Wednesday, September 03, 2008

McKinsey & Co.- Resume Workshop

ISB Alums working in McKinsey came down to ISB to undertake a Resume workshop. The key takeaways from the workshops have been divided into "Structuring", " Content" and "Formatting"
  1. You can structure your resume based on skills, functional expertise or chronology (time) depending upon how best you feel you can position your resume and the intended recipient.
  2. Bucket the work-experience into different roles/profiles
  3. If you are applying to the same industry but want to move up in terms of roles, then it makes sense to highlight the work experience in a chronological order.
  4. In case you are switching industries then highlight the critical skills that are transferable to the job that you are applying to.
  5. Try to be specific and avoid vague points
  6. Make a list of the skills that you want to showcase to the recruiter.
  7. Make different buckets of skills that you want to convey to the recruiter. Include relevant work-ex/project-work under the different heads.
  8. Recruiter takes a holistic view of the resume and does not give any disproportionate weight to any particular section.
  9. Usually there is a standard EOI format which is circulated by CAS. If the recruiter has asked for the cover letter then change the format. Don’t waste too much time on EOI. EOI could be used to explain career gaps, role changes etc.
  10. Try and bring out a problem solving capability through the bullet points that talk about work
  11. You can make a segway into a section by introducing some unique characteristic about it – Could be academic or work related – For eg. “Worked across 5 diverse roles in 3 years” – This helps set the context for what the recruiter will expect through the resume
  12. For extra-curriculars, use a role-based approach. Explain what you did more than talking about the post you held
  13. You can always flip the order of the resume elements (eg. You can start with extra-curricular section and then move to work section)


  1. Make a list of things that you have done in life (including things done at high school etc.)
    Then shortlist the points that you want to tell to the recruiter
  2. Keep it simple so that the person reading the CV could understand it. Hence remove the technical terms. The resume should be understood by a layman.
  3. Highlight the impact of the things that you have done.
  4. Prioritize and retain only the points that have the greatest impact. Those points should cover the work experience, academics, extra-curricular and co-curricular.
  5. Even if you have a draft of resume, still you should start from scratch and make a laundry list of all the activities and achievements.
  6. The resume should reflect the strength of the person. If the person is strong in extra-curricular, then his resume should give more space to that.
  7. Show it to a lot of people and ask them to review it.
  8. The bullet points in the resume should tackle the following three points:
    a. The resume point should highlight the complexity of the situation
    b. What did you actually do (your contribution)
    c. Does the point highlight the impact (contribution v/s complexity).
  9. Highlight both the external (company) impact and internal impact (yourself).
  10. Extra-curricular portion of the resume is important as a story can be built around it.
  11. If you are applying in the same industry then you can use jargon/technical words. Incase you are applying to a different industry then shelve all jargon and technical words
  12. Non-disclosure of grades is not a good idea even if the grades are low. Non-disclosure of grades is assumed that the grades are abysmally low.
  13. Please explain significant gaps in career.
  14. If there is something that you have designed but not implemented use the word “potential”
  15. Always exhibit consistency of a select set of strengths
  16. CA articleship experience can either be placed in the work experience column or under the academic section depending upon what you did and how important you feel your contribution during the 3 years was i.e. do you have a story to tell?
  17. The articleship experience will not be counted as full work experience


  1. Try to be specific and avoid vague points
  2. There should be no full stops
  3. Change the mobile number to landline in case you are applying to international recruiters ‘coz landline is clearer.
  4. Take a printout after converting into a pdf and go through the content again
  5. People with higher years of work experience should put the years upfront in the resume. Usually it is difficult for the recruiter to estimate the experience from the dates which are written.
  6. Highlight courses in case you want to apply to a specific domain for ex: finance, marketing etc.
  7. Use simple language
  8. Short forms that are commonly understood like “mgmt” for management are permitted
  9. White space optimization is very important – Change the font size of the white spaces between lines, use the horizontal as well as the vertical white spaces effectively to pack in text
  10. Margins – Keep them no more than 0.25”
  11. Always start with an action verb – “Designed”, “Conceptualized” etc. and maintain consistency in the usage i.e. always use verbs. A list of usable verbs are available on the internet and the 2007 consulting club handover booklet

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