital contact information.

This not only gives various means of contacting you, it also looks really professional and shows that you know how to communicate in the workplace.

Include the following points;

  • A friendly sign off – e.g. “Warm regards”
  • Your full name
  • Phone number (one you can answer quickly)
  • Email address
  • Profession title
  • Professional social network – e.g. LinkedIn

Here is an example signature;

Warm regards,

Gerald Baker Senior Accountant 07887500404 [email protected] LinkedIn

Quick tip : To save yourself from having to write your signature every time you send a job application email, you can save it within your email drafts, or on a separate document that you could copy in.

Email signatures

What to include in your McKinsey cover letter

Your McKinsey cover letter will be unique to your situation, but there are certain content guidelines you should stick to for best results.

To attract and entice recruiters, stick with the following key subjects in your cover letter – adapting them to fit your profession and target jobs.

  • Your professional experience – Employers will be keen to know if your experience is suitable for the job you are applying to, so provide a good summary of it in your cover letter.
  • Your qualifications and education – Highlight your most relevant and high-level of qualification, especially if they are essential to the job.
  • The positive impact you have made – Employers love to hear about the benefits you can bring to them, so shout about anything impressive you have done, such as saving money or improving processes.
  • Your reasons for leaving – Use a few words of your cover letter to explain why you are leaving your current job and ensure you avoid any negative reasons.
  • Your availability – Let recruiters know when you can start a new job . Are you immediately available, or do you have a month notice period?

McKinsey cover letter templates

Copy and paste these McKinsey cover letter templates to get a head start on your own.

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Growth and Sales Associate position at McKinsey. With over 12 years of experience working in business development, I am confident in my ability to drive revenue growth and establish strategic partnerships.

During my tenure at Tanto, I led market research efforts that identified and pursued new revenue opportunities, resulting in a remarkable 19% increase in revenue through the acquisition of five new enterprise clients. Additionally, my implementation of a strategic-partner sales strategy contributed to a substantial 12% increase in the company’s average deal size. Furthermore, my ability to build and manage relationships with key stakeholders, as showcased in my work at Tanto and Crystal Consulting, has led to successful partnerships and a remarkable 30% increase in the sales pipeline. As a PMI-Certified Project Management Professional with a BSc in Finance, I possess excellent communication and negotiation skills, consistently exceeding KPIs.

I am eager to bring my expertise to McKinsey and contribute to the firm’s continued success. I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience to discuss how my skills align with the goals of the company.

Marco Terrano

Hey Michael,

I am thrilled to apply for the Management Consultant role at McKinsey. As a seasoned Business Consultant with a track record of delivering tangible improvements in the financial sector, my expertise in data-driven solutions and process enhancement sets me apart.

In my current role at Arcadia Business Solutions, I excel in analysing clients’ operations and devising risk management frameworks, reducing operational risk by 15% for a leading investment bank in 2019. Moreover, my strategic planning initiative boosted revenue by 10% over three years for a financial services firm. During my tenure at TRC Ltd, I collaborated with senior consultants on business planning and achieved a 20% sales increase through a successful product launch strategy for a healthcare company. As a certified Agile Practitioner and Business Analysis Professional, I possess strong project management and mentoring skills and, at Monzo, I employed Agile methodologies to provide valuable insights and foster efficient workflows while adapting products to customer needs.

I am eager to discuss how my expertise can fuel McKinsey’s success and an interview at your convenience would be highly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Mathilde DuPont

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to apply for the Automation Engineer position at McKinsey.

With 25+ years of experience as a detail-oriented Automation Tester, I possess a strong track record of optimising resources and streamlining performance testing strategies. At TechPro Lyd, I executed automated test scripts using Selenium WebDriver, Java, and TestNG, resulting in improved software stability and a 40% boost in application response time through a reverse-order performance testing strategy. During my tenure at KeyTech, I implemented an automated testing framework for mobile applications, reducing time-to-market for new features by 22%.

Throughout my career I regularly conducted end-to-end user testing, ensuring quality and timely delivery of the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC). As an Agile Certified Practitioner, I am proficient in programming languages like Python, Java, Perl, and C#, and adept at using automation tools such as Jenkins, Maven, Docker, and Kubernetes.

I am available for an interview at your convenience to discuss how my skills can benefit McKinsey’s automation initiatives.

Nigel Sampson

Writing an impressive cover letter is a crucial step in landing a job at McKinsey, so taking the time to perfect it is well worth while.

By following the tips and examples above you will be able to create an eye-catching cover letter that will wow recruiters and ensure your CV gets read – leading to more job interviews for you.

Good luck with your job search!

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How to Write the Perfect Consulting Cover Letter (McKinsey, BCG, Bain)

the image is the cover of the article on how to create a consulting cover letter

Last Updated on January 22, 2024

In the highly competitive world of consulting, crafting an exceptional cover letter can significantly elevate your application. Statistics reveal a startling reality: only about 1-3% of applicants secure an offer from top-tier consulting firms like McKinsey , BCG , and Bain . This underscores the crucial role of the cover letter and resume in surpassing the initial screening phase, which is a great hurdle where up to 75% of hopefuls are filtered out.

Your journey through the rigorous recruiting process typically begins with networking and securing a referral. However, what truly sets your application apart is a well-structured, compelling consulting cover letter. This initial impression can be a decisive factor in advancing to the next stages, including aptitude tests and interviews.

the image is a chart on the breakdown of mbb offer rates through the different stages from screening to the interviews

How can you make sure to belong to the 25% that progress to the aptitude tests and interviews?

In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of crafting a cover letter that not only captures attention but also resonates with the values and expectations of these esteemed consulting firms. We cover exactly that and answer all your questions related to:

  • Why you should not underestimate the importance of the cover letter (but also not overestimate it)
  • How you should structure your cover letter
  • What content you should include in the cover letter
  • How you should design the cover letter
  • What pitfalls and common mistakes you should avoid

The Purpose of Your Consulting Cover Letter

First things first. The cover letter is important but most sources overestimate its importance. If you were to rank it in order of importance for an interview invitation it would look like this:

  • Resume . This is your gateway to the consulting world. A well-crafted resume showcasing your experiences and skills is essential for opening doors at prestigious firms like McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. It’s the first touchpoint that narrates your professional journey.
  • Referrals . Leveraging referrals can significantly enhance your application. A robust network , comprising varied sources and higher-ups, lends credibility and warrants a more attentive review of your application. In certain cases, strong referrals can even balance out minor gaps in your resume.
  • Cover letter. If recruiters spend 20 seconds per resume, how much time do you think they will spend on a 1-page wall of text? You guessed it…yet that is exactly the reason why you should put effort into the creation of it. You need to make sure that your story transpires within a short amount of time. Doubts from the resume can be eliminated, and stories and skills that are especially relevant can be highlighted.

While the resume is a chronological display of your experience and skills, the cover letter tells a more personal story to answer three core questions:

  • Personal Fit (Why are you a good candidate?): Highlight why you’re an ideal candidate, weaving in stories and skills that align with the consulting ethos.
  • Passion for Consulting (Why do you want to work in consulting?): Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the field and articulate your understanding of its dynamics.
  • Firm-Specific Aspirations (Why do you want to work for this firm?): Detail why you’re choosing a particular firm, aligning your career goals with their values and culture.

Lastly, the cover letter is your chance to demonstrate two meta-skills. It is more than just a narrative. It’s a testament to your ability to:

  • Draft Professional Documents : Showcasing your skill in creating well-structured, formal documents.
  • Communicate Effectively : The ability to convey your thoughts concisely and compellingly, in a manner that resonates with the consulting world’s preference for clarity and brevity.

