How to Write a McKinsey Resume


Among management consultants, McKinsey & Company has earned a reputation for its rigorous hiring process. Let’s look at what a McKinsey resume looks like and how to write a McKinsey resume. 

McKinsey can certainly afford to be rigorous. It attracts a remarkable pool of applicants, including Rhodes and Marshall Scholars, from the best schools. These exceptional candidates compete for positions at McKinsey because a job there is guaranteed to be a great career move. “The Firm,” as it is known, counts among its clients 90 percent of the Fortune 100 and two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 companies. It has offices in 55 countries, on every continent except Antarctica, employing a staff of 17,000. The Financial Times puts the firm’s revenue at over $10 billion.

Resume Order

Here are some examples of why resume length is a lot more complicated than it seems:

McKinsey’s hiring process has become famous for its difficulty. Obviously, you need a very good resume to get an invitation to interview, but McKinsey offers some help. It makes no secret of what it is looking for in a resume: clear evidence of problem solving, achievement, personal impact, and leadership. That’s a good start when trying to get hired at McKinsey.

I worked at McKinsey for seven years and saw a lot of resumes, good and bad, from applicants at entry level and more senior levels. This experience has given me the know-how to prepare resumes appropriate for The Firm.

Since most organizations value the same qualities as McKinsey does, a resume that’s “McKinsey ready” is likely to suit all sorts of employers in all sorts of industries. 

The Dos for a McKinsey Resume

  • Make your resume easy to read. Keep formatting crisp, clear, and consistent. Use at least a 10-point, business-appropriate font, and leave margins that are wide enough for a resume screener to write notes in. 
  • Put your name and contact information at the top. Make sure it’s all correct. Use a professional-sounding email address, no matter how fond you are of any comedic ones you have.
  • List your education first, especially if you’re a new graduate. Include details such as GPA, test scores, and honors. For a truly exceptional achievement, attach a copy of your transcript.
  • For both your education and experience, list items in reverse chronological order, with dates clearly shown on the left side of the page.
  • Always be specific. When writing about achievements, provide details and context. If you “led major new initiatives,” give examples of those initiatives and the impact they had.
  • Include extracurricular activities, volunteer experience, and outside interests. Be as specific as possible so that the screener sees a connection between your activities and your career. As McKinsey advises, “Don’t just tell us about your hobbies; tell us what you achieved in pursuing them.”
  • Have a friend review your resume with a very skeptical eye. This will identify easily correctable errors and items that need clarification or elaboration.

The Don’ts for a McKinsey Resume

  • Don’t treat your resume as an art project, using a mix of quirky fonts and “creative” formatting.
  • Never allow errors to slip through, whether they are formatting, spelling, grammar, or other types of errors.
  • Don’t use jargon that may be unfamiliar to the nonspecialist resume reviewer.
  • If you hold a foreign degree, don’t assume that the reviewer will be familiar with it. When in doubt, explain.
  • Don’t leave potential red flags unexplained. For example, a year-long gap in your employment will be noticed. If you can explain it, do so.

Beyond these rules, you should approach your resume with two complementary principles in mind: First, make it as easy as possible for the resume screener to find all of the skills and experience you have that will lead to a positive response, and touch on McKinsey’s bases: problem solving, achievement, personal impact, and leadership.

Second, make it as hard as possible for the screener to find a reason to reject you. Be mindful of the fact that he or she is more than willing to move on to the next resume in a very large pile.

I've shared some of my best ideas with you to craft a resume that will get the attention of the hiring managers at McKinsey, but I've saved my best idea for last. Work with me. I've helped many people get their dream jobs at companies like McKinsey, Google, Salesforce and so many more. Let's work together and increase your chances of getting in. Learn more about my packages here.


Ready to boost your career?

To get started, select your career level below:


Career Services

New Graduates, Up to 2 years' Experience

Services & Pricing
You are starting out your career, you recently graduated from college, or you are about to graduate.


Career Services

Professionals, Managers, Career Changers

Services & Pricing
You have experience, and you want to advance in your field or transition to a new career.


Career Services

Executives, Leaders, Decision Makers

Services & Pricing
You are a Vice President or C-level executive ready to make an even greater difference.