Your Bain resume is the single most important component that will determine whether you will receive an interview with Bain. No matter how much networking you have done or how many people at Bain you know, if your resume is not up to standards, you will not get an interview.
On average, your Bain resume will be looked at between 1-3 minutes before the reviewer gives your resume a score and moves onto the next resume.
Therefore, ensure that your Bain resume best highlights your accomplishments, experiences, and skills. It needs to be clear, concise, and memorable.
If you are currently preparing your resume for Bain and unsure what to write or how to structure it, we have you covered.
As a former Bain Manager and interviewer, I’ll walk you through exactly what Bain looks for in resumes and step-by-step how to craft the perfect Bain resume.
If you’re looking to transform your resume into one that will land you multiple consulting interviews, check out our consulting resume review and editing services.
Understanding What Bain Looks For in Resumes
Like many other consulting firms, Bain looks for four main qualities when reviewing a resume: intelligence, high pedigree, track record of success, and relevant skills.
1. Intelligence: Resume reviewers want to see high GPAs, test scores, and academic accolades. These demonstrate that you are smart and competent.
2. High pedigree: Resume reviewers want to see that you’ve attended prestigious universities and held prestigious jobs at brand name companies. Consulting firms value prestigious pedigrees because it makes selling projects easier.
3. Track record of success: Resume reviewers want to see successful completion of projects, job raises, and job promotions. These demonstrate that you will find success in whatever you do.
4. Relevant skills: Resume reviewers want to see that you have the skills to be successful as a consultant. These include both hard skills, such as analyzing data and solving problems, and soft skills, such as leading teams and managing direct reports.
It is important to note that you do not need to have studied business or have work experiences related to business to get an interview at Bain.
Like many other consulting firms, Bain believes that they can teach all of the business knowledge and skills needed on the job, so they instead focus on hiring intelligent and ambitious people.
In addition to these four qualities, there are a few additional qualities that are specific to Bain. These qualities are essential to Bain’s work culture and are also looked at:
5. Passion: Resume reviewers want to see that you are passionate about something, demonstrated by showing expertise on a particular topic or showing commitment to an activity or hobby for a long period of time.
6. Teamwork: Resume reviewers want to see that you can successfully work on a team and be a team player.
7. Results-Orientation: Resume reviewers want to see that you have results to show for in your work experiences, education, and extracurricular activities.
8. Honesty and Openness: Resume reviewers want to see that you have intellectual honesty and have displayed it in past work and extracurricular experiences
Key Components of a Bain Resume
There are five major components of a Bain resume: contact information, professional experience, extracurricular activities, education, and additional information. You need to optimize each component to give yourself the best chance of landing a Bain interview.
Section 1: Contact Information
1. The first line of your resume should be your full name.
To make your name stand out, make the font size larger than the rest of the body and consider capitalizing all of the letters.
2. The second line of your resume should have your personal contact information.
Include your email, phone number, and address. They should all fit on one line to save yourself space for the rest of your resume’s content.
Here is what the first two lines should look like:
Section 2: Professional Experience
Your professional experience should come next, before your education and academic achievements.
The reason for this is that consulting firms value work experience the most. Therefore, you want to show it first.
1. The order of work experience should go from most recent at the top to oldest at the bottom
2. When allocating resume space to each job or role, you should proportion them roughly by how long you had that job or role
For example, let’s say that you have had two jobs so far. You worked at your first job for one year and your second job for three years. Therefore, your first job should get one-fourth of the total space in the Professional Experience section and your second job should get three-fourths of the total space.
The exception to this is if you’ve worked at a prestigious or well-known company, such as Goldman Sachs or Google. Prestige and brand names are heavily valued in consulting, so you’ll want to allocate more bullets to these work experiences.
3. If you have only had one job, but worked there for a long period of time, it may be helpful to separate your bullets into different projects
This will make it easier for the resume reviewer to digest.