Get the help you need to transform your consulting application into a success.

the image is the cover of the strategycase.com cover letter and resume guide for mckinsey, bcg, and bain

Crafting the Ideal Structure and Content

A standout consulting cover letter is a crucial component of your application, particularly for coveted roles at MBB ). In general, a cover letter needs to consist of three parts:

Introduction: A Compelling Opening (1 short paragraph)

  • Purpose : Kickstart your cover letter with an engaging introduction that grabs the attention of recruiters or consultants.
  • Key Elements : Clearly state the consulting role you’re targeting, the preferred office location, and any crucial networking references. This opening serves as a crucial first impression, setting the tone for your application.

Body: Demonstrating Fit and Passion (3 paragraphs)

  • Your Candidacy : This is where you shine, linking your unique experiences and skills to the role’s requirements. Adopt a storytelling approach, sharing 2-4 impactful narratives that encompass both your educational and professional journeys. Focus on moments that define you as an outstanding candidate, like leading significant initiatives or unique personal achievements. This is the core of the cover letter and should link your personal experience and skills with the demands of the role. Move into storytelling mode and describe how different experiences prepared you for the role you are applying for. It is especially important in this highlight-reel to celebrate and quantify your successes. You need to make sure to incorporate stories that make you a memorable character (”Ah Sarah, she was the one biking through South America with a tent, raising money for charity.”).
  • Your Drive for Consulting : Second, discuss why consulting is the best industry for you to work in. Connect your past experiences to the core competencies of consulting. Link your experience and skills to the type of work and qualities needed in consulting. This could include leadership roles, analytical projects, or impactful community work. Emphasize how these experiences align with the demanding yet rewarding nature of consulting, including aspects like diverse project work, talented and exceptional colleagues, steep learning curves, and early-career impact.
  • Your Desire for MBB : Third, discuss why you want to work for the respective consulting firm. Tailor this section to the specific firm and highlight 2-4 aspects of the firm that resonate with you, such as their project diversity, professional development opportunities, or their esteemed reputation. Personalize this part by referencing any interactions or insights about the firm from your network or research.

Conclusion: A Strong Closure (1 short paragraph)

  • Summarization : Conclude with a concise summary of your motivation and suitability for the role. Reaffirm your enthusiasm and readiness to contribute to the firm, keeping the tone professional and earnest.

Creating the Content for Your Cover Letter

When structuring your consulting cover letter, a strategic approach is to directly align it with the specific characteristics that your target firm values in candidates.

For instance, if you’re aiming for McKinsey, visit the values and purpose statement on their website to understand precisely what they seek in prospective consultants. McKinsey, like every consulting firm, has a set of core values driving their recruitment process, such as problem-solving skills, leadership abilities, a track record of delivering innovation, and a passion for the work.

In crafting your cover letter, it’s essential to weave the key attributes sought by your target consulting firm intelligently throughout the narrative. Each paragraph should be centered around a specific characteristic that the firm values, such as leadership or problem-solving skills. Identify moments from both your professional and personal life that vividly demonstrate these attributes, selecting the most compelling instance if you have several to choose from.

For each attribute, construct a narrative that outlines the context of the experience, your specific actions, and the measurable outcomes, ensuring to quantify these achievements when possible. This strategic approach seamlessly integrates the reasons why you are an ideal candidate for firms like McKinsey, Bain, or BCG, thereby eliminating the need for an explicit statement. Your stories will implicitly convey your suitability for the role. When addressing the question of “Why consulting?”, a brief mention suffices as your examples will have already demonstrated your comprehension of the consulting industry’s requisites.

This technique is particularly advantageous for those with unique backgrounds or for experienced professionals, as it distinctly showcases how their experiences align with the firm’s values and expectations.

Example of a Consulting Cover Letter

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am writing to express my interest in the [specific consulting role] at McKinsey & Company in the [city] office. Having been referred by [Referral’s Name], a [Position] at your firm, I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to the innovative work McKinsey is known for.

My journey in consulting began unconventionally, as a leader in a non-profit organization, where I spearheaded a project to increase educational access in underprivileged areas. This experience, combined with my MBA from [University Name], has equipped me with a unique blend of grassroots-level impact understanding and strategic business acumen. Notably, leading a team to develop a sustainable funding model, we enhanced educational outreach by 150% within two years, demonstrating my ability to drive significant results in challenging environments. In my recent role at [Your Current/Previous Company], I navigated complex stakeholder environments to deliver a pivotal market expansion strategy, leading to a 30% increase in market share. This experience honed my analytical skills and ability to deliver actionable insights under pressure, qualities I understand are paramount at McKinsey.

The dynamic nature of consulting, with its diverse project work and intellectually stimulating environment, deeply resonates with me. The prospect of working alongside and learning from some of the brightest minds is particularly appealing, as is the opportunity to have a tangible impact early in my career. My experiences have prepared me to thrive in such a setting, where every day presents a new challenge and learning opportunity.

McKinsey’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions and its unparalleled professional development programs are key factors that draw me to your firm. The firm’s global impact and leadership in tackling complex business and societal challenges align perfectly with my professional goals and values.

In conclusion, I am excited about the possibility of joining McKinsey & Company and am confident in my ability to make a meaningful contribution. My background in leading impactful initiatives and delivering results in complex environments, coupled with my passion for continuous learning and growth, make me a well-suited candidate for the [specific role]. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my experiences and skills align with McKinsey’s needs and ambitions.

[Your Name]

Formatting Your Consulting Cover Letter: A Professional Blueprint

A well-formatted cover letter not only reflects your professionalism but also your attention to detail – key traits in the consulting world. Here’s how to structure your letter to meet the industry’s standard formatting requirements:

  • Header with Personal Information : At the top, include your name and address. This can be aligned to the left, right, or centered for a balanced look.
  • Recipient’s Address : Directly below your information, list the recipient’s details on the left-hand side. This should include the name and address of the consulting firm or the specific individual you’re addressing.
  • Date : Place the date on the right-hand side of the page. Remember to spell out the month for clarity (e.g., “1 April 2024” in the UK format or “April 1, 2024” in the US format).
  • Reference Number (if applicable) : If your application has a specific reference number, include it on the left-hand side, such as “Ref: Job Application XYZ123”.
  • Salutation : Begin your letter with a proper salutation, addressing the recipient respectfully.
  • Closing : Conclude your letter with a formal sign-off like “Yours sincerely” (UK) or “Best regards”, “Sincerely”, or “Sincerely yours” (US).
  • Signature : Below the closing, leave space for your handwritten signature, followed by your typed name.
  • Enclosures : If you’re including additional documents, list them under “Enclosures:” at the bottom of the letter.
  • Typography and Margins : Use a standard font size (12) and a professional font like Times New Roman. Maintain standard margins and avoid overcrowding the page to enhance readability.

Following these formatting guidelines, your cover letter will not only look professional but also demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively in a business environment, a critical skill in consulting. The cover letter is not the time for experiments and by sticking to the generally agreed upon guidelines, you will facilitate the work of the recruiters.

Essential Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Consulting Cover Letter

Crafting an impactful cover letter for a consulting role involves not just highlighting your strengths but also avoiding common mistakes. Here’s a checklist to help you steer clear of these pitfalls:

  • Avoid Introducing Unfamiliar Information : Ensure that every degree, job, or skill mentioned in your cover letter is also present in your resume. Consistency is key.
  • Eliminate Redundant Information : Your cover letter should not merely repeat what’s in your resume. Instead, it should complement and expand upon it.
  • Adhere to the One-Page Rule : A concise, one-page cover letter is a standard in the industry. Exceeding this length can diminish the impact of your message.
  • Foster a Personal Connection : Strive to establish a personal link with the firm or the recruiter. Mention referrals or specific interactions with the firm or individuals to make your application more relatable.
  • Back Up Your Claims : Any skill or achievement you mention should be substantiated with a relevant story or example. This adds credibility to your assertions.
  • Relevance is Crucial : Focus on experiences and skills that are directly relevant to the consulting role. Irrelevant emphasis can dilute the strength of your application.
  • Incorporate Storytelling : Use storytelling to vividly bring out your experiences and skills. This makes your application memorable and engaging.
  • Customize for the Firm : Tailor your cover letter to reflect your knowledge of and alignment with the firm’s values, culture, and unique selling points (USP).
  • Be Cautious with Templates : Avoid the blunder of using incorrect company names or information, a common mistake when using a generic template for multiple applications.
  • Prioritize Proofreading : Grammar, spelling, and typographical errors can significantly undermine your professionalism. Meticulous proofreading is essential.

