McKinsey Resume: Our Comprehensive Guide with Examples

McKinsey Resume
Jo Randall
Jo Randall

Former UK-based McKinsey and Bain recruiter

The first step to landing a consulting job at McKinsey is crafting a compelling resume to set you apart from other candidates.

A McKinsey resume helps you tell your story and highlight your transferable skills and the impact of your achievements.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What makes a McKinsey resume different
  • How to write a McKinsey resume
  • An example of a successful McKinsey resume
  • 4 common mistakes to avoid in a McKinsey resume

Let’s get started!

What Makes a McKinsey Resume Different

As one of the top consulting firms in the world, competition for a job at McKinsey is fierce, so your resume needs to stand out to secure an interview.

Understanding and prioritizing what’s important to McKinsey in the people they hire is the first step to landing your dream job.

Spend some time on their website, particularly in the careers section, where you’ll find lots of information about what they look for, skills consultants use daily, stories from current consultants, and how they review applications.

You need to demonstrate your fit with the firm, the role, and the value you will bring to enhance the projects you will be working on, showing that you’re worth one of those coveted interview spots.

Relevant Skills

A McKinsey resume should focus specifically on the skills relevant to consulting and the impact you’ve had during your education and work experiences. 

McKinsey wants to see that you are driven, have an entrepreneurial spirit, and have excellent communication skills. They also look for candidates with strong problem-solving, teamwork, analytical, and leadership skills.

A McKinsey Resume standing out from the rest

Track Record of Success

A good McKinsey resume demonstrates a track record of these qualities. Telling McKinsey you have leadership skills isn’t enough. You have to show that you have the skills and how you’ve used them to bring value to your teams, projects, roles, or employers. 

Avoid listing your previous titles, tasks, and responsibilities, as this doesn’t help you stand out in a competitive applicant pool. Try to be very specific with quantifiable evidence. 

Example: Increased scholarship money raised by 30% by holding a parent-student relay race on Parent’s Weekend.

Education

McKinsey also values a strong academic record. Although they don’t select applicants with specific degrees over others, some degrees may indicate that you have more relevant skills. So you’ll need to consider what skills are missing from your degree. 

For example, suppose you have a degree in a humanities subject. In that case, you may need to show where you’ve developed business problem-solving and analytical skills within other areas of your life. Our article on the best majors for consulting helps you understand more about how degree subjects are viewed by consulting firms and what you need to consider as you develop all sections of your resume.

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How to Write a McKinsey Resume

Format

Presenting your experiences clearly and concisely is key to ensuring that recruiters don’t dismiss your consulting resume without reading a word. If the recruiter sees a complicated layout or illegible font, your resume will likely head straight to the “no pile.” It indicates that you don’t have a good grasp of the industry norms and didn’t put in effort for the application.

Break up your resume into sections such as education, professional experience, and additional information. Including a leadership section in your McKinsey resume is also good, as they value this skill.

Present your resume in reverse chronological order with your current activities, whether education or work experience, followed by your previous experiences. This helps the recruiter see how your skills and experiences have developed.

Use formatting that makes your resume effortless for the recruiter to read:

  • Make the headings for each section stand out using a bold font or capitalization
  • Avoid using color
  • Select professional and easy-to-read fonts (such as Times Roman or Courier)
  • Use bullet points to list your achievements 

And finally, get your resume proofread before you submit your application, as you don’t want a spelling error to be the reason you don’t get an interview. McKinsey is searching for the best to invite to interview, so attention to detail is vital, just as it will be when you’re a consultant working with a client.

Making your McKinsey Resume stand out

Content

Don’t be tempted to include everything you’ve ever done – this isn’t an autobiography. Prioritize your strongest achievements, the things you’ve done that set you apart from others with similar backgrounds. 

You need to ensure everything is tailored toward the McKinsey consulting role. Make a list of skills the firm looks for and check to ensure they’re all represented. If you’re worried about insufficient content, don’t be tempted to include irrelevant skills or information. Use every line in your resume wisely.

Focus on 3 to 5 bullet points that best represent your impact and the value you’ve brought to your team, project, role, or employer. Writing this way can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but this is not the time to be modest!

Use numbers to drive home your achievements in each bullet point. Not only does this clearly show the impact you’ve made, but it also demonstrates to the recruiter that you understand the nature of working in consulting and how evidence-based it is. 

