For those of you preparing your MBA applications, we are sure you have been studying hard for the GMAT (read our article on GMAT or GRE, if you are wondering which test to take) and working furiously on your essays (right??). But one thing you might not be thinking much about is your resume.
As MBA admission consultants, we find that most people we work with initially feel confident in their resumes. After all, it’s something they already have on hand and it’s helped them secure their current job. But a business school resume is actually a little different from a professional resume.
It’s important to know those differences and make sure you carve out some time to work on your MBA resume early in the application process. You will find that thinking about your resume in terms of your MBA application will help you create your professional narrative and develop different stories for your essays. It can also help inform your answer when asked in MBA interviews to, “Walk us through your resume.”
Here are some of our tips for how you can make your resume business school ready:
1) Mind your language:
Avoid industry-specific jargon! While you can assume that employers in your field will understand the job-specific language you might have on your resume, an MBA admissions committee might not. You want to make your resume clear and easy to understand for anyone who reads it, not just someone who comes from your professional sector.
2) Numbers help your narrative:
Whenever you can quantify your achievements in specific substantive ways, do so! Include the number of people who work on your team or under your leadership. Talk about how much money you’ve saved your company or what a deal is worth in specific terms. Business schools want to know about outcomes and measurable impact.
3) Context is key:
While business schools value applicants from well-known companies with international recognition and repute, they also promote diversity and welcome applicants from different backgrounds who will bring interesting perspectives that will enrich the programme. As international applicants, there are many things on your resume that you can’t count on being universally well known, so contextualise your work, your position and your company for the reader. Be sure to provide regional or cultural information when it’s appropriate.
4) Emphasise your soft skills:
It’s very important that you highlight soft skills, such as communication, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving or motivation, on your resume. Contextualise how your communication abilities helped your team, how you’ve led teams through a project or new product launch and the ways in which you’ve cultivated your interpersonal abilities. If the nature of your work doesn’t allow you to highlight those abilities, you can talk about these skills through your other interests and activities such as participation in the Rotary Club, community service or sports teams/championships, among others.
5) Keep it short and relevant:
Be as concise as possible! Your business school resume should fit on one page, so be specific, thorough and brief. There is NO exception to this one-page rule.
Unlike many other parts of the business school application, such as the essays and the forms, the resume can be fairly straightforward. So, edit it early and have it ready to use. We promise you, you’ll be glad you did.
If you’re just starting your MBA application, you might find this blog helpful. To know more about our other services, such as letters of recommendation strategy, visit our shop. To know more about how we can help with your MBA application, get in touch with us.