What (not) to do: your resume when applying for McKinsey

What does McKinsey look for in a resume? What information should you include—and what don’t we need? We sat down with Amy, a senior expert in recruiting assessment, to learn her tips and tricks.

Is there a specific type of candidate you’re looking for?

Not at all! We are excited about all sorts of experiences, and we are not looking for one, particular candidate profile. We encourage you to think broadly about what makes you special and present yourself as holistically as possible. We do look for skills and strengths in areas like problem solving, inclusive leadership, entrepreneurial drive so think about how you can demonstrate those aspects.

How should I describe my responsibilities under the work experience section of my resume?

We want to hear what you did in your role and why your work mattered. What problems did you solve? How did your work stand out? What skills did you learn or master? Include teamwork and leadership experiences—these are particularly interesting to us, given the nature of our work.

What should I include when I describe extracurricular activities?

In addition to listing them, tell us about any leadership positions you’ve held, how much responsibility you had, and how your role grew and evolved over time. Try to quantify the results you created or helped a team create. Also, include entrepreneurship examples, even if they are not part of formal organizations. We love hearing when candidates have founded, started or created something new, whether it’s an organization, an initiative or a team.

Should I include my part-time job even though it is not in a corporate setting?

Absolutely. We’re interested in hearing about everything from retail work to research to work on campus—not just experience related to business. This includes internships, volunteer work, part-time jobs, and military service. If you have done part-time work (especially while studying for a degree), include your average hours worked per week. This helps us gain a fuller picture of your time commitments and achievements.

Do I need a ‘skills and interests’ section?

Including a skills and interests section is completely up to you. This section won’t help or hurt your application, but adding your interests and hobbies may help spark conversations with your interviewers. If you include a skills section, you don’t need to include fairly common skills such as Microsoft Word.

Any final advice?

Generally, keep your resume concise, clear, consistent, and clean—it should be easy to read and digest. Be honest – tell us what you led, what you created, what you contributed to and make sure you honestly let us know about your great skills and achievements. Make sure you highlight awards, honors, fellowships, or other recognitions. Finally, please note that for most positions and programs, we do not require cover letters.

Find a role at McKinsey today

About Amy

I work as an expert with McKinsey’s recruiting function, designing and developing assessments and processes for all client-service roles globally. Before joining recruiting, I came to the talent acquisition space after six years as a McKinsey consultant. I live in New York with my husband and two daughters.

Learn more about working at McKinsey by listening to our podcast.

Never miss another post

Receive new stories once a week directly in your inbox