By diligently avoiding these common errors, you can ensure that your consulting cover letter not only showcases your qualifications but also demonstrates your attention to detail and your understanding of what makes a successful consulting application.

Crafting Your Consulting Cover Letter: A Step-by-Step Process

Creating a standout cover letter for a consulting position is a meticulous process that benefits from careful planning and thoughtful revision. Here’s a guide to crafting yours:

  • Structure Planning : Begin by organizing the high-level structure of your cover letter. Use the recommended format of introduction, body, and conclusion to ensure a coherent flow.
  • Detail Gathering : Compile all the necessary information you wish to include, such as specific names, references, dates, and pertinent anecdotes or experiences.
  • Initial Drafting with Bullet Points : Start by writing a first draft in bullet points. This helps in laying out your ideas succinctly and focusing on key points without getting bogged down by details.
  • Seek Initial Feedback : Share this bullet-point draft with a friend, mentor, or colleague. Constructive feedback at this early stage can be invaluable in shaping the direction and content of your cover letter.
  • Expand to Full Paragraphs : Transform your bullet points into well-crafted paragraphs. This is where you begin to add depth to your narrative, ensuring each section flows logically into the next.
  • Further Feedback and Refinement : Seek additional feedback on this more developed version. Use the insights gained to fine-tune your message, ensuring it aligns with the principles of effective, concise consulting communication.
  • Consistency Check with Resume : Ensure that your cover letter complements your resume. It should add to, not repeat, what is in your resume, providing a fuller picture of your qualifications and fit for the role.
  • Concise and Clear Writing : “Trim the fat” by eliminating unnecessary words or phrases. Aim for clarity and brevity in your sentences, ensuring each word adds value to your message.
  • Formatting Adjustments : Fine-tune the formatting to adhere to professional standards – one page, legible font (like Times New Roman), appropriate font size (typically 12), and correct formalities (such as your name and address).
  • Meticulous Proofreading : Use tools like MS Word for an initial grammar and spell check. Then, carefully proofread your cover letter multiple times. It’s also wise to have someone else review it, providing a fresh perspective on both content and form.

With this process, you can develop a compelling and polished consulting cover letter that effectively communicates your strengths and fit for the consulting role you are aspiring to.

Does McKinsey Require a Cover Letter?

When it comes to McKinsey & Company, the requirement for a cover letter in your application may not be as stringent as you might think. In most McKinsey offices worldwide, submitting a cover letter is an optional part of the application process. This means that including one does not significantly influence the overall assessment of your application.

However, this doesn’t imply that a cover letter is without merit. If you’ve already crafted a compelling cover letter for applications to other firms, it’s advisable to tailor it specifically for McKinsey. Adjust key details such as the referral source, the targeted office location, the role you’re applying for, and the company’s name. This personalized touch demonstrates your genuine interest in McKinsey and your attention to detail.

Additionally, it boils down to how well your resume speaks for itself. If your resume already paints a clear picture of you as a prime candidate for a firm like McKinsey, then a cover letter might not be necessary. Here are some key indicators that your resume is doing the talking for you:

  • Outstanding Academic Record : A high GPA always catches the eye.
  • Core School Credentials : Graduating from or attending a school regularly visited by the firm ( a target school ) for recruitment gives you an edge.
  • Relevant Educational Background : Degrees like an undergrad in business or economics, or an MBA, align well with what consulting firms look for.
  • Solid Evidence of Key Skills : If your resume vividly showcases your leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities through work and volunteer experiences, you’re on the right track.

However, if you feel your resume might leave some room for doubt about your suitability for the consulting world, or the firm specifically, then adding a cover letter can bolster your application. This is your chance to fill in any gaps and directly communicate why you’re a great fit for both the industry and the firm. Think of the cover letter as your personal advocate, underlining your potential and passion for the role.

It’s important to note, though, that the cover letter might not be a focal point during the interview stages. The consultants conducting your case interviews and Personal Experience Interviews (PEIs) typically do not review cover letters as part of their interview preparation. Therefore, while including a well-tailored cover letter can add a polished edge to your application, it’s unlikely to be a discussion point in your interviews.

Elevate Your Consulting Application with Our Expertise

Are you aiming for a breakthrough in your consulting career with firms like McKinsey, BCG, Bain or any other consulting firm? Our specialized cover letter and resume services are here to guide you through this critical phase. With our team’s background as former consultants and application screeners at McKinsey, we bring insider knowledge to your application process. We’ve scrutinized hundreds of applications, granting us unique insights into what truly makes a candidate stand out.

Tailored Guidance for Standout Applications

  • Comprehensive Resources : Dive into our extensive guides and templates specifically designed for crafting the ideal consulting resume and cover letter. These resources are tailored to meet the expectations of the top consulting firms.
  • In-Depth Exploration : We delve deeply into every facet of crafting a winning consulting resume and cover letter. Our materials provide you with the essential stories, phrases, and keywords that capture the attention of consulting recruiters.
  • Efficiency in Preparation : Our ready-to-use samples and templates are designed not just for effectiveness but also to streamline your preparation process significantly.

Personalized Document Writing and Review

  • Hand-Crafted Excellence : In addition to our guides and templates, we offer a personalized screening service. Here, we write, review, and fine-tune your resume and cover letter, ensuring they are tailored to perfection for your dream consulting role.
  • Editing Services : Benefit from our editing services, where we refine your documents to align with the high standards of firms like McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. We focus on enhancing your story, ensuring your skills and experiences resonate with consulting recruiters.

Let us help you create application documents that not only meet the high standards of top consulting firms but also reflect your unique strengths and aspirations.

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do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

Florian spent 5 years with McKinsey as a senior consultant. He is an experienced consulting interviewer and problem-solving coach, having interviewed 100s of candidates in real and mock interviews. He started StrategyCase.com to make top-tier consulting firms more accessible for top talent, using tailored and up-to-date know-how about their recruiting. He ranks as the most successful consulting case and fit interview coach, generating more than 500 offers with MBB, tier-2 firms, Big 4 consulting divisions, in-house consultancies, and boutique firms through direct coaching of his clients over the last 3.5 years. His books “The 1%: Conquer Your Consulting Case Interview” and “Consulting Career Secrets” are available via Amazon.

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Applying to McKinsey & Company: CVs, cover letters and interviews

Jacky Barrett

Last updated: 24 Nov 2023, 22:30

The McKinsey application process consist of a CV and optional covering letter online application, a problem solving assessment and typically two rounds of interviews.

A group of interview candidates each expressing a different emotion.

What to include in your McKinsey CV | Your covering letter | McKinsey experience interview | McKinsey case interview

What recruiters want to see in your McKinsey CV

McKinsey & Company requires an excellent academic record and evidence of leadership, which may be from workplace roles or extracurricular activities. Successful applicants will demonstrate an aptitude for analytics, an interest in business with an entrepreneurial instinct, and an enjoyment of teamwork and problem-solving. McKinsey suggests that you include all work experience, such as full-time jobs and internships, even if they are not in a related field.