Here is an example of how you might separate your bullets into different projects:
4. Each job that you list should have a minimum of two bullets, with the most impressive bullet listed first
Two bullets is the minimum space needed to show depth of accomplishments and achievements.
List the most impressive bullets under each work experience first. Often times, resume reviewers will only read the first couple of bullets.
5. Every single bullet should start with a verb
It should also be in the past tense to show that you have completed or achieved the accomplishment.
Ideally, every bullet on your resume will start with a different verb to show a variety of different skills and accomplishments.
6. Every single bullet should also have some kind of number or metric in them
Consultants think in terms of numbers, so the more you can quantify your resume bullets, the more impressive and credible they will be.
Don’t just explain what you did and how you did it. Explain what impact your work had and what effect it had on the organization. What was the magnitude of the impact? How many people were affected?
If you improved something at work, how much did it get better? How much additional revenue did you help generate? How much costs did you help save? How does your performance compare to benchmarks?
Examples of poor bullets:
- Bad: Analyzed survey responses to identify customer improvement areas
- Better: Led an eight-person analytics team to analyze 100K+ survey responses to identify customer improvement areas worth $200M in annual revenue
- Bad: Planned annual customer service budget
- Better: Planned $500M customer service budget, mediating conflict between customer service and product teams to identify $150M in annual savings
- Bad: Created customer service strategy for 2M support tickets by working with product managers, engineers, and research teams
- Better: Created customer service strategy for 2M support tickets; achieved $4M savings annually and improved customer satisfaction by 15%
7. Your resume bullets should be allocated equally between quantitative and qualitative skill accomplishments
Quantitative skill accomplishments include analyzing data while qualitative skill accomplishments include managing, collaborating, or persuading others.
Consulting firms look for candidates that are not only analytical problem solvers, but also leaders and team players. Therefore, make sure to balance these two qualities.
Many resumes tend to over-index on quantitative skill accomplishments, since they are easier to quantify the impact. However, you can also quantify the impact of your qualitative skills.
Examples of qualitative skill accomplishments:
- Supervised and managed intern, providing coaching and mentorship leading to intern receiving full-time offer and top 10% performance rating
- Collaborated with 18 different client teams to detail a 5-year, $100M investment roadmap to increase revenues by 40% over the next 5 years
- Communicated with field sales force and product development teams on a daily basis to qualify, enter, and ensure $18M+ in revenues are correctly quoted and entered
8. Ensure your resume bullets are simple and non-technical
A resume reviewer that does not have experience in the industry or function that you worked in should be able to understand every word.
Section 3: Extracurricular Activities
This section should come after Professional Experiences since accomplishments in extracurricular activities are not valued as highly as professional accomplishments.
There are exceptions to this of course (e.g., Olympics medals), but for the majority of people, professional accomplishments will carry more weight.
1. Keep the length of this section relatively short if you have substantial work experience
This section should only be long if you are an undergraduate student with limited or no working experience.
2. Organize your activities by impressiveness
Unlike work experience, you can organize your activities in order from most impressive at the top to least impressive on the bottom.
3. Follow the same guidelines as the Professional Experiences section.
- Have at least two bullets for each activity
- Start each bullet with a different past-tense verb
- Quantify the impact of each bullet with a number or metric
- Balance showing quantitative and qualitative skill accomplishments
Here is an example of an Extracurricular Activities Section:
Section 4: Education and Academic Achievements
Your education and academic achievements section should come after your professional experience and extracurricular activities.
1. Keep this section short
The Education Section of your consulting resume should be short to give yourself more space for your work experience.
List your school name, degree, and major.
Additionally, you can have one bullet that summarizes all of the extracurricular activities and accomplishments you had in school.
If you are currently in school and have limited work experience, you can summarize your school activities and accomplishments in more detail in the Extracurricular Activities section instead.
2. If you have high test scores or grades, list them
Test scores and grades are a quick way for a resume reviewer to see that you are intelligent. They add instant credibility, so include them if they are high.
For test scores, you can include scores from exams such as the SAT, GMAT, GRE, or LSAT. For grades, you can list your GPA, student ranking, or academic honors.
