McKinsey Resume: Step-By-Step Guide (2024)

McKinsey resume guide

Your McKinsey resume is the single most important component that will determine whether you will receive an interview with McKinsey. No matter how much networking you have done or how many people at McKinsey you know, if your resume is not up to standards, you will not get an interview.


On average, your McKinsey 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 McKinsey resume best highlights your accomplishments, experiences, and skills. It needs to be clear, concise, and memorable.


If you are currently preparing your resume for McKinsey and unsure what to write or how to structure it, we have you covered. We’ll walk you through exactly what McKinsey looks for in resumes and cover step-by-step how to craft the perfect McKinsey 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.


What Does McKinsey Look for in a Resume?


Like many other consulting firms, McKinsey looks for four main qualities when reviewing a resume: intelligence, high pedigree, track record of success, and relevant skills.


1. Intelligence: McKinsey resume reviewers want to see high GPAs, test scores, and academic accolades. These demonstrate that you are smart and competent.


2. High pedigree: McKinsey 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: McKinsey 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: McKinsey 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 McKinsey.


Like many other consulting firms, McKinsey 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 McKinsey. These are qualities that McKinsey explicitly states on their interviewing website.


5. Personal impact: McKinsey resume reviewers want to see the ability to influence and inspire others through your actions, ideas, and presence. In other words, demonstrating how your unique skills, experiences, and personality can make a difference.


6. Entrepreneurial drive: McKinsey resume reviewers want individuals who are proactive, innovative, and willing to take risks to drive business growth and create value. So, emphasize your ability to identify opportunities, think creatively, and take initiative.


7. Inclusive leadership: McKinsey resume reviewers want to see your ability to foster an inclusive environment where all team members feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique insights and talents.


8. Courageous change: McKinsey resume reviewers want to see the courage, resilience, and willingness to challenge the status quo. Demonstrate your ability to embrace change, take calculated risks, and lead others through periods of uncertainty.


9. Problem solving: McKinsey resume reviewers want to see that you can tackle complex challenges and deliver actionable solutions. Therefore, showcase your analytical skills, critical thinking abilities, and track record of solving difficult problems.


10. Expertise: McKinsey resume reviewers want to see that you have relevant expertise that aligns with McKinsey’s needs and client demands. You’ll want to showcase your educational background, professional certifications, and hands-on experience. Make sure to highlight any specialized skills or domain knowledge that sets you apart from other candidates.


Do I Need to Tailor My Resume for McKinsey?


The qualities that McKinsey 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 McKinsey. However, it can be helpful to make a few changes to tailor your resume to McKinsey:


1. Include more examples of leadership and challenging the status quo


While all consulting firms value these qualities, McKinsey puts a little more emphasis on this than other consulting firms.


2. Show that you have expertise


McKinsey likes people that have some kind of expertise, whether in a particular industry, function, hobby, or interest. They want people that are the very best at something specific compared to their peers.


3. Incorporate McKinsey job posting keywords into your resume


Many companies, including consulting firms like McKinsey, 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.


This tip is more relevant for those applying to McKinsey from non-target schools or those applying off-cycle.


4. Address McKinsey job-specific requirements


Different positions within McKinsey 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.


If you are applying for a consulting role that is specialized in a particular industry or function, make sure to emphasize those experiences and accomplishments in your resume.


How to Write a McKinsey Resume


There are five major components of a McKinsey 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 McKinsey 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:

McKinsey resume contact information


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:

McKinsey resume professional experience


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?


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.


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 or omit this section completely 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:

McKinsey resume extracurriculars


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:

McKinsey resume education


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:

McKinsey resume additional information


How to Format a McKinsey Resume


While the content of your McKinsey resume is the most important, the formatting and design of your McKinsey resume ensures that it is easy to read and does not stand out for the wrong reasons.


Therefore, you should spend some time following the formatting and design tips below to make your McKinsey resume look clean, simple, easy on the eyes, and not distracting.


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.


How to Proofread and Edit a McKinsey Resume


After you’ve drafted your McKinsey resume, your work is not done. It’ll likely take a few iterations to refine and polish your McKinsey resume to ensure that it is in its best possible shape.


Follow these tips below while proofreading and editing your McKinsey resume:


1. Read your McKinsey 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.


If you need some professional help to review and edit your resume, check out our comprehensive and personalized consulting resume review and editing services.


McKinsey Resume Example


To give you a concrete idea of what an optimized McKinsey resume should look like, we’ve included a sample resume below:

McKinsey resume example


Notice that this example of a McKinsey resume follows all of the guidelines and tips we’ve laid out in this article.


Common McKinsey Resume Mistakes


If you’ve followed all of the guidelines and tips in this article, your McKinsey resume should be in a great spot. However, we’ve covered a ton of information and it’s likely that you may have missed or overlooked an important point or two.


As a final check, ensure that your McKinsey resume does not make these common resume mistakes:


1. Poor formatting: A cluttered or poorly formatted resume can be difficult to read and may reflect negatively on your attention to detail. Keep your resume clean, organized, and easy to scan, using clear headings, bullet points, and consistent formatting.


2. Lack of quantifiable achievements: Simply listing job duties without quantifiable achievements can make your resume seem generic and uninspiring. Instead, use specific metrics, numbers, and results to demonstrate the impact of your work and quantify your accomplishments.


3. Including irrelevant information: Including irrelevant or outdated information on your resume can clutter the document and distract from your qualifications. Focus on highlighting experiences, skills, and achievements that are directly relevant to the McKinsey role you're applying for.


4. Using generic language: Using generic buzzwords and phrases like "hardworking" or "team player" without providing evidence to support them can make your resume seem generic and unmemorable. Instead, use specific language and concrete examples to demonstrate your skills and attributes.


5. Not tailoring your resume to McKinsey: Remember that there are particular skills, qualities, and accomplishments that McKinsey values a bit more than other consulting firms. Therefore, you should devote more space on your resume to things such as leadership, challenging the status quo, and having expertise in something


6. Lack of proofreading: Spelling and grammar errors can create a negative impression and suggest a lack of attention to detail. Always proofread your resume carefully, and consider asking a friend or colleague to review it as well.


Remember that you don’t have to create your McKinsey resume by yourself. Let us do the hard work for you and take away your stress and worries. Sign up for our consulting resume review and editing services today.


Start Preparing for McKinsey Case Interviews


While you finalize your McKinsey resume, you should also be preparing for McKinsey case interviews in parallel. Case interviews are the primary way McKinsey chooses which candidates to pass and receive an offer.


You will not land a job offer at McKinsey unless you can crush every single one of your McKinsey 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.



  • 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