CVs for McKinsey should communicate more about your work experience than just the day-to-day responsibilities you performed: McKinsey is interested in ‘why your work mattered’ and the changes you brought about. The firm is looking for evidence of impact, leadership, entrepreneurship, problem solving and an overall orientation towards achievement. Draw attention to positions of leadership and teamwork, especially where they reveal initiative, entrepreneurship or extraordinary commitment. But do not simply describe them: make your achievements, and how they demonstrate your strengths, clear.

Extracurricular involvement and participation in activities outside of university bode well with McKinsey and should be detailed in a similar fashion to your work experience. Strive to provide examples of responsibility in your extracurricular activities and to quantify to the impact of your achievements wherever possible.

Always use language that is clear to any reader; for example, if you are describing your final year engineering project or your university air squadron activities then try to limit any specialist descriptions and technical jargon.

  • Find more tips to help with consulting CVs for job-seeking graduates

Optional but recommended: your cover letter for McKinsey and how to pitch it

Unlike the CV, you are not required to submit a cover letter; however, you may find it a way to strengthen your application.

The essential point to remember is to write a unique cover letter for every employer you apply to. McKinsey expects to receive a cover letter that has been constructed with them, and no other firm, in mind – recruiters will be able to tell. Starting from fresh ensures that you will not copy and paste in any other firm’s name, and that everything you include will be relevant, considered and carefully targeted towards McKinsey & Company.

McKinsey has previously stated that the cover letter is a good place to draw attention to:

  • Distinctive elements of your application – such as a role as president of a student society: were you elected in favour of other candidates? Has this given you experience of leadership? Of teamwork? Of delivering presentations? Of handling financial spreadsheets? Have you organised events, and on what scale?
  • Details regarding a reapplication – such as why you are now a stronger candidate.
  • An unusual situation – such as dates you will be unavailable for interview.

You can use your cover letter to demonstrate an understanding of the role of the business analyst at McKinsey & Company, which will involve interviewing clients, delivering presentations, conducting desk research, analysing data and building financial models.

It’s a good idea to spend a paragraph detailing exactly why you want to work for McKinsey & Company in particular . You might like to focus on what differentiates it as an employer by mentioning, for instance, its Global Connect initiative, that provides opportunities to find roles abroad in emerging markets; this suggests McKinsey is committed to global opportunities – does this suit your ambitions? The firm also emphasises that it encourages entrepreneurial spirit in its employers: if relevant, you could pick up on this in your covering letter. It is important not to focus on the benefits the company offers and talk instead about the firm’s values and work.

The best cover letters explain not only why you want to work for that firm, but also why they want you to work for them. Link what you say about McKinsey and its business analyst role back to your own values, achievements, strengths and experiences. Recruiters read hundreds of cover letters: make it easy for them to see why you are different.

  • Discover more on what consulting employers look for in covering letters

McKinsey interviews

Applicants usually face two rounds of interviews at McKinsey preceded by the Solve gamified online assessment. Upon passing Solve – for which McKinsey states that there is no need to prepare ­(although you can find FAQs and an informational video for Solve on the McKinsey website) – applicants are invited to the first round of interviews.

The first round comprises two hour-long interviews; both include a case study and personal experience question. See below for more detail on case and experience interview questions.

Applicants successful at this stage are invited to a second and final round of interviews. The final interview round consists of three separate interviews (sometimes four) with more senior members of staff . It is a half-day assessment that follows a similar structure to the first round of interviews and features two hour-long case and experience interviews in addition to an advanced case interview.

McKinsey experience interview

This is a discussion of the candidate's CV, particularly extracurricular activities or work experience that showcase soft skills required of a consultant. Ultimately the interviewer is looking for someone who is client-safe. It's a good idea to watch the video on the firm's website which talks through what candidates can expect from each type of interview, and gives advice on the best way to approach the questions.

It is important to remember that a lot of the interview should form a two-way conversation. The interviewers want to connect with you so it is important to engage with them, allowing them to get to know you. McKinsey relies on behavioural questions to assess candidate-fit. Previous McKinsey experience interview questions are reported to include:

  • Describe a situation when you had to deal with a difficult team member.
  • In terms of culture and fit, what are the three most important aspects of an organisation to you?
  • Name a time you resolved a conflict.
  • Share an example of when you effectively worked with people from different backgrounds.
  • Tell me about an experience not included on your resume that you are most proud of.
  • What extracurricular experience are you most proud of?

McKinsey case interview

This discussion of a typical McKinsey business case doesn't require client knowledge. Instead it demands the application of logic, estimation and quantitative skills to identify and process relevant data and use it to solve a commercial problem – the sort of work a McKinsey business analyst does every day. You can try a few examples on the firm's website, which also provides examples of the best responses for each question, and read our advice on case study interviews . Previous McKinsey case questions are reported to include:

  • What is the future value of an investment in building a hospital with 'x' capital and 'y' internal rate of return?
  • Should company 'x' grow the business or cut costs?

Next: search relevant graduate jobs, schemes and internships

  • View our graduate consulting jobs

ROUND OFF YOUR PREPARATION FOR MCKINSEY

Find extra help for online applications and interviews for graduate consulting roles here.

Get the insights and skills you need to shape your career journey with Pathways. We’ll show you exactly what goes into a convincing cover letter, so you can give yourself the best chance of getting to the next stage of the application process.

How to write a convincing cover letter

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do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

McKinsey Cover Letter Example & How-To (2023 Guide)

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

Written by James Vandersmith

April 19, 2023.

If you’re looking to break into the top management consulting firms, this is the guide for you. Here, we share insider tips and tricks on how to craft a winning cover letter for McKinsey and increase your chances of success in the application process. From how to structure your cover letter and what words to use to highlighting key qualifications, we’ve got you covered. Follow these tips and tricks to create an impressive cover letter for McKinsey that will make the hiring manager take notice! Remember that your McKinsey consulting cover letter should be tailored specifically to the role at hand. Highlight why you are an ideal candidate for the particular job and explain why it is a great opportunity for you to develop your skill set. That way, you can increase your chances of success in the application process and land an offer from McKinsey!

Web Developer Cover Letter Example

Make Proper Grammar the Focal Point of your McKinsey Consulting Cover Letter.

First and foremost, it’s important to emphasize that proper grammar and formatted is key when submitting any professional document. Make sure that your writing follows all basic conventions of spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and clarity. If you’re unsure about how to construct a particular sentence or phrase, consider using the assistance of spell checkers or language tools on various online platforms.

Give Your McKinsey Cover Letter a Professional Salutation.

When you start your cover letter, make sure to greet the hiring manager in a professional way. Introduce yourself and explain why you are writing the cover letter – that is, what makes you an ideal candidate for the job position. Be sure to use language that is both positive and respectful. Don’t forget to close your letter with a polite and sincere salutation.

Utilize Your McKinsey Cover Letter to Emphasize Your Qualifications and Skills.

Your McKinsey consulting cover letter should be an opportunity to give the recruiter or hiring manager a brief overview of your qualifications and skills relevant to the job you’re applying for. If applicable, mention any previous work experience related to the job description. It is also important to briefly explain why you are interested in this particular role at McKinsey and how it can help you to develop your skill set.

McKinsey Cover Letter Example

Highlight Your Most Relevant Qualifications for the McKinsey Job Position.

In your cover letter, be sure to identify your background and qualifications that make you an ideal candidate for the job position at McKinsey. Make sure to mention any past experiences, skills, or education that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

Include Examples of Your Professional Experience Relevant to your McKinsey Cover Letter.

When it comes to writing a cover letter for McKinsey, it’s important to include examples of work experience relevant to the job role you are applying for. You can use specific projects, tasks or initiatives that you have carried out in the past as evidence of your skills and competencies. Doing so will help to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job position.

