“Walk me through your resume” in a Consulting Interview

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Last Updated on January 29, 2024

When it comes to interviewing with a top-tier consulting firm, being prepared to walk through your resume is critical. Most interviewers are interested in a proper introduction at the beginning of a personal fit interview. While they have read your resume before the interview, they are curious to get your own perspective on your journey that ended with you sitting in front of them.

An alternate framing of the resume walkthrough is: “Tell me about yourself!”

This type of interview question is often used by consulting firms to gain insight into a candidate’s work experience, education, and overall fit with the organization. While you are essentially guaranteed to answer this question in the BCG and Bain interview process in a similar fashion as you would go over it in tier-2 (e.g, Strategy&, Kearney), Big 4 (e.g., EY, Deloitte), in-house (e.g., DHL Inhouse Consulting), and boutique consulting firm (e.g., OC&C) applications, McKinsey focuses on a different set of questions with their Personal Experience Interview.

In this article, I will outline some key tips and strategies for answering the “Walk me through your resume” question during a consulting interview.

Structure your resume walkthrough

Begin with a brief introduction. The first step in answering the “Walk me through your resume” question is to provide a brief introduction. This introduction should include your name, current role, and a brief overview of your background. The goal of this introduction is to set the stage for the remainder of your response.

Discuss relevant professional highlights

Highlight your education and work experience. Once you have introduced yourself, the next step is to talk about your education. This could include your undergraduate and graduate degrees, any academic achievements, and relevant coursework. Be sure to focus on how your educational background has prepared you for a career in consulting. After highlighting your education, it’s time to discuss your work experience. You should start with your most recent or current role and work backward. For each position, provide a brief overview of your responsibilities and achievements. Be sure to highlight any experience that is directly relevant to consulting, such as project management, data analysis, or client interaction.

Round it off with more personal experiences

In addition to your education and work experience, consulting firms are also interested in your extracurricular activities and other experiences. This could include volunteer work, leadership roles in student organizations, or any other activities that demonstrate your leadership, teamwork, or problem-solving skills.

Tie your resume walkthrough together

Finally, it’s important to tie everything together in a cohesive narrative that highlights your strengths and demonstrates your fit with the consulting firm. You should focus on the skills and experiences that make you uniquely qualified for a career in consulting and explain why you are interested in working for the firm.

A sample resume walkthrough

Use the following story and answer to create your own resume walkthrough:

Four pivotal experiences have shaped my journey to this interview. First, my academic foundation as an MBA student at Stanford Graduate School of Business refined my critical thinking and strategic planning abilities, preparing me for the challenges of a consulting career. This education, coupled with a deep interest in technology and sustainability, equips me to navigate and solve complex problems in these dynamic sectors.

Second, my career commenced at Google in a data analysis role. Here, I focused on interpreting vast data sets to optimize digital marketing strategies, achieving a 20% increase in campaign effectiveness. This role was instrumental in enhancing my data analytical skills and understanding of the tech industry’s nuances.

Third, I advanced to a managerial position at Tesla, overseeing a team in the supply chain department. My leadership contributed to a 25% improvement in supply chain efficiency, reducing overall operational costs. This experience was vital in developing my skills in leadership, process optimization, and team management.

Fourth, at Amazon, I spearheaded a sustainability initiative, integrating eco-friendly practices into product lifecycle management. This project not only led to a 30% reduction in carbon footprint for several product lines but also increased market competitiveness. It highlighted my ability to drive innovation and implement sustainable practices in a corporate setting.

My career journey – from academic achievements to strategic roles – shows a clear trajectory towards a consulting career. It reflects a purposeful path, integrating my analytical capabilities, industry knowledge, and passion for innovation. The opportunity to join your firm is particularly exciting, as it aligns with my experience in technology and sustainability. My track record, combined with a commitment to excellence, positions me well to integrate into your team and contribute to solutions that push industry boundaries. I am eager to leverage my background to effect meaningful change in alignment with your firm’s esteemed reputation and objectives.

Critically go through your resume and create a similar story.

Practice your answer

Practicing your response is essential for perfecting its delivery. It helps you to adjust your answer, ensuring it incorporates all vital points in a clear, easily understandable format for the interviewer. Consider highlighting a few standout achievements or experiences that effectively showcase your suitability for the role. Presenting these elements in a narrative style can significantly enhance their impact. This method guarantees that your response is both thorough and succinct, conveying your qualifications and fit for the role effectively to the interviewer.

Additional tips to stand out

Some additional consulting interview tips to keep in mind when answering the “walk me through your resume” question during a consulting interview include:

  • Be concise and to the point. You should aim to keep your response to 2-3 minutes.
  • Be prepared to answer follow-up questions. The interviewer may ask you to elaborate on specific aspects of your education, work experience, or extracurricular activities.
  • Practice your response in advance. The more comfortable you are with your response, the more confident you will appear during the interview.

The self-introduction is a critical part of most consulting interviews.

By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can demonstrate your fit with the organization and increase your chances of having a positive impression on the case interviewer.

Common issues and pitfalls in a resume walkthrough

In my experience as an interviewer, candidates often make several key mistakes when introducing themselves. Here are the four most common ones, along with suggestions for improvement:

  1. Not highlighting achievements adequately: Many candidates tend to underplay their achievements. Remember, consulting interviews are your opportunity to showcase successes, not to be modest. Don’t omit significant achievements, such as awards or key projects, as these are exactly what interviewers are looking for.
  2. Over-focusing on resume details: Instead of providing a detailed summary of your resume, focus on 3-4 key experiences. Share these as stories that led you to consulting, highlighting relevant skills and forming a credible narrative.
  3. Lack of relevant content: Ensure your introduction focuses on professional experiences relevant to consulting. While personal interests might be discussed, they should not dominate the initial part of the interview. It’s more important to connect your experiences to the consulting role.
  4. Failure to display enthusiasm: A common issue is the lack of enthusiasm, which is crucial in consulting interviews. It demonstrates interest in the role, effective communication skills, and alignment with the firm’s culture. Enthusiasm distinguishes you from others, showing confidence and a problem-solving mindset.
  5. Inappropriate response length: Striking the right balance in response length is essential. Too long, and you risk losing the interviewer’s attention; too short, and you might fail to adequately convey your qualifications. Aim for a response that is clear, focused, and covers your career path, relevant skills, and interest in consulting.
  6. Unpreparedness: Going into an interview without a prepared response can lead to excessive deliberation or clarification questions. It’s better to have a structured, rehearsed answer ready, and be open to further questions from the interviewer for additional details.

By addressing these areas, you can improve the quality of your self-introduction, making it more relevant and engaging for the interviewer.

Learn more about consulting fit interviews

If you want to learn more about consulting fit interviews, check out our detailed article that covers all elements and fit questions you have to expect as well as our SCORE framework to prepare and answer them.

You can find the article here. Consulting Fit Interview: The Only Post You Need To Read

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