First of all, internet searching should not be your default strategy to search for consulting jobs (or jobs in general). It’s the laziest outlet for job searchers and recruiters alike. I’ll dedicate a later post on the best ways to find a consulting job in which you’ll find that internet searching will near the bottom of the list. But for right now lets focus on the internet – even if it is a flawed channel for job hunting.
How to use the internet to find a consulting job
The key to any job search is to find channels that aren’t clogged with applicants and have a real person on the other end. The worst thing you can do is brute force your job applications by sending your resume to a black box for resumes (i.e. Monster). Here are some channels that are a bit better than a black box :
LinkedIn is probably one of the best internet channels to find jobs. The best method for finding a job, however, is probably not through its jobs section. Instead, look through your social network to find people in your 1st or 2nd network who work in strategy consulting. Give a blurb on your interests and background and ask them if they are willing to grab coffee with you to discuss your career goals. The goal is to build a mentor relationship because building a human network is the best way to find a job in consulting. If you can build a relationship, they will pass your CV to a partner instead of HR and will talk about you to their friends in other consulting firms.
If you don’t have any connections in the consulting industry, the next thing you should do is to use the jobs section. Use the search string “management consulting” ”strategy consulting” or “corporate strategy” to find relevant roles. Also visit the company sites of the usual suspects (you can find Vault’s rankings here). Most of the top firm’s recruiters will post jobs on LinkedIn. Again, before doing a generic submission on their job site, try to contact the recruiter directly who posted the job. Give them your usual spiel on your interests and try to start a discussion about your interests.
Finally, turn the table by having recruiters contact you. Make sure you optimize your LinkedIn profile so recruiters can find you easily.
Headhunter websites are another good source to search. While it is more European focused, Mindbench is one of the few consulting focused search firms. Look for firms that focus on strategy consulting and are not just generic resume pushers. Try not to use too many firms; you don’t want your resume passed around like its water.
When I tell my friends that Craigslist is one of the best job posting sites, I usually get a big huh? in response. Craigslist is a much, much better job site than Monster. Niche firms will use it because its cheaper to post a listing, it already has a geographic filter built in,, and the quality of responses is probably better than what a firm normally gets from Monster. Use the search terms I mentioned earlier to mine through. Make sure you search in both the large markets (Boston, New York, San Francisco, etc.) and also less appealing cities such as Dallas or Seattle. Finding a job in the smaller offices usually is less competitive since everyone wants to work in New York.
Indeed is the Kayak of job search. It’s one of the best aggregators out there – why waste time on Monster or CareerBuilder when you can just search one site? The advanced search options are great and you can even set up alerts so that you are automatically e-mailed when jobs fit your criteria. Since its somewhat new compared to Monster, you might not have heard of it, but trust me its pretty popular.