Showcase Your Passion in the McKinsey Cover Letter.

Don’t limit yourself to describing your technical aptitude or job-specific skills. Showcase your passion for the role in your McKinsey cover letter and demonstrate why you are a unique candidate that would be an asset to the team. Be sure to explain why you are excited about joining McKinsey and the value that you can bring to their organization.

Prove Yourself as the Right Fit for a Position at McKinsey.

Your McKinsey consulting cover letter should end with a strong conclusion that emphasizes why you are the right fit for the job. Explain what makes you stand out from other candidates and how your qualifications make you an ideal candidate for the role at hand.

Your Perfect McKinsey Cover Letter Should Be Laser-Focused.

Remember that your cover letter should be concise and focused on the job at hand. Keep it short; no more than three paragraphs. This is not the time for long-winded stories or descriptions of your past achievements; you should be focused on why you are the best person for this particular job at McKinsey.

End Your McKinsey Consulting Cover Letter on a Positive Note.

Make sure to end your cover letter for McKinsey on a positive note in order to leave the reader with an impression of you as an ideal candidate for the job role. Mention any additional information that is relevant to the position and thank the reader for their time.

Proofread Your Cover Letter Multiple Times.

Proofreading your cover letter for McKinsey is an essential part of the job application process. Have someone else proofread it to make sure there are no errors or typos. Make sure that you read it over several times yourself, too, in order to ensure that everything is perfect before submitting your final copy.

Close Your McKinsey Cover Letter with a Call to Action.

In conclusion, write an effective closing sentence on your cover letter that will encourage the hiring manager to contact you. You can include something along the lines of “I look forward to hearing from you soon and discussing how I can contribute to your team” or “Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions about my qualifications for this role”.

The WRONG Way to Structure Your Management Consulting Cover Letter.

When creating your McKinsey cover letter, it is best to avoid common pitfalls. Don’t just copy and paste from a generic cover letter template or an example you find online. Rather, tailor your content to the specific job that you are applying for and make sure that all the information included in your letter is relevant. Similarly, be careful not to use overly flowery language or jargon; keep it professional.

The RIGHT Way to Structure Your Management Consulting Cover Letter.

Now that you know what not to do when constructing your McKinsey cover letter, let’s take a look at the right way to go about doing this. Begin by introducing yourself, followed by a brief overview of your qualifications and experience that make you the ideal candidate for the role. You can then move on to explain why you are passionate about this job at McKinsey and why you think it is a great opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Mistakes People Make with Their Consulting Cover Letter that Lead to Rejection.

Submitting a sloppy, unfocused cover letter with typos and poor grammar are all mistakes people make that lead to rejection. Avoid using flowery language or overly technical jargon; keep your writing concise and easy to understand. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others before you submit your McKinsey consulting cover letter.

Sample Achievements for McKinsey Cover Letter.

When crafting a cover letter for McKinsey, it is important to include specific examples of your achievements that will showcase your skills and abilities. Here are some sample achievements you could include in your cover letter:

•Lead an interdisciplinary team of 8 experts to develop innovative solutions for a global retail chain

• Generated 20% increase in revenue for a healthcare technology company through the development and implementation of new marketing strategies

• Spearheaded an AI-driven customer experience improvement project that resulted in an 80% satisfaction rate

• Reduced operational costs by 25% through streamlining existing processes at a financial services organization.

McKinsey Cover Letter FAQs

Does mckinsey require cover letter.

Yes, McKinsey requires a cover letter to be submitted along with your resume and any other documents you are asked to provide. Your cover letter should introduce you, demonstrate why you are interested in the role, and emphasize why you think you’re the ideal candidate.

What format should I use for my McKinsey cover letter?

Your McKinsey cover letter should be formatted in an easy to read font such as Arial or Times New Roman, with a size of 11-12 points. Make sure you include plenty of white space and don’t use too many colors or graphics.

What mistakes should I avoid when writing my McKinsey cover letter?

When writing your McKinsey cover letter, make sure to avoid common mistakes such as including irrelevant information or typos. Don’t copy and paste from a generic cover letter template; tailor the content to the specific role you are applying for. Make sure all the information included in your letter is relevant and avoid using overly flowery language or jargon.

What do I write in a cover letter for McKinsey?

When writing a cover letter for McKinsey, you should include an introduction, overview of your qualifications, and explanation of why you are interested in the job. You can then discuss specific achievements that demonstrate your skills and abilities relevant to the role. Finally, make sure to provide contact information so they can reach out to you if needed.

What is an example of a good consulting cover letter?

A good consulting cover letter example would begin with an introduction that provides a short overview of your qualifications and experience. You can then discuss why you are interested in the role and excited to work at McKinsey. End your cover letter by discussing specific achievements that demonstrate your skills and abilities, as well as provide contact information for them to reach out if needed.

What GPA do you need for McKinsey?

McKinsey does not specify a minimum GPA requirement for applicants. That said, most successful candidates usually have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

What should I wear to my McKinsey interview invitations?

When attending an in-person interview at McKinsey, you should dress professionally; this means wearing a suit, tie, and dress shoes. Avoid wearing too much jewelry and make sure your outfit is clean and wrinkle-free. Additionally, it’s important to make sure you look put together and presentable.

What are some tips for writing a successful McKinsey cover letter?

When crafting a successful McKinsey cover letter, it is important to showcase your qualifications and experience in a concise and clear manner. Make sure your cover letter includes relevant achievements and focus on the skills that make you stand out from other applicants. Additionally, it is important to demonstrate your genuine enthusiasm for the role and explain why you are interested in joining McKinsey. Finally, make sure to proofread your cover letter carefully before submitting.

McKinsey Cover Letter Example

Dear McKinsey Team,

I am writing to express my interest in the Consulting Analyst role at your firm. With a combination of relevant experience and a passion for problem solving, I believe I could be an asset to the team.

As a recent graduate from Stanford University, I have already developed strong analytical skills through coursework and practical application. My coursework focused on data analysis, business strategy, economics and accounting which gave me a strong foundation in consulting principles. Additionally, my internship at ABC Corporation exposed me to real-world problems which allowed me to further develop my analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The work I did there included developing client presentations that resulted in an 80% satisfaction rate as well as reducing operational costs by 15%.

I am inspired by the work McKinsey does, and I believe my skills can make a positive impact to your team. I am confident that I could provide valuable insights in the consulting projects you take on. In addition to my analytical capabilities, I have strong communication, project management, and problem-solving skills which have proven successful in previous roles.

Thank you for your time and consideration; please do not hesitate to contact me should you need any further information or be interested in discussing my qualifications further.

Make Your McKinsey Cover Letter More Personalized With AI

Outpace your rivals and build a memorable McKinsey application with YourCoverLetter’s AI Cover Letter Builder ! This state-of-the-art tool enables you to craft an attention grabbing cover letter tailored to the job in just one move – simply input your skillset and company data, and presto! You have yourself a stunning McKinsey cover letter. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – start using YourCoverLetter now for guaranteed results!

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How to write a cover letter for McKinsey that gets your foot in the door, according to 3 recruiters and a former McKinsey manager - plus examples to get you started

How to write a cover letter for McKinsey that gets your foot in the door, according to 3 recruiters and a former McKinsey manager - plus examples to get you started

  • Although tough to earn, a job at McKinsey could lead you to a six-figure salary.
  • A clear, direct cover letter could get you in the door, recruiters and a former McKinsey manager said.
  • The best cover letters demonstrate top problem-solving and leadership abilities, and a passion for working with clients.
  • Recruiters also recommended keeping your message short and to the point.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

McKinsey and Company is super tough to break into but well worth the effort when it comes to salary. Partner salaries average more than $800,000 in total pay, according to job-review site Glassdoor.

