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How to adapt your CV to consulting experience

‘How do I get into consulting?’ is a question we often hear at Freshminds. With a range of varied backgrounds and experience, it’s hard to know how to make your CV fit into the tick boxes consulting companies want checked off. This can seem like a difficult dilemma to face, and from the outside looking in the consulting world can seem murky and littered with its own specific jargon and terminology. However, hopefully these helpful tips can help you adapt your CV and your approach to the job market to let your ‘consulting’ type experience, shine through and make it as inviting as possible for prospective consultancies.

Freshminds’ top tips:

1)  Question your existing experience.

There are a few things which could already give you a head start on your profile and are worth highlighting in your experience. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you already previously run discreet project work streams in-house?
  • Have you advised internal or external clients?
  • Have you managed stakeholders to push something through to delivery?
  • Have you bought disparate in-house teams together to deliver something?
  • Have you been able to get things delivered to deadline whilst keeping an overarching strategic/commercial end result in mind?
  • Have you sold on work?
  • Have you worked on quantifiable analytical work, cash flow, balance sheet, P&L etc?

The list goes on; however, all of these things, if portrayed correctly, can start building the case to get someone into a consultancy with no prior experience.

2)  Read the company’s website and reports.

Each business uses its own language and there is no harm in essentially mirroring this. Write phrases that they will understand and try your best to convert the phrases you would naturally use in your current company to imitate the desirable company’s terminology.

3)  Introduce yourself to the best possible effect.

A Professional Profile/Summary at the beginning of your CV is a great way to voice a compelling story about your most relevant experience and why it relates specifically to the role and company you want to step into. This should be concise, clear and to the point, highlighting the transferable skills you have – it doesn’t need to be war and peace; think more about three pithy sentences.

4)  Know the specifics.

Work with your recruiter to make sure you are aware of the specific projects you should be emphasising as they should have insight into what is going to be the most desirable to see from the client’s perspective. You may have super relevant sector, functional, or indeed personal experience which you have not have highlighted as you consider it as not particularly useful. However, these things can often be what gets you the job.

So now your CV is ready for the consulting world, but what else can you do to maximise every chance of stepping into your dream consulting role?

  • Consider contracting . Contracting / freelancing and taking on short/mid-term projects are a great way to help provide you with a flavour of the consulting world and also get your foot in the door. This may involve menial tasks as the ball starts rolling, however, you’ll gain exposure to the consulting world which is priceless; particularly if all your experience is within industry.These stepping stones can often lead to a permanent opportunity as after a few engagements all of a sudden you can have enough “consulting” experience from short-term assignments to tip the balance in a hiring managers mind.
  • In-house consulting. Stepping into an in-house consultative role which leverages either your functional or sector expertise is another way of building experience towards the end goal. It may not be a pure play consultancy, but it will help build a skill set toward this and make it an easier transition in the long run. This can make the next move into consulting a bit easier. Although it’s worth noting that this route does require compromise and patience – and often people find themselves enjoying the role so much they decide not to pursue a pure play consulting role after all!
  • Further study. Consider taking a specialist Masters course, or an MBA if you have a very specific goal in mind – don’t do this lightly but again honing expertise in something can make all the difference.
  • Tap into your network. Make your network work for you! As a business that is very proud of our network, we always recommend reaching out to your own connections, go for coffee and catch up with those you’ve crossed paths with, you never know who could provide that stepping stone you are looking for and the serendipitous nature of those conversations can often set you down the right path.

When it comes to making the transition, sometimes it’s about how you show your relevant experience and convey this to a consultancy setting.

At Freshminds we can help you to find the roles that appreciate the transferable skill-set.  We’re the middle party to talk to the client to paint a more holistic picture of your abilities and push beyond the binary need for prior experience in a consultancy. 

Imogen Forbes-Edwards

Edith Carmichael

Consultant, Experienced and Executive Hire Team

 

Edith engages with candidates and clients for experienced, permanent roles. She manages senior level opportunities on a range of strategic and commercial functions across various industries.

 

Interested in finding out more about using your experience to get into consulting?  Get in touch with Edith to find out how Freshminds could help.