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The Perfect Consulting Resume

Going from PhD to consulting but not getting interviews? Your resume might be holding you back. Here's 3 tips to quickly optimize it.

phd to consulting resume cover letter

Consulting firms are known for being extremely selective during the applicant screening process. If you don't showcase your experiences in a particular way, you run the risk of being eliminated early on in the process.

Resume formatting makes a huge impact in your application. Ensure you're following these 3 tips to be considered for a consultant position.

phd to consulting resume cover letter

Make It Short & Sweet

“Think about your resume as your first consulting project. You're trying to make the case that you're the ideal candidate to your client - the hiring manager.”

Consultants are experts in condensing information for reports or presentations to clientele. Think about your resume as a way to showcase this skill - you want to deliver a concise version of your career journey in just one page.

This is often difficult if you're used to writing long CVs and including all of your accomplishments. If you're going above the one-page limit, you probably have unnecessary sections on your resume. Make sure you're sticking to the basics with these major 5 if you're converting your CV to a resume:

  • Contact information

  • Education

  • Work experience

  • Volunteering and leadership achievements

  • Relevant skills

As you customize each section, work backwards to determine which accomplishments are actually necessary. For instance, a good rule of thumb is that if you can't quantify it, don't include it. Numbers reinforce your experiences.

In addition, if you can't answer "why is this experience important?" - it's time to get rid of it. Think about your resume as your first consulting project. You're trying to make the case that you're the ideal candidate to your client - the hiring manager.

Know How to Sell Yourself

A good consultant resume is unique and catchy. The hiring manager will spend a max of 5 seconds on your resume. If it looks like one of the other 499 they spent the last hour on, into the trash it goes. Make sure to use action verbs to grab the reader's attention.

On the topic of word selection, double-check your resume lists appropriate skills for a consultant position. If you're noticing you're not getting interview requests, you may be getting filtered by automated applicant tracking systems (see how your resume gets categorized by doing a free assessment on The Academic Blueprint's homepage).

Finally, use your extracurriculars as well as your personal PhD to consulting career path to your advantage. Try to communicate a personal brand that resonates with the firm's culture and shows off leadership experiences.

Get Feedback

If you know someone who's a consultant, it's worthwhile to get their feedback on your resume, especially if you're applying to the same firm they're currently working at. A second pair of eyes can definitely help you refocus your experiences to make sure you stand out from the crowd. After all, going from PhD to consulting is a major career change - so make sure your applications are as strong as possible!


That's it for this week's post! If you're considering consulting as a career option or want an expert to look at your PhD to consulting resume or cover letter, you may be interested in some of our services.

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