One of your first chances to prove your value to this uber-competitive management consulting firm is through a cover letter. As stated on McKinsey's website : "Your application (i.e., cover letter, CV/resume) is our first and primary evidence of your written communication skills, so present it in a thoughtful and compelling manner."

While the company's website notes that a cover letter isn't required in an online application, "unless you wish to alert [McKinsey] to an unusual circumstance or to provide information on a reapplication," recruiters emphasized that it's still an important part of the hiring process.

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

"McKinsey recruiters expect to see applicants with elite problem-solving and leadership abilities who can articulate their achievements, accomplishments, and diverse experiences concisely," said Caroline Stokes, the CEO of executive search and coaching firm FORWARD , who has experience recruiting and coaching job seekers for many top firms, including McKinsey. "A person's leadership style and executive presence can be determined from this letter alone, so it needs to fully represent how the person would operate in this management consultancy environment with other high-performing talent and clients."

Portia Kibble Smith, an executive recruiter at Karat who has four decades of corporate experience and has placed many candidates at McKinsey, added: "The single biggest reason for a cover letter is that when I talk to hiring managers, they're probably reviewing each resume for 10 to 30 seconds. They're shuffling through them so quickly that you need some way to make the strongest part of your resume pop. That's what a cover letter is for."

These experts and others shared their best tips for writing a letter that gets a hiring manager's attention.

Emphasize leadership, an entrepreneurial drive, and a passion for client-facing work

Smith said you should first make it clear that you're interested in working with clients - not just interested in working for McKinsey.

Portia Kibble Smith

Second, Smith pointed out that the cover letter is your opportunity to pull out the single-most impressive part of your resume and bring it to life.

"Draw them in with a compelling story so they know your resume is worth more than half a minute of their time," she said. "One example of this is from a candidate that I helped place, who went into detail about their experience leading teams in the telecommunications industry and the value they helped create in a client-facing role."

Lastly, she advised not shying away from your background, but instead leaning into it.

"If your MBA is from KU [University of Kansas] and not Harvard, the hiring manager already knows this, so there's no need to hide it," Smith said. "What opportunities did you have in Lawrence that may not have been available in Cambridge? Is there a unique perspective you're going to offer to the clients that they can't find anywhere else? That will get you noticed."

Will Bachman spent four years at McKinsey after business school as an engagement manager, plus another year at the firm during his pre-MBA tenure. Within his management role, he was involved in recruiting for the firm - specifically vetting prospective MBA students and conducting interviews - before he left to cofound Umbrex , a global community connecting top-tier independent management consultants.

Will Bachman is the cofounder of Umbrex

He also advised not diluting your message by trying to demonstrate competence on all four; instead, you should wow the reader with a story that shows how you are amazing on one of these dimensions.

(Finally, he shared that at McKinsey, the consultants like to capitalize the word "firm" when referring to "the Firm," so for extra credit, you can adopt that practice in your cover letter.)

Don't just rehash your resume, and keep it short, sweet, and prompt

Atta Tarki is founder and CEO of ECA , an executive search firm in which 10 out of their 11 managing directors are former consultants themselves with experience at McKinsey and other top consulting firms, and formerly spent six years as a management consultant at LEK Consulting . As such, Tarki works with hundreds of McKinsey consultants aiming to transition out of the firm a year, and has placed consultants with eight out of the top 10 strategy consulting firms.

Atta Tarki

Tarki added that in the age of Twitter, less is more, whether you're talking about your cover letter, resume, or other communications related to your McKinsey application. He also hammered the point that it's important to get the basics right when applying, such as keeping your emails to HR brief and professional, not having any typos in your cover letter or other parts of your application, and being very responsive when communicating with the firm.

"Within hours is great and within the hour is excellent," Tarki said. "Within 24 hours is acceptable. Anything slower than that raises yellow flags."

He also emphasized making sure every single sentence in your application adds value. "Don't replace quality with quantity," he said.

Not sure what this looks like in practice? We asked these experts to offer some samples of great cover letter lines.

Bachman suggested that your cover letter to McKinsey could begin with something like this opener, which he wrote himself:

[Partner's first name],

I'm interested in joining the [name of practice] as an experienced hire.

Recognizing the value the Firm places on entrepreneurial drive, I thought I'd share the story of how I conceived of a new revenue stream for my current employer, developed the business case on my own time, managed to gain alignment among senior managers to approve funding, and then, as the head of this new service line, built a $50 million annual revenue business with a 22% EBITDA margin ...

Here's another example of an opening paragraph of the kinds of notes that stood out to him when vetting candidates:

Recognizing the value the Firm places on personal impact, I thought I'd share the story of how I built a nonprofit that has distributed a free interview suit and interview coaching to 3,000 low-income residents in my city ...

If you know a partner at the firm, then your cover letter should be addressed to that person. Bachman suggested that in this case, your cover letter could begin like this:

I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you and your colleagues over the past several months, and as we discussed at [venue] on [date], I'd like to be considered as a candidate to join the [name of practice] in the [desired city] office …

Smith also shared the following cover letter template that she uses to help her candidates craft their introductions to McKinsey:

Delivering exceptional results for clients isn't rocket science - it's a lot harder.

It takes a genuine desire to understand a client's business and goals, from both a granular and big-picture perspective. It takes insight into the client's business trajectory, products, market trends, untapped opportunities, and competitors. It takes critical thinking, robust analytical skills, leadership, and a passion for strategic problem-solving.

It takes someone who can partner with clients and colleagues to find innovative approaches to problems and work as a key member of the team to develop impactful recommendations.

These are the things I truly enjoy doing. I use a systematic approach to problem solving that includes analyzing the issue, defining desired outcomes, asking the right questions, looking at the challenge from both creative and strategic viewpoints, and brainstorming in a team environment to form possible solutions. A brief example of my success in problem solving is [example, including results for company or clients].

As a recent graduate of [school] with a [degree] in [major], I am eager to work with an organization like McKinsey, where my education and experience in [area of experience] will add value to both clients and the firm.

It would be a privilege to speak with you about a consulting role with McKinsey, my qualifications, and a potential match. My resume is attached for your review, and I look forward to the next steps in the selection process. Thank you for your consideration.

[Your name]

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How to write a cover letter for McKinsey that gets your foot in the door, according to 3 recruiters and a former McKinsey manager - plus examples to get you started

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McKinsey Cover Letter Sample

Written by . Posted in Cover Letter

resume or cv job application

If you are applying for a position at McKinsey, you will be competing with a large number of graduates and working professionals who are also interested in breaking into the firm. Therefore, you must be able to convince recruiters to invite you to an interview. This includes submitting a McKinsey cover letter that tells the story that you are a highly motivated and ambitious applicant with a great potential.

Remember, a resume only summarizes your skills and experience, but a cover letter tells the story about you: your career plans and the fit of consulting in these plans, your personality and your key accomplishments. You need to devote ample time to crafting your letter as it can help you stand out from the pool of highly qualified candidates.

Before Writing Your McKinsey Cover Letter

Before writing your McKinsey cover letter, you need to make a list of your qualifications and accomplishments that match the skills McKinsey seek in candidates. This will help you determine which information to include in the document. Use the table below for ideas and suggestions:

McKinsey Cover Letter Structure

The cover letter should contain three to five paragraphs and the information you present should be comprehensively written. If this document exceeds one page, recruiters will doubt your written communication skills, something all management consultants should possess.

Contact Information and Salutation

There’s only one thing you need to remember in this section: accuracy. Double check your contact information as the recruiters will use it to notify you about tests and interviews. Also, don’t forget to address the letter to the correct person and his or her position at the firm. Applicants often overlook these basic facts when writing cover letters. Committing these types of mistakes will hurt your application; recruiters will be disappointed that you omitted critical details.

