The first step towards writing a strong cover letter is to understand why consulting firms ask for a cover letter in the first place.
And how screeners decide to put your cover letter in the "accept" or "reject" pile.
There are two main reasons why consulting firms will ask you for a cover letter.
First, partners bill several thousand dollars per day to their clients.
It's tempting to use an eye-catching font and format. You only risk your interviewer thinking: "I've never seen this font, it looks really weird. " Your cover letter should stand out because of its content, NOT because of its format. If you went to Harvard and have three Olympic medals, now is the time to say it! But the point is that you should really push yourself to bring your most impressive accomplishments forward.
This might sound surprising but a big part of the cover letter is how much networking you have done.This is exactly what you have to do in your cover letter.You have to a) look back on all your past experiences, b) select the relevant experiences to convince the reviewer that you are the right person for the job and c) summarise all these experiences in a way that's easy to read and digest. Candidates who end up getting invited for interviews recognise this early on. If you spend ENOUGH time making sure that your letter is as impactful as it can be, you stand very high chances of getting invited for interviews.The opportunity cost of interviewing you is HUGE for the firm.Put yourself in the shoes of a consultancy for a second.Unfortunately, networking is not always easy or possible.In these cases, your second best option is to read as much as you can on the firms you are applying for.Writing cover letters is painful, but trust, reading them is at least as painful as writing them :) Consultants usually have to score 200 to 400 applications in about 2 weeks.And this is sometimes on TOP of their normal project.What are the top 3 questions you want to answer before investing money in interviewing a candidate?If you don't answer these three questions in a structured and impactful way, your chances of getting passed the screening process are very low.