You might think that the secret to writing a top-notch consultant resume is showing boatloads of experience. Describing your work that spans projects from recruitment strategy to incubator investment is bound to land you a coveted consultant position, right? Not exactly.
If you are wondering why you are not being invited to an interview, you could be making a common mistake when writing your consultant resume. In short, it's not what you've done that counts, it's the outcome. Experience does not translate to achievement, and unless your resume screams "problem solver extraordinaire" and displays quantifiable evidence that your input was the catalyst for positive change, you won't stand out among your competitors.
The good news is that creating a powerful resume, whether it be for an associate consultant position or an experienced consultant resume for Bain or KPMG, is simply a matter of nuance. It's showing the results, not the actions, because that's what clients need to see.
This guide will show you how to build a consultant resume that stands out. We'll show you how to craft a resume that displays how you turn a business challenge into a catalyst for growth. With this guide, your resume will convince the reader you, and only you can deliver the results the employer is looking for.
What you’ll learn from this consultant resume guide
- What should a consultant put on a resume?
- How do you describe your consulting experience to get the most impact?
- How do you tailor your resume for a consulting job?
- How to show your value as a consultant and wow the reader.
Looking for related resumes?
- Management consultant
- Business consultant
- Strategy consultant
- Retail sales consultant
- Financial consultant
- Freelance consultant
How to write a consultant resume to get the most impact?
Your goal as a consultant is to impress the reader with the results of your consulting work. You will see the word "results" a lot in this guide because that is what needs to jump out of the page. But what if you are new to consulting?
Even if you are new to consulting, there will be some moments in your career, or your life, where your influence made a difference. Was there a moment as an associate consultant when you realized that consulting was for you? Your goal in writing your consultant resume is to showcase your passion and ability to effect positive change.
Here are some overall tips to make that happen.
Include your most significant achievement in your professional summary (we'll show you how)
Start out with a bang. Use the best example you have of a project where the results of your efforts were notable and put it in your opening summary. This will immediately get the reader's attention, draw them in, and encourage them to want to know more.
Use quantifiable markers to show what you achieved for clients as a consultant
Clients aren't interested in projects that you have started. They want to learn about the projects you have completed and what the impact was on the company's bottom line, sales, or other benchmarks. That's why it's critical to always use a data point to show the result of your consulting work. More on this is given in the experience section.
Focus on the value you bring to a company
Consider why the company you are applying to is hiring a consultant. Many companies hire consultants without knowing exactly how the organization's goals can be achieved. If you can paint a picture for the company or recruiter by describing what you've achieved in the past, and what you can deliver for the hiring organization, you've already solved a good portion of their problems. They'll be engaged and excited to interview you.
To find out what you can offer the hiring organization, try to contact someone internally and ask if they would talk to you about the position. LinkedIn is a great way to reach out, or you could contact HR and see if they can put you in touch with someone who can give you useful insights.
This guide will cover every section of your consultant resume. But first, let's look at consultant resume formatting. What's the best format for your consultant resume?
A consultant's resume should always be tailored to the job you are applying for. Therefore, organize your experience section so that the consulting work most relevant to the job at hand is seen first. Don't worry so much about keeping everything in chronological order; the hirer wants to know what you 've done that's of value to them and the problems they are facing. When you did your work, or whether you took a break here and there, is less of a concern. As far as format design is concerned, here's a checklist for resume formatting including fonts, margins, and other features.
The following are critical sections to include on a consultant resume You may have other sections you want to include, perhaps you've published research in journals or delivered presentations at conferences. In that case, you can add a section for "Speaker Engagements" or "Publications."
We cover adding specific sections later on.
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty of actually writing your resume, starting with the resume header.
How to write a consultant resume header that stands out
The resume header needs to be clear and uncluttered to have the most impact. Imagine a recruiter picking up your resume and seeing a header with five or six social media URLs. It's distracting and gives the impression you are too busy on social media to do any consulting.
Think about what information is critical in your header and add only that information.The recruiter wants to see your name, profession, contact details, and one or two relevant links like your website and LinkedIn profile. That's it. Also, describe what type of consultant you are, which should correspond to the job description.
The examples below show how the wrong information in the header can distract the reader and put them off before they've even looked at your experience.
Consultant resume header examples
This header is a bad example because it does not state the area of expertise. Also, few recruiters are interested in your Instagram or Facebook postings when you apply for a consultant position. Adding these URLs to your resume adds clutter and unnecessary information that detracts from the information you do want the reader to see.
The above example is much clearer and focused. It shows the area of specialization and the person's credentials. In this case, an MBA.