Introduction

This section should be interesting enough to encourage the recruiters to read the rest of your McKinsey cover letter. It should contain your objectives, the specific job title you are interested in, and how you came across the opening. In order to convey your own voice, try the following strategies:

Here’s is an example of this section:

Here’s is another example:

Middle Paragraphs

Based on your list of qualifications, choose and highlight two or three skills or accomplishments that will push your application to the top of the pile. Select the ones that are most relevant to the position. If you are an experienced professional, focus on your quantitative achievements at your previous job. If you are a recent graduate, you can talk about your coursework, extracurricular activities, and internship program. The important thing is to establish a connection between the job and your competencies.

Here is an example of this section for experienced professionals:

My three-year experience as a director at an online marketing agency has prepared me for this client-oriented role. I have developed various digital marketing campaigns using a range of techniques such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), social media advertisements, and paid searches. I also served as a marketing partner of Bangles, a startup company that sells women’s clothing and apparel online. Two months after implementing our marketing proposal, their monthly revenue increased by 25%.

Apart from my experience, my marketing degree from the University of Colorado has also prepared me for advanced business writing, conducting market research, and analyzing consumer behavior. I believe that my technical know-how, coupled with my substantial experience, will be my key to generating marketing strategies based on the industry’s best practices and customer experience. I am confident McKinsey & Company will find my contribution to the organization’s growth valuable.

Here is an example of this section for recent graduates:

During my three-month internship at Fast Investment Bank, I helped my team in providing financial services to companies and organizations. I analyzed an investment opportunity for a private equity fund within the wind turbine sector, leading to a critical investment decision. I also developed an Excel model for the valuation using both multiple and discounted cash flow methods. This model was used by the entire team.

In addition to my internship experience, I am a Finance major from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado. My college curriculum has readied me for any challenges in business analysis, quantitative methods, and organizational behavior. Despite my responsibilities as a soccer club vice-president, I graduated with a 3.9 GPA. As evidenced by my excellent educational performance, I believe I will be able to adapt to the challenging demands of your organization.

In this section, you can also talk about your motivation for applying with the firm and personal interests. Make sure to present them in a manner that’s relevant to the desired position.

Closing Paragraph

The closing paragraph revolves around you as a person. Write about what you can contribute to the organization, your passion, personal values and skills. Finally, add one more sentence that indicates your high value. Avoid writing “If you have any questions about my application, please do not hesitate to contact me” as this creates no value. If recruiters find you suitable for the job, they will find a way to contact you.

Here’s an example of the closing paragraph:

I take pride in my innate leadership potential. When I was still in university, I was an officer of the consulting club for two consecutive years.  Furthermore, my former colleagues can attest to how I motivate other people to do their tasks, and involve everyone in working towards the common goal.

Looking forward to discuss the opportunities with you.

It’s essential to close your McKinsey cover letter in a professional manner. You may use the following closing examples:

  • Best regards
  • Respectfully
  • Yours truly
  • Most sincerely

Also, don’t forget to attach your signature in order to add sincerity to your McKinsey cover letter. If you’re uploading your letter on the Internet, consider creating a digital signature. Just sign a piece of clean, white paper, scan it, and crop the image down to the ideal size of your signature. This will help you stand out as a professional and technically-competent applicant.

Review Your Cover Letter

Before sending out your McKinsey cover letter, review its content and structure. If you know someone who is qualified and willing to check it for you, ask for his or her objective feedback. After reviewing the document, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the content relevant and interesting enough to pique the interest of the recruiter?
  • Does it convey the value I can contribute to the firm?
  • Are my ideas or qualifications presented in a smooth and comprehensible manner?
  • Does it look reader-friendly?
  • Is it free from spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you can submit your McKinsey cover letter with your resume and other required documents.

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Who should apply?

Application requirements.

To apply, please submit the following:

CV: Your CV, in English, should include details of your education and grades, work experience, and any extracurricular activities and achievements. No cover letter is needed.

Location and practice preferences: You will select locations and/or industry practices to review your application. You should make your selections based on geographic or industry ties (e.g., you have studied or lived in the country or you have work experience in the industry). You must also be fluent in the local language.

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How To Write A Consulting Cover Letter That Gets You An Interview

Table of contents.

As the recruiting season comes thick and fast, applicants worry about the ideal way to structure their resume and cover letter.

And for good reason. Employers look for personalized and thoughtfully written cover letters as one of the ways of screening applicants for positions that they are hiring for.

A bad cover letter can be a deal breaker, so it is one of the most essential things recruiters from top-tier consulting firms consider.

In this article, we will cover how to write the perfect cover letter for you to secure a role at a management consulting firm – from the Big 4 to MBB.

What is a consulting cover letter?

A consulting cover letter accompanies your resume and documents your personal motivation for applying for the role, why you’d be a good consultant, and your desire for joining the firm you’re applying to.

When is a consulting cover letter required?

A consulting cover letter is required by most consulting firms, including McKinsey, BCG, Bain, the Big 4, and boutiques. It is generally required for both full-time and intern positions.

The best way to confirm whether a cover letter is required is to speak to the recruiter or check the firm’s website. In most cases, the firm will require you to submit both a resume and a cover letter.

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

Why do firms ask for a consulting cover letter?

There are a number of reasons that firms require applicants to submit a cover letter, including:

  • It gives an insight into the unique attributes of the applicant. Since a cover letter is a personalized essay of sorts, it gives firms a richer understanding of the candidate, compared to just the resume.
  • Allows the applicants to describe their motivation to join the firm. The cover letter offers the candidate some free-form space to share their story and motivations.
  • Separating the extraordinary from the rest. A resume constrains what a candidate can talk about. The cover letter, on the other hand, allows the candidate to focus on the parts of their experience and motivations that make them unique.
  • It’s a sneak peek into your communication skills. As a consultant, you will need to convince and persuade your clients. Firms are looking to see whether you can use your cover letter to convince them to give you an interview.

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

How to structure a consulting cover letter

Paragraph 1. a simple opening.

The opening to your letter is the most basic and straightforward paragraph. Simply introduce yourself and state the role that you are applying for. Keep it short, sweet, and simple.

Paragraph 2. Why you are a promising candidate

This is where you get the chance to open up and show why you are the ideal fit. Don’t be shy, this is no time for understatement or modesty.

Start by researching the firm that you’re applying to, and the skills and attributes that they are looking for. For example, the McKinsey website talks about how they value leadership abilities.

Next, think about the most compelling personal or professional demonstration of that attribute. In the case of McKinsey, you want to find an example where you demonstrated strong leadership.

The most important thing about your examples is that they show outcomes and results. It’s not enough to show that you are a leader; you need to show that your leadership achieved something amazing.

If possible, you want to demonstrate 2-3 skills and attributes that you firm is looking for. Given that there is limited space on a one-page cover letter, it’s fine to show multiple attributes in one example.

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

Paragraph 3. Why you want to be a consultant

Now is your chance to demonstrate why you chose consulting as your career path.

All the top consulting firms want to recruit candidates who show a desire to work in high-stakes world of consulting. You need to show that you know what you are getting into, that you are ready for the challenge, and most importantly, that you are excited to work in consulting .

Although firms understand that most consultants exit to industry after a few years, don’t mention that in your cover letter.

Paragraph 4. Why the position and firm is for you

Now that you have covered why consulting is a good fit for you, it’s time to narrow down on the specific role and position that you are applying for.

Research the firm thoroughly and identify a few exciting projects, people, or reports that caught your attention. Talk about why those things impressed or interested you, and led you to want to work at the firm.

