10 steps to landing a grad scheme.
Graduate job-hunting is incredibly difficult. Application forms are laborious and the entire recruitment process for many consulting firms is incredibly time-consuming and mentally draining, often spanning 1-2 months and beyond. Consequently, it makes sense to formulate a strategy to make this terribly stressful and emotionally turbulent time in a graduate’s life as efficient and productive as possible. I therefore present:
Consultinggrad’s 10-point GCS Realization Framework
(GCS – Graduate Consulting Scheme)
1. Understand Consulting
Of course the first step is to understand exactly what consulting is, its general subdivisions such as technology/ business/ strategy and finally who the main players are, eg:
Generally, firms aim to improve client businesses by increasing efficiency, improving performance and driving growth, by addressing business challenges and problems. Wonderful.
2. Write a cracking CV
Write a good cv with the mindset that you are now embarking on a quest to become a consultant. CV Rationalisation may be a good place to start, but also understand what competencies these firms are looking to identify so you can describe your experience and achievements in the right language.
3. Sign up to websites
Milkround is great for pulling up a list of consultancy companies currently recruiting. Gradfutures does very much the same thing. Set up a Linked in profile as well as you may come to love this social networking site as much as I do when gathering info on companies and making useful contacts across the industry. (Links are in the Blog Roll menu on the right)
4. Organise your objectives
Identify all the companies and schemes that you can and would like to apply to, then group them in terms of similar styles and capabilities ie. technology; strategy; business; accounting – (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY; Bain, Booz, BCG; Accenture, CSC, Capgemini etc.). I would advise you keep a spreadsheet so you can track your progress as you may find that it quickly becomes difficult to manage. Eg.
5. Application stage i – online form
Apply to each of the firms making sure to keep a record of the competency answers you write for each as it will make subsequent forms easier and quicker. This is key to making sure you’re being as productive and efficient as possible. I found that after completing 2-3 application forms, I was mostly cutting and pasting from my stock-pile of competency answers. Yes, you will find some firms have some unique questions but you’ll be surprised how changing some syntax and the odd word can produce a suitable answer. Which reminds me, make sure you replace company names!! KPMG’s tremendous market credibility is not something you want to talk about in an application for PwC!
6. Application stage ii – Tests
Brush up on your GCSE maths skills (% increase/ decrease, ratios, currency conversions etc.) and get some practice in with the sites listed under the Testing section.
7. Application stage iii – Competency Interviews
Formulate and revise all your competency examples. Most of these firms have very similar competencies such as teamwork, communication, building relationships etc. so once you’ve done the work and preparation for one interview, you’re part way their already for the next, and so on. For help on competencies, take a look at the competency pages on the right in the menu.
8. Application stage iv – Assessment centres
Well done, give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far and take comfort in the fact that this is the final hurdle. You should be comprehensively clued-up on your competency examples and have researched the firm to the nth degree so that any further interviews will be a breeze. Tests similarly should not pose too great an issue. Check out Group Exercises for help on this portion of the assessment.
Compare and choose your future career. The usual things to consider: a) training and career progression b) salary and benefits c) company credibility and culture
Smoke a fat cigar/ buy some shoes
It pays to keep your job-hunting concentrated, as work and effort applied to pursuit of a job in one consultancy can be quickly shifted to focus on another. In this fashion you work efficiently and with greater ease than if you approached job-hunting dis-jointedly. It takes a great deal of effort to psyche yourself up only to be psyched out to then have to psyche yourself up again. It is exhausting, mentally and emotionally. By adopting the Consultinggrad 10-point GCS Realisation Framework you focus on creating as many opportunities as possible that will tend to mature at relatively similar paces. This allows you to focus on each stage of an application with as much undivided attention as possible.
Since you’re going to be helping companies improve performance, increase efficiency and accelerate growth, you might as well start closer to home.