The professional summary is perhaps the hardest part of the resume to write. Continuing with the theme of impact, here's how to draft an attention-grabbing professional summary that packs a punch.
Professional summary for a consultant resume
Your professional summary should showcase your most significant achievement that is also relevant to the job. It's better to choose just one so that the reader is suitably impressed and not overwhelmed. Less is more here.
Consultant resume summary examples
The above example is really just a bunch of words. Any sales consultant could claim to be good with data analytics and able to come up with a new sales strategy. What the reader really wants to know is what were the results? How did your work change sales?
Also, note that there are few action words, if any,
Here is a better example.
This is a much better summary because it gives specific quantitative results that potential employers can understand. Don't worry about explaining how you did it, that will come later in the experience section.
This example also uses more interesting words like "dynamic" and "exploits." You don't want to overdo the language, but one or two carefully chosen words can make your summary compelling to read.
The next section, your experience, is where you should support your summary statement and complement it with your consulting history.
How to write the experience section to show results
Think of this section as the place to "seal the deal." You've shown how accomplished you are in the summary statement, so you should be over 50 percent of the way to impress the reader. In the experience section, you want to reiterate your successes so that the reader is left with no doubt that you are the best candidate. Remember. The goal is to convey your achievements, not your experience.
The same rules apply here for the summary. Use action words and include a quantitative measure in every entry, such as a percentage, or number. Only include experience and achievements that are relevant to the job. In other words, tailor your experience section according to the job description. Use short sentences, and include keywords that will be picked up by the ATS (applicant tracking system).
Consultant resume experience examples
This example is not a good one because it gives no indication of whether the actions resulted in positive change. Also, the text is bland and does little to draw the reader in and make them want to know more.
This example contains all the required components. An action word— "realigned", data points— "six analysts" and "portfolios of 18 high-net-worth clients." the sentence is short and clear with no unnecessary jargon.
Remember that all you want to convey is the result so that the reader is intrigued and wants to know more. You will have plenty of opportunities to explain how you met with success in your interview. There is no need to go into detail in your resume. In fact, it's a good strategy not to.
Find out more about why the results of your work are what potential recruiters really want to see. Read our blog post: Resume Highlights: Why Resume Accomplishments Get You Hired (+5 Examples).
What to include in the skills section of a consultant resume
The skills section is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other consultants. It might be a soft skill or a hard skill that differentiates your particular brand or consultant style. For example, you might have a charismatic leadership style, which is a soft skill, but an important one to include.
Hard skills, or technical skills, include those that are learned and assessed, such as accounting, business analytics, or programming. Don't include Microsoft Suite or other basic packages. It goes without saying that you have experience in those.
The secret here is to list only those skills that the recruiter wants to see. Check the job description and align your skills with those required. Here are some examples of hard or technical skills.
How to describe soft skills on your resume
List your soft skills in the order of importance for the job you are applying to.
How to write the education section for a consultant resume
Follow best practices when listing your degrees and education.
- Don't list your GPA once you are a seasoned consultant. Your corporate achievements are more of a measure of your brilliance than your academic record.
- List the university where you studied, its location, and the title of your degree.
- There is no need to list the courses you took unless they are directly relevant to the job and will make you a top candidate.
- List your most recent degree first.
Certificates on resume
If you have a specific technical or hard skill and a qualification to go with it, consider adding a section for certificates. Below are some examples of certificates earned by consultants in various industries.
Other sections for your resume
We mentioned before that you might want to add unique sections to your resume. Perhaps you have publications that are relevant to the job or you have received rewards for your work. Both merit a separate section to showcase your expertise.
Here is an example of a publications section.
Here is an example of an awards section.
Writing a consultant resume cover letter
Cover letters are useful because they give you an opportunity to tell a story. There are only so many ways to present yourself in a resume, and none of them express your personality. Use the cover letter to add some color and intrigue the reader further.
Your cover letter needn't be long but add one additional snippet of information that piques the reader's interest and reveals an aspect of you. For example, perhaps you were motivated to pursue consulting after a recent ascent of Mount Everest where you experienced the criticality of informed decision-making and relying on your teammates.
Be sure to follow our cover letter checklist so that it complements and is consistent with your resume.
This guide should have helped you to draft a consultant resume that tells the reader what they can expect from you and your brand. The best consultant resumes show the outcomes of your consulting work so that potential clients can envision similar benefits if they use your services. Lastly, create a resume that you are proud of and that gives you confidence as you head into your interview.
Here are the most important takeaways
- Create an impact in every section by being concise and relevant.
- Avoid overstuffing your resume—use a few notable achievements.
- Use quantitative data to show results.
- Answer the needs of the hiring company by showing them what you can do for them.