20 consulting resume keywords recruiters look for

Consulting resume keywords

Preparing a killer resume for your consulting application can be a real challenge. It's sometimes hard to know what experiences to include. Should you talk about that award you got 5 years ago, or is it too far in the past? And it can also be a challenge to know how to talk about your achievements. Does that bullet point  really reflect what you were doing, or are you going too far?

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A good way to work around these issues is to focus on the skills that McKinsey, BCG and Bain are looking for. And to associate these different skills to corresponding keywords in your resume. Taking this structured approach will ensure that your resume is tailored to what consulting firms are looking for.

As we mentioned in our consulting resume and cover letter guides, reviewers essentially look for the following four skills when screening your resume:

  • Problem solving. This means you need to have shown strong intellectual abilities to solve problems at University and during your work experiences.
  • Personal impact. This means you've shown a dedication to achieving great things in everything you undertake. You've got a strong personal impact on most projects you are part of.
  • Entrepreneurial drive. This means you have a track record of launching new initiatives. You are not satisfied with doing things the traditional way and like innovating.
  • Leadership abilities. This means you've shown you can lead groups of people in the past either in a professional context or at university.

Your resume should therefore highlight that you possess these skills. And here is a list of keywords that will easily enable you to achieve this:

  • Problem solving keywords
    • Performed an analysis
    • Resolved a problem
    • Generated actionable insights
    • Developed a quantitative model
    • Designed a solution
    • Etc.
  • Personal impact keywords
    • Delivered a project
    • Implemented a solution to a problem
    • Achieved success X
    • Built successful relationships
    • Presented in front of large audiences
    • Etc.
  • Entrepreneurial drive keywords
    • Started a project
    • Grew a project from X to Y
    • Redesigned a process
    • Took an initiative
    • Obtained backing / support
    • Etc.
  • Leadership abilities keywords
    • Lead a team
    • Organised an event
    • Managed a project
    • Trained new colleagues
    • Mentored junior colleagues
    • Etc.

You will have probably noticed that all these keywords are action verbs. It is extremely important that you start your bullet points with action verbs. This enables your resume reviewer to identify the skills you have by just reading the first word of every bullet point! If you make your reviewer's life easy, trust us, they will want to work with you and will give you an interview :)

If you are looking for more guidance, you can also check out our consulting resume review service. We've helped thousands of candidates get an interview and land an offer and can help you make sure you maximise your chances of getting an interview with McKinsey, BCG and Bain.