According to a recent article in Poets&Quants, business schools are already seeing a drop in internship offers and full-time hires as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. While no one can predict what the full impact on this year’s recruitment cycle will be, during the recession of 2009, MBA employment rates at graduation declined from 21-23% over 2007.
Consulting might be a brighter spot in this bleak picture. Companies need consulting expertise even more in bad times than they do in good. As Keith Bevans, head of global recruiting at Bain & Co, explained in a recent interview for Bloomberg News, “You have to hire through difficult times.”
Build your (virtual) network
Companies may not be posting jobs in their usual fashion, but they still can have hiring needs. One of our clients contacted a company he was interested in that had posted a job and then removed it. The recruiter responded to his email in an hour, explaining that the position was still open but there was a 60-day freeze on filling it. The recruiter said he’d put our client’s resume and cover letter on top to contact first when the freeze expired.
Build a list of target firms and start researching your contacts to make connections. In addition to LinkedIn, research your undergraduate and graduate alumni databases. Educate yourself not only on the firm, but on the functional area (such as supply chain management) or industry area (such as aerospace and defense) that interest you.
Fine-tune your tool kit
Make sure your resume is both comprehensive and targeted for your job search. If you are transitioning to consulting from another industry, this might mean removing some accomplishments and translating others into a description that better illustrates the skills and abilities consulting firms are looking for. Develop a base cover letter that highlights your key accomplishments that you can customize for each company. Practice your fit interview and case interview skills so that you are ready to go.
Navigate through the uncertainty
Hiring managers may not know specifics about timelines for interviews right now. Ask the hiring manager how best to follow up with them. Check in regularly, but be sensitive to the other demands they have on their time. Expect that things are fluid now and may change rapidly – so asking questions along the way helps manage expectations and sets the ground work for any follow-up.
This is a stressful time for job-seekers, but staying calm, flexible and patient will help you succeed. Be confident that there will be jobs for consultants, although when they will be available is unknown. Reach out to your network for support – and be ready to act when opportunity knocks. If you’re still feeling uncertain and anxious, contact us today. With our decades of experience, we can help!
By Stephanie Horn (Managing Consultant) and Matt Strickler (Senior Advisor), Consulting Career Academy at The MBA Exchange