Finding a management consultancy job in the UK. Five essential job search tips

Are you relocating to the UK?

Or recently arrived?

Many international management consultancy job seekers consider gaining work experience in the UK. Whether for personal or career reasons the UK remains an attractive destination.

Or the reverse applies: UK management consultants have been working abroad and seek to return.

As a result, management consultancy recruiters and employers see many CVs from applicants not currently resident in the UK.

The good news is that in recent years, with the rise of Zoom and Teams, remote and video based recruitment is now commonplace and gone are the days when you had to be in the UK or fly in for the final interview.

However there are still barriers to getting a job here and most are not the obvious ones around applying for visas and gaining the Right to Work etc. Indeed this article does not address that topic except in passing: we are not experts in that complicated and forever changing field.

A strong application, following Prism’s tips, will significantly improve your chances.

Your primary tool and “door opener” is your CV. We have some general CV tips but for an international management consultancy job seeker the essentials are:

1. State that you intend to relocate to the UK, or make clear you are resident here

Make crystal clear, ideally at the top of the first page, that you are actively seeking a role in the UK (or are currently based here) and if you name a city e.g. London, so much the better. If you can give a timescale “Planning to move to London in February 2024” that’s perfect. Even if in reality aspirational rather than set in stone. You could also say “Location: London from February 2024”. Stating this in an email or cover letter is not enough as it may not get read. It must be included on your CV. NOT stating it risks looking like you are applying a scatter gun approach to your job search with the possibility that your application is not taken seriously.

You could also add credibility by stating very briefly why you are coming to the UK.

If you have moved here a UK phone number adds credence and evidence to support your claims: an overseas one may invite the conclusion that you are still abroad.

2. Right to Work

Also make clear, at or near the top of the CV, your visa situation or Right to Work.

If you are British or have UK Settlement Status you should clearly state this, even if you consider it obvious or feel you shouldn’t have to!

The default assumption if you say nothing is that you will need employer sponsorship. That may not rule you out, but many employers, especially smaller and “boutique” management consulting firms, are either unable to sponsor or have strict limits on numbers. Unfortunately there is often no way of knowing before you apply.

Also some employers and recruiters are nervous of asking for fear of being accused of discrimination.

You should of course be honest, but you don’t need to go into detail at this point: the time to do so is when you get to interview. If for example you have a Spousal visa, a Work Study visa or Youth Mobility visa you could simply state “Able to work in the UK without employer sponsorship”: the fact you may need sponsorship in future is not relevant to your initial application. Also CV reviewers may not understand that “UK Tier 2 Dependent Visa” means you can work for them!

3. Work experience

If you have any work experience in the UK, or in countries with similar economies, or with well-known global brand names (either as an employer or a client) make sure this is clearly stated on the CV.

If there is any risk that your employer or your clients are not widely known in the UK, ensure you have a few words of explanation around their activities and scale. The reason for this is that employers need reassurance about the transferability of experience and this is more likely if they have more information.

Also amend your CV and LinkedIn to make it clear that you have left your last employer (and therefore of course actively job seeking and available for work immediately). If you are on leave or serving out your notice you should consider adding an “end date” otherwise there is a risk of confusion.

4. Qualifications

The same applies to academic credentials: ensure grades and prizes are listed and (unless obvious) some explanation of the academic stature of the University or Business School.

5. Take care regarding your current location on job boards and LinkedIn

Applying to management consultancy job adverts

The next key hurdle is job boards and LinkedIn. We have information on our website about perfecting your LinkedIn profile.

It is perhaps not widely known that many sites will filter out your CV and application if they think you are overseas. Regardless of your merit or Right to Work or how you answer “qualifying questions”.

So, for example LinkedIn may often mark applications from people based outside the UK as ‘not a fit’ so your application will not be seen. The employer or recruiter can access these applications or could change the settings but may not be aware of this or decide for simplicity not to do so. The same is true of other well-known job boards. You will probably have no way of knowing if this has happened.

What is the solution?

You should change your location on LinkedIn and other job boards, to the UK.

This may not sit comfortably but you are not responsible for the job application system, which leaves you no choice. This is, after all, where you wish to move to.

This (along with 1 to 4 above) will significantly increase your visibility to recruiters and prospective employers. The downside with LinkedIn is that this will be publicly visible which may cause trouble at work! Another option if you find a job on LinkedIn is to seek an alternative application route. For example, a direct email address or via the employer or the management consultancy recruiter’s websites.

Of course you can’t mislead people so it’s important your CV makes your situation and location clear (as per above).

Other UK job search channels

Apart from job boards and LinkedIn there are many other routes that you should be considering as part of your search for a UK management consulting job.

In our comprehensive guide we consider in turn the five main channels for finding a great management consulting vacancy:

  • Networking
  • Direct approaches
  • Applying to advertisements
  • Placing your CV online
  • Working with recruitment firms

All of these should apply if you are overseas and seeking to move to the UK.

You may not consider you have much of a UK network but once you start digging may uncover a treasure trove of (possibly long lost!) friends (or friends of friends), family, former colleagues and contacts (or contacts of contacts!) on LinkedIn.

Direct approaches to employers are well worth considering, perhaps to a carefully researched list of target organisations. Putting together a Marketing Plan is an important and valuable exercise .

You should also contact a specialist management consultancy recruiter or two as well of course! They will have first hand experience and advice to offer, if they feel they are able to assist. But keep in mind they may not be able to do so. In the UK they can only charge a fee from an employer: usually one they make a successful placement with, so that inevitably governs their priorities. They are by law not allowed to charge a candidate for registering.

Inevitably there will be frustrations and many many unanswered messages, emails and applications but, like any endeavour, the more effort you put in and the more ground you can cover the more successful you will be.

Good luck!

FAQs

Many international management consultancy job seekers consider gaining work experience in the UK. Whether for personal or career reasons the UK remains an attractive destination. Or the reverse applies: UK management consultants have been working abroad and seek to return.
Specify your clear intentions, such as the location where you wish to work and timescale. Also demonstrate you have the legal right to work and have relevant work experience (in a country with similar economy / market).
Use these main channels for finding a great management consulting vacancy: your network, direct approaches, replying to advertisements, placing your CV online, LinkedIn and working with recruitment firms. All of these should apply if you are overseas and seeking to move to the UK.

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