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cover letter

 
#1 cover letter
22/10/2006 04:14

student

I plan to apply to all top-tier strat firms and was recently preparing cover letters. Do I only have problem with 'why this company' section?

The truth is that I'd be very happy to work for McK, Bain, BCG or BAH. Although I know that there are some differences between them, they are not significant for me. The top line is that top-tier strat house is top-tier strat house and whether it's more 'pure strategy' or 'strategy and implementation' is not an issue for me. So basically my motivation part is the same for all big 4.

I was wondering whether it's only me...

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#2 RE: cover letter
22/10/2006 12:47

frank to student (#1)

Unfortunately, it isn't only you. I've spent several grim hours on the recruitment rota listening to candidates' monologues that don't reflect the rather important information (i.e. this is what you need to know and say to be a good candidate) and feedback (i.e. please don't apply) I am giving them. My firm is in your list of four, but for the sake of all of us please revisit your research before sending your application - you might even realise that it's not worth sending one or two of those four. Rant over.

P.S. Please send your application to the recruitment address, not to the sympathetic sap who gave you his business card in case you had questions.

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#3 RE: cover letter
22/10/2006 15:03

student to frank (#2)

Frank, thanks for your comments.

I don't want to sound rude but at the same time I want to be honest. So the reality is that I want to get into top-tier firm. Therefore, I will send applications to all 4 of them. For sure I'll not skip 1 or 2 companies just because it limits my chances of achieving my goal. And with all due respect the fact that consultants from these companies might be bored is the last of my concerns. Not because I don't care about other, but because I want to try everything to get where I want to be.

Having said that, any advice what to say in order not to make recruiters bored?

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#4 RE: cover letter
22/10/2006 15:49

frank to student (#3)

It's not about the person reading the application being bored. You could have a very interesting CV but if you cannot communicate the fit between that and the firm, you are not a suitable candidate.

Generally speaking, it is not about applicants being unintelligent in the conventional sense, it's about failing to grasp that a key skill of consulting is being able to absorb information and tailor their communication around it. When you send a transparently generic application, it will go straight into the reject pile. That is neither fair to you nor (secondarily) the people who have invested time and effort in handing you on a plate the tools and information to make your application successful.

To translate that to the working context, would you tell a client the following? "I'm going to ignore your briefing. Your problems are the last of my concerns. I'm going to give you the same report and set of recommendations as I gave all your competitors because I can't be bothered to listen to you blathering on about the nuances of your business. I'm only interested in doing this work so that I can tick you off on my list of prestigious clients. Now pay me."

It's a rehetorical question. You're probably smart enough to know what the right answer is. Whether you have the initiative to do something about it is another question and is the differentiator between people who make it to interview and those who don't.

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#5 RE: cover letter
22/10/2006 17:35

student to frank (#2)

Frank, thanks for your comments.

I don't want to sound rude but at the same time I want to be honest. So the reality is that I want to get into top-tier firm. Therefore, I will send applications to all 4 of them. For sure I'll not skip 1 or 2 companies just because it limits my chances of achieving my goal. And with all due respect the fact that consultants from these companies might be bored is the last of my concerns. Not because I don't care about other, but because I want to try everything to get where I want to be.

Having said that, any advice what to say in order not to make recruiters bored?

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#6 RE: cover letter
22/10/2006 17:58

student to frank (#4)

Frank - thanks for reply. I don't know why but the comment above appeared twice...

I know that you're right at do agree with you (especially that you are already there where I want to be). So, following my honest approach, the reasons why I'd like to join consultancy and top-tier firms are:

- possibility to experience broad range of industries,

- development opportunities top-tier firms offer (e.g. MBA),

- prestige of the work and employer,

- possibility to work for famous clients and with decision-makers.

Are these 'transparently generic'? How do differentiate now between McK and 3Bs... in each of them I'll achieve my objectives, right?

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#7 RE: cover letter
22/10/2006 22:14

Matthew to student (#6)

Hi Student:

May I suggest removing the last two reasons on your list? Some may disagree; however, these strike me as vanity reasons--ones for your self-promotion--rather than ones to develop your skills and expertise. Many feel consulting is a glamorous industry; yet, the best consultants, in my experience, lack the interest in how their engagements make them appear. They prefer to learn, and care little about how a client's image, brand value, or trendiness sounds amongst peers. Enough from me--I intend it as helpful caution.

Instead I suggest you consider what in your skills, experience, extra-curricular activities, interests, and achievements supports your case for becoming a consultant. Have you taught yourself anything? Have you published anything? Is there any time when your persistence has paid off? Are you a curious person? How analytical are you? Do you have initiative? Are you self-serving or a team-player? When have you had to think laterally?

Good luck.

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#8 RE: cover letter
22/10/2006 23:32

student to Matthew (#7)

Matthew, appreciate your feedback and fully agree with it.

One but... ;-) - and please correct me if I'm wrong. In the cover letter, besides opening and closing, there should be 2 main paragraphs: 1) why consulting and this company, 2) why me. The questions you raised in your post fit rather into point 2), right? I do believe I have good case why I should be a consultant and I can support this with so far achievements.

The issue I have is how to justify 'this specific company'. Other grads or entry-level consultants - any hints?

P.S. As for the vanity reasons - you nailed it ;-). But I also understand that such honesty is not so much appreciated. Thanks for advice!

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#9 RE: cover letter
23/10/2006 12:16

vodka to student (#8)

Matthew,

Please reassure me that recruiters look at your CV for most of the things you say. From what I understand the 'why me?' just highlights some of these.

student,

I'm a grad and so am with you. I think that you can highlight the differences between companies, but I find it difficult to say why I'm suited to one over another (unless its something as obvious as Spectrum vs BCG). Going by what Frank has said, by highlighting company specific points hopefully shows that you have researched their company and this translates into you not giving the 'same report and set of recommendations' to 'all your competitors'.

As for finding out what important differences there are - this forum is pretty good, there are quite a few threads on Mck vs Bain etc.

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