I would like to share one of my stories when I got offered a job on the spot without a resume and cover letter. In addition I didn’t have any business skills from previous job experience and didn’t do any networking.
Before I go into details about my method, I would like to outline 2 references that support my approach and make it relevant. This means that if I got job offers without any particular skills by using this method, you also have what it takes to apply it and be successful with it in consulting.
When I approached companies, I applied the principles that I learnt from Jay Abraham’s work. This also includes Jay’s method to contact companies for consulting. This means I didn’t do random and it didn’t happen by chance that I got job offers. So, the approach that I show you bellow has a very solid foundation in Jay’s 30 years of work and I applied it myself.
Jay Abraham is a leading authority in the business world and has influenced people like Tony Robbins, Ramit Sethi, Stephen Covey, Brian Tracy, Diamond John, to name just a few. In addition, he developed thousands of companies based on the principles that shaped my mindset since I decided to become a business developer.
There is a book written by a former McKinsey consultant that describes in details the process of the interview and the selection criteria.
It is called “Case Interview Secrets” by Victor Cheng. It should be useful IF you manage to get an interview. The book focuses exclusively on the interview, not on how to be selected for one.
In order to get the interview, Victor Cheng has a product for doing networking. I didn’t buy it, so I cannot give you my opinion about it.
If you still want to go with the traditional application, Victor Cheng provides on his website free resources to improve your resume and cover letter.
The interviews held by consulting companies are based on case studies that simulate on-the-job experience. This means during the interview, you will have to solve some business problems in a set-up which is similar to a consultation with a real client.
Some of the selection criteria from Victor Cheng’s book and that consulting companies use:
Independent problem solver. Here are a few of the questions that interviewers ask themselves when make the selection:
Can I drop you off with a division of a 500 Fortune company BY YOURSELF, with little to no supervision?
Can you handle the client, solve its problems, and in the process make the firm look good?
Will you be an independent problem solver fairly quickly, or will I have to babysit you for the next two years of your career?
Be accurate enough. This means you have to be able to make estimations based on assumptions and hypothesis.
Back up your statements with factual arguments. You always have to explain WHY you suggest a particular answer, result, action, advice.
Prove your systematic, analytical thinking.
My approach is similar with the case interviews, it proves the criteria consulting companies are looking for and got me job offers. But since consulting companies want to check you for consistency and also speed, they might still evaluate you through multiple case interviews before making you a job offer.
This is because they want to see if you apply your systematic thinking on a regular basis, not just in moments of inspiration.
Choose a company (small or big) that you would like to analyze and look at as a case study.
Research the business: become their client, observe the servicing process and their products. Research the company for facts about their business model, strategy and activities.
Make assumptions about their business model or strategy based on your observation and research that you have just found out.
For example, I used to order on the phone food from a raw vegan restaurant because its location was too far from my place. However, I could get an order with free delivery only if I had bought the whole menu and only if I had placed the order between 10 am and 12 pm.
So, these were limits to consume freely whenever and whatever quantity I wanted to. So, I assumed that I was not the only person in the area who likes their food, places orders and feels frustrated by the lack of flexibility on consumption.
Identify a possible and relevant challenge or opportunity they have and are not aware of or that they haven’t found a solution for.
For example, based on the assumption that I was not the only person who used to order food from them, I realized that the restaurant had an underserved market in my area that could benefit more from their products. This was an opportunity for the restaurant to sell more and for their clients to buy more and easier from them.
Create a minimum viable solution. This means your solution is accurate enough because you will support it with your mindset and systematic thinking, facts and assumptions from your research and from being a client.
In my case, I proposed to the restaurant to make a joint venture with a social hub from my area in order to sell their products there on a daily basis 12 h/day. This meant easy access for customers and no restrictions on consumption and neither on the time frame. In addition, the restaurant didn’t have to make any additional investment in infrastructure, didn’t have to pay rent and neither salaries for employees. Everything was already in place.
Contact the decision makers and get a meeting by telling them that you are a client, you identified a challenge or opportunity they overlook and that you have a solution for it.
Depending on the company you want to work with, you can adapt this approach and tell to decision makers that you have identified a prospect company/client that is significant for their business. This company has an overlooked opportunity or challenge and you want to show them the solution which can win it as a client for the consulting company. This could be one way of adapting the scenario.
So, this method is like using a case interview in order to get an interview and definitely you will stand out as independent problem solver.
Victor Cheng says in his book that out of 400 Stanford candidates, just 6 get hired. This is a 1.5% acceptance rate.
So, given the high competition to just get an interview, it is worth trying alternatives like the way I have just suggested.
This is because, anyway, you will have to work very hard to prepare for the interview if you want to pass it. If you think you must be intelligent to do this, intelligence is developed by being consistent. So, you can use this alternative to also practice your ability to solve case studies.
In my e-book “How to get a Job without a Resume and Cover Letter”, I describe in more details this approach. My method is a shortcut because it proves and shows directly to consulting companies how you think, how you solve problems without any complicated application and recruitment systems.