In the education section, talk about clubs, societies, or teams you were involved in at school and university, particularly if you held leadership positions. McKinsey appreciates that you will likely have developed transferable skills from different parts of your life. This gives them a fuller picture of how you have done this, especially if you don’t have many years of work experience. Include any awards or recognitions you received while you were studying too. There’s no such thing as an overachiever at McKinsey!

Your professional experience section can include part-time and full-time roles, depending on where you are in your career. It’s great if you have some big brand names in your career history, as this makes it easier for the recruiter to understand more about your background quickly. If you haven’t, don’t worry! It’s more about what you did within your roles and not who you did it for. Sometimes it is easier to make an impact when you’re not just a tiny cog in a very large wheel.

A very long McKinsey Resume being rejected

You should include a leadership section, but it’s not always easy to create, particularly if you don’t have much work experience. Don’t just use this section for experiences you’re struggling to fit elsewhere.

You can also include volunteering roles and military service on your McKinsey resume. These can also help you demonstrate transferable skills, but make sure you apply the same principles as you have with your education and professional experiences, focusing on your achievements and impact.

Within the additional information section, it’s good to include some personal information, such as interesting hobbies, as it humanizes you and can provide a great conversation starter if you have something in common with an interviewer. Remember that interviewers want to see if you can pass the airport test, which is a way to gauge whether you are a likable, professional candidate and easy to talk to. Listing languages you’re proficient in and technical skills you possess to a competent level is also helpful to include in this section.

Your resume is your sales pitch, so it’s important to get it right to convince McKinsey that interviewing and hiring you is the right decision.

Example of a Successful McKinsey Resume

Let’s look at an example of a resume that landed a McKinsey interview and offer. As you read through, take note of the best practices.

McKinsey Resume Example

Don’t have that much experience to put in your resume?

Don’t worry!

Not everyone does, expecially if you’re an undergrad. See our Consulting Resumes article for more consulting resume examples.

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid in a McKinsey Resume

1. Listing Your Experiences Without Quantifiable Impact

Avoid writing a list of your tasks and responsibilities. Focus on your impact, action, and achievements. You need to show why you are a better option to invite to interview than another candidate.

Good example: Achieved cost savings of $20K in recurring transportation costs by analyzing export schedule and consolidating over 100 orders.

Avoid this: Achieved cost savings by consolidating multiple orders.

As a student, knowing how to quantify your impact can be hard if you haven’t had much work experience. There are ways you can do this, even with your school and university experiences using measures like volume and frequency. Here are some examples to help you reflect on your impact:

  • If you held a leadership role in a school club, how many events did you organize, and how many students attended the event? What was the budget you were managing?
  • If you were on the school website team, how many articles did you review, or what was the impact of your writing?

2. Not Tailoring to McKinsey Skills

Ensure you are tailoring your resume to meet the role of a McKinsey consultant. If you don’t include relevant skills, they won’t be able to see that you can perform in the role.

Good example for leadership and analysis: Improved university enrollments by 7% by leading a team of 6 to analyze feedback and questions from previous events and running workshops specifically targeted to address them.

Avoid this: Improved university enrollments by running workshops for prospective students.

McKinsey Resume getting accepted after review

3. Leaving Out Extra-Curricular Activities

McKinsey loves to see what applicants have achieved outside of work and school. Do you coach kids in soccer? Do you volunteer at your local non-profit? Share what you like to do and what soft skills you’ve learned.

Example: Volunteered as a mentor at a local youth center and led workshops for underprivileged teenagers on financial literacy and leadership skills.

4. Poor Formatting

Attention to detail is important! Make sure you proofread your resume for formatting, spelling, and grammar mistakes before you submit your application.

Common formatting mistakes to watch out for include inconsistent bolding, misaligned text, and improper spacing.

– – – – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • What is different about a McKinsey resume
  • A guide on how to write a McKinsey resume
  • A real example of a McKinsey resume from a successful application
  • Top 5 common mistakes to avoid when writing a McKinsey resume

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the McKinsey resume, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s recruiters will answer them.

Other people prepping for how to write a McKinsey Resume found the following pages helpful:

Help with Your Consulting Application

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on cover letter and resume writing. My Consulting Offer has helped 89.6% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too. For example, here is how Cynthia was able to get her offer from McKinsey.

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