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

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Common mistakes while writing a cover letter

There are a number of common mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter:

  • Not being specific enough.  Firms can sniff a generic cover letter a mile away. Ensure that your cover letter is tailored to the firm you’re applying to.
  • Not demonstrating the right skills. Although firms can be similar, there are small differences in the type of candidates they are looking for. Make sure that you demonstrate the right skills and abilities for the specific firm you’re applying to.
  • Attention to detail . Ensure that your cover letter is clear and there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes. That would be a good demonstration of what they are not looking for!

do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

IMAGES

  1. McKinsey Cover Letter Example & How To Write

    do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

  2. do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

    do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

  3. Consulting Cover Letter: a step-by-step guide (2023)

    do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

  4. McKinsey Cover Letter Sample & Guide (10+ Examples)

    do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

  5. Mckinsey Cover Letter Template

    do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

  6. McKinsey Cover Letter Sample

    do you need a cover letter for mckinsey

VIDEO

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  2. Ex Mckinsey Partner explains What is Management Consulting (GGI Masterclass)

  3. What is the Big4 Recruiting Process?

  4. Как составить Cover Letter?

  5. The #1 McKinsey Communication Hack You Need To Know

  6. TGT-I Need (Cover) by 12:til

COMMENTS

  1. McKinsey Cover Letter Example & How To Write

    View Example Account Manager Cover Letter View Example Business Consultant Resume Text Format To make sure everything looks professional, you need to format your cover letter properly. McKinsey Cover Letter Template (Text Format) FIRST AND LAST NAME Email: [email protected] Phone: (123) 456-7891 Address: Street, City, State

  2. Is a cover letter really necessary for McKinsey?

    No, McKinsey does not really read the cover letteres. Sometimes they may refer to your cover letter if you are really one of those "borderline cases", but as far as I know that rarely happens.

  3. Application and Interview Information

    Your application (i.e., cover letter, CV/resume) is our first and primary evidence of your written communication skills, so present it in a thoughtful and compelling manner. Make it easy to identify distinctive elements. Preparing your CV or resume Preparing for the Online Application Preparing for Interviews

  4. McKinsey Cover Letter

    When applying to McKinsey, candidates are invited to submit a cover letter (although this is now optional at most offices). The McKinsey cover letter is a 1-page document that explains your story, serves as a writing sample, and why you want to work at the firm.

  5. McKinsey Cover Letter Sample & Guide (10+ Examples)

    You need a McKinsey cover letter that's as polished as a freshly-minted consultant's business card. One that'll make the interviewer eager to add you to their all-star team. This guide will show you: How to write a cover letter for McKinsey to be in the one percent. A McKinsey cover letter sample better than 9 out of 10 other cover letters.

  6. What (not) to do: your resume when applying for McKinsey

    Absolutely. We're interested in hearing about everything from retail work to research to work on campus—not just experience related to business. This includes internships, volunteer work, part-time jobs, and military service. If you have done part-time work (especially while studying for a degree), include your average hours worked per week.

  7. Consulting cover letter guide (for McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc.)

    Dear Sir / Madam, I would like to apply for an Associate position at McKinsey in London. This section is a formality.

  8. McKinsey's online application FAQs

    Your resume/CV (required) in PDF or Word (.doc, .docx) format Other attachments such as your educational transcripts, optional cover letter, etc. If you are applying via a mobile device, there are platform limitations and you must have your documents in either Google Drive or Dropbox to access them

  9. 4 Ways to Start Your McKinsey Cover Letter, According to Recruiters

    While the company's website notes that a cover letter isn't required in an online application "unless you wish to alert [McKinsey] to an unusual circumstance or to provide information on a...

  10. 3 McKinsey cover letter examples [Get hired]

    Write your cover letter in the body of an email/message. When writing your McKinsey cover letter, it's best to type the content into the body of your email (or the job site messaging system) and not to attach the cover letter as a separate document.. This ensures that your cover letter gets seen as soon as a recruiter or employer opens your message.

  11. How to Write the Perfect Consulting Cover Letter (McKinsey, BCG, Bain

    This should include the name and address of the consulting firm or the specific individual you're addressing. Date: Place the date on the right-hand side of the page. Remember to spell out the month for clarity (e.g., "1 April 2024" in the UK format or "April 1, 2024" in the US format).

  12. Tips for the McKinsey application process

    Optional but recommended: your cover letter for McKinsey and how to pitch it Unlike the CV, you are not required to submit a cover letter; however, you may find it a way to strengthen your application. The essential point to remember is to write a unique cover letter for every employer you apply to.

  13. McKinsey Cover Letter Examples & Ready-To-Use Templates

    Your first step is writing an excellent resume and a McKinsey cover letter that will impress even the most hardened recruiters. Here's how. In this article: A McKinsey cover letter sample. A clear ruleset on formatting to make sure your letter doesn't end up in a McKinsey bin.

  14. McKinsey Cover Letter Examples & Expert tips [Free]

    Expert tip Resume.io is a leading resource for job seekers in all fields and of all experience levels. Find more inspiration among our 125+ cover letter examples and writing guides. Best format for a McKinsey cover letter

  15. McKinsey Cover Letter Example & How-To (2023 Guide)

    April 19, 2023 If you're looking to break into the top management consulting firms, this is the guide for you. Here, we share insider tips and tricks on how to craft a winning cover letter for McKinsey and increase your chances of success in the application process.

  16. How to write a cover letter for McKinsey that gets your foot in the

    "McKinsey consultants are taught to 'lead with the answer' when creating a presentation, and applicants ought to do the same in a cover letter, opening with a powerful anecdote that illustrates ...

  17. McKinsey Cover Letter Sample

    The cover letter should contain three to five paragraphs and the information you present should be comprehensively written. If this document exceeds one page, recruiters will doubt your written communication skills, something all management consultants should possess. Contact Information and Salutation

  18. Apply

    Application requirements. To apply, please submit the following: CV: Your CV, in English, should include details of your education and grades, work experience, and any extracurricular activities and achievements. No cover letter is needed. Location and practice preferences: You will select locations and/or industry practices to review your ...

  19. I applied to McKinsey with this Cover Letter

    5.3K Share Save 194K views 3 years ago DÜSSELDORF Do you need to write a cover letter for your job application? I applied to McKinsey with this cover letter, and I got in. In this...

  20. Tips on cover letter for McKinsey/BCG? : r/consulting

    Tips on cover letter for McKinsey/BCG? Hi reddit consulting, I'd be grateful for any tips on how much detail to include about skills and experience in a consulting cover letter. In particular, should I include examples (e.g. an example of developing an innovative solution to a problem)?

  21. How to Write a Killer Consulting Cover Letter for McKinsey

    As a consultant, you will need to convince and persuade your clients. Firms are looking to see whether you can use your cover letter to convince them to give you an interview. McKinsey's advice on writing your cover letter. Source: McKinsey APD Information How to structure a consulting cover letter Paragraph 1. A simple opening

  22. Looking for feedback on my cover letter to McKinsey and BCG :)

    Exactly as the other poster stated. I've been taught that cover letters should focus on what you can do for them and why you're interested in them, more than anything else. They can read more fully about your past achievements and education in your resume or CV, so only include what's relevant as per the posting's requirements here.

  23. McKinsey Cover Letter: Samples & Ready-To-Use Templates

    A clear ruleset on formatting to make sure your letter doesn't end up in a McKinsey bin. A step-by-step template you can lay a foundation on, and be ready within a couple coffee. Save hours of work and get a cover letter like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 18+ cover letter templates and download your cover ...

  24. What records are exempted from FERPA?

    Records which are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the records, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the records.

  25. Still confused after Flovent discontinuation? What to know and do

    If you have a child under 5, you and your doctor should also ask your insurance company for a formulary exception to cover a metered-dose inhaler with a steroid. For anyone who needs to switch brands, your new inhaler may look and feel different and may require a new technique when you use it to get the full benefit of the medicine.