I’m going to make a bet here: when you decided to attend university, you applied to more than one school. Why? You wanted to land – and you weren’t going to put all of your eggs in one basket. So, why start now?
But putting all of their eggs in one basket is exactly what I see students do. Students overwhelmingly rely on one channel for their job search: On Campus Recruitment (OCR).
Here’s the problem: my observation is that OCR accounts for only 20-25% of the consulting offers in any given recruitment cycle. Even if your school has an established consulting recruiting program, you need to expand your job search beyond OCR. This is particularly true if your objective is more “niche” (e.g. industry, service line, and/or geography focus, etc.).
Here are three tips for a better job search:
1. Be Clear on Your Career Objective.
“If you do not know where you’re going, every road will get you nowhere.” Henry Kissinger
I see too many students lose valuable time wading through jobs that are way out of scope, paralyzed with indecision, and then overwhelmed by the sheer volumes of applications (consulting recruitment is one of the most intensive for business students, but more on that another time).
You need to know what your objective is. Are you targeting a specific set of consulting firms? Or, are you targeting a specific type of consulting work (e.g. service line, industry focus)? Only then can you create an effective job search strategy. And when your objective evolves – and it likely will – your strategy evolves too.
2. Automate Your Job Search.
“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Bill Gates
Once you have your list of target firms, go to their career sites and set up any push-notifications available:
- Target Firms. Deloitte, for example, will send you alerts based on your preferred schedule (e.g. 7 days), based on specific keywords (e.g. Analyst, Consultant, Senior Consultant).
- LinkedIn will send you alerts based on specific keywords and other search criteria (e.g. location). This acts as a fail-safe, as the top consulting firms also post jobs on LinkedIn, but this is particularly important if your objective is niche.
- Consulting Confidential – Featured Jobs. Here at CC, we search for and curate a list of Canadian consulting internship and new/recent graduate postings from the MBBs and Big Fours on our blog, under Featured Jobs. It’s free, updated usually once a week (priority email notifications are sent to mailing list subscribers).
Best case scenario? You receive jobs that you’re interested in, right to your inbox. Worst case scenario? The automated emails act as a reminder to run a job search.
3. Make Your Job Search a Priority.
I see too many students only sit down to focus on their jobs search when they have time. Or, they ask about the OCR schedules (sorry, there isn’t one anymore), with the hopes of making recruiting fit into their schedules.
Yes, there is a war for talent, but top consulting firms won’t wait for you, your assignments, your exams, your extracurriculars, etc. Your job search should be a priority. Schedule this into your calendar accordingly.
Be clear about your consulting career objective. Cast your job search net wide within your target area(s). Automate where you can. Make your job search a priority. These practices will help you become far more effective in your consulting job search.