Question:

First of all, thanks a lot for sharing your insights and knowledge. Since I took notice of your website, I spend every possible minute to read and watch the videos!

Holding a diploma in industrial engineering from a Top 3 [European] University, I am now looking for starting my career in the consulting industry.

I finished my studies below standard duration and simultaneously gained some working experience in different fields, i.e. chemistry industry, consulting, and mechanical engineering research. Above all, I founded my own little family, being a proud father of two little kids. Managing all these things made it hard for me to gain excellent grades, also due to the fact that I had to work to secure the major share of our familiy income. Although my grades are still above average (maybe top 30%), I suppose I still have many competitors with better grades.

So here comes the question: Should I mention that my grades suffered due to my other responsibilites? Should I ‘sell’ my paternity as a strength, meaning that I gained a great deal of responsibility and am able to manage a lot things at the same time (which is true indeed)? Or is it that the consulting firms don’t care, and don’t want to see so much personal insights when reading the resume?

Victor, please help me out, I am really stuck in this matter. I searched the archive on the website and couldn’t find similar questions, so I assume my situation is quite unique (or others don’t dare to ask).

I would appreciate it so much if you write me back or share your answer on your blog.

Keep up the awesome work! And I hope I have to chance to come back to you with a success story!

My Reply:

The firms don’t care if you’re a father or not. (Though I do, and congratulations on your family!)

So I would not bother mentioning paternity. Instead, look for other ways to compensate. If your entrance exam scores were very high (better than top 30%), be sure to include those and indicate the percentile score. If you won any awards, be sure to identify how many winners vs. how many eligible to win. Then be sure to show strong accomplishments and results in your work experience and you can still be competitive.

Also, where paternity would help is if you’re networking and you informally mention it, they might keep that in mind and look to the other areas of your background to see if there’s evidence of underlying ability. In general, finding some way to meet someone who works in the firm you want to work in forgives a lot of traditional “weaknesses” on the resume.