If your test scores or grades are low, it is better to not list them. They could negatively impact the first impression that resume reviewers have.
3. It is better to emphasize depth than breadth
Prioritize emphasizing leadership roles in activities or clubs rather than just listing that you were a member.
It is better to list a few activities and explain the impact you had rather than listing numerous activities without explaining the impact.
Here is an example of what the Education section should look like:
Section 5: Additional Information
This section should come last in your resume. It should be short and concise to give yourself more space for your work experience, extracurricular activities, and education.
1. Organize this section into categories such as: Skills, Certifications, Languages, Volunteer, or Interests
You will not have space for all of these categories, so pick the categories where you have the most to showcase.
- Skills: List technical skills that may be relevant to consulting. These include analytical skills such as Tableau, Alteryx, SQL, or R. Do not list something basic, such as Excel or PowerPoint. Everyone knows how to use these.
- Certifications: List any certifications or designations that you have, such as CFA or CPA.
- Languages: List the languages you speak and indicate your fluency level: basic, proficient, professional, or fluent. Order the languages from most proficient to least.
- Volunteer: Highlight volunteer work or non-profit board positions you have had. Make sure to describe and quantify the impact of your work.
- Interests: Highlight interesting personal accomplishments or hobbies. Ideally, these would be interests that are great conversation starters
2. Include Interests in your resume.
This is likely the only part of the resume that is interesting to reviewers.
If you’ve won multiple ice cream-making competitions or have a planet or star named after you, include these fun facts.
3. Avoid listing generic interests
Listing interests such as photography or cooking are extremely common and not memorable. Try to add some more details behind these to make it more interesting and unique.
Here is an example of an Additional Information Section:
Tailoring Your Resume for Bain
The qualities that Bain looks for in a resume are quite similar to the qualities that any other consulting firm looks for.
Therefore, it is not necessary to completely overhaul your resume to make it super-specific to Bain. However, it can be helpful to make a few changes to tailor your resume to Bain’s core values.
This could make the difference if your resume is on the borderline between getting an interview and getting rejected.
1. Include more examples and achievements relating to teamwork and collaboration
While all consulting firms value teamwork and collaboration, Bain puts a little bit more emphasis on this than other consulting firms.
Therefore, when trying to balance your quantitative vs. qualitative accomplishments, you may want to emphasize your achievements relating to teamwork and collaboration a bit more.
2. Show that you have passions
Bain likes people that are passionate. You can demonstrate this through your work experience accomplishments by demonstrating that you have expertise or have helped push the industry forward.
You can demonstrate this through your extracurricular activities or hobbies by showing the amount of time you have dedicated to these.
Finally, you can demonstrate passions by having quantifiable, tangible accomplishments in your bullets.
3. Incorporate Bain job posting keywords into your resume
This tip is only relevant for those applying to Bain from non-target schools or those applying off-cycle.
Many companies, including consulting firms like Bain, use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes. Tailoring your resume with relevant keywords can improve your chances of getting through this initial screening process.
To do this, find the job posting that you are applying for and try to naturally fit as many of the job requirement keywords into your resume. However, don’t overdo this or else it may end up hurting you if a recruiter reads your resume and sees that the bullets don’t make sense.
4. Address job specific requirements
Different positions within Bain may have slightly different requirements. Tailoring your resume allows you to address these specific needs.
For example, if you are applying to work in an international office in which proficiency in a foreign language is required, make sure you indicate your language proficiency on your resume.
Formatting and Design Tips for Your Bain Resume
Follow these formatting and design tips for your Bain resume to ensure that it is easy to read and does not stand out for the wrong reasons.
Here is what a well-formatted resume should look like:
1. Resume should be one page
If your resume is longer than one page, make your content more concise. There are no exceptions to this.
2. Use margins of 0.5 to 1 inches
0.5 inches is the minimum margin size you should use. Any smaller and your resume will look cramped.
3. Use a standard font
This ensures that there are no font compatibility issues. We recommend using a font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. These are commonly used fonts that are conservative and safe to use.
4. Use clear headings and subheadings
Organize sections with clear, bolded headings (e.g., "Professional Experience," "Education").
5. Include relevant section dividers or lines
Use subtle lines or section dividers to separate different parts of the resume for visual clarity.
6. Use a body font size of at least 10
Don’t make it difficult for the reader to read your resume. The font should be large enough so that the reader can easily read the text without squinting or causing eye strain.
7. Use bullet points
Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs and highlight key achievements and responsibilities.
8. Maintain consistency
Ensure uniformity in font style, size, and formatting throughout the resume.
For example, Choose a clear and consistent format for presenting dates (e.g., Month Year or MM/YYYY).
9. Submit your resume as a PDF file
People have different versions of different word processors, so submitting a resume as a word processor file might lead to formatting incompatibility issues.
By using PDF instead, you guarantee that your resume will look exactly as it appears in the PDF file.
10. Include your name and date in your resume file name
Make sure to include your full name in the title of the file that you submit. You do not want to have a generic resume file name, such as “Resume.pdf.” You may also want to include the date so that you can keep track of resume versions.
Proofreading and Editing Tips for Your Bain Resume
1. Read your resume out loud to yourself
Go through your resume line-by-line and read it out loud to yourself. By reading it out loud, you’ll likely catch typos and mistakes that you would have missed if you had just read it silently.
2. Make sure every bullet is quantified
Wherever possible, use specific numbers or percentages to quantify your accomplishments. This adds credibility and demonstrates the impact you had in previous roles.
3. Review for clarity and conciseness
Eliminate unnecessary words and ensure that your sentences are clear and concise.
4. Check the balance of quantitative vs. qualitative accomplishments
As an exercise, it may be helpful to color code quantitative accomplishments in blue and qualitative accomplishments in red. This will help you see if you are deficient in either of them.
Make sure to change all text to black before submitting.
5. Remove industry jargon
Make sure you are not using industry-specific terminology that the average reader would not be able to understand.
6. Avoid cliches and buzzwords
Steer clear of overused phrases and clichés (e.g., "team player," "results-oriented"). Instead, provide specific examples of your accomplishments.
7. Check for consistency
Ensure consistent verb tenses, formatting, and punctuation throughout the resume.
8. Address employment gaps (if applicable)
If you have employment gaps, consider briefly explaining them in a way that highlights any skills or experiences gained during that time.
9. Verify contact information
Double-check your contact details, including your phone number and email address, to ensure they are accurate.
10. Ask for feedback from other people
Good people or resources to ask include:
- Career Services team at your school
- Classmates or colleagues that have worked in consulting before
- School alumni that are current or former consultants
- Consultants that you have met through networking events
It is always good to get multiple people to review your resume before submitting. They will give you alternative perspectives and feedback that you can use to improve your resume.
Want to maximize your chances of getting a Bain interview? Let us help you refine and polish your resume through our comprehensive and personalized consulting resume review and editing services.
Start Preparing for Bain Case Interviews
While you finalize your Bain resume, you should also be preparing for Bain case interviews in parallel. Case interviews are the primary way Bain chooses which candidates to pass and receive an offer.
You will not land a job offer at Bain unless you can crush every single one of your Bain case interviews.
Here are the resources we recommend to learn the most robust, effective case interview strategies in the least time-consuming way:
- Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.
- Hacking the Case Interview Book (available on Amazon): Perfect for beginners that are short on time. Transform yourself from a stressed-out case interview newbie to a confident intermediate in under a week. Some readers finish this book in a day and can already tackle tough cases.
- The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.
- Case Interview Coaching: Personalized, one-on-one coaching with former consulting interviewers
- Behavioral & Fit Interview Course: Be prepared for 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours. We'll teach you exactly how to draft answers that will impress your interviewer
- Resume Review & Editing: Transform your resume into one that will get you multiple interviews