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What are key skills or resume highlighters that one would require to catch the eye of tier-1 consulting firm (for, say, an Analyst position) if you haven't graduated from a famous school?
Based purely on anecdotal evidence, I will say upfront that it is extremely difficult to catch the eye of a top-tier consulting firm for an Analyst role from a not-famous school, especially in our current era of decreased hiring and selective bias.The exception to this is if said firm is coming to your school via campus recruiting to hire, because in this case the firms usually have a projected headcount that they are trying to fill from specific schools.  For not-famous schools, however, there are often some caveats here.  An example: McKinsey and Goldman Sachs do come to The University of Texas at Austin, but largely are only interested in and hire exclusively from the College of Business and College of Engineering.  I could go more into detail about this somewhere else.The greatest barrier to entry to these top-tier firms is passing the resume review.  Barring exceptions like the one mentioned above or something like an internal referral, the initial resume review is the single point of greatest rejection for most companies generally.The resume screening process varies, but the firms/companies that receive absurd numbers of candidates (e.g. top consulting/banking firms, top tech companies, etc) are the ones that tend to utilize digital/electronic searches for keywords in candidate-submitted documents.  As the OP rightly assumes, the first pass here is for "famous things."  This could include name-brand universities, noteworthy internships at similarly tiered companies, other jobs in similar industries, and so on.Another caveat (I'm full of them today), if the role being applied for is specific (e.g. Analyst @ Bain Consulting in Technology/Media/Telecom group) - then it's entirely possible and even likely that relevant experience, especially for an experienced hire role, will make a resume stand out considerably. The OP has an advantage in that he/she is currently working in a consulting company for Fortune 500 clients - this will definitely get noticed, especially from an experienced hire perspective, as it implies the OP will require less training and therefore potentially cost less money to hire at the Analyst level.  Once the resume comes under human eyes, they'll perhaps notice the not-famous school and look for things to compensate.  What do your current coworkers currently say about you on LinkedIn?  What was your GPA at your not-famous university?  What about SAT/ACT (I have no idea why they still look at this)?  The resume reviewer may like cats, do you list cats in your interests?  Score!  In summary, after your initial hook, much of what gets you noticed is half relevant/interesting experience (e.g. beached whales as Ilan mentions) and half mood/personality of the reviewer.So now you've been noticed, how do you seal the deal for getting the interview?  Answer: the much debated and often mythical cover letter.  I've heard lots of interesting things about the cover letter over the years - the most interesting thing is that supposedly, many recruiting teams/companies/firms barely glance at it, if at all.  The takeaway that I've gleaned from this is a good cover letter is critical, because even if it doesn't help you, a bad one will certainly hurt you in the off-chance the recruiters actually read it.In the cover letter, you need to detail in a concise/precise way exactly why you want to work for said firm (you won't believe how many cover letters forget to explain this, and instead just talk about general goals or restate resume points), and explain why A) your experience matters to the firm and B) how you feel you would contribute to the firm in question.  A is kind of general, B is pretty important because it demonstrates that you've done your research and you know what sets the firm apart from other companies.My disclaimer - as I mentioned earlier, these points stem from anecdotal experiences, particularly my own while working in consulting recruiting as well as speaking with colleagues and friends across many companies.  Every company handles recruiting differently and there are very few absolutes out there (especially now as informal hiring freezes strike without warning).
What makes a cover letter stand out?
Think of your cover letter as a written self-introduction and your pitch for why you should be considered for the job for which you are applying. Do not repeat your resume information, rather, give compelling reasons for why the recruiter should read your resume and contact you to interview.Think about including these points:Why you want to work for the companyUnique value that you - and only you - can bring to the roleProfessional traits that might not be obvious in your resumeConnections between the job announcement's requirements and qualifications and your credentialsYour goal, again, is not to re-present your resume information, but to sell yourself and ask for an interviewOne other point: If there is some obvious question that needs to be answered or a condition that needs to be addressed, do it. For example, if you are located in a different part of the country, you should state, "I am willing to relocate for this position." Think like a recruiter. What would she want to read to convince her to call you? If you do that, you will get calls.
I'm applying for a job. How can I make my cover letter stand out in the first line?
For a bit of context, I'm not an HR professional, but I've been leading the recruiting and hiring for intern/entry-level PR roles for nearly a year, and have interviewed candidates at all levels. The cover letters that I remember the most are ones that are (1) tailored specifically to our agency and (2) sound like a real human being on the other side. Sounds straightforward enough, but it's surprising how few meet these criteria. I think people get overly hung up on making a cover letter sound formal and follow a template to show professionalism, but in my opinion, it ends up hurting instead of helping. I can easily tell when it's a copy/paste job, and sometimes people even forget to change the company name when sending (ouch). To me, it's a waste of energy to send something lazy and robotic that tells me nothing about the person that I can't find on their resume. A good example from one of our recent hires kicked off by explaining the unique way that he found out about our company (by reading an article that praised our founders). To me it quickly showed that he was doing his homework and was conducting his job search a little outside the box. The letter went on to briefly explain past personal experiences that demonstrated he'd be a fit for a fast-paced environment (not just keyword bingo saying "I'm a team player and learn quickly" but actually proved it with a quick anecdote). While this won't be a tactic that works for every job, the point is to find a personal connection to grab people with. Showing that you're eager to get this job as opposed to just a job is a leg up because employers want someone who will be a good long-term fit.
How do you get your resume and cover letter noticed?
Sum up the reasons why you are an appropriate candidate for the exact job you're applying for.Practual real evidence and data, about your skills, experience, and achievements, to back up the reasons you've given.Avoid writing a cover letter altogether, if you can, other than one that says you've included, on the enclosed resume, full details about why you believe you're an appropriate candidate for the job.If you have to write a cover letter, avoid all of the wordy formalities that you might be tempted to include ("It is with great pleasure that I submit herewith my application blah blah blah..."). Just write using language you'd use in a formal but friendly conversation.Just write your resume using language you'd use in a formal but friendly conversation too. Don't talk about yourself in the third person.Avoid any kind of generic statements on either document about your experience, skills, personality or character that you're not providing actual real evidence or data to back up.If you find yourself putting information on the cover letter that you think is relevant to your application for that specific job (eg. the actual real evidence and data I mentioned above), put that on your resume instead.Format both documents in such a way that you're ensuring the important points come across within the first 5-10 seconds of reading the document. Bullet points are good.
I've received a job contract and have been instructed to sign, fill out some forms and mail it back. Should I include a cover letter with that? If so, what do I need to include in the cover letter?
No need to - from the sound of it, you already have the job, so I'd stop worrying about trying to make the best possible impression since the decision has already been made.But if you feel compelled to, a brief "Dear (whoever) - please find enclosed the forms you requested".  And even that can be on a sticky note, rather than stationary.Relax.  You have the job already.  Exhale.
How do you write a great cover letter that gets noticed by potential employers?
After a long search finally got the Job where you want to apply and want to impress the recruiter. There is so much pressure that one mistake can land your CV into thrash. So its very important to have along with professional CV you also have a well-written cover letter.Please find below some tips that will help to build great cover letter:1) Break it down: Recruiters like to see numbers if they have some meaning. If want to use numbers to demonstrate experience in your cover letter use them within context. This help employer understands how you qualify for the job.2) You can use the quote to describe your ethics in work if quotes are used in the right place they can add value to your cover letter. A select quote that defines for experience, passion and designation that you’re applying nicely.3) Demonstrate your passion, dreams and goals as not always recruiters want to why to qualify for the Job but sometimes they also like to know why you chose this career path. Anyone would like to hire to who is passionate about his career and self-motivated.4) Always write a cover letter considering that you are hired and telling them why to choose to work with their company. This is a great way to show your interest in your cover letter.5) Your Cover should not be more than of 140 words. Short and sweet is key to applying for any Job application.Apart from a cover letter if you need tips on resume writing, then do let me know. We are a professional resume writer.
What are some tips on making a CV stand out?
The Harsh Reality of the Job ApplicationEvery job or internship posting is going to have several candidates express interest, but you need to focus on creating a Resume that stands out from the pile. People who don’t have great experience or are looking for opportunities early in their career tend to be afraid to create a resume that stands out, and would rather blend in. Blending in to the pile is the single-handedly worst thing you can do. Taking risks is something everyone must do, and when you step outside of your comfort zone, is when you tend to do the best.1 - The First Step is to Understand Your Industry & InterviewerThe first step to consider is what type of job are you applying for and what industry is it in? Every industry is different, and hiring managers are going to be looking for a different set of qualities depending on the needs of the position. People in graphic design need to highlight different traits than people in investment banking. A strategy I have found most impactful is to add in additional bullets to your experiences or activities you want people to recognize or are proud talking about. The people who are reviewing Resumes are human just like you are. When they see something larger than everything else, they are going to be more inclined to pay more attention to it. If you have a great past job or accomplishment, don’t feel afraid to write more bullet points than any of your other experiences. Making certain experiences stand out from the rest will cause the reviewer to remember you by something, or pique their interest more than a plain, standard Resume.2 - Second Step is to Make an Impact with Your BulletsThe next step is to create bullet points that are impactful, and make them say “WOW!”. People who are reviewing Resumes are clearly looking for a candidate, it’s important to give them something to talk to their colleague or manager about, or something they can relate to. Bullet points need to be clear and concise. If you list something that you have trouble understanding, how is the person reviewing your Resume without the experience you had going to understand it? People are sometimes afraid to leave whitespace on their Resume and are obsessed with extending every bullet out to the margin. If you are writing additional information just to write additional information, let us give you a piece of advice, don’t! Filling up your Resume with irrelevant details or filler-words will take away from the rest of your Resume. You need people interested and motivated to read each bullet.3 - The Third Step is to Have Stories Ready to be ToldWhen listing bullet points on your Resume, try and brainstorm stories that go with them. People enjoy listening to stories ever since they were young, why not continue to do so. If you met someone cool, or had a unique experience, try and create a bullet point around it, in order to pique the interviewers interest.4- Continue to Update your Resume, and make sure its up to dateResumes are the starting point of any job or internship opportunity. Everyone is going to be submitting one, but you need to create a resume that stands out from the rest. If that means taking educated risks on the way you present your Resume, or even going out on a limb and listing a hobby you enjoy talking about that you have been successful in, BrandedResumes recommends you go for it.I decided to go with a Resume Service in order to stand out from the rest of the pack. I was having a tough time securing interviews and it really helped. The people over at BrandedResumes made the difference in helping